Volume 3 ~ Issue 12; July 15-31, 2018

Brothers: It's vacation time.
The next issue of OFM.FYI will be available AUGUST 15.
  • Icon Pilgrimage

  • Jack Clark Robinson on PCO

  • Border Visit
  • Evan Howard Jubilee

  • Ordinations in Mexico

  • RE Congress 2019
Scottsdale, Guadalupe Fraternities
June 26- July 13, 2018

A beautifully rendered contemporary icon St. Francis and the Novices, by artist Kelly Lattimore, along with relics of Sts. Francis and Clare, continues to make its way through the Province. The most recent venues “visited” include our fraternities at the Franciscan Renewal Center (Scottsdale, Arizona) and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, (Guadalupe, Arizona).

Friars will recall that the Extraordinary Chapter concluded on May 30, with a closing Mass and a special blessing and “sending forth” of the icon, a work originally commissioned for the Interprovincial Novitiate. The image, along with relics of both St. Francis and St. Clare, will “visit” each of the houses in the Province in the coming months in anticipation of the Fall Convocations. The artwork takes its inspiration from 2 Timothy-- “Stir into flame the gifts God has given us” – and will serve as the theme for the upcoming provincial Chapter 2019.  

In their mediation offered at the closing Mass in Oceanside, Chapter 2019 Steering Committee members Friars Ray Tintle and Sam Nasada noted that: “Like yourselves, we have been reflecting and praying together long and hard. . . How can we even begin to address the important issues which have the capacity either to unite us or tear us apart ? Where and how can we renew our strength, our trust in each other, and above all-- our confidence in the Lord in order to rekindle our faith and sense of common purpose? “

“We Committee members thought to begin by placing ourselves before the Lord, by putting ourselves physically in His Presence, using the icon as a point of departure for our meditation. We found this effort to be a great source of peace and encouragement for us in our work. . . . We now invite you, in the coming months, to spend some time in prayer and reflection with this image as it travels on a pilgrimage of prayer through the Province.” 

During the rest of July and August, the sacred objects will travel to Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, Oceanside, Malibu, and Santa Barbara. Friars are invited to send in their reflecitions of the icon experience. Here is the complete itinerary for the pilgrimage:  click here.

Photo:  St. Francis and the Novices by Kelly Lattimore. Photo: courtesy OFM Novitiate, Santa Barbara, CA.
Into Our Tradition: A Reflection 
Plenary Council of the Order (PCO)
Nairobi, Kenya
June 12-28, 2018
This article first appeared as “A monthly Reflection from Our Franciscan Heritage #23” in the July, 2018 issue of The Padres’ Trails of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Province.  Reprinted here with thanks and permission. -ct

I attended the Plenary Council of the Order in Nairobi, Kenya as one of the two
representatives of the English Speaking Conference from the 11th to the 29th of June. Article 194 of the General Constitutions, states that the duties of the Plenary Council include: 
  • to offer assistance to the Minister General and his Definitory in governing and inspiring the Order; 
  • to encourage relations and communications between the General Curia and the Conferences, and between the Conferences themselves; . . . 
  • to help prepare the next General Chapter and to offer advice regarding its location; 
  • to discuss the finances of the Order. 

We did all of those things and more. This Plenary Council began by gathering information from friars around the world months ago. Each Conference of the Order, as well as the Custody of the Holy Land, prepared a report on the social situation within their geographic area, the situation of the Church in their area, and the responses of the friars of the Conference to the challenges presented by these social and ecclesial situations. Beyond these written reports which were translated and made available to all of the Council members before we got to Nairobi, each Conference gave an hour-long presentation of their situation, usually complete with Power Point illustrations and videos. With guidance from Caoimhin O’Laoide and input from a number of Provinces, Keith Warner, Pierre Charland and I put together our report and presentation. Then the first week of the Council the whole Council listened and learned from each other.

Amazingly, what we learned was that in large measure friars around the world are facing some of the same issues, not only as friars, but in society and in the Church. The world seems to be more connected and a lot smaller than we might have imagined before hearing the reports of the first week. The moderators, including Keith, and (members of the) steering committee of the Council sifted through all of the reports and came up with seven issues for focusing our discussion through the next part of our time together. Those issues were: 1) fraternity in mission, 2) the rapidly changing world, 3) youth, 4) evangelization in the spirit of Laudato Si, 5) migrants, 6) instruments of peace in the face of contemporary violence, and 7) religious life and the vision of Pope Francis. We did not come with any grand plans as to what we should all be doing concerning these seven issues, but we offered questions for the consideration of the General Minister and the General Administration to contemplate as they seek to offer guidance for the work of the friars through the next several years, and especially in leading up to the General Chapter of 2021. In that way, we responded to that first directive of the General Constitutions with regard to a Plenary Council, 1. to offer assistance to the Minister General and his Definitory in governing and inspiring the Order. 

As to the second instruction to the Plenary Council from the General Constitutions, to encourage relations and communications between the General Curia and the Conferences, and between the Conferences themselves, that seemed to be what we were doing before we got to Africa and the first week with the sharing of the Conference reports. But not only did we share then, the whole time that we were together seemed to be full of opportunities and occasions to share with one another what it means to be a Friar where we are in the world at the moment, and we are all around the world. I got to know the English “official language group” friars best and they were from such diverse places as Malaysia/New Zealand, Korea, Viet Nam, Hong Kong, India, the Philippines – represented by four different friars, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Croatia, Poland, Ireland, the United States (five of us, Michael Perry, John Poudziunas (ABVM), Gilberto Cavasos (SH), Keith Warner (SB) and me) and Canada. But there were those who spoke English very well, though they spoke other languages as their official language or in their ministry, and they were from Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Italy, Portugal, Mexico and Costa Rica! I have come home with a greatly deepened appreciation for the world-wide nature of our fraternity and a hope to share it with all of you whenever we are together as a Province. 
The General Constitutions also state that we were to: 
  • to help prepare the next General Chapter and to offer advice regarding its location; and, 
  • to discuss the finances of the Order. 

We did both of those things. The Council heard John Poudziunas update us on the finances of the Order. John’s presentation was very well received by all of the Friars present. I think that the applause which he received at the end of his presentation was the most prolonged and sustained of any speaker, and that is quite an accomplishment when you talk about money! But John was not only talking about money. He laid a very Franciscan foundation for his talk speaking of how our values, including especially transparency, must be represented and underlie anything and everything that we do with regard to money. He also pointed out decisions which need to be made soon in General Chapters and elsewhere to help us address the demographic shifts in the Order. In some ways the shifts amount to this: The financial resources of the Order are primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, but with decreasing numbers of friars, while in the Southern Hemisphere, the numbers of friars are growing, but there are few financial resources. In addition, the overall financial resources needed for our mission and for formation of the friars, as they are currently gathered are both rapidly dwindling to a point where they may soon not be adequate unless something is done. The financial situation of the Order is no longer a crisis, but it is a challenge. When we discussed topics for the General Chapter in 2021, the English speakers present proposed that future financial plans be seriously considered. 

We also proposed that the General Chapter in 2021 take place in or near Manila in the Philippines. Other groups proposed: Assisi, Jakarta (Indonesia), Jerusalem and Mexico. When we had a show of hands among all of the Council members, the greatest support was for the Philippines. The final decision as to the location of the Chapter will be made by the General Administration, but the reasons for the Philippines are compelling: They are in Asia, where so much is happening in the Order. The Philippines are a crossroads of religion, culture and politics, but still on the periphery. Travel to the Philippines is relatively easy for most foreign travelers. Finally, 2021 will mark the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christian missionaries in the country, and a big celebration in already being planned. 

I mentioned that the Council did all of the things indicated in the General Constitutions and more. I want to speak of the “more.” We were in Africa. Africa is a place of unbelievable contrasts and a place where the Order had never conducted a world-wide meeting before. The theme of this Council was to listen to the Spirit, but it seemed that the Spirit also wanted us to see. We saw natural wonders and human poverty. We visited lions, giraffes, ostriches, and zebras (no elephants! They are not native to the Nairobi area.), twenty minutes from the retreat house where we were stayed. We saw the need to protect our Sister, Mother Earth. We saw men, women and many, many children surviving on $2 a day and less, in an incredibly crowded neighborhood, a ten-minute walk from skyscrapers and wealth, but without streets or indoor plumbing. Narrow walkways, with mercifully concreted open “drainage” ditches, wound in a maze between every “house.” Yet, we were welcomed into homes of only a few square feet, housing a half dozen people, who wanted to share their homes with us. Older and younger women there, some Catholic, some “Christian” and some Muslim, have banded together to help each other and all those many, many children, to survive and thrive as best they can, while Friars of the East Africa Province do what they can to help, too. Those women sang with true joy and danced with lively hearts to welcome us. We were in Africa. Need and hope mixed together, and both challenged us to live lives of Faith. They showed us that Faith and community are the resources that can always be counted on in the face of overwhelming challenges. At this Council we were reminded of how much we need to be, and how much the world needs us to be, Lesser Brothers. 
(l to r) MP Isauro Covili (Chile), General Definitor Caoimhin O’Laoide (Ireland) Provincial Minister Jack Clark Robinson (OLG). Photo: Courtesy OFM Curia.
MP John Poudziunas (ABVM).
Provincial Minister Jack Clark Robinson (OLG). Photo: Courtesy, OFM Curia.
CalState East Bay Campus Ministry Leaders
Elfrida, Arizona
July 3-8, 2018

From July 3 to 8, the Ite Nuntiate community in Elfrida, Arizona hosted a group of campus ministry leaders from California State University East Bay for a border immersion experience. The five student leaders were led by campus minister Eunice Park, herself a graduate of the Franciscan School of Theology, Oceanside, California.
The group spent the week visiting and participating in different ministries to migrants on both sides of the border. One of the activities they engaged in was a cross planting to commemorate the life of a man whose remains were found recently in the Sierra Vista area in southern Arizona. Emily Ellis, a journalist from the local Herald Review newspaper was present for the ceremony and wrote an article that can be found here.

Membes of the group told us they were very touched by the experience and felt that it was transformative for them. Experiencing the reality of migration right at the border was very different than just reading about it or watching from computer or television. 

If you know of any other local college or parish groups that would like do a similar border immersion program, please contact either Friar Sam Nasada or Friar David Buer

Photos: Courtesy, Sam Nasada OFM
The CalState East Bay group having dinner with Friar Luis Runde (SHP), incoming novice Andrew Dinegar (SHP), and Friar David Buer.
The group visits a migrant shelter in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, across the border from Douglas, Arizona.
On Your 70th!....
(Jubilee of Franciscan Profession)
July 8, 2018

Friars, family, and friends of our brother Evan Howard gathered in the main chapel at San Damiano Retreat on Sunday, July 8 to celebrate his 70th—platinum jubilee—anniversary of profession. More than 150 invited guests, including 12 friars, attended the Mass, which included Evan’s renewal of vows, followed by hors d’oeuvres and a sit down dinner at the Retreat.

Provincial Minister David Gaa was Presider in the liturgy at which Evan concelebrated. David reminded those present that the ritual chosen for the event was the votive Mass for an Increase in Vocations to the Franciscan Way of Life. He noted that the elegant worship aid designed by Friar Steve Kain included a full listing of Evan’s “journey of service” over the past seven decades, as well as an array of photos from Evan’s life. “But I’m not going to give a eulogy!,” he informed the enthusiastic congregation well-wishers. Noting Evan’s long record of service to the Province and the Order, David noted the significant changes which have taken place for us friars during the time in which Evan has been a friar. “I don’t believe in the idea that our ‘glory days’ are over. The friars are as important and relevant today as they have ever been. Times are not any worse than they were in the past, but they are different.”

With characteristic modesty, at both the Mass and the dinner, Evan expressed his thanks to all present and to all who have been supportive of his vocation.  Siempre adelante, Evan! Keep going; we need you!

Additional photos by Friar Dick Tandy will be in our next issue.
Ordinations in St. Junípero Serra Province
Mexicali, Baja California, México
June 29, 2018

On June 29, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, our neighboring province of St. Junípero Serra in México, welcomed four new priests and one new deacon. Franciscan Bishop Juan María Huerta Muro, of El Salto, Durango ordained Friars Heli Absalón Monroy Rodriguez, Rubén Dario Meléndez Hinostroza, Michel Alonso Esparza, and Jesús Iván Cortés Osorio to the priesthood. Friar Agustín Martinez Cisneros was ordained to the diaconate. The ordinations took place at the church of Saints Francis and Clare in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. 

Our confreres Rubén and Iván graduated from the Franciscan School of Theology this year and also served as deacons at Mission San Luis Rey Parish in Oceanside, California. Felicidades, hermanos! Ad multos annos!
Deacons Rubén Meléndez and Iván Cortez before their priestly ordination.
Father Rubén receiving a kiss on the hand from a Poor Clare nun.
Newly ordained priests and deacon pose with the Bishop Huerta Muro and other friar priests and priests of the Mexicali diocese.

Incoming novice Andrew Dinegar receives a blessing from Father Iván

Mrs. Lorene Summers, the mother of our brother,  John Summers died on July 1, 2018 in Long Beach, California, at the age of 97. The Memorial Service was held on Friday, July 6, at the Leisure World Community Church in Seal Beach, California.

Our confreres from the Sacred Heart Province:  Friar Chris Reuter (79), died on June 30, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, in O’Fallon, IL. He was a friar for 59 years and a priest for 52. Friar Method Wilson (94), died on July 2, at St. Mary's Home at Felician Village in Manitowoc, WI. He was a friar for 72 years and a priest for 66.

Capuchin Friar Jesús Morales Vela (d. May 25, 2018). Our brother Jesús, to many friars of St. Barbara Province, was born in Los Angeles, California on May 19, 1962 the son of Jesús Vela and Julieta Morales. He entered the Capuchin Order on August 15, 1991 at Santa Ynez, CA. He was ordained a Catholic priest on June 13, 1998 at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Cañada-Flintridge, CA.
Capuchin Friar Jesús Morales Vela (d. May 25, 2018). Our brother Jesús, known to many friars of St. Barbara Province, was born in Los Angeles, California on May 19, 1962 the son of Jesús Vela and Julieta Morales. He entered the Capuchin Order on August 15, 1991 at Santa Ynez, CA. He was ordained a Catholic priest on June 13, 1998 at St. Bede the Venerable Church in La Cañada-Flintridge, CA.
Before he entered the Capuchin Order he received a Bachelor of Science from California State University Los Angeles. He then received a Master of Divinity from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA. After his ordination Fr. Jesús was sent to Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang, CA to serve as associate pastor. Afterwards he was associate pastor at St. Lawrence of Brindisi in Los Angeles and Vocation Director at San Lorenzo Friary in Santa Ynez. He then returned to St. Lawrence of Brindisi as associate pastor and in 2008 became Pastor of St. Lawrence of Brindisi Church in Los Angeles, CA and served as a chaplain for the Los Angeles Police Department. He served on the Provincial Council and was elected Vicar Provincial. In 2017 he served as Chaplain at St. Francis High School in La Cañada-Flintridge, CA where he died suddenly after suffering from some ailments on May 25, 2018.
Fr. Jesús was an extraordinary Capuchin priest: the essence of kindness who radiated and shared joy and peace in a most Christlike fashion. He always demonstrated a loving zeal for the poorest of the poor. He served the people of God as a herald of hope and true instrument of peace. He lived the Gospel life with selfless dedication and heroic love. His mother, father and older brother Alfred have gone before him but he is survived by his brothers and sister: Juan, Alberto, Daniel, Isabel, Ernesto and Oscar.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held at Old Mission Santa Ines on June 6, 2018 followed by burial at San Lorenzo Friary, Santa Ynez, CA.
Themes:  Trust God’s Gotchu & Thirsting for Justice
Anaheim (CA) Convention Center
March 21-24, 2019

The themes for the 2019 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress have just been announced. The event starts off with Youth Day on Thursday, March 21, with the theme " Trust! God’s Gotchu.” The theme for the adult days — “ Thirsting for Justice”/ “ Sed de Justicia” / “Khát Khao Công Lý” — was developed from the readings of the day for the Third Sunday of Lent.

Keep an eye on the Congress site — www.RECongress.org — for coming information. Also, remember that the key to the Congress is the Guidebook. If you registered for the 2018 Congress, you will receive a copy automatically. If not, use this link to get one for 2019:  http://www.recongress.org/Orders.aspx

In the July 1, 2018 (Vol. 3, No. 11) issue of OFM.FYI, the Calendar listing for the Chapter 2019 Agenda Assembly was incorrect. It should read:  Chapter 2019 Agenda Assembly, January 7-10; San Damiano Retreat, Danville, CA.
Dan Lackie ~ July 4
Antonio Gregory ~ July 6
Armando Lopez ~ July 6
Arturo Lopez ~ July 8
Henri Djojo ~ July 13
Paul Botenhagen ~ July 16
Gary Swircyznski ~ July 17
Tom West ~ July 17
Michael Doherty ~ July 18
Richard Juzix ~ July 24
Ponchie Vasquez ~ July 25
Joseph Schwab ~ July 26
Robert Valentine ~ July 26
John Summers ~ July 27
Michael Blackburn ~ July 29
Edward Sarrazin ~ July 29
Tom West ~ July 3
John Gibbons ~ July 12
Henri Djojo ~ July 13
Eugene Burnett ~ July 13
Elias Galvez ~ July 20
Keith Warner ~ July 22
James Lockman ~ July 25
James Seiffert ~ July 25
Joachim Grant ~ July 26
2018 Calendar
~ From Lara Hansen ~

Rite of Reception of the New Novices
Monday, July 16 ~ Serra Chapel, Old Mission Santa Barbara, CA, 11am.

First Profession of Current Novice Class
August 6 ~ Mission Church, Old Mission Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, 10:30 am

Guardians & Vicars
August 7–9 ~ St. Francis Retreat, San Juan Bautista, CA

August 7–10 ~ Holy Name College, Silver Springs, Maryland

Discernment Dinner & Prayer/Discussion
August 18 ~ St. Elizabeth Friary, Oakland, CA - 5pm

Zeno Im Solemn Profession
September 8 ~ Holy Trinity Church, Los Angeles, CA, 11am

Fall 2018 Convocations (2 sessions)
October 23–25 ~ St. Francis Retreat, San Juan Bautista, CA
October 29–31 ~ Franciscan Renewal Center, Scottsdale, AZ

Chapter Agenda Assembly
January 7–10, 2019 ~ San Damiano Retreat, Danville, CA 

Spring Convocations (2 sessions)
March 12–14, 2019 ~ St. Francis Retreat, San Juan Bautista, CA
March 26–28, 2019 ~ Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, CA

Chapter 2019
June 23–28, 2019 ~ Franciscan Renewal Center, Scottsdale, AZ

OFM.FYI, the bi-weekly newsletter of the Franciscan Friars Province of Saint Barbara, is published on the 1st and 15th of each month. Editor: Charles Talley, ofm. 
Relevant submissions of texts, photos, etc., are welcome at any time 
and will be placed in the next appropriate issue. 
 Send submissions to: ofm.fyi@gmail.com