Volume 4 ~ Issue 11; Release: June 15, 2019
  • Farewell: Charles Talley, ofm

  • Migrant Trail 2019
  • Heritage Liturgy

  • Welcome: Joe Ledbetter

  • Mary Beth Ingham Honored
Chapter 2019 
“Remembering in a Different Kind of Way”
A Solemn Mass in Recognition 
of our History and Heritage in the Southwest
St. Mary’s Basilica, Phoenix
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

From Friar Michael Weldon
Reconciliation requires “remembering in a different kind of a of way,” as Robert Schreiter at the Catholic Theological Union (CTU), notes in his work on restorative justice. In the context of planning Chapter liturgies, Friar Rufino Zaragoza and I had a conversation about the regional legacies of our West Coast history. How could we facilitate this “just” remembering? The issue of honoring our regional histories seems even more poignant in light of the important changes involved in our national restructuring. There was a chorus of nodding heads among the friars when I raised the subject during our recent southern regional. It told me that others might be feeling this way, too. 

Our Santa Barbara Franciscan history provides an important lens to view the development of the Church in US Southwest and West Coast. Honoring this legacy requires us to remember it in a different kind of way. Gordon Stevenson, St. Mary Basilica’s Director of Music, and I started working on an idea for one of the Chapter liturgies—the one to be held on June 25. The musical ideas and reception for the liturgy could be linked with the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Phoenix. 

We friars framed the foundation of Phoenix Catholicism and the Basilica lays claim to the title of the Mother Church of the Valley. This legacy goes back to Marcos de Niza in 1539 and his tromp through central Arizona. But closer to home, the arrival of the German friars to Phoenix in 1896 started a new chapter in Southwest Catholic culture. The friars’ initiatives like the founding of the local St. Vincent de Paul Society, the start of St. Mary’s Food Bank, and the establishment of St. Mary’s High School-- together with the establishment of numerous mission parishes—provided quite a foundation for the first Bishop of Phoenix in 1969. With our coming, historic Provincial Chapter at the end of this month, we want to host a liturgy that pays special attention to the Phoenix/Maricopa County Franciscan heritage. The brothers on the Chapter Steering Committee agreed with us.

Auxiliary Bishop Nevares will preside at the liturgy and I asked for the privilege to preach. Our hope is to involve some local ministers, leadership and friars currently working here as well.  A plaque on the interior wall of the narthex honoring the friars’ legacy from the early days of the county was dedicated by Tucson’s Bishop Gercke in 1958. Rededication of that plaque would be a fitting way to conclude our Chapter prayer here. There were, actually, three parishes active at the founding of the diocese: St. Marks, Sacred Heart and St. Mary's. Our hope is to honor as well the memory of the friars at St. Mary’s High School, at St. John’s Laveen, and at the Franciscan Renewal Center. In the reception afterwards, we hope to provide a PowerPoint presentation with photos and some storytelling involving current parishioners and students. They will be speaking about the living legacy that continues to enrich their institutions—work that is so deeply rooted in our own Franciscan mission and history. Perhaps this could serve as a model that other cluster groups in the Province can use in their areas as well.

All photos: c. Peter Jordan
Michael Weldon OFM, Pastor,
St. Mary’s Basilica, Phoenix
St. Mary’s Basilica, Phoenix
Interior, Easter 2017 liturgy
From Friar Charles Talley

Dear Brothers, This is my last issue as editor of OFM.FYI. I am also relinquishing editorship of The Way magazine as well as other commitments and leaving the position as Director of Communications for the St. Barbara Province effective July 1. Please welcome Joe Ledbetter (see below), who will be taking over responsibilities as Communications and Development Manager for the Province I will be traveling to Sweden to serve as pastor at Corpus Christi/ Krist-Lekamens Catholic Parish in the city of Visby on the island of Gotland. (Please see the article I have written about that experience below). Special thanks to Kevin Murray and Paul Tokmakian for their invaluable expertise, hard work, and great help. Godbless!

Many thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity and privilege to serve the Province in this way. You can continue to reach me at my personal email: cstalleyho@yahoo.com

You can also keep track of goings on while I am in Sweden and elsewhere at the blog site I have resurrected:  friarsidechats.blogspot.com

OFM. FYI To go to monthly publication starting with this issue. During this transition period, the newsletter will be published on the 15th of each month until further notice. Please send all information and materials to Joe Ledbetter:  ofm.fyi@gmail.com

Photo: Charles Talley OFM c. Peter Jordan

Joe Ledbetter is thrilled to be the new Development & Communications Manager for the Province of St. Barbara. He spent the last 15 years working with the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble, Chanticleer, as their Development, Marketing & IT Systems Manager. He helped produce several concert tours of a program called "Mission Road" that saw the group perform in many of the California Missions (where he crossed paths with several friars). He brings many talents to the Provincial Office including fundraising expertise, data management, web & graphic design, and the ability to keep technology gremlins at bay. 

Outside of work, Joe is a multi-instrumentalist, performer, and songwriter. He also enjoys cooking, fishing, wild food foraging and the great outdoors. 

Photo: Joe Ledbetter.  
Why Sweden?
Why not?
By Friar Charles Talley
Brothers, I am writing this on June 6, is Sweden’s National Day.  A day of quiet, typically understated celebration for most Swedes. Yet, a good time to reflect upon the enormous contribution, that relative to their small population (9 million), the people of Sweden have made to the world. They, along with their other Nordic neighbors, have proved that it is possible to create a prosperous society in which all of its citizens enjoy access to quality housing, health care, education, and transportation. The involvement of Swedes in humanitarian efforts internationally is estimable. They are by no means perfect, but they have shown the world that, with collective willingness, cooperation, and a sense of fairmindedness, significant improvements can be made in the quality of life for the people of this planet. God bless ‘em.

From this side of the Atlantic, it is a good time for me personally to reflect upon my forthcoming move to the island of Gotland, where I will serve as pastor of Kristi-Lekamens /Corpus Christi parish in the city of Visby. In July, I will return to the island to complete preparations for the work which will begin officially on October 1.  

Why Sweden? friends and friars ask. Are you of Swedish descent? No. But I did the DNA test and discovered that 3% of me is, in fact, Swedish.  

Why would you go there as a missionary? Isn’t Sweden already a Christian country? True, the majority of Swedes—more than two-thirds of the population—are at least nominal members of the (Evangelical Lutheran) Church of Sweden. But weekly church attendance, at about 2%, is low even by European standards. Sweden is one of the most highly secularized societies in the world, and becoming even more so.

Are there any Catholics in Sweden?  Yes, around 200,000 in a population of 9 million. The Catholic population has doubled in the past three decades, due to both to the immigration of people from traditionally Catholic majority countries, as well as the conversion of native-born Swedes from other faiths, or even no faith at all. There is an emerging profile of the Catholic community in Sweden which is distinct. The Catholic Church in Sweden is young. It is a “new” church. It doesn’t have a lot of the baggage that a faith community more deeply embedded in the culture would have. 

What is the attraction of Sweden for you? On a deeply personal level, Sweden is the place where I reclaimed my Catholic identity. I first visited Sweden on a study/research grant in 1980, long before I joined religious life. Absent the traditional props of identity-- family, culture, food, climate, profession—I discovered that what kept me going was my faith in God— hidden within, but quite real. When, with the help of a trusted Jesuit spiritual director, I began to peel away the layers of many of my objections to Church and to faith in general, I discovered the core of my Catholic identity in a new way. I also became aware of my call to community and ministry. Sweden was not just the background for my conversion. It was the ground of my conversion in so many ways.

Why not just say “thank you” and let it go at that? I believe that returning to Sweden offers an important way for me to express my gratitude for the tremendous friendship, warmth, encouragement, and hospitality I have received in my own journey of faith. On a personal level, I believe that I have been given the gifts of language and a degree of cultural “fluency” which I want to put to good use in very practical ways through ministry. And let me be very clear, I believe that the Franciscan identity, culture, and spirituality have a lot to offer people.

I have come to have a deep respect for the Swedish people: they are by and large intelligent, hardworking, and modest people. They have committed themselves to the creation of a society which offers people a safe and healthy environment in which to realize their gifts and aspirations. They have a deep and abiding respect for creation which shows in their concern for the environment. 

So, Sweden is a paradise, then? Not by any means. In some ways, it is every bit as turbulent as any other Western society at this moment in time. But its core values, I believe, are making it possible for Swedes to navigate fairly well through the demands of rapidly changing technology and forms of communication. If anything is lacking, it is a direct and conscious sense and acceptance of the Christian faith--not just as history-- but essentially as mystery. The mystery of the ineffable presence and power of God, of Jesus, and in the Spirit. This is the awareness and insight, joined to an ethical base, that a secular, increasingly relativist environment cannot provide by itself.

What do you hope to gain from your experience in Sweden? Selfishly speaking, I hope it will provide me with a rich opportunity for ongoing conversion. Not for spiritual self-improvement. It’s not about achievement, but rather about an increasing surrender and abandonment to God’s will. My goal and aspiration is to be “present” to people as best I can. To accompany them. To celebrate the sacraments with them. And to help them to see that God is alive and present in their lives. I don’t have any big projects. Just a firm desire to offer myself as I am, to love the people, and to accept their friendship and care in return.

What do you see as the possibilities for the local Catholic church? They are endless. The people are engaged, capable, and committed, with tremendous potential. With an increasing sense of shared identity—and pride in their Catholic roots—they could do almost anything. The parish is small, but it is wonderfully diverse. What the people long for most now is continuity in leadership; they have been without a resident pastor for several years. Many have expressed a craving for regular liturgical celebrations and sacramental life. The needs of faith formation at every level are enormous. There is also a marvelous initiative, still in its initial stages, called the Agnus Dei Project, which aims to create a center of spirituality and worship on Gotland—internationally focused, but rooted in the Baltic region. Adoration, liturgies, lectures, retreats, pilgrimages are all possibilities to be explored.

Anything particularly special about Gotland? The island is rich in culture. Visby, its capital, was an important trading city in the Hanseatic League during the medieval era. The wealth generated from this activity enabled the construction of some 92 magnificent parish churches, all constructed between 1100-1500 AD! Count them: 92! All of these churches have been restored, and many are still active worship sites. Along with the (Lutheran) Cathedral of St. Mary’s in Visby, they form a unique and irreplaceable spiritual, aesthetic, and cultural patrimony—one which fairly shouts of Gotland’s deep Catholic roots. It is also an impressive testimony to the immense pride and love the people have always had for their church buildings.

Anything else? Together with some absolutely wonderful people from our parish, from the Red Cross, and from the Salvation Army, I have become involved in a project called Vinternatt/ Winter Night, which assists the Roma people living on Gotland. People who, as European citizens, have the right to live and work in the European Union, but who, for reasons of lack of education, opportunity, cultural disparity, and sometimes even discrimination do not have access to appropriate opportunities for employment and social services. The group is not large—30 people at the most—but their needs are great and their generally unwelcome presence as beggars on the streets draws attention daily to the complications of their situation.

I think that’s enough for right now, don’t you. Yep.

You can reach Charles Talley at:  cstalleyho@yahoo.com.

Charles will be reporting regularly from Sweden in a blog which he has recently revived:  friarsidechats.blogspot.com

Photos: All photos, unless otherwise designated, by C. Talley ofm
Along the Migrant Trail Walk for Life
May 27 – June 2, 2019
From Friar Sam Nasada

Brothers Juan de la Cruz Turcios (Holy Name Province), David Buer (shown in photo, l to r) and I attended the orientation for the Migrant Trail Walk in Tucson. About 50 people from different faith backgrounds, humanitarian organizations, and U.S. cities were there to learn about procedures, safety measures, and work groups during the walk. A local group called Christ in the Desert provided dinner for us. Friar Louis Runde (SH), not shown, also participated

For additional information on this year’s walk, see Sam’s Facebook posting:  
(l to r) Friars Juan de la Cruz Turcios,
Luis Runde, David Buer, and Sam Nasada
Photo: Courtesy, Sam Nasada OFM
Banner. Friars Juan de la Cruz Turcios
and David Buer
They’re on their Way to Taizé!
Look for the Movie—soon!

Friars Juan-José Jaugregui and Dick (DT) Tandy will be joining friars from across the country and around the world to attenc the SPUTY (Solemnly Professed Under Ten Years) Chapter to be held this year in Taizé, France is from July 7-14. Our brothers will continue along the “Camino Primitivo” route of the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela and return to us August 8. They plan to produce a video documentary on their experience. Bonne chance et bonne route, nos frères!

Photos: c. Peter Jordan
Sister Mary Beth Ingham CSJ
Named Affiliate to the Order
From Provincial Minister David Gaa
June 5, 2019

Dear Brothers: May the Lord give you peace. 

The Definitorium received approval from our Curia in Rome to affiliate Sr. Mary Beth Ingham CSJ to the Order. Sr. Mary Beth is the Professor of Philosophical Theology at our Franciscan School of Theology. (You can read more about her on the Faculty web page at www.fst.edu)

But more importantly she is a longtime friend and supporter of the friars both in our Province and for the Order. We are very happy to be able to extend this honor to her. We will announce the date and place for this ceremony later.

Photo: Mary Beth Ingham CSJ. Photo: Courtesy, FST
Juan Luis Guerrero
 Joan Perez Lombera
From Friar Eric Pilarcik
The good news is that two excellent men-- Juan Luis Guerrero and Joan Perez Lombera--have been accepted by the provincial to enter the US interprovincial postulancy starting August 14, 2019. Thanks to the friars at OMSB who hosted us for the application interview weekend in May, and especially thanks to the application committee: Nancy Cunningham (chair), Friars Tom West, Angelo Cardinalli, David Buer, David Paz and Donna Foley. Fellow Vocations team members Friars Sebastian Sandoval, Zeno Im, and I really appreciate the support and referrals from all the friars over this past year.  
Juan Luis Guerrero is 40 years old and lives in Carpenteria, CA. He has a younger brother and a younger sister. Juan Luis has been the warehouse supervisor for BEGA-US for 13 years and has been very active at St. Joseph's parish in the Pastoral Juvenil, liturgy committee and especially in the music ministry. Juan Luis initially connected with us at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim.  
Joan Perez Lombera is 31 years old and lives in San Jose, CA. He has an older brother and an older sister. Joan (pronounced JOE-AHN) works at the Google Headquarters as a furniture installer. He has been active at both Our Lady of Guadalupe and Our Lady of Refuge parishes in the youth groups and playing the guitar for the choir. His connection to the friars is by knowing Javier Reyes during his time at Our Lady of Guadalupe parish in San Jose. 
Photos: Courtesy, Office of Vocations
3:30 – 6:00 pm
From Friar Rusty Shaugnessey
A SPECIAL INVITE TO ALL FRIARS Peter Wise (SDR Director)and I would like to invite you to our 3rd annual Jazz festive afternoon. No charge to friars-- and even a bed, if you need one, to bring in a new day! See you there.
Photo: Courtesy, SDR.
From Soon-to-be Brother Novice:
Adolfo R. Mercado
Visit to Sacramento, California
June 5, 2019

In this selfie, fellow postulant Bruce Tran and I are visiting friars and learning about their ministries before a summer break. We visited Sacramento while driving from the Pacific NW to the Bay Area. John Summers was at ministry when we took this photo.  

Also, while in Sacramento we toured the state Capitol. A guard from the Assembly Sargent-At-Arms team recognized John Gutierrez and took us onto the Assembly floor. 

Top Left: Friars John Gutierrez and Mark Schroeder with postulant Bruce Tran, Friar Ray Bucher, and postulant Adolfo Mercado
Photos: Adolfo R. Mercado
Friar John Gutierrez with postulants Bruce Tran and Aldolfo Mercado
at State Capitol, Sacramento, CA

Congratulations to our brother, Friar Ray Tintle, on the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood! Ad multos annos !

Photo: Ray Tintle OFM
Franciscans for Justice Update Goes To Monthly 
National Distribution

Our brother, Friar Mark Schroeder writes:
Dear Friars and Friends,The JPIC Animators from the US-6 meet twice a year. Two weeks ago we met in Buffalo, New York. Before we went out for "genuine" Buffalo wings, we agreed to begin sending out the monthly 'Franciscans for Justice' Update to all the friars in the U.S.

I have been sending this Update out for many years, and we decided that having a common JPIC Update for all six provinces can help us to further emphasize our united O.F.M. voice and actions in social justice and ecological issues.

Thank you for FYI that I have been enjoying for a long time. Bridges was not just for St. Anthony's former students. The intent was to stay connected to all former friars along life's path. So many have dispersed to others parts of the world Bridges kept us updated on our brothers. Perhaps there can be a subsection "Bridges" with news about those we once lived with and shared religious life. – Bob Pedretti
Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure
Openings Still Available for Summer Master Classes

The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University has scheduled the following master classes, programs and conferences for the summer of 2019. 

Adapting to a New World: Franciscan Men and Women in 19th & 20th Century America
June 24-28, 2019

Making Sense of a Forgotten Past: Lay Franciscans as Co-Creators of the Franciscan Spiritual Tradition
July 8-12, 2019

Enduring Presence: Franciscan Laity, Their Relevance Today
July 12-14, 2019

Quidam enim dicunt: Mendicant Theologies before Aquinas and Bonaventure
July 15-18, 2019

Insights into Clare: Her Relationships, Sprituality, and Transformation
July 8-12, 2019

at The University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL
Workshop I: September 23-27, 2019
Workshop II: July 27-31, 2020

For Further information on all of our programming, please contact Jill M. Smith, Business Operations Manager, jmsmith@sbu.edu or 716-375-2062
June 1 - Louis Vitale         
June 6  - Michael Harvey       
June 11 - Oscar Mendez 
June 14 - Luis Baldonado
June 15 - Luis Guzman
June 17 - Larry Gosselin
June 20 - Martin Ibarra
June 21 - Leo Gonzales
June 21 - Peter Kirwin
June 23 - Melvin Jurisich 
June 28 - David Paz
June 13 - Anthony Garibaldi 
June 13 - Antonio Gregory
June 13 - Anthony Lavorin
June 13 - Anthony Luevano
June 13 - Rodrigo Ortiz
June 24 - John Gutierrez
June 24 - Louis Khoury
June 24 - John Kiesler
June 24 - Nghia Phan 
June 24 - William Short
June 25 - Daniel Barica  
June 25 - Guglielmo Lauriola
June 29 - Peter Boegel
June 29 - Peter Kirwin
2019 Calendar
~ From Lara Hansen ~

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

Capitular Meeting
June 29 ~ Franciscan Renewal Center, Scottsdale, AZ

First Profession
July 2 ~ Old Mission Santa Barbara, CA

Interprovincial Chapter of Mats
July 29 - August 2 ~ Denver, CO

First Reception of Novices
August 1 ~ Chapter of Mats, Denver

Definitorium Meeting
August 2-4 ~ Denver, CO

James Seiffert's Solemn Vows
August 31 ~ Old Mission San Luis Rey
Definitorium Meeting
September 23-27 ~ Old Mission San Luis Rey, CA
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