Thursday, May 31, 2007

Franciscan Friars Installed as Liturgical Ministers at St. Joseph Friary, Chicago, IL

We are pleased that our brother David Kelly was installed as Acolyte and our brothers Jason Welle and Matthew Farrington were installed as Lectors and Acolytes at St. Joseph Friary in Chicago, IL. All three are students of theology at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago's South Side neighborhood of Hyde Park preparing for the Catholic priesthood. On Thursday, 19 April, they were all installed to their respective ministries.

Bro. David is comes from Chippewa Falls, WI, Bro. Jason Welle is from Albany, MN and Bro. Matthew Farrington is originally from Cleveland, OH.

These are official ministries of the Catholic Church, meaning that when they are installed they may serve throughout the entire Catholic Church of the Roman Rite! (Most readers of the Word of God and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist are delegated to serve only in their parish, and by exception beyond their parish community.)

Fr. Bernard Kennedy, OFM, Secretary of Formation and Director of Priestly Formation for our province installed them in the name of the Provincial Minister, Fr. Leslie Hoppe, OFM.

In the above photo Fr. Bernard installs Bro. Jason as Lector by presenting him with the Scritpures.

Fr. Bernard installs Bro. David to the Ministry of Acolyte. He holds a chalice and paten which symbolize his role in preparing the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist and distribution of Holy Communion.

The ministries of Lector and Acolyte were formerly known as "minor orders" in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. Since Vatican Council II these have been renamed as "ministries." The difference, as noted above, is that these are official ministries and are universal -- for the whole Church. They are normally conferred on those men preparing for the priesthood, such as our brothers.

The installation took place during the community's Thursday evening Eucharist. The Lector is one who proclaims the Word of God to the assembly. They Acolyte prepares the altar for the Liturgy of the Eucharist (second major part of the Mass) during the Preparation of the Gifts. In the absence of a deacon he may also help with the distribution of the Eucharist to the faithful at Mass. The Acolyte may take Holy Communion to the sick and homebound. As you may be well aware, this is also what an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist does. According to recent liturgical documents from Rome, the Acolyte may also purify the vessels after Mass.

Bro. Matthew is installed to the Ministry of Lector by Fr. Bernard as he holds the Scriptures.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A New Franciscan Deacon is Ordained!

Bro. Jerome Wolbert, OFM, was ordained to the Order of Deacon by the hands of Metropolitan Archbishop Basil Schott, OFM at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary in Pittsburgh, PA on Saturday, 17 March 2007.

Congratulations, Bro. Jerome! And may God richly bless you, your family, our Franciscan brotherhood and the Byzantine Catholic Church.

Bro. Jerome is originally from eastern Michigan where he grew up and earned his PhD in mathematics and taught for a while. As a young man he joined the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO), having been inspired by the life of St. Francis of Assisi.

He wanted, though, to give his life more fully to the Lord and to the Church as a religious. Bro. Jerome discussed this with then-Bishop Basil of Parma, OH (now the Archbishop of Pittsburgh), who helped guide the young man to consider becoming a Franciscan friar. And Jerome follwed that suggestion. Praise God!

Bro. Jerome has completed his seminary studies and expects to complete his MA in theology from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh this coming fall 2007. From there he will be assigned pastoral ministry within the Byzantine Catholic Church to complete his preparation for ordination to the priesthood.

(In the above photo, Bro. Jerome Wolbert, OFM is located next to Abp. Basil Schott, OFM [with Byzantine Rite miter] on your right. Franciscan friars, diocesan clergy and seminarians surround him.)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Families and Talking about a Religious Vocation

Have you ever talked to your parents about the possibility of becoming a Franciscan? Or, a religious of any community, for that matter? How about the possibility of becoming a priest? What was their reaction?

Maybe you talked about this to a brother or sister, or even a friend. What was the reaction of each?
It seems to me that a lot of young people, both teens and adults, find this very scary. What will they think of me? Will they think I'm nuts? Will they laugh at me? I remember one young lady whose (adoptive) mother actually threatened to disown her if she joined the convent -- and this was way back in the '70s! She didn't pursue religious life as a possible vocation.
My story is rather different. When I told my parents, who were older, and I was their only child, about wanting to become a Franciscan friar they were supportive. They simply told me that this was my life and if this is where I felt drawn, then I had their blessing to try it. And so I did.
The opinions of our parents, our other famiily members and our friends hold a lot of sway in our lives, don't they? We truly value them and their wishes. And they have a lot of weight in the way we think about ourselves and our futures.
I remember talking once to some parents about the possibility of their child (who was a young adult) having a religious vocation. The response I got was, "Well, Father, that's very fine for someone else's child, but not ours. We want grandchildren!" I replied respectfully with a friendly challenge, "Praise God you want grandchildren! I think that's great. But, we're not talking about YOUR vocation -- we're talking about your child's."
Do you feel free to talk about the possibility of a religious vocation with your parents? With your brothers and/or sisters? With your friends? If so, have you done so? If not, why not?
How about trying it today?