Thursday, October 9, 2008

A New Twist on St. Francis Day -- A Franciscan Contribution to a Civic Parade!

Now what are those Franciscans up to? This past Saturday on the Solemnity of St. Francis of Assisi (4 October), the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity of Manitowoc, WI co-sponsored the first Francis Fest/Oktoberfest for the City of Manitowoc, WI.

And our brother, Fr. Robert (Bob) Konopa, OFM drove the tractor! Fr. Bob, a native of Junction City, WI, is currently serving as chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters. Fr. Bob is also my novitiate and vow (temporary and solemn) classmate!

He grew up on a dairy farm in rural Wisconsin. His Mom and Dad moved several years ago from the farm to their present home in Marshfield, WI.

Fr. Robert (Bob) Konopa, OFM at the wheel of the tractor for the Francis Fest/Oktoberfest parade on St. Francis Day in Manitowoc, WI

The idea for this parade emerged as a way to highlight the very strong and long-standing Franciscan presence in Manitowoc. The Franciscan Sisters sponsor a hospital, serve in education at Roncalli High School, Silver Lake College a music conservatory and at the local amalgomated Catholic parish of Manitowoc called St. Francis of Assisi.
Our Franciscan Friars of the Assumption BVM Province had served in the former St. Andrew, St. Boniface and St. Mary Parishes (before the combination in 2005), formerly as chaplain at St. Mary Home. and as chaplains to these Franciscan Sisters.
Fr. Bob had learned many years ago how to drive a tractor, but those skills went into "hibernation" once he left the farm to join the Franciscan Friars. And now they came back as a tool for evangelization!
Fr. Bob Konopa, OFM in the lead pulling the float for the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc, WI.
So, on a brisk sunny early October day the Franciscan Sisters and Friars made history by participating in this parade -- a great way to joyfully proclaim our Catholic Christian faith, especially by literally taking our faith to the streets!

No comments: