Take a Tour of the New Holy Cross Chapel in Mesilla Park, New Mexico

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow



Conventual Franciscan Friar Wayne Hellmann is a theologian and professor of theological studies at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Washington. Recently, he visited the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park, New Mexico.

The center is an important Conventual Franciscan ministry with Friar Tom Smith as its director. Soon, the center will have a new Holy Cross Chapel, which will welcome larger groups for Mass and individual prayer.

In our video today, Friar Wayne takes us on a tour of the chapel during its construction. He explains right away that the style of this communal place of worship resembles the chapels and churches that were constructed in this region in the 17th century.

Taking us inside Holy Cross Chapel, Friar Wayne continues with his tour, highlighting that many large windows that will bring natural light into the building and the fact that when you walk into the Church, the Cross draws your attention right away.

(Source of image: http://www.holycrossretreat.org.)

In Buffalo Franciscans Profess Solemn Vows

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow

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Last week on Wednesday August 6, 2014, Conventual Franciscan Friars Nicholas Rokitkta and Gabriel Scasino professed their Solemn Vows into the hands of their Minister Provincial Friar James McCurry. Solemnly professed friars embrace the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for the rest of their lives.


Both Gabriel and Nicholas have spent many years discerning their vocations and were in a joyous mood during their profession. They know that God has called them to be Conventual Franciscans.


The more than 200 people gathered at St. Louis Church to witness the Nicholas and Gabriel’s professions also understood that the men were fulfilling their call in life. Amongst the gathered were friends, family and other friars. They were thankful for the opportunity to take part in such an important occasion in a friar’s life.


(Source of image: OLA Province.)

Spend St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Feast Day at His Shrine in Libertyville, Illinois

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


If you live either in Chicago or Milwaukee, then you have a chance to celebrate St. Maximilian Kolbe’s feast day (August 14, 2014) at the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe in Libertyville, Illinois. The shrine is about an hour south of Milwaukee and 45 minutes north of Chicago.

Founded and served by Conventual Franciscan Friars of whom St. Maximilian Kolbe was one, the shrine gives pilgrims an opportunity to spend time with and venerate relics of St. Maximilian and to learn his inspiring story.

Born in Zdunska Wola in the Polish portion of the Russian Empire in 1894, and baptized as Raymond, Maximilian found himself drawn to Conventual Franciscan life after hearing Friar Peregrine Haczela preach at a parish mission in nearby Pabianice. In 1907, he entered the Order’s preparatory seminary in Lwow.

Showing great intellectual promise, Maximilian went on to complete a doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University and a doctorate in theology at the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure. Both are located in Rome.

In his life, Maximilian also started the Militia Immaculata, travelled on missions to Japan and India, founded Niepokalanow (City of the Immaculate) from which he brought our faith to people through radio and periodicals, and offered shelter to our Jewish brothers and sisters during World War II. In 1941, he died in Auschwitz Concentration Camp through lethal injection after volunteering his life for that of Franciszek Gajowniczek.

Maximilian’s detailed biography can be found here. And if you live too far from the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe, please do visit the community’s website.

(Source of image: wikipedia.org.)

Today We Remember St. Clare of Assisi

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


This Monday, August 11, 2014, we celebrate the feast of St. Clare of Assisi. Born in Assisi, Umbria on July 16, 1194, Clare came from a wealthy, aristocratic family who believed that Clare’s purpose in life was to marry a young man from another equally wealthy and noble family. Clare, however, heard St. Francis preach in the streets of their hometown and found his words to be inspiring. She soon realized that like Francis she had to devote her life to serving God.

Running away from her family’s palatial home, she met Francis and eventually settled at San Damiano Parish, a short walk down the mountainside from Assisi. Here she founded what is today known as the Order of Poor Clares.


You can read more about Clare’s life here. Her Order today continues to serve God and has many monasteries in the United States as in other countries around the world.


(Source of image: wikipedia.org.)


Retreat in Honduras Brings Together Friars from Across Central America and Beyond

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


The Conventual Franciscan Friars from the Custody of of María Madre de Los Pobres and the delegation of Nuestra Señora de  Los Angeles spent all of last week together in a spiritual retreat at Valle de Angeles in Honduras. The men enjoyed fraternal time and reflected on what it means to be a Franciscan in Central America. Indeed, the friars hailed from a number of countries in the region. One of them, however, Friar Christopher Dudek, came from the United States. Friar Christopher is spending his summer ministering to the people of Campamento (in Honduras).

He and his fellow retreatants enjoyed the excellent talks on the Gospel of John by the auxiliary bishop of San Pablo (Honduras).  The bishop directed the retreat and was able in his talks to connect the Gospel of John to the Franciscans’ striving to live the Gospel life in Central America.


(Source of image: OFM Conv.)