Franciscan Retreat Director in Mesilla Park, New Mexico Talks About Peace and Justice to the Annual Presbyteral Assembly

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march 2015 lc diocesan assembly

Last month, Conventual Franciscan Friar Tom Smith welcomed 45 priests to the Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park, New Mexico for the annual Presbyteral Assembly (March 23-25, 2015) run by the Diocese of Las Cruces. Friar Tom is the center’s retreat director.

In their time together the gathered priests prayed and talked about various challenges. They also had time to bond in the beautiful gardens and pecan groves in which Holy Cross is located. Several speakers addressed the group too. One of these was Friar Tom who talked about “peace and justice”.

Friar Tom has a deep understanding of peace and justice because of St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of his Order. Francis embraced society’s outcasts, treated everyone he met with dignity and instead of going into battle sat down with the Sultan of Egypt for a conversation on faith. His approach is much needed in the complicated world of today.

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Busy Assistant General for the Franciscans Remembers the Importance of Developing His Own Spiritual Life

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The Assistant General for the Conventual Franciscan Conference, Friar Jude Winkler, visited his Franciscan brothers in the United States Midwest last month. As an Assistant General, Friar Jude meets with friars who are active in the English-speaking world. He listens to their concerns and ideas and helps find solutions to any challenges they might be facing.

During his visit to the US Midwest, Friar Jude stayed at St. Bonaventure Province’s provincial house on Kenmore Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. He also visited Marytown in Libertyville where the Conventual Franciscans care for the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe. Polish friars also run a very vibrant parish in Rockford, Illinois. Friar Jude spent some time with them too.


Although he is a very busy man, traveling thousands of miles every year from his home at the Conventual Franciscans’ Curia in Rome, Italy, Friar Jude makes sure to tend to his own spiritual life. While in the Chicago area, for example, he took part in a workshop on the writings of St. Bonaventure, a renowned Franciscan theologian and philosopher from the 13th century. The experience was truly enriching.


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Franciscan Professor at St. Louis University Receives Outstanding Mentor Award

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Conventual Franciscan Friar Wayne Hellmann holds a doctorate in theology from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtät in Munich, Germany, which he completed in 1974. That same year he began working as an assistant professor at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.

In the decades since then, he has inspired many students. Richard Joubert is one of these. Graduating from the university this year and recognized by it for his academic achievements as well as leadership, Richard selected Friar Wayne as a professor who had been instrumental in guiding him during his undergraduate studies. For this, Friar Wayne received the Outstanding Mentor Award.

Working currently as a professor of Historical Theology at St. Louis University, Friar Wayne enjoys doing research on Franciscan literature and traditions. He is also always ready to assist anyone who might need help.

(Source of image: OLC Prov.)

Franciscans Attend the Funeral of King Richard III

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On March 26, 2015 King Richard III of England was buried at the Anglican Cathedral of Leicester in Leicester (the United Kingdom), nearly 530 years after his death during the Battle of Bosworth Field. Conventual Franciscan Friars Peter Damian Massengill, Gerard Mary Toman, Benedict Abugu and Matthew Bond were honored guests at the funeral. Their Order has a strong connection to King Richard III because the monarch was initially buried in the Franciscans’ friary in Leicester. The friary is now long gone. The property it had occupied was a parking lot when archaeologists discovered King Richard’s remains in 2012.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby led King Richard’s funeral in what was a memorable ceremony. Before it began, Friar Peter Damian Massengill spoke about the event on English television. Friar Peter Damian is originally from the United States and currently holds the position of Custos for his Oder’s custody in Great Britain and Ireland.

(Source of image: OLA Province.)


You are Invited to Discern Your Vocation

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Friar Tom Czeck is the vocation director for the Conventual Franciscans’ St. Joseph of Cupertino Province in the western United States. From May 22 to May 24, 2015 he will lead the Franciscan Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary Vocation Retreat at Holy Family Friary in Castro Valley, California.


This wonderful experience will give retreatants from California and Nevada a chance to get to know Conventual Franciscan Friars, learn about St. Francis, St. Bonaventure and St. Anthony, worship at Mass, deepen their faith and move closer to understanding their vocation from God.


To learn more about Friar Tom Czeck’s retreat next month, please visit our upcoming events webpage. There you will also learn about future vocation discernment weekends in (amongst other locations) Mesilla Park, New Mexico; Mount St. Francis, Indiana and Carey, Ohio.  


(Source of image: OFM Conv.)