Friar Basil Heiser – A Great Franciscan

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow



Friar John Bamman – a vocation director for the Conventual Franciscans – begins our new video series this week on great leaders in the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.



The first episode of the series is dedicated to Friar Basil Heiser. Born in 1909 and given the name Herman by his parents, Friar Basil attended Mass at St. Benedict Parish in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was active in serving at the parish, which is today still run by Conventual Franciscans. One day, Friar Basil’s pastor asked the young man if he had not considered becoming a friar. Indeed, the idea very much appealed to Friar Basil. He knew that he simply had to surrender to the will of God and that all would be well.


Friar Basil had a very close relationship with his mother. His father had died when he was young and he had no other siblings. It was therefore Basil’s mother who brought the young man to Mount St. Francis in Indiana where his Franciscan education would start.


Friar Basil served as Minister Provincial of Our Lady of Consolation Province in the Mid- and Southwestern United States as well as Minister General of his entire Order. He held several Master and doctoral degrees, was well-known as a teacher of philosophy and theology, and spoke five languages. He died in 2009, eight days after his 100th birthday.


(Source of image: OLC Province.)

In a Moving Ceremony in Marytown, Illinois Giles Gilbert Commits Himself to Conventual Franciscan Life

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


Friar Giles Gilbert – a Conventual Franciscan from St. Bonaventure Province – professed his Solemn Vows on September 8, 2014 at Marytown in Libertyville, Illinois. Friar Michael Zielke, the Minister Provincial of St. Bonaventure Province, received Friar Giles’ vows, which ask of a friar to live in obedience, chastity and without anything of his own. In a profession of Solemn Vows, a friar dedicates himself to being a Conventual Franciscan for the rest of his life.

Friar Giles’ profession was a joyous celebration. His family, many other friars, friends and colleagues from jobs he worked at in the past attended the special event. Friars Augustine Kelly and Donald Thielsen were the official witnesses to Friar Giles’ profession. Afterwards many people spoke about how moving it had been for them to see Giles dedicate himself to the life to which he knows God has been calling him.

(Source of image with story:

Conventual Franciscans from the English-speaking World Gather in California

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


After many months of change in the Conventual Franciscan Order in the United States that saw friars leave one ministry and take on another, the new leadership of the Conventual Franciscan Conference met between October 7 and 9, 2014 at Holy Family Friary in Castro Valley, California to discuss current goings-on in the Order as well as the future.

Four Conventual Franciscan Ministers Provincial from across the United States attended the meeting, including Friar James McCurry from Our Lady of the Angels Province, Friar Michael Zielke from St. Bonaventure Province, Friar James Kent from Our Lady of the Consolation Province and Friar John Heinz from St. Joseph of Cupertino Province.

The CFC or Conventual Franciscan Conference represents friars from the English-speaking world.  Other Franciscans who participated in the conferences California get-together included amongst others Friar Jude Winkler, the assistant general for the CFC; Friar Peter Damian Massengill, the Custos of the Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody in the United Kingdom and Ireland; Friar Waclaw Sokolowski of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Custody of Canada and the United States; and Friar Joseph Wood who is the delegate of Our Lady Help of Christians Delegation in Australia.

The discussions in the meeting were positive and engaging. The group selected Friar James Kent as President of the Conventual Franciscan Conference and spoke about initial and ongoing formation as well as the Militia Immaculata. Questions about fundraising were also addressed during the meeting.

(Source of image:

Bishop of Savannah Keeps Busy Serving and Meeting Members of His Community

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


Conventual Franciscan Friar Gregory Hartmayer became the 14th Bishop of Savannah, Georgia in October, 2011. In the three years that have passed since his installation, he has grown very close to the people of Savannah whom he serves every day.

Indeed, we can see on Bishop Hartmayer’s official Facebook account that in true Franciscan fashion he is often out and about in the community bringing the faith to people and encouraging them to live up to their God given potential.


Last Sunday he could be found enjoying great company and excellent food in the beautiful surroundings of Lafayette Park not far from The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. This event brought together men and women who are involved in the stewardship of the cathedral. Founded as a parish in the late 18th century and built in the 1870s, The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist is a place where countless generations of people have lived their lives. The stewardship committee and Bishop Hartmayer will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the generations of the future can have the same rich faith-life experiences that their brothers and sisters from years and decades before did.


Bishop Hartmayer’s work in the community has recently also seen him travel to Good Shepherd Parish in Hazelhurst where he confirmed many young people as well as a 98 year old man. The bishop met and spoke with the confirmandi after the ceremony. He cares for them and wants to learn about their lives. Other events that Bishop Hartmayer took part in included amongst others a retreat for diocesan priests and a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new church. In photos from these events one can see how important it is for the bishop to continue his work in supporting the men, women and children of his diocese.


(Source of image:


A New Chaplin Arrives at High School in Fayetteville, Georgia

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


Friar Gabriel Scasino is the new chaplain at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School in Fayetteville, Georgia. Friar Gabriel is a Conventual Franciscan who professed his Solemn Vows in August 2014 and was ordained a deacon a month later. He hopes in the near future to be ordained a priest. His new home is at St. Philip Benizi Parish in Jonesboro.

Friar Gabriel holds a degree in philosophy from The Catholic University of America and also has a background in theology. He is young, empathetic and a great conversationalist.

Originally from New Haven, Connecticut, he entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual right after high school and enjoyed greatly his time with the friars. He found eventually, however, that he needed time away from the Order to reflect on his life. During this period he became a teacher of Spanish. Yet by 2009, he knew for certain that he was supposed to be a Conventual Franciscan Friar. He has been with the Order ever since and is delighted to meet and serve the people of St. Philip Benizi Parish.

(Source of image: OFM Conv.)