Franciscan Scholar Challenges Graduating Students to be Leaders in Our World

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


Friar Wayne Hellmann delivered the commencement address to the 2015 graduating class at Lourdes University during a ceremony in Toledo, Ohio.  Friar Wayne is a Conventual Franciscan and a Professor of Historical Theology at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.  In his address to the graduates he urged them to be leaders and to build an inclusive world community. He said, “Yes, you are called to open your hearts like never before.”

Friar Wayne is a renowned scholar and theologian who holds a doctorate in theology from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtät in Munich, Germany. He has been working at St. Louis University since 1974 and has always found time to advise and encourage young people to live up to their God-given potential. In his research he enjoys delving into Franciscan literature and traditions. He also reflects the Franciscan spirit to others in his day-to-day life.

(Source of image with story: Friar John Bamman.)

Franciscan Friars in Toronto Bless A Newly Expanded School That They Have Been Serving for Decades

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Not long ago in Toronto, Friar David Stachurski and Friar Peter Knaapen walked from St. Bonaventure Parish to the school next door that carries the same name. The two Conventual Franciscan priests then blessed a recently finished addition to the school. Friars David and Peter are respectively the pastor and associate pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish.

Their faith community has had a close relationship with St. Bonaventure School for decades. The school maintains very high academic standards while also making sure that its students become the best possible Catholics they can be. This happens in part through the work of Friar David Suckling. Friar David is St.  Bonaventure Parish’ pastoral associate. He visits the school next door frequently to speak with students about matters of faith and life. He is gentle and approachable and much beloved by teachers and students.

(Source of image with story: OLA Province.)


A Conventual Franciscan Novice Delights in His Life at the Novitiate

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow


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Friar Francis Bao Nguyen is a novice at the St. Francis Novitiate in Mishawaka, Indiana. Earlier this month, Francis’ Minister Provincial Friar John Heinz along with Friar Kevin Schindler-McGraw who handles his province’s communications visited Francis in Mishawaka. The three men hail from St. Joseph of Cupertino Province, a jurisdiction that encompasses California, Nevada as well as a mission in Vietnam.

Friar Francis actually originally comes from Vietnam. He lived in Connecticut when he began to experience a call to religious life. You can find out more about Friar Francis in the most recent Vocation Views newsletter. In his article Friar Francis describes his experience in the novitiate. He says that it is beautiful and gives him the opportunity to pray many times during the day.

To take a deeper look at the St. Francis Novitiate and life inside it, please visit. The novitiate’s official website is bright and has many large photos that will show you how rewarding a friars’ life realty is. 

(Source of image with story:


Milwaukee Parish Talks Openly About the Importance of Mental Health Awareness

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in Slideshow

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Young people today are often under tremendous pressure. They study hard, face stiff competition to gain acceptance into a college of their choosing, and then worry about finding gainful employment so that they can start paying off school loans. On top of that social situations can often be a cause of stress for young people.

The Conventual Franciscan Friars and staff at The Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are aware of what many of their community’s younger parishioners are dealing with in their lives. To help them handle whatever challenges are coming their way, the parish recently invited Margaret Rhody who spoke to the community about taking care of one's mental health and being present to people who are dealing with problems in their lives. Ms Rhody holds an MA degree in Counseling and has in the past worked with young adults.


(Source of image with story:



A University Chaplain in El Paso, Texas Cares for Students from Both Sides of the Mexican Frontier

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The University of Texas at El Paso has a population of 23,000 students. More than 75 percent of these men and women identify themselves as Catholics. Conventual Franciscan Friar Andy Martinez is present to Catholics and non-Catholics on the UTEP campus as their chaplain. In his ministry he provides pastoral care to community members, organizes and runs spiritual retreats, listens to students’ concerns, encourages people he encounters to continue deepening their faith lives, and creates opportunities for students to serve their more vulnerable brothers and sisters.

Recently, Friar Andy celebrated a graduation Mass at UTEP. Holy Family Church was completely full for this joyous celebration. Today he celebrated another Mass at 12.30pm with the intention for Father Carlos Martin Marquez. Father Carlos was the pastor at Nuestra Senora de la Paz Parish in Juarez, Chihuahua (Mexico), directly across the Rio Grande River from El Paso, Texas. He died recently. Many UTEP students from Juarez called Nuestra Senora de la Paz Parish their spiritual home. Friar Andy wants them to know that they are not alone. The UTEP community he cares for and is concerned about extends beyond the Mexican frontier. 

(Source of image with story: OLC Province.)