In today’s video, Conventual Franciscan Friar Jim Kent speaks about the leadership style of Pope Francis. The Holy Father, like St. Francis of Assisi, leads through service. He goes out to the suffering and vulnerable and brings them solace. He encourages priests and religious to do the same. His leadership also involves collaboration. Pope Francis prays for us, but also asks that we pray for him. The Cardinals in our Church assist him too.
Friar Jim is the Minister Provincial of Our Lady of Consolation Province in the Mid- and Southwestern United States and is inspired Pope Francis. He comes from Columbus, Indiana and has been a solemnly professed Conventual Franciscan for 24 years and an ordained priest for 23. Prior to his work as minister provincial, Friar Jim served Our Lady of Consolation Province as a vocation director.
On April 27, 2014, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Pope John Paul II. To celebrate this event, Conventual Franciscan Friar James McCurry reflects in the video featured here on his encounters with the late pontiff.
Their first meeting took place in 1976 before Blessed John Paul II’s election to the papacy. At that time he was Karol Wojtyla, the Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow, Poland. On a visit to the United States, the future pontiff lectured at Harvard University on an esoteric topic in philosophy. Friar James was studying at the university at the time and attended the lecture. He noticed immediately the breadth of Cardinal Wojtyla’s philosophical understanding and his excellent command of the English language. Although, he did not speak personally with the Polish cardinal at the time, the man left a strong impression on Friar James.
Friar James’ remaining encounters with Pope John Paul II took place in Rome and the Vatican. From his description, the Holy Father comes across as a gentle, loving man who had a sense of humour and an intense relationship with God. He encouraged Friar James in his faith, blessed important objects for his family and Order, and inquired about his life. Decades after these encounters, it is obvious that Friar James is still very much moved by having been in the presence of Pope John Paul II.
Currently, serving as Minister Provincial of St. Anthony of Padua Province in the United States, Friar James will become the Minister Provincial of Our Lady of the Angels Province in May 2014. This new jurisdiction will come into existence when Immaculate Conception Province and Friar James’ St. Anthony Province unite. The new province will encompass the eastern United States, Canada and several other countries.
Music during Mass helps energize parishioners so that they may more intensely focus on the celebration. Conventual Franciscan parishes across the United States and Canada have many excellent music ministries. Pastor Friar Paul Gawlowski’s St. Paul of the Shipwreck Parish in San Francisco, California is one of these.
Last Sunday, parishioners and visitors to St. Paul of the Shipwreck had the opportunity to listen to the Shipwreck Gospel Choir during Mass. Featured here is the choir’s performance of “Take me to the King.” With director Diane Crowther, the choir produces beautiful music in praise of the Lord. In the “Take me to the King” video, Keah Moffett is the lead singer. Listening to the performance one notices how it unites the entire congregation in one faith-filled voice.
Friar Dennis Grumsey is the pastor of St. Casimir Parish in Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore’s St. Casimir Parish encourages its teenaged parishioners to embrace their faith by attending Mass and by reflecting on its various facets. Currently, the community is holding a May Crowning Essay contest in which young people in grades 8 to 12 are asked to write an essay on the role of the Virgin Mary in their lives.
Two essay winners will be selected – one boy and one girl. The girl will have a chance to crown Mary during the May Crowning and Procession, which is set for May 4. The boy will play her escort. The submission deadline for the Mary Crowning Essay Contest is April 22.
Conventual Franciscan Friar Dennis Grumsey is the pastor of St. Casimir Parish. He works hard to inspire young people to pursue their faith. He knows what they are going through because St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of his Order, was also once a young man. He came from a wealthy family, always had money and also a group of friends with whom he indulged in many frivolous celebrations. In his pursuit of a knighthood he realized that he needed to follow God and lead a simple life of service. Today many young people are starting to embrace this sort of life as well.
In his first and second video, Conventual Franciscan Friar John Maurer reflects on his arrival in St. Louis, Missouri decades ago and the start of his service to that city’s poor and vulnerable people. His inspiration is St. Francis of Assisi embracing the leper who was cast out of society. Friar John embraces the homeless and the addicted. He treats them with the dignity that is rightfully theirs.
We see in this week’s video once again how easily Friar John approaches outcasts. He sits down with an older man named John outside of his friary and begins a conversation. John is a severely addicted alcoholic. He simply cannot do without having alcohol course through his body. When the time comes for the two men to part company, Friar John realizes that John, his interlocutor, is homeless. This fact startles him. What is it like not to have a home? What can one do to help? These questions have shaped John Maurer as a Conventual Franciscan and continue to propel him in his work.
Friar Jim Kent is the Minister Provincial of Our Lady of Consolation Province in the United States. He was recently re-elected to this ministry by his Conventual Franciscan brothers. In the video featured here, he speaks about the unique style of Franciscan leadership, which began with St. Francis of Assisi.
Francis believed that we must lead people by serving them, the way Jesus did when He washed the feet of his apostles. A Minister Provincial, therefore, leads by taking care of the friars in his province. He is humble because he knows that his time in the position is limited. He must do what he can to cause positive change.
Friar Jim grew up in Columbus, Indiana and attended mass at the city’s St. Bartholomew Parish. He professed his Solemn Vows as a Conventual Franciscan in 1990 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991.