Category Archives: News

Conventual Franciscan Appointed Bishop

Fr. StoweThe Holy Father, Pope Francis, announced today the appointment of Rev. Fr. John Stowe, O.F.M. Conv., as the new bishop of the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky. Most recently, the bishop-elect was provincial vicar of the “Our Lady of Consolation” Franciscan Conventual Province and rector of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio. As an aside, the shrine was founded in 1875 and is known for a statue of Mary, a replica of the original, that was brought from the mother shrine in Luxembourg. The Conventual Franciscans have been the guardians of the shrine for over 100 years.

Bishop-elect Stowe was born in Amherst, Ohio, in 1966, professed his solemn vows in 1992, and was ordained a priest in 1995. He has served in a number of pastoral roles, including parish priest of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in El Paso, Texas; vicar general of the Diocese of El Paso; and chancellor of the Diocese of El Paso.

The Diocese of Lexington is new, having been founded in 1988. It encompasses 50 counties in Central and Eastern Kentucky with 63 parishes and 48,000 congregants.

The Conventual Friars said this upon the announcement:

It is with great joy the Conventual Franciscans received the news that Pope Francis has appointed our brother, Bishop-elect John Stowe, OFM Conv., to shepherd the Diocese of Lexington, Kentucky.  He is a man of deep faith and integrity, with a sharp and inquisitive intellect, all rooted in a genuine pastoral heart.

New Easter Album Released by the Benedictines of Mary

EasterCover_0On March 3, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles released a new album called Easter at Ephesus. And though Easter is fast approaching, do not despair, for the Easter season lasts well beyond Easter so there is plenty of time to order. Mother Cecilia, prioress says, “Hopefully our recording will help bring many to a fuller awareness of the Easter season in its entirety.”

The album includes 27 songs, some in English and some in Latin. Some are familiar and some are original recordings composed by the sisters. Familiar songs include Regina Caeli and Jesus Christ is Ris’n Today while an original composition honors Mary as Queen of Priests. The booklet inlcuded in the CD has the lyrics, translated for the Latin hymns.

“The hymns and chants of Paschaltide convey not only the joy of the Risen Christ, but also deep and humbling gratitude for the great work of our redemption. He rose, and He is alive!” says Mother. “We do not tire of singing His praise as He lives among us, in His Risen and glorified Body in the tabernacle … We pray that the recording reflects the sentiments of gratitude, joy and zeal in our hearts that come with this glorious season!”

The sisters have a deep devotion to Mary, stemming from her role in salvation history. This is evident in the songs chosen for this album. “As Our Lord is the hero in the story of our redemption, it is His Mother that takes up the role of heroine. It was her immovable faith at the foot of the Cross that carried the Church from the Old Covenant to the New. Despite the blood, the jeers, the agony, the utter hopelessness of the situation, she never doubted the truth of her Son’s divinity as He hung on the Cross.”

To read the complete Catholic News Agency story, click here. To order a CD, click right here!

Benedictine Nuns and Ranchers?

walburga 2Featured in NBCNEWS.com is a short featurette on the Benedictine nuns of the Abbey of St. Walburga in Colorado. Between praying the full Divine Office every day, they also find time to raise highly sought-after cattle. The story behind these cattle ranching nuns is told in this short video.

Their pioneering Sisters started the cattle farm, which supplies the sisters with sustenance and also is sold locally. Llamas are used as watch”dogs” because apparently they really intimidate mountain lions! Their menagerie also includes chickens, pigs, dogs, and numerous barn cats. The nuns do most of the farm work, with occasional help from neighbors and friends.

walburgaIn 1986, the abbey was granted its independence from the motherhouse in Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany. As an autonomous house, they are a member community of the Federation of Bavarian Monasteries of Nuns. They profess three vows: obedience, stability, and fidelity to the monastic way of life.

Guests are welcome to stay and make a retreat. They also have a gift shop and a popular Way of the Cross.

Visit their website for more information!

 

 

Brother Paul O’Donnell, fbp – RIP

fbpBr. Paul Joseph O’Donnell

December 15th 1959 – February 20th 2015

Beloved long time superior of the Franciscan Brothers of Peace of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Br. Paul Joseph O’Donnell, fbp, age 55, of St. Paul, formerly of Omaha, died February 20, 2015.

Br. Paul was a dedicated, nationally recognized leader within the right-to-life movement, advocating for the human rights and dignity of the unborn, handicapped, elderly, and a heart for serving the spiritually and bodily poor. He was a co-founder and president of Pro-Life Action Ministries, founding board member of Human Life Alliance and chairman of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network. Deeply loved and survived by his religious community: Brothers, Joseph Katzmarek, Pio King, John Mary Kaspari, Conrad Richardson, James Voeller, Seraphim Wirth, Maximilian Connelly, Juniper Barlett, Benedict Gerard Kelley, Dominic Michael Hart, and Postulants Nicholas Listi and Ricardo Pagba, all of St. Paul.

Brother Paul and his fellow Franciscans were and are a familiar presence at our annual National Meetings, uplifting all by their gentle good humor and  kindliness. Brother Paul’s whole life was an offering of self for those on the fringes of society and suffering from profound neglect or in peril of death . He will be greatly missed. May his Franciscan brothers be inspired by his example to carry on this work of the Lord with the same courage and dedication.

Timeless Lenten Meditations From Mother Mary Francis, PCC

pccJust in time for Lent, Ignatius Press has released a book of profound and timeless Lenten mediations from Mother Mary Francis, PCC, the abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico.

Mother Mary Francis (1921–2006) was abbess for over 40 years and is most famous for her classic book on Poor Clare life, A Right to be Merry. This new work, entitled A Time of Renewal: Daily Reflections for the Lenten Season, presents beautiful meditations on the liturgical season of Lent, revealing the treasures of the liturgy to Christians in all walks of life. Her insight into Holy Scripture and her poetic way of writing make her reflections on the daily Mass readings fresh and attractive.

As the Ignatius Press press release says:

Mother Mary Francis excels in the art of persuasion, aware that the human heart cannot be forced but only gently led to holiness. She makes this goal attractive and desirable by tirelessly explaining why striving for holiness is the happiest and wisest way to live. This book provides a wealth of material for plundering the riches of the Lenten season and for deepening one’s spiritual life. Her meditations are profound and timeless, not changing from year to year, thus providing a lifetime of Lenten meditations in this one volume.

To order, visit the Ignatius Press website (www.ignatius.com) or call: 1-800-651-1531.

Parish Visitors Celebrate New Milestone

The process towards the future canonization of Mother Mary Teresa Tallon, foundress of the Parish Visitors of Mary Immaculate, took another big step last month when the diocesan phase was closed on January 13, 2015. The closing took place in the chancery of the Archdiocese of New York, and the following day Mother Mary Teresa’s writings and related papers were taken to Rome. The official Roman phase began January 22.

Rebecca
Rebecca

The Parish Visitors had another reason to celebrate as their new postulant, Rebecca Lasota, from Arizona, began her postulancy on January 25. Rebecca had a desire from a young age to become a sister and only knew a little about the Parish Visitors when she ran into Sr. Mary Beata in the parking lot of a Home Depot. Talk about going to the by-ways and highways to find your vocation!

The Parish Visitors main mission is to seek out and reconcile to the Church fallen-away Catholics through door-to-door evangelization.

“She loves our charism,” said Sr. Mary Beata. “We go out as the Good Shepherd. We carry Jesus, the Good News, to our people.”

Mother Mary Teresa told the sisters to “make the truth lovable.” May her increased visibility draw many to Jesus Christ, perhaps as a Parish Visitor of Mary Immaculate.

 

 

 

St.Teresa’s Walking Stick

st teresa of avila tourThe original walking stick used by St Teresa of Avila during her many journeys across 16th century Spain is on the move in honor of the 500th anniversary of her birth. St. Teresa was born on March 28, 1515, and died on October 4, 1582.

The walking stick, which began its journey on October 15, 2014, St. Teresa’s feast day, is on pilgrimage around the world to commemorate this great event. By the time the journey has ended, it will have traveled to 5 continents, 30 countries and traversed 117,000 miles. The places selected are some of sites most important to the Discalced Carmelites as well as the missions in Africa. Already it has been to the United States, Mexico, South America and the Far East. Now it is in Kenya and will travel to many more African countries before it heads back to Europe and the countries of Croatia, Italy, France (Lisieux of course!), the Czech Republic, Portugal and back to Spain.

The worldwide pilgrimage is called the Way of Light (Camino de Luz). The generosity of the Carmelite Fathers in Spain  allowed this eventful pilgrimage to take place. The walking stick is in a special container and is symbolic of St. Teresa’s own spiritual journey. Pilgrims are invited during this special year to imitate her longing for God which took her to many heights and places.

The Superior General of the Carmelites, Fr. Saverio Cansitra, says that her mission is “to remind the Church and human beings of all times that the center of man is God and the center of God is man…. Teresa shares with everyone, with anyone in any place in the world whose journey is lost on an aimless path, what she found: a dwelling and a way.

 stickSt. Teresa herself said, “If they lose their Guide, our good Jesus, they cannot find the way… Our Lord Himself tells us that He is ‘the Way'; He also says that He is ‘the Light’ (John 14,6); that no man cometh to the Father but by Him; and that ‘He that seeth Me, seeth the Father also.’ Such persons tell us that these words have some other meaning; I know of no other meaning but this, which my soul has ever recognized as the true one and which has always suited me right well.”

Bl. Junipero Serra to be Canonized

serraToday came the exciting news that Pope Francis will canonize Bl. Junípero Serra during his visit to the US this Fall. Father Serra (1713-1784) is the founder of the California missions and the great evangelizer. He was born on the island of Majorca, Spain, where he became a Franciscan friar. He came to the New World in 1749. In 1769, he arrived in San Diego where he established his first mission.

Father Serra established nine missions himself, and twenty-one others were eventually established on the El Camino Real. It is always a thrill to be traveling in California and stumble across the roadway today. Here are the missions he founded:

serra21769 – San Diego de Alcalá; 1770 – San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo; 1771 – San Antonio de Padua; 1771 – San Gabriel Arcángel; 1772 – San Luís Obispo de Tolosa; 1776 – San Francisco de Asís; 1776 – San Juan Capistrano; 1777 – Santa Clara de Asís; 1782 – San Buenaventura

Father Serra died and is interred today at the mission in Carmel (San Carlos Borromeo). You can see the cell where he died and his tomb and an impressive cenotaph (monument). The cenotaph depicts a life-side bronze statue of Father Serra lying in death, with his bare feet resting on a grizzly bear, the symbol of California. Three other life-size bronze sculptures are nearby: Fr. Juan Crespí, who predeceased him; Fr. Fermin Lasuen, who succeeded him as the president of the missions of Baja and Alta California; and Fr. Julian Lopez, a friar at the Carmel Mission.

Pope John Paul II visited Carmel in 1987 and called Father Serra the Apostle of California. He went on to say: “’In Him who is the source of my strength I have strength for everything’ (Phil. 4, 13). These words of the great missionary, Saint Paul, remind us that our strength is not our own. Even in the martyrs and saints, as the liturgy reminds us, it is ‘(God’s) power shining through our human weakness.’ It is the strength that inspired Father Serra’s motto: ‘Always forward, never back.'”

 

Year of Consecrated Life Pilgrimage to Rome

rome-at-dusk-itineraryThe Year of Consecrated Life began on the first Sunday of Advent, November 30, 2014, and ends on the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, February 2, 2016.

At the end of this special year, the Vatican is holding an International Symposium (gathering/workshops/events) for Religious, Secular Institutes, and Consecrated Virgins in Rome. The dates specified by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) for the gathering of Consecrated Persons are as follows:

  • Symposium for Secular Institutes, and Ordo Virginum January 29-31, 2016
  • Symposium for Religious January 28-30, 2016
  • Vigil at St Peter’s Basilica January 30, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Audience with Holy Father February 1, 2016
  • Mass to conclude the Year of Consecrated Life with the Holy Father Feb 2, 2016

The ORP/Kairos (Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi ) which acts as the pilgrimage organizer for the Diocese of Rome has arranged for a pilgrimage package for Consecrated Virgins, Religious, and Secular Institute members interested in participating in this Symposium with an optional extension to the Holy Land. For those interested in seeing where hermits, religious, and the Ordo Virginum began, this is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

This pilgrimage package is available so that consecrated persons can attend the International Symposium, with lodgings, meals, transportation and other major details being arranged by the Vatican’s office of pilgrimage. Consecrated persons can relax, attend the Symposium, enjoy each other’s company, and prayerfully visit some of the sights in Rome and Italy that are of special significance to consecrated life.

A religious priest-chaplain is being provided who is familiar with the different forms of consecrated life. Guides to the sacred sites will be available in English, Spanish, French, and Italian, and the pilgrimage is open to religious, secular institute members, and consecrated virgins of all nationalities. If enough people from any country want a guide of their own, they will receive a guide speaking their own language.

They will be lodging as much as possible in places run by religious orders, not 5-star luxury accommodations. They are working towards getting donations and sponsors for people who cannot otherwise afford to attend. For more information, see the ORP/Kairos website.