FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

January 19, 2017

www.franciscan.org

Celebrating ‘a people person’

PROVIDED BY CHRISTIAN MARTINEZAn image of Rock from a wedding at which he presided wasdisplayed at St. Lawrence Church.Rock was known for his spontaneous spirit.At a provincial gathering in 2004Young friar Rock: He was “not an efficient man. He loved people too much.”Playing the accordion at Mother of Good Counsel in Hazard, Ky.1 - 5<>

BY FR. FRANK JASPER, OFM

Everybody loved Fr. Rock!”  That’s what Fr. Michael Chowning and I heard repeatedly when we attended the memorial services for him at St. Lawrence Parish in Tampa on Jan. 5. Rock had one of the largest friar funerals that I have ever attended.  St. Lawrence had three separate services.

In the morning 500 school kids celebrated a memorial Mass for Fr. Rock.  During the dialogue homily, Pastor Monsignor Michael Muhr asked for comments about him, and hands shot up all around the church.  Rock had a special way with children and he really connected with them because of his antics and his creative approach to sharing the Gospel.  At their penance service in Advent when the pastor assigned the sixth-grade boys to Fr. Rock, they cheered.

At noon there was a memorial midday prayer.  The 100-plus people sang a special prayer in Rock’s memory.  During the service a 3-year-old came walking down the aisle and touched the poster-size picture of Rock in front of the altar and was obviously talking with him.  She returned and stared at him several more times.  She brought a tear to everyone’s eye.  After the service I asked the girl if she was talking with Rock and she said yes, and he was talking with her.  When I asked what he said, she hid behind her mother who said she could whisper in her ear and she would tell me.  “He said he loved me.”  He said more but even her mom was not able to get her to say what had occurred.  But obviously, it was really special.

In the evening about 400 attended the memorial Mass with a full choir, a flute and exceptional music.  Music Director Philip Jakob composed a special rendition of All Creatures of our God and King as a tribute to Rock.  The pastor captured Rock’s spirit in his homily and acknowledged that “Rock was not an efficient man.  He loved people too much.”  He elaborated on his creativity and spontaneous spirit that the people loved so much.  One of Rock’s final homilies in Advent was printed in his funeral program.  In it he acknowledged how difficult it was for him to accept himself and forgive himself.  It’s almost as if he were preparing for his meeting with Jesus on Christmas when he died.

After Communion Andreas, a freshman at nearby Jesuit High School, shared his very personal experience with Rock, who instructed him in the faith and taught him how to serve at Rocky Creek Village, where he lived.  At the conclusion the whole congregation clapped loudly, affirming what he had said.  Afterwards I complimented Andreas and told him I was glad that I didn’t have to follow him in the pulpit.  Neither the pastor nor I received that kind of response.  As people were lingering afterwards, parents were consoling second- and third-graders who were sad that Rock had died.

Both Mike Chowning and I felt really proud to be friars with all the positive things that were being said about Rock and the Franciscans.  I used that opportunity to invite others to join us and follow Rock’s example.  It was amazing how Rock touched so many people.  Even the folks at Fifth Third Bank were upset to hear of his death.  He was definitely a people person; he related with them in a deeply personal and intimate way.  As the pastor indicated in his homily, Pope Francis would certainly approve of Rock’s approach to ministry because he definitely “smelled like the sheep.”

He was ‘bananas for the Lord’

Rock preached a Gospel to gladden children’s hearts.(Following is an excerpt from the homily Fr. Mike Chowning delivered at Fr. Rock Travnikar’s funeral at Transfiguration Parish in Southfield, Mich.)

Oh how Rock loved to preach Jesus to the little ones - he loved them and the children loved him. Last Thursday in Tampa, Fla., at St. Lawrence Parish, Fr. Frank Jasper and I were privileged to witness the outpouring of affection for Fr. Rock.

The Gospel preached by Rock was indeed a word to gladden children’s hearts:

He’s a peach of a Savior

He’s the apple of my eye,

and He prunes back my branches

when my branches get too high.

He says He’ll never leave me

and His love will never die

and that’s why I’m bananas

for the Lord.

Glory glory hallelujah

Glory glory hallelujah

Glory glory hallelujah

and that’s why I’m bananas

for the Lord.

– sung to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic

Whimsical? Maybe, but within the mirth he opened up for children, and us, the experience of simple truths: Jesus has come to gladden our hearts with the love of the Father, forgiveness of our sins, reconciling us to each other, filling us with peace and joy.

Rock understood that the Gospel is not complicated; after all, one must become like a little child to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Often when Rock preached, first to the children gathered around him at the altar, there was no need to say any more to the adult congregation present.

–Fr. Mike Chowning, OFM

(Mike’s homily is attached to the newsletter e-mail.)

MLK volunteers find a way to pay homage

BY BR. AL MASCIA, OFM

Greg Allen, Al Mascia and helpers Kellie and Emilee.We try to celebrate as much as we can here at the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkley, Mich. That’s easy because we have many friends who come from a variety of different religious traditions, and so there’s always another holiday out there on the horizon to at least make mention of. Occasionally there’s a holiday that everybody gets to observe. And so…

This week Song and Spirit hosted some young people and their families who wanted to do some community service Monday in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. That’s pretty easy, too, because between our CarePax and SnackPax ministries there’s never a shortage of things to be done!

The Goethals assembling CarePax with Greg.Busy hands, great and small, decorated ordinary lunch bags then filled them with healthy “snacks” to be given to kids in Detroit challenged by food insecurity. Other MLK volunteers assembled winter CarePax containing thermal gloves, handmade fleece hats, disposable body warmers and more!

By the end of the day more than 300 SnackPax had been sorted and packed by the Goethal Family, including sons Brendan, age 12, and Ryan, 11, and Kellie Saunders and her 8-year-old daughter, Emilee. Emilee also cleaned, sorted and organized the crayons and markers for decorating the Snack Pax bags.

Their generosity will bring food and warmth to a couple hundred individuals.  Now it’s back to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity!

(Follow Song and Spirit on Facebook at: facebook.)

Interprovincial retreat energizes, inspires

PHOTO BY BRUCE MICHALEK, OFMLoren Connell, Bob Weakley, Page Polk, Mike Dubec, Carl Langenderfer, Juniper Crouch and Francis Wendling in Scottsdale (not pictured, Matthias Crehan)“A terrific experience” is how Fr. Loren Connell described last week’s Interprovincial Retreat, “Change for the Sake of God’s Reign”, at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.  Loren and seven other SJB friars – including presenter Fr. Page Polk – joined brothers from the other six U.S. provinces and the Slovenian Catholic Mission in Lemont, Ill. They heard from members of the Franciscan Interprovincial Team – Page, Fr. Bill Beaudin of Holy Name Province and Br. Richard McManus of St. Barbara Province – and spent a lot of time faith-sharing.

“Nobody was obliged to speak,” Loren said. “Nobody was put down for what he said. It was good being with friars from all over the country and getting to know one another.”

The challenge was “to examine our presuppositions about other provinces. One of the speakers was commenting that a friar he lives with had a postcard that said, ‘Jesus loves you. And I’m his favorite,’” his meaning being, “‘You’ve got good things going on in your provinces, but ours does it best.’ The speaker used that quote just to get the point across. It was an invitation to let go in the truest Franciscan way, not clinging to our provincial identities but letting go of the stereotypes we have of other provinces.”

Loren said he left feeling “energized, inspired by the goodness of the other friars and by the honesty of some of their sharing.”

  • Pastor Max had to battle a strong current  during the baptisms.Jan. 9, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, Fr. Max Langenderfer received Gregory Wean Mairs and his four children into the Church the old-fashioned way, by dunking them in the Cabarita River in Jamaica. A brief but compelling video of Mr. Mairs’ baptism was posted Jan. 14 at: facebook. “It was a beautiful day with a strong wind, bright sun, and strong current in the river from several days’ rain,” Max says. “We had about 15 people from the parish join us for the unusually enthusiastic ceremony.” The children’s mother, Pamela Armstrong from Calgary, Canada, had already been baptized. “She prepared fish, pasta, and cake for the picnic on the riverside.”
  • Tuesday, the Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., hosted an Evening Prayer for Christian Unity to launch the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Jan. 18-25.  Bishop Mitchell Rozanski, chair of the Bishops’ ecumenical and interreligious affairs committee and Bishop of Springfield, Mass., presided and welcomed speaker Dr. Michael Root, professor of systematic theology at Catholic University and a member of the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue. The theme of the 2017 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is “Reconciliation: The Love of Christ Compels Us” (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-20); this year’s materials were developed in Germany.
  • Bishop Binzer with Tom Burke and Rick Sollmann.Jan. 6, the First Friday Mass at Roger Bacon High School welcomed Bishop Joe Binzer as celebrant. “The Bishop said Mass and stayed for breakfast with our growing group of alumni who come back monthly for Mass and breakfast,” according to RB. “It was an extra special Mass as our Mass Choir joined in and were able to stay afterwards and mingle with our guests.”
  • Florida prison chaplain Dale Recinella, a seminary classmate of Fr. Henry Beck and Fr. Jeff Scheeler, has written an extensive guide for Catholic prison ministry, When We Visit Jesus in Prison (ACTA Publications, $29.95). “This comprehensive resource combines Catholic Church teaching, the best in current sociological and psychological thinking on incarceration, and the reflections and stories of a trained and certified Catholic lay chaplain who has been doing prison ministry for over twenty years,” according to a description at Prison-guide
  • In a letter sent yesterday to senators and representatives, U.S. Catholic Bishops “urged a pause in efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act until Congress can ensure that the millions of Americans who rely on the A.C.A. for health insurance can be guaranteed coverage,” according to America magazine online: Americamagazine.

Sadness, affirmation and hopeFILE PHOTOFriars with Cardinal DiNardo at St. Mary’s Cathedral BasilicaIt was difficult, even emotional, to make the announcement this past weekend at Holy Family Parish in Galveston that the friars will be returning the pastoral care of the parish to the Archdiocese this summer.  Frank Jasper, Mark Soehner, and I each preached three Masses, and we felt the complexity of serving this parish that has nine Masses in six worship sites.There were expressions of regret, sadness, but also understanding and gratitude for the 36-plus years of Franciscan ministry on the island.  The following Monday Daniel Cardinal DiNardo came to Galveston to meet with Council.  Though disappointed to lose us, he expressed his understanding and gratitude and affirmed the plan to have a celebration this summer.  Monday’s Gospel about old and new wineskins seemed apt.Richard Goodin, Maynard Tetreault and E.J. Stein at St. Patrick ChurchOur personnel situation is leading us to leave some places, but we are also trying to find new expressions of our ministerial energy.  On Thursday the Council experienced one new wineskin by visiting with Bonaventure Huber and Joe Hund at the Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston. Stay tuned for announcements of some other new initiatives that are percolating! — Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM 

Send comments or questions to: sjbfco@franciscan.org

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FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

Celebrating ‘a people person’

Rock preached a Gospel to gladden children’s hearts.(Following is an excerpt from the homily Fr. Mike Chowning delivered at Fr. Rock Travnikar’s funeral at Transfiguration Parish in Southfield, Mich.)

MLK volunteers find a way to pay homage

Interprovincial retreat energizes, inspires

PHOTO BY BRUCE MICHALEK, OFMLoren Connell, Bob Weakley, Page Polk, Mike Dubec, Carl Langenderfer, Juniper Crouch and Francis Wendling in Scottsdale (not pictured, Matthias Crehan)“A terrific experience” is how Fr. Loren Connell described last week’s Interprovincial Retreat, “Change for the Sake of God’s Reign”, at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.  Loren and seven other SJB friars – including presenter Fr. Page Polk – joined brothers from the other six U.S. provinces and the Slovenian Catholic Mission in Lemont, Ill. They heard from members of the Franciscan Interprovincial Team – Page, Fr. Bill Beaudin of Holy Name Province and Br. Richard McManus of St. Barbara Province – and spent a lot of time faith-sharing.

  • Pastor Max had to battle a strong current  during the baptisms.Jan. 9, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, Fr. Max Langenderfer received Gregory Wean Mairs and his four children into the Church the old-fashioned way, by dunking them in the Cabarita River in Jamaica. A brief but compelling video of Mr. Mairs’ baptism was posted Jan. 14 at: facebook. “It was a beautiful day with a strong wind, bright sun, and strong current in the river from several days’ rain,” Max says. “We had about 15 people from the parish join us for the unusually enthusiastic ceremony.” The children’s mother, Pamela Armstrong from Calgary, Canada, had already been baptized. “She prepared fish, pasta, and cake for the picnic on the riverside.”

Sadness, affirmation and hopeFILE PHOTOFriars with Cardinal DiNardo at St. Mary’s Cathedral BasilicaIt was difficult, even emotional, to make the announcement this past weekend at Holy Family Parish in Galveston that the friars will be returning the pastoral care of the parish to the Archdiocese this summer.  Frank Jasper, Mark Soehner, and I each preached three Masses, and we felt the complexity of serving this parish that has nine Masses in six worship sites.There were expressions of regret, sadness, but also understanding and gratitude for the 36-plus years of Franciscan ministry on the island.  The following Monday Daniel Cardinal DiNardo came to Galveston to meet with Council.  Though disappointed to lose us, he expressed his understanding and gratitude and affirmed the plan to have a celebration this summer.  Monday’s Gospel about old and new wineskins seemed apt.Richard Goodin, Maynard Tetreault and E.J. Stein at St. Patrick ChurchOur personnel situation is leading us to leave some places, but we are also trying to find new expressions of our ministerial energy.  On Thursday the Council experienced one new wineskin by visiting with Bonaventure Huber and Joe Hund at the Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston. Stay tuned for announcements of some other new initiatives that are percolating! — Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM 

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

  • Pastor Max had to battle a strong current  during the baptisms.Jan. 9, the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, Fr. Max Langenderfer received Gregory Wean Mairs and his four children into the Church the old-fashioned way, by dunking them in the Cabarita River in Jamaica. A brief but compelling video of Mr. Mairs’ baptism was posted Jan. 14 at: facebook. “It was a beautiful day with a strong wind, bright sun, and strong current in the river from several days’ rain,” Max says. “We had about 15 people from the parish join us for the unusually enthusiastic ceremony.” The children’s mother, Pamela Armstrong from Calgary, Canada, had already been baptized. “She prepared fish, pasta, and cake for the picnic on the riverside.”
  • Bishop Binzer with Tom Burke and Rick Sollmann.Jan. 6, the First Friday Mass at Roger Bacon High School welcomed Bishop Joe Binzer as celebrant. “The Bishop said Mass and stayed for breakfast with our growing group of alumni who come back monthly for Mass and breakfast,” according to RB. “It was an extra special Mass as our Mass Choir joined in and were able to stay afterwards and mingle with our guests.”
FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

January 5, 2017

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

Richard Goodin, Maynard Tetreault and E.J. Stein at St. Patrick ChurchOur personnel situation is leading us to leave some places, but we are also trying to find new expressions of our ministerial energy.  On Thursday the Council experienced one new wineskin by visiting with Bonaventure Huber and Joe Hund at the Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston. Stay tuned for announcements of some other new initiatives that are percolating!

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist