July 21, 2017
He lived to tell the tale
PHOTO FROM https://www.facebook.com/Rappel4aReason/A manager from Lithko Restoration Technologies goes over the edge.
Fr. Roger Lopez was philosophical in his pre-event video.
“If I die, what a great way to go!” he said. Not everyone would agree.
Roger was preparing to rappel 325 feet down the side of a 26-story building in downtown Cincinnati. The video he made beforehand to explain preparations might well have been his last interview.
It wasn’t. “Lived. It was great,” he e-mailed minutes after successfully landing on the sidewalk below.
Roger was one of 61 Good Samaritans who put their lives on the line Saturday for Rappel for a Reason to support the Aubrey Rose Foundation, which helps to offset the physical, emotional and financial drain faced by families with a child who is critically ill. Roger was rappelling on behalf of a 13-year-old boy who has already undergone two heart transplants.
Alyssa FladingRoger’s descent, videotaped by a friend
“Then we went to training in the stairwell, two of us with one trainer. He went over everything with ropes hanging from the ceiling” so they could simulate the suspension. “Then we were out on the roof. They hooked me up to the harness” and showed Roger the ladder leading up to the drop-off. “The edge is very high,” he remembers thinking.
“Are you ready?” he asked the folks manning the ropes. They assured him they were. Next thing he knew, he was over the edge. “OK, turn to the left,” Roger was told. Facing the outside of the building, he realized, “The only thing underneath me is the ground. I’m in position.” Before dropping, “It was time to look at them and say, ‘Thanks a lot for everything you do.’”
On video, Roger explained his preparation before training
“After the first quarter of the way down I’m like, ‘We’ll get this party going.’” A video of Roger shot by friend Brian Hoffman (and posted on Facebook) shows his speedy descent. “You were moving really fast,” the announcer said later.
At the bottom, “People were waiting for me. When you get down, it’s so good to be on the ground. My arms were tired, just so tired.” He waited for Alyssa. “Then I went and had breakfast and went and had a beer.”
Would he do it again?
“Oh yeah. All the fear and anxiety of not knowing what it would be like would be gone. It was a blast.”
We’ll take his word for it.
Roger Lopez, OFMRappelling off a 26-story building is crazy. But so is consecrating one’s life to God. Think about it: As Friars Minor, we profess that we will give our whole self to the fraternity with all our heart. What does that mean? Beyond no honey, money or funny, we strive to grow in humility with self. We tear open our soul in vulnerability, listen with an open heart, and strive to embrace the weakest and fearful parts of our humanity. I don’t know about you, to many...that’s crazy! Compared to such, 26 stories does not sound that insane.
Like rappelling, I’m not a master at our vowed life. But, I’m working through it and I have lots of brothers who love, support and challenge me. That’s my safety harness, and I’m glad the Lord gave me my brothers.
–Fr. Roger Lopez, OFM
(Fr. Greg Friedman reminisced about Fr. Paul Desch on Facebook the day after he died.)
PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFMPaul Desch at Mass at St. MeinradFr. Paul Desch, one of my favorite professors in our college years, passed away last night after surgery on Monday. He taught us philosophy, especially his unique take on “philosophical psychology,” and had a deep spirit of prayer from which he drew his inspired preaching. He usually gave “introductions” to the readings at Mass, which were mini-homilies, but always helpful, and his sermons were delivered with great enthusiasm.
In one of his courses, a small group study of the philosophy of aesthetics, he asked us all to “just take a few moments to reflect in silence.” Minutes later, I realized we all--including Paul--had fallen asleep! On another occasion, in a committee meeting, when I had shared some grandiose idea of mine for a proposal, he sighed deeply and said, “Greg, I have to be honest. I have no idea what you’re talking about!”
I loved to ask him in later years what he was reading--he loved novels--and we all enjoyed his booming renditions of old favorite songs (Old Man River was his best) at our chapter gatherings. He was a great influence on my Franciscan and priestly life! Rest in peace!
–Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM
PHOTOS BY FR. CARL LANGENDERFER, OFM 1 - 4<>
It didn’t take Fr. Carl Langenderfer long to get into the swing of things. He arrived as pastor of Holy Family Parish in Oldenburg in time to experience the 41st Annual Freudenfest, known as “the biggest little German festival in Indiana.” July 14 and 15 visitors from as far as California, Arizona, even Germany converged on the Village of Spires to sample the food, entertainment, displays and games like Beer Mug Sliding and the Flying Chicken Toss & Spires Toss. “Here in Oldenburg there is sort of a union of church and state,” Carl says. “Booths and tents were set up on the Village property around the Firehouse, but also on the Holy Family Church property across the street from the Firehouse.” Villagers and parishioners of all ages pitched in to help; “Even little kids bussed tables during the chicken and roast beef dinners.” Proceeds from Freudenfest, translated as “family fun festival”, go to village projects.
PHOTO BY BILL FARRIS, OFMPat McCloskey chats with classmate Phil Zepeda.It has been over 20 years since I had last visited St. Bonaventure University. I had spent a year and two summers taking courses towards a master’s degree in Franciscan Studies in the early 1980s. After I finished my last classes and took comprehensives in 1982, I found myself with little time to return.
I was able to make a long-delayed visit to SBU last Friday evening with Pat McCloskey to attend the annual Ignatius Brady Lecture. This year’s lecture was given by Sr. Ilia Delio, OSF, and her topic was “Bonaventure and the Centrality of Love.” A three-day international conference on St. Bonaventure had just ended, and the lecture hall was almost filled with people from around the world who still had room for more input on St. Bonaventure. Sr. Ilia presented a lively case for Bonaventure’s relevance to contemporary theologians and linked his thought to Teilhard de Chardin’s more recent writings.
The hour went by very quickly. I enjoyed being on the campus where I had spent many happy months in another life. I was impressed by the changes that occurred over the last 25 years. I enjoyed most of all the unchanged hospitality of the friars who live and teach there and the peacefulness of the campus and its Franciscan spirit.
— Fr. Bill Farris, OFM
(Fr. Don Miller reflects on the life of St. Bonaventure in this blog post from Franciscan Media: Franciscanmedia )
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On video, Roger explained his preparation before trainingAt first, “I took it slow, to stop and look around and look at the world.” From below, he heard a commentator on loudspeaker telling the world who he was and how he was doing. He also heard cheering.