Fulfilling a promise they made to each other on the day they were ordained, Friar Wayne Hellmann traveled to Rome to meet with his fellow ordinands from the Seraphicum Class of 1967 to celebrate their 50th Jubilee. They gathered on December 20, and the next morning, their ordination day, they concelebrated Mass with Pope Francis at the Vatican’s Casa Santa Marta. That evening they concelebrated another Mass, this time near the Seraphicum, at Sts. Peter and Paul where they were ordained. On the morning of the 22nd, they concelebrated Mass with Father General Marco Tasca in the Conventual Curia. The classmates came from the US, Italy, Okinawa, and Switzerland.
Grab your sleds and head over to Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota, on Friday, January 26th, for a morning of winter fun. Sledding will be from 9 a.m. to Noon with the opportunity to take breaks to enjoy hot chocolate and snacks in the Marian Lounge as well as participate in a winter craft project.
Also, the Retreat Center is offering a 'Buy one retreat - get one free' deal for the upcoming Women's Mid-week retreat (January 16-18) and the Men's Weekend retreat (February 2 - 4)
The retreat theme for 2018 - Towards a Spirituality of Joy: Love more - Laugh More - Be Not Afraid
"If we want to find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction and our indolent refusal to to ask anything more of life," Pope Francis said during a Mass celebrating the Feast of the Epiphany. "We need to take risks simply to meet a Child." He went on to say we can look to the Magi for inspiration. The Magi were not content with "just getting by, with keeping afloat." Instead, they looked up and followed the path to Jesus.
Friar Don Halpin OFM Conv. takes us on the journey of the Magi as they followed the star to Bethlehem.
Now that the Christmas decorations are stored in boxes and the tree has been dismantled the post-Christmas 'blues' may hit us. But, as the angel said to the shepherds, "Fear not!" for now we may look forward to St. Valentine's Day in February and St. Patrick's Day in March. Before we know it Ash Wednesday will be upon us.
So what to do during this in-between time?
As our heavenly Father extends His arms to embrace us and welcome us back to His forgiving and merciful love, this is a good time to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. May we not waste this opportunity for renewal and recognition of His love and tender affection for us.
May God grant you peace and comfort and a grace-filled New Year!
Everywhere he served, Friar Lawrence Eberhardt OFM Conv. made everyone feel welcome with his wonderful smile and twinkling eyes, both having their source in his great heart. He was a great talker, but had an equal gift for listening to people with complete attention.
Br. Larry died on December 23 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was born Richard Ronald Eberhardt on July 8, 1935, in Massillon, Ohio, to Richard and Hilda (Bettsnyder) Eberhardt. He was predeceased by his parents and by his brother Lawrence, and is survived by his sister Sherry Eberhardt. He professed Simple Vows as a Conventual Franciscan Friar on February 3, 1956, and Solemn Vows on February 3, 1959.
Br. Larry spent most of his life ministering within the Province of Our Lady of Consolation and with his fellow Friars. He began in the office of Assumption Seminary in Chaska, Minnesota, and later served on the team that founded Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota. After a term as a formation director in St. Paul, Minnesota, he moved to Carey, Ohio, where he managed the gift shop at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation for 12 years. In 1987, with no prior training, he took on the task of establishing the Province Archives.
“One of Brother Larry’s greatest accomplishments was creating the Province archives from scratch,” said Lexington (KY) Bishop John Stowe OFM Conv. “He was determined to provide a professional quality archives that researchers could use. So he educated himself by joining a society of archivists, participating in their annual conventions, and learning from the archivists of religious sisters. Bringing his genetic German perfectionism to the task, he successfully inaugurated a state of the art archives.”
But whether in the gift shop in Carey or the Archives at Mount St. Francis, Br. Larry’s priority was making people feel welcome – talking and listening.
“I have never known anyone who could talk as much as Br. Larry could, yet also one who could listen as much,” said Fr. Jim Kent OFM Conv. “He really engaged people with his great heart, and they were attracted to him.”
“Br. Larry had a deep, abiding faith in God which was unquestioning,” said Fr. Christian Moore OFM Conv. “He prayed for many people every day, and stayed in contact with most of them. He loved his own family and the Friars of the Province. All of them were constantly on his mind.”
Bishop Stowe agreed: “He was very conscientious about correspondence, especially greeting cards – not just Christmas and birthdays, but Easter, St. Patrick's Day, St. Joseph’s Day, Thanksgiving. I even received some Ash Wednesday cards!”
Br. Larry also helped develop the Association of Former Students of the Minor Seminary at Mount St. Francis. The Association hosts a popular bi-annual ‘reunion’ at Mount St. Francis. Several former students, some with their wives, return to the Mount to join with others who are now Franciscan Friars for a few days of sharing memories and meals together.
Visitation for Br. Larry will be at Incarnation Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky, Friday December 29 at 5 pm, with a Memorial Mass following at 7 pm. There will be a Wake in the Chapel at Mount St. Francis on Thursday, January 4. The Funeral Mass will be in the Chapel at Noon on January 5 with interment following in the Friars’ cemetery. Memorial gifts may be made to the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, 103 St. Francis Boulevard, Mount St. Francis, Indiana 47146 or by clicking here.
After working 14 years for the US Postal Service, Friar Ambrose Eischens OFM Conv. joined the Conventual Franciscans in his mid-30s. From then on, in his service to God’s people and his fellow Friars, his work and prayer combined to the point where they became one and the same. A big man with a bass singing voice that matched his body, he overwhelmed people not with his size, but with his gentle nature and humble spirit.
Br. Ambrose died Wednesday, December 20, in New Albany Indiana. He was born February 16, 1940, to Martin and Caroline (Schoenecker) Eischens in New Market, Minnesota. He was predeceased by his parents and his brothers Jerome, Harold, and LeRoy, and sisters Luella Tritz and Bernadine Benes. He is survived by his brother Wally, and a sister-in-law Ann Eischens (Jerome). He professed Simple Vows on August 1, 1977, and Solemn Vows on August 19, 1980.
Whether working with the poor and disadvantaged, running retreat centers, or serving within the Province, Br. Ambrose matched a dedication to people with attention to detail.
“In his various assignments over the course of his life, he was all about supporting and encouraging others,” said Fr. Dismas Veeneman OFM Conv. “At different points he took on difficult assignments. Some people would try to talk him out of it, but he would have none of it. That was where he felt he could make a difference in the lives of others.”
In addition to his various outside ministries and other service, Br. Ambrose was a choir member at different Franciscan parishes. In the early 80s, while serving at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio, he directed the Shrine Chorale and the Young People's Choir. He played the organ on many occasions at Mount St. Francis in southern Indiana.
“His joyfulness was most evident in his love of music and care for the Friars,” said Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv. “And he actually chose to seek out the Friars after working for several years. That shows his great desire to live as a Franciscan.”
Having spent time earlier as a Friar in social services and outreach to the disadvantaged in Dekalb, Illinois, in his later years Br. Ambrose volunteered regularly at the Franciscan Kitchen in downtown Louisville, welcoming people at the door and listening when they needed to talk to someone.
Br. Ambrose was dedicated to his family in Minnesota, often driving to visit and support them. “He will be greatly missed,” said his niece Peggy Nagele. “We loved to see him when we could, and always looked forward to his annual Christmas letter where he would tell us about what was going on his life.”
A memorial Mass will take place at St. Paul Catholic Church, Louisville, at 7 pm on Thursday, December 28. On January 2, in the Chapel at Mount St. Francis, Visitation will begin at 5 pm, the Wake at 7 pm, with a reception following. The Funeral will be at 11 am on January 3 , with interment following in the Friars cemetery, Mount St. Francis. Memorial gifts may be made to the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, 103 St. Francis Boulevard, Mount St. Francis, Indiana 47146 or by clicking here.
As we welcome the Christ Child, let us sit with Mary and ponder with her the mystery of God becoming one of us. Instead of being born into wealth and worldly glory, Jesus lies in a manger among the animals. And the angels don't announce the birth to the well-off and those safely asleep in the nearby inns. Instead, they appear to poor shepherds, watching their flocks by night.
As St. Francis of Assisi urged us, let us approach with the shepherds and stand among the animals and watch as Mary cares for her newborn -- lying asleep, helpless, wrapped in simple swaddling clothes.
In the words of Isaiah:
For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
With sorrow we report that +Friar Larry Eberhardt passed away early morning December 23. Brother Larry, like Brother Ambrose Eischens who preceded him in death only days before, touched the lives of countless people. We cannot begin to express our sadness at the passing of these two great men. However, we take comfort in knowing that they led faith-filled lives and were at peace in meeting Sister Death.
Please find following the arrangements for Brother Larry:
5:00 p.m. Visitation at Incarnation Catholic Church in Louisville, Kentucky 7:00 p.m. Memorial Mass
7:00 p.m. Wake at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, with reception following
Noon Funeral and interment at Mount St. Francis with luncheon immediately following
Please find following the arrangements for Brother Ambrose:
7:00 p.m. Memorial Mass at St. Paul Catholic Church, Louisville, Kentucky
1/2 (Tuesday) 5:00 Visitation Mount St. Francis 7:00 Wake Mount St. Francis
1/3 (Wednesday) 11:00 a.m. Funeral and interment at Mount St. Francis with luncheon immediately following
With sorrow we report that +Friar Ambrose Eischens passed away at approximately 8:20 pm Wednesday, December 20, with friars and family around him. He was a faith-filled friar who touched many lives.
Because Ambrose didn’t state his burial preference, the family felt it best to have him cremated, as that way the funeral could take place after the holiday season. Tentatively, they are asking for the Wake on January 2 and the funeral on January 3. There will also be a funeral at St. Paul at PRP on a day yet to be determined. We will have updates here as arrangements are finalized.
¿Acaso no soy yo tu madre? ¿No estoy aquí? (Am I not your mother? Am I not here?)
The words of the Blessed Mother are as true today as they were when she spoke them to St. Juan Diego centuries ago on a little hill in Mexico. She is our mother, and she accompanies us on our journey, always pointing us toward her Son.
She is the one who brings us together, those from the “old world” and “new world.” Cultural, language, and political boundaries do not separate us. We are all members of the Body of Christ.
May we all gather together under the protective mantle of our Blessed Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and seek her intercession as we pray for the unity and peace
that is God’s gift to us, if we are willing to receive it.