Venerable Carlos de Dios Murias, Martyr Priest

"It is better to die young having done something,
than to die old without having done anything."

On April 27, 2019, Venerable Carlos de Dios Murias OFM Conv., martyr and religious priest, will be beatified in the city of La Rioja in Argentina, along with three other Venerable witnesses of Christ, the Most Reverend Enrico Angelo Angeletlli Carletti, Bishop of La Rioja, Fr. Gabriel Longeuville, a French Fidei donum diocesan priest, and Wenceslao Pedernera, a layman and family man.

An excerpt from a letter by Fr. Marco Tasca OFM Conv., the Minister General for the Order of Friars Minor Conventual:

From January 9, 1976, until his death, Blessed Carlos worked on opening avenues for the Conventual Franciscans. He served as the Associate Pastor in Chamical, in the Diocese of La Rioja, alongside the pastor, Venerable Gabriel LONGUEVILLE a French Fidei Donum missionary. Friar Carlos devoted himself to proclaiming the Good News among the people and denouncing injustices according to the parameters of the social doctrine of the Church. His efforts attracted the hatred of the powerful. On Sunday evening, July 18, 1976, while having dinner with some nuns from the Institute of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Venerable Carlos was abducted, together with Venerable Gabrielle Longueville, by some strangers representing the authorities. The same evening, both priests were brutally tortured and killed.

Some time before he was killed, and aware of the danger he faced if he remained with his parishioners in Chamical, he was asked if it would be better to leave. He replied: “It is better to die young having done something, than die old without having done anything.” Let us take these words of our Venerable confrere Carlos de Dios MURIAS, and meditate on them, giving praise to God, because Carlos understood how to bring those words to life. We ask for his intercession, so that we can do the same.

In the glorious life and death of Venerable Carlos, the prophetic words of Pope Saint Paul VI once again ring true: “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.”

Blessed Carlos de Dios MURIAS, pray for us and intercede for us!


Alleluia!

 

The homily Easter Sunday 2019 at Mount St. Francis

Friar Nicholas Wolfla is a canon lawyer and serves currently as Secretary for the Province. He was ordained to the Diaconate on January 18, 2016.

Lent is over or is it? He is risen! Alleluia!

Friar Deacon Nicholas Wolfla OFM Conv. shares the joyful message of Easter with us and reminds us to be the people God wants us to be.

 


Palm Sunday in the Southwest


Friar Fr. Charles McCarthy OFM Conv. is serving in the southwest, working with the OFM Friars in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Pine Cross from Santo Domingo Pueblo. The palm crosses were made by asylum seekers.

Fr. Charles' Palm Sunday began with a 7:30am Liturgy at Santo Domingo Pueblo. The Native American people living there traditionally use a pine cross on that day.

Then he celebrated a 9:30am Liturgy at San Felipe Pueblo. This Pueblo is known for its passion for preserving traditional customs and values.

At 1pm, he led a Palm Sunday Mass in the lobby of an Albuquerque hotel where a group of immigrants are staying after being released from ICE custody. (You can read more about this in the Albuquerque Journal.)

The palm crosses were made by the asylum seekers. The lighter colored palm strips came from St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church, while the dark green variety came from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church.

The Church is universal. Let us join in prayer in Jesus' name.  Amen.



Where Two or Three Are Gathered…

 

     In a small group session during a weekend retreat at Mount St. Francis in southern Indiana, a woman talked about her experience in jail. She had found a book there with a quote she couldn’t forget: no matter how crooked your path in life has been, God can cut a straight line right through it, leading back to Him. Later that day, during Mass, a friar used that very same image in his homily.

     To the women, it was more than coincidence – it was confirmation that God wanted them here.

     Four times a year, Mount St. Francis hosts the Ignatian Spirituality Project: Spiritual Retreats Ending Homelessness. The program was created 20 years ago by Fr. Bill Creed SJ, and has spread to 30 cities around the US.

+Br. Bob Baxter OFM Conv. brought the Ignation Spirituality Project to Mount St. Francis in 2016, knowing that St. Francis of Assisi would want it here.

     The program came to Louisville five years ago. In 2016 Friar Bob Baxter OFM Conv. brought the retreat to the Mount, knowing that St. Francis of Assisi would want it here.

     The retreats are for groups of no more than 15 men or women, who have been sober for at least two months and have experienced homelessness in the past. The attendees are those who need help as they move through the 12 Steps, or those whose counselors believe would benefit from a formal retreat experience.

     “They have never been on retreat before,” said Judy Ribar, Associate Director of Retreats at Mount St. Francis, who coordinated the weekend. “Most don’t understand how God could love someone like them. Others may know that God loves them, but need a little help staying strong in their sobriety and faith life.”

     The retreatants leave their recovery centers at 8 am Saturday and stay at the Mount through lunch time on Sunday. Their brief stay has scheduled prayer and group meetings. But ample time is allowed for enjoying the gifts of nature at the Mount. The attendees explore the area around the lake, enjoy a bonfire, and have free time to roam.

And “where two are three are gathered…”

     The Holy Spirit spent the weekend making connections. A woman facing a challenging relationship met someone who had been through the same thing. A pregnant woman learned of a pregnancy center where she can go after she leaves her recovery center.

     Finally, before leaving the Mount, the retreatants write a letter to God. Three weeks later they will have a follow up meeting at another location. During that half-day session they will participate in two more exercises, designed to help them stay strong in their program.

      Fr. Wayne Hellmann OFM Conv. met the women briefly late Sunday morning and explained a little about the Franciscans and life at the Mount. He was impressed by the women and the program, saying: “May our retreat centers find funding to provide more service to those in such need.”


 


San Damiano Legacy Luncheon and Franciscan Partnership Award

 

On Saturday, April 6, the second annual San Damiano luncheon was held at Mount St. Francis. At the luncheon, we recognized our benefactors in the Kentuckiana area who have notified us that they have remembered the Province of Our Lady of Consolation in their wills. This enrolls them in the San Damiano Legacy Association.

Corazon Vera M.D., an oncologist in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, received the Franciscan Partnership Award.

Dr. Corazon Vera M.D. with friars Wayne Hellmann (left) and Jim Kent

During the event, Dr. Corazon Vera M.D., an oncologist in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, received the Franciscan Partnership Award. This award was established by the Province Definitory in 1999 “to celebrate our friends for accepting the responsibility of stewardship, and for the number of years they have been sharing their resources not only with our Province but also with other important charities in the community.”

Thank you to all of our friends who partner with us in our Franciscan ministry. It is because of your generous donations, not only financial but also time, talent, and especially prayer, that we are able to follow in St. Francis' footsteps. If you are interested in learning more about remembering the friars in your will, or other donation vehicles such as annuities, please contact the Mission Advancement Office at (812) 923.5250 or email Shaunna Graf at s.graf@franciscansusa.org

 

Dr. Chris and Gloria Nunier spoke at the luncheon about how the friars are an important part of their lives. L to R: Fr. Jim Kent, Chris and Gloria Nunier, Br. Nick Wolfla, Fr. Wayne Hellmann

 


Come Back to God

 

Fr. David Lenz OFM Conv. likens the Church today to that in the time of St. Francis. St. Francis experienced much change during his lifetime and, because he listened to God, was the instrument of much change.

Fr. David offers us the opportunity to share the Act of Contrition with him and continue on our journey towards God.

 


Lent Allows Us Time to Focus

 

St. Francis and the leper

Lent is a season where we prepare for the mysteries of Easter.  We do this through fasting, prayer and the giving of alms. Fasting can remind us of the need to depend on God, as well as connect us to those who daily go without these basic necessities. Giving our time, treasure and talent to someone--especially the poor--expands our world to all God's people and helps us better love God and others.  Spending extra time in prayer draws us ever deeper into our life with God.

Lenten Days of Prayer, Silent Retreats, Stations of the Cross and More

Holy Cross Retreat Center, Mesilla Park, NM

  • March 27, from 10am until 4pm - Lenten Day of Prayer - Time for quiet and prayer, the day will include opening prayer, presentation, quiet time, lunch, time for confession, and Eucharist.
  • April 5-7 - "Creation, Come Praise!" Spring in the Desert Retreat
  • April 19-20 - Good Friday and Holy Saturday Retreat - an opportunity to focus on Holy Week

Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center, Prior Lake, Minnesota

  • March 21 & 28, and April 4 (Each day will go from 9:30am to Mass at 1:45pm) - Lenten Days of Prayer - These days of prayer will use the Blessed Virgin Mary as their focus. On March 21: The Annunciation and The Visitation; March 28: The Wedding at Cana; April 4: At the Foot of the Cross.
  • April 12-14 - Women's Silent Palm Sunday Retreat
  • April 18-20 - Men's Holy Week Retreat

Mount St. Francis Center for Spirituality, Mt. St. Francis, Indiana

  • Mondays at the Mount - Scripture Study - offered at 10:30am and again at 7pm
  • March 23 - Lenten Day of Reflection - Time to reflect on uniting our own suffering with that of Jesus in the garden. Fr. Vince Petersen OFM Conv. and Judy Ribar, Associate Director, will reflect on suffering of the mind and body. The day will end with an opportunity for Reconciliation and a healing Mass.

The Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio

  • Fridays throughout Lent - Fish Fry (4:30pm to 7pm); Stations of the Cross at 7pm
  • April 19 - Good Friday Musical Reflection at Noon
  • April 19 - Stations of the Cross in Shrine Park at 3pm

Lent allows us time to reflect, pray, and deepen our relationship with God

 

 


Border Summit in El Paso

 

Hope Border Institute, an organization in the Diocese of El Paso, sponsored a summit on immigration from February 25 to 27, 2019. The summit took place along with a meeting of the bishops on each side of the border in Texas and New Mexico.

Hope Border Summit convened with about 80 attendees plus 16 bishops.

 

About 80 representatives from many Catholic, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations participated in the summit. The focus was on how to better understand the history of immigration through this border area and how faith leaders can respond to the needs of those who are migrating.

Four areas were chosen for particular response to the needs of immigrants: Theology, Formation, Advocacy, and Action.

Friar Tom Smith OFM Conv. participated in the Summit, and was joined by Friars Miguel Briseno OFM Conv. and Don Adamski OFM Conv. for a prayer service at the border with Mexico.

Friars Tom Smith, Don Adamski, and Miguel Briseno

Bishop Mark Seitz of El Paso shows photos of Jakelin Caal Maquin and Felipe Gomez-Alonzo. Children who died died as their families tried to seek asylum in the US.


Getting Ready for Lent

Let's Prepare to Prepare!

Ash Wednesday is approaching quickly (next week - March 6th!)

Here is an excerpt of a homily given by Friar Nick Wolfla with some ideas on how we might decide on Lenten sacrifices that move beyond giving "something up" and instead try something new.

• Read through one or two of the Gospels, pray with it and discuss it as a family. What does it mean, what does God want out of us because of it?

• Come to bible study somewhere to expand your faith. (Mondays at the Mount are open to everyone. There are two sessions - 10:30 to 11:30am and 7:00 to 8:00pm. For more information visit mountsaintfrancis.org)

• Find someplace to volunteer to help people and don’t stop after lent.

• Ask someone of faith to recommend a good spiritual book to read. Read it slowly, take it in, and pray with it.

• Really examine your life. Take time to face those demons that we carry around, those things we are afraid to admit sometimes even to ourselves. Then go to the sacrament of reconciliation.

Fr. Phil Schneider with a pilgrim at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, OH

• Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

• Fast from pessimism. Be prayerful and hopeful in the Spirit.

• Fast from worries. Trust in God. You can’t trust in God unless you have a relationship with him, PRAY!

• Fast from complaints. Contemplate simplicity. Realize what you have - family, health, job, healthcare, sanity, friends, and many other gifts from God. Thank God for these gifts and don't complain about what you don’t have.

• Fast from pressures. Pray and be peaceful. Turn to prayer to settle the mind and soul. Even Jesus took time out when things got too busy to pray to his Father. If it is good enough for God, it's good enough for us.

• Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy. Holding grudges, not forgiving others, believing that someone doesn’t deserve something because we don’t believe they worked for it hurts us, not them. Find the compassion in our hearts to move forward and eliminate anger in our lives.

• Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others. Sometimes we slap the hand in need because we believe they don’t deserve what we have. We should always stretch out our hands to give to those who need to receive. It’s not ours to judge if they deserve it. There but for the grace of God go I. We need to grow in compassion in this world more than anything.

• Fast from grudges and be reconciled. Forgiveness relieves the soul and not only frees the other person, but frees us in the process. Release both the person and ourselves from the chains of hate or “holding a grudge.”

• Fast from words so we can listen. How can we understand each other if we don’t listen. We often hear to respond, not listen to the heart and needs of others. Open our ears so we can open our hearts. This is how we come through the darkness into the light.


+Fr. Maurus Hauer OFM Conv.

 

101 Years of Life; Eighty Years of Conventual Franciscan Service

On the occasion of his 100th birthday, in 2017, Friar Maurus Hauer OFM Conv. said, “I can look back at my life and see that the Lord had his finger on me.”

Fr. Maurus died in New Albany, Indiana, on February 17, 2019. He was born Raymond Francis Hauer to Edward George and Theresa Marie (Ferguson) Hauer on October 7, 1917, in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was predeceased by his parents, three brothers, and two sisters, and is survived by four nieces, one nephew, and several great-nieces and -nephews.

He was a student at the Mount St. Francis Minor Seminary during the Great Depression and entered the novitiate in 1938. He professed Simple Vows on August 17, 1939, Solemn Vows on August 17, 1942, and was ordained to the priesthood on February 24, 1945. At the time of his death Fr. Maurus was Dean of the Conventual Franciscan Order, the oldest friar.

Even though Friar Maurus was always humble about his abilities, his achievements tell a different story. He served most of his life in the Southwestern part of the United States, which was essentially mission territory. Working with the other friars to organize scattered Catholics into parish communities, Fr. Maurus baptized thousands of babies and adults during those years.

Also, in the aftermath of World War II, he moved a decommissioned army chapel from the base where it had been used during the war, to the site where it still serves today as a parish church in Loving, New Mexico. His pastoral service took him to parishes and mission churches in Carlsbad, Hobbs, Malaga, Artesia, and Loving, New Mexico; Broken Bow, Nebraska; and Clarksville, Indiana.

Fr. Maurus at the dedication of Our Lady of Grace in Loving NM

Fr. Maurus’ prayer life grew even deeper as he aged, and in his years of retirement he prayed constantly for his brother Franciscans, their ministries, and all the people he had baptized and served. When he learned of natural disasters or people with personal crises, those were added to the list.

Fr. Maurus was an avid card player. Up to the end, one of the friars would visit with him to play every Sunday evening at the care center where he was living, often bringing him a little ice cream (one of his other pleasures). In 2010 he was nominated for the Lumen Christi Award by the Catholic Extension Society, honoring his nearly eight decades of service to the mission areas here in the US. He said he was relieved when he didn’t receive the award, because he was too old to travel to the event. And that reveals the quality his brother Franciscans loved best — the quiet humility and ever-present smile of a friar, one of St. Francis’ little brothers.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Province of Our Lady of Consolation, Mission Advancement Office, 103 St. Francis Boulevard, Mount St. Francis, Indiana, 47146 or online by clicking here.