Congratulations to Pedro, Alberto, and Calin!


Friday, July 21, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in El Paso, Texas, Alberto Bravo, Calin Vidaurri, and Pedro Lopez professed their temporary vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. These vows are sometimes referred to as First or Simple Vows - but as Fr. John Bamman points out in a 'pre-vow' interview, there is nothing simple about them.

These First Vows normally last three years. During this time, Alberto, Calin, and Pedro, will continue their studies while ministering and living in community as Conventual Franciscans.

The smiles on all the faces tell the story. "It's fun to be Franciscan!"

Check out these beautiful photos courtesy of Al Baeza!

The Joy of Franciscan Commitment

Fr. John Bamman talks with the three young men preparing to make their Simple Vows tomorrow (Friday, July 21, 2017.) This phase of formation normally lasts three years. During this time the Friar focuses on making a permanent commitment to the Conventual life. At the end of this period, the Friar professes solemn vows: a permanent, life-long commitment to Christ, the Church, and the Franciscan Order.

Twelve are Invested in the Franciscan Habit


Wednesday, July 19, twelve men expressed their desire to live for a year as Conventual Franciscan Novices and received the Franciscan habit. The investiture ceremony took place in the Conventual Franciscan Novitiate in Arroyo Grande, California.

Three of the Novices, Brandon Greene, Bobby Mahas, and Louis Lugo, are members of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation.

Fr. Jim Kent invests Brandon with the habit. Bobby and Louis are to the right.

During the Novitiate year the men will live in community, study Franciscan history and the Franciscan way of life, and, after a year of discernment, decide whether they will take their Simple (or first) Vows as Franciscan Friars.

Fr. John Bamman with Postulant Dan Hurst.

 As these young men move to the Novitiate the Province welcomes their new postulant, Dan Hurst. Postulancy lasts one year and is an opportunity to experience what it is like to be part of the Conventual Franciscan community.

Please keep these men in your prayers as they take their first steps as followers of St. Francis of Assisi.

My kids don’t go to mass – What can I do?

A Conversation with Friar Jude Winkler

Happy Feast of St. Bonaventure!


Today is the feast of Saint Bonaventure (1217-1274). He was a Franciscan Friar who became an instructor at the University of Paris (The Sorbonne) before being elected the Minister General of the Franciscan Order. His work in organizing the Friars across Europe and in the mission lands has earned him the reputation of being the “Second Founder” of the Franciscans.

Although he is one of the great Franciscan scholars, teachers, and administrators, it would be a mistake to forget that he was a Friar first and foremost. He was a devoted son of St. Francis, filled with the spirit of joy and love that has its source in God’s overwhelming love for each of us.

He was also a man of deep prayer. The following prayer to the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is one that we should all pray and share with others:

Lord Jesus, as God's Spirit came down and rested upon you, may the same Spirit rest upon us, bestowing his sevenfold gifts. First, grant us the gift of understanding, by which your precepts may enlighten our minds.
Second, grant us counsel, by which we may follow in your footsteps on the path of righteousness.
Third, grant us courage, by which we may ward off the Enemy's attacks.
Fourth, grant us knowledge, by which we can distinguish good from evil.
Fifth, grant us piety, by which we may acquire compassionate hearts.
Sixth, grant us fear, by which we may draw back from evil and submit to what is good.
Seventh, grant us wisdom, that we may taste fully the life-giving sweetness of your love.

“I was a stranger, and you welcomed me…”


Jorge Taborda, whose wife was deported to Colombia, is trying to remain in the United States with his two sons. He and his wife have lived in the US for nearly 20 years, working, paying taxes, and raising their family. Jorge is staying with our Friars in New Mexico while trying to normalize his situation.

As the immigration issue continues to be debated in the United States Congress and in each of the 50 states, it is easy to be caught up in arguments and statistics.

The Most Reverend Oscar Cantu, Bishop of Las Cruces, participated in the news conference and presided over Mass.

But there are human faces in each case, and families hidden behind the stacks of numbers. As Christians, as Catholics, as followers of St. Francis of Assisi, we heed the words of Jesus Himself in the quote above, and answer the question He poses at the end of the story of the Good Samaritan: “Who was neighbor to the injured man on the side of the road?”

Below is a statement from one of the Friars of our Province, Fr. Tom Smith OFM Conv., Director of our retreat center in Mesilla Park, New Mexico. We affirm his words, support his actions, and pray that all involved will work to resolve this particular challenge.

And we pray fervently that there will be an overall resolution to the challenge of integrating all immigrants as we create a society where all of human life is cherished and protected.

Holy Cross Retreat Center is a ministry of the Conventual Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Consolation.

For many years as part of our mission statement, besides welcoming thousands of people each year for prayer and retreats, Holy Cross Retreat Center has offered a place to stay for people from out of town who are receiving medical treatment, occasionally for someone who needs a temporary stay, and in other special circumstances.   From mid-November till mid-January 2017, we also welcomed 67 adults and 77 children who were refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.  They were victims of violence or extreme poverty and arrived with almost nothing.  With the help of five volunteers we provided a room, meals, clothes, toiletries, assistance arranging travel to family members, and a safe pleasant atmosphere.

As a Franciscan ministry, Holy Cross Retreat Center is called to offer hospitality to the most vulnerable among us and to those seeking a place of peace and prayerful serenity.  St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of our Order, left behind a comfortable life as the son of a wealthy merchant to live the Gospel as a poor man and to serve the poor personally.  He also showed compassion in caring for the lepers, those most alienated by society in his time.

The Old Testament speaks of immigrants 92 times and the New Testament says, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2 NIV)  The actions of Jesus were grounded in his faith and he often reached out to the sick and the hungry and those alienated because they were from a different region.  Jesus alsogave us the example of the Good Samaritan who cared for the man left along the road by robbers without asking where he was from or even who he was, providing him with healing and hospitality.

Pope Francis encourages us to reach out to those on the margins and to show mercy.  He has appealed for the needs of the refugees at Lampedusa, and provided housing, food, and a welcome to the homeless people in the area of the Vatican,  He reminds us of the dignity of each person  and how God calls us to extend our hearts to those in need.

We are proud to offer Franciscan hospitality to Jorge while he fights to stay united with his two sons.  As we have welcomed many others, we welcome Jorge to have a place of comfort, support, and peace.  It is our faith tradition and our desire to offer hospitality in his time of need, and to call for respect and the unity and dignity of families.   The Catholic Bishops of the United States published a pastoral letter entitled “Strangers No Longer” promoting respect for immigrants, and many statements since then calling for immigration reform and ministry to those affected by the struggles.  I would like to thank Bishop Cantu for his presence and the support of the Diocese of Las Cruces.  We encourage other Catholic institutions and communities to extend hospitality and their prayerful support to those on the margins.

Thank you.


Pilgrim House Celebrates 100 Years of Hospitality


In the spring of 1917, the Sisters of St. Francis in Tiffin, Ohio agreed to build and staff a Pilgrim House at the Church of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. The Sisters managed the Pilgrim House into the 1990s. The Pilgrim House and Retreat Ministry are now integrated into the overall pastoral ministry of the Shrine overseen by the Friars. Br. Randy Kin, OFM Conv., is the current Director of Retreat Ministry at the Shrine.

On June 24, 2017, at the 5:30 p.m. Mass, we will celebrate 100 years of retreats and pilgrims at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation.  Please join us for this 100th Anniversary Mass as we celebrate the good work begun by the Sisters that continues today!

The Franciscan Sisters of Tiffin, Ohio, ministered to many pilgrims at the Shrine - particularly at the Pilgrim House.
Brothers Randy Kin, Ian Bremar, and Angelo Catania prepare for pilgrims at the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation.

June 25th Open House at Holy Cross Retreat Center


Holy Cross Retreat Center in Mesilla Park, New Mexico, is celebrating 60 years of retreat ministry in 2017!

Join us Sunday, June 25th, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. for an open house. See the renovations in the retreats rooms, the atrium, and the large conference room. Make sure to visit the Chapel with its newly installed stained glass windows. At 3 p.m. we will have special recognition for Donna Hollis, who has retired after working for more than 16 years in the retreat ministry at Holy Cross.

Other events coming up this year include:

September 2-3 - the Franciscan Festival of Fine Arts with 80+ artists, food, beer and wine garden, live music on two stages, and remembrances of previous festivals at HCRC

September 24 -  outdoor Mass with reception to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the first retreat (which took place September 27 to 29, 1957.)

We hope to see you there!

Beautiful skies at Holy Cross Retreat Center, Mesilla Park, NM


Happy Feast of St. Anthony

June 13th is the Feast Day for St. Anthony of Padua

Rivaling even St. Francis himself in terms of devotion, St. Anthony of Padua is one of the greatest Franciscan saints. We all know of the prayers to St. Anthony for lost items, and the more important intercessions he has made on behalf of those who ask – those seeking physical and spiritual healing.

But his greatness is also found in the incredible amount of work he accomplished in his short 36 years on earth. His preaching brought to life the Good News of Jesus Christ, deepening the faith of those who heard him. He was one of the first teachers in the new Franciscan Order, and he followed closely St. Francis’ decree that the student-Friars never allow their studies to interfere with their service to the poor.

Most of all, his greatness is found in the great love he had for the Lord and his people. The spark of the Holy Spirit burned in his heart and soul, and poured out in his service and counsel, as well as in his preaching and teaching.

Because that great love is magnified now by his closeness to God, we still pray to him, knowing that he wants to help us in our daily needs, and desires to have us join him in God’s presence.

“Blessed be God in His Angels and in His Saints”

O Holy St. Anthony, gentlest of Saints, your love for God and Charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me (request). O gentle and loving St. Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the sweet Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms; and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen.

+Friar Juniper Cummings – A Life of Franciscan Joy


He was a gifted scholar, teacher, administrator, and spiritual guide, but Fr. Juniper Cummings is best known as a Friar whose life was filled with Franciscan joy. That spirit of celebrating life was the foundation of his service as he brought people closer to God and one another.


Friar Juniper Cummings, OFM Conv., died Friday, May 26, 2017, in Shakopee, Minnesota. He was born Francis Leonard on September 4, 1924, in Louisville, Kentucky, to Francis and Wilhelmina (Krimm) Cummings. He is pre-deceased by his parents, his brothers, Albert and Frank, and his sister, Mary Frances (Jones.) He is survived by his niece, Jane Gray of Henderson, Kentucky, his nephew, Danny Jones of Louisville, Kentucky, and his cousin, Cathy Targonski of Bardstown, Kentucky, hundreds of other cousins, and many dear friends.


Fr. Juniper lived his life joyfully and shared that joy with everyone around him.

He attended minor seminary at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, and entered the Conventual Franciscan Order in 1944. He professed Simple Vows on July 15, 1945, and Solemn Vows on October 4, 1948 at the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. He was ordained a Priest on October 15, 1950 at the Church of Cordeliers, Fribourg, Switzerland.


Fr. Juniper was ordained to the priesthood on October 15, 1950, at the Church of Cordeliers, Fribourg, Switzerland.

After returning to the States, he taught at Assumption Seminary in Chaska, Minnesota and was much involved in a program of theology for the laity. He also taught at the Carey Seminary, St. Bonaventure University, Catherine Spalding College, Bellarmine University, as well as the Beda and the Seraphicum in Rome. He gave retreats, lectures, and workshops all over the U.S., as well as England, Africa, and Australia.


He was Pastor and Rector of the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. He was Director of the Franciscan Mission Association and the Companion Office. He served on the Presbyteral Council of the Toledo Diocese. He was a past president of the Franciscan Educational Conference and Inter- Province Conference of the Conventual Franciscans. He served as Minister Provincial for six years and was president of the Conventual Franciscan Conference of North America and England. He also served as Vice-Chairman of the Franciscan Friars’ Conference of the US, and as an Assistant General of the Conventual Order.


While serving as the Director of Development for the Province at the age of 65, he received a phone call from Zambia informing him that he had been elected Custos for the Custody of Solwezi. He accepted the position thinking he would only be there for a few years. He ministered in Zambia for 21 years. One Friar observed that it seems that Fr. Juniper’s whole life had prepared him for this important role, one he took on at an age when most people retire.


Fr. Juniper ministered in Zambia for 21 years.

When Fr. Juniper told the story of his vocation, he would begin by saying that as a young boy he wanted to work as a trash collector because he thought it looked like fun. He would finish by saying how happy he was as a Friar – that he had traveled the world and done things he never would have been able to do otherwise – and with the exclamation: “It’s fun to be Franciscan!” Fr. Juniper lived his life joyfully and shared that joy with everyone around him.


Visitation will take place Tuesday, May 30, at 5:30 pm with Mass of the Resurrection to follow at 6:30 pm at Franciscan Retreats & Spirituality Center, 16385 St. Francis Lane, Prior Lake, Minnesota 55372


A Wake Service will be held in the Chapel at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, on Thursday, June 1, at 7:00 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 2. A luncheon will be served following Mass.


Memorial gifts to the Conventual Franciscan Friars may be sent to The Province of Our Lady of Consolation, Development Office, 103 St. Anthony Dr., Mount St. Francis, IN 47146 or by clicking here.