Serving in Coastal Georgia

In the mid-1980s, Savannah Bishop Raymond Lessard sent out a plea for help. The Marists, the Oblates, and the OFMs were all ending their service in the diocese at the same time, leaving the Bishop with his limited number of diocesan clergy to serve the faithful. The message reached the Province of Our Lady of Consolation. Our Provincial Fr. Juniper Cummings, OFM Conv. asked our Friars if they were interested, and many responded generously. (Fr. Juniper was Provincial from 1982 to 1988.)

St. Francis Xavier Parish in Brunswick
St. Francis Xavier Parish in Brunswick

In 1987 Fr. Gerard Herman, OFM Conv. and Fr. Florian Tiell, OFM Conv. went St. Joseph Parish in Jesup with a mission at St. Stephen Parish in Hinesville, while Fr. Ben Knopp went to St. Francis Xavier in Brunswick. Other Friars helped staff St. William’s Parish on St. Simon’s Island. Fr. Herbert Graf, OFM Conv. served the small Catholic communities in Hazelhurst and Baxter.

Eventually the ministries grew beyond the parishes. Our Friars served in prison ministry at the Federal Correctional Institute in Jesup and as military chaplains at Fort Stewart. Another ministry dear to the hearts of many Friars over the years has been with those who fish for their living off the Georgia coast. From the Blessing of the Boats, to ecumenical worship services, to providing the sacraments, this ministry has brought us close to the Lord, whose first followers made their living in the same way.

On Thursday, June 6, the Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., Bishop of Savannah, presided at Mass at St. Xavier Parish in Brunswick, Georgia, celebrating the service of the Friars from the Province of Our Lady of Consolation.

L to R: Friars John Stowe, Bob Showers, Wilfrid Logsdon, Bishop Hartmayer,  Friar Charles Henkle
L to R: Friars John Stowe, Bob Showers, Wilfrid Logsdon, Bishop Hartmayer, Friar Charles Henkle (Photo by Sarah E. Dixon/ Southern Cross)

Thank you to the people of South Georgia who have welcomed us so warmly for the past 27 years. Peace and all good. You will be always in our prayers.

Serving in Coastal Georgia

Friars completing their service in Brunswick:

Fr. Chuck Henkle
Fr. Wilfrid Logsdon
Fr. Bob Showers

Still serving in Jesup: 

Fr. Keith O’Neill

Other Conventual Franciscans from the Province of Our Lady of Consolation who served in South Georgia:

Fr. Peter Nickles
Fr. Ernest Waechter
Br. Hugo Lamm
Fr. John Columban Sattler
Fr. Hilary Gottbrath
Br. Dominic Palombi
Br. Michael Wright
Br. Stephen Pifher
Fr. Cletus Pifher
Fr. Maurice Hayes
Fr. Camillus Gott
Br. Francis Dipple
Fr. Germain Belen