everyday heroes

Thomas Klinedinst, Jr.:

I am currently Board President of St. Francis Seraph Ministries and am a longtime member of the Friars Club Board and the Franciscan Finance Council. The Friars and their Franciscan pragmatic spiritualism continues to be a mentoring role model for me. They not only teach and practice the philosophy of St. Francis, they LIVE it. I find it challenging and rewarding to try to follow their example of truly caring for all of humanity.

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Br. John Bok, OFM

Every Wednesday I have Mass with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at their retirement convent in Reading, Ohio.  I was taught in grade school by the Sisters of Notre Dame.  In July, we had a Mass of Christian Burial for Sister Marie, who was one month shy of celebrating her 100th birthday.  When I read the obituary in the Cincinnati Enquirer the day before the funeral, I read that she had once been known as Sister James Marie.  I suddenly realized that she had taught me in the third grade in 1944-‘45.  I was only 9 years old.  She had an important role in who I am today.

Having Sr. James Marie’s funeral reminded me again about how much our mom and dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles, neighbors, and teachers helped form us into the persons we are today.  The values we have, the way we think, the attitudes that influence the way we live all are so dependent on these people from our earliest years of life. 

My brother, Fr. Jim, is a Franciscan missionary.  We have often talked about how different our lives would have been if we had been born to different parents in a different country under very different circumstances.  Our parents were wonderful role models.

We were lucky, but that is not always the case.  We must try to be mindful of that and very slow in judging others because of where they come from. I am most grateful that our efforts in the Friar Works office enable us to provide the children of the U.S. and other countries with a few positive role models and encouragement that will help play an important role in who they become. Thank you for supporting our ministry and mission.

Friars' Work
Energy to spare

Fr. Ric Schneider, the 82-year-old pastor of St. Mary's Church in Bloomington, Ill., rejects any mention of retirement. “What would I do?”  With more energy than three men, Ric takes on projects and programs that other people would have only kept on their “wish list.”  His parish secretary, Phyllis Taylor, believes his endless energy comes from the Holy Spirit.  “My health is good,” Ric says.  “I take no medicine or vitamins.  I come from a family of 11 children and we always worked.” Four of the Louisville-born Schneider siblings became Franciscan friars of our Province. 

Ric is good at getting things done; he finds ways to fulfill goals when others' willingness to take on the project flags. Right now he needs to resurface the church parking lot and aside from getting the funds to do it, he needs to work with the City to make the sidewalks handicap-accessible.  The contracts and tiresome details don't seem to get in the way of his visiting the sick, overseeing the Soup Kitchen, RCIA, paying off the parish portion of the Archdiocesan High School debt, helping the poor who come to the door of the friary, or taking First Friday Holy Communion to shut-ins.  His efficiency and sense of responsibility sees each task through, when delegating it would have been so much easier.

“We have a wonderful parish of 1,300 families,” he says. “About 20% are Hispanic.”  With the support of Fr. Gregg Petri, who works in Hispanic Ministry, Br. Kevin Duckson, the Pastoral Assistant, and the newly arrived Fr. Neri Greskoviak, they keep things lively. 

As a priest for 55 years, Ric weaves his previous work into his current life.  After ordination he taught at Roger Bacon High School in St. Bernard. Trace back to 50 years ago, when he was Disciplinarian at St. Francis High School Seminary.  Next he was Vocation Director. During that time he says he gave 5,000 vocation talks. In Cincinnati he started a model radio-controlled airplane project with the students, a hobby he continues today.   He found a way to have a landing strip built, kept the grounds himself and even dealt with the Army Corps of Engineers on the project.

After the vocation team, “I was sent to St. Paul's Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, as pastor. As a man in his 40s, I had never signed a check or assisted at funerals.  It was a new and exciting way of life for me.” Ric has led his flock at St. Mary's since 1993. A tireless and enthusiastic supporter of the parish-affiliated school, he received a Distinguished Pastor Award from the National Catholic Educational Association’s Dept. of Elementary Schools in 2012.

Ric, whose patron is St. Theodoric, continues to inspire those around him with his vitality and his charismatic, everyman manner.

Fr. Ric sends his greetings in this video from Chapter 2014.