Thanks To You

Thanks to you, we are able to help provide support for “Hat Pax”, an outreach program of the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace. Manned by our Br. Al Mascia, OFM, it has transformed a simple distribution of goods into an exciting and fun-filled event. “The children themselves designed their own hats by selecting multicolored fleece panels from a wide selection which were then sewn and completed by volunteers and delivered to the students about a week later during a huge celebration,” says Al.

The Song and Spirit program serves children in schools or soup kitchens where staff and volunteers are creative in addressing human needs: hunger, shelter and clothing. At one school, Song and Spirit established a pantry where they distributed hundreds of “Snack Pax” to augment their nutritional needs and engaged in creative activities such as the Hat Pax initiative.

The photo is from a charter school that serves children living below the poverty line. Thanks to you we are able to help support this wonderful program. For more information, visit

Missionary Life

This year many Christmas decorations previously displayed at St. Francis Seraph Friary have been moved to the Christian Moerlein Brewery Event Center across the street. This move has allowed me to encounter a number of young adults who came to the tap room to enjoy a few draft beers not expecting to encounter a Franciscan Friar. 

One young man shared with me how frightening it is to be questioning everything; faith, science, and life in general.  A young women who sought me out as I was closing up shop wanted to talk about her battle with depression. A friend from the neighborhood encouraged a young man to come and talk to me.  He, too, was looking for more out of life.  

Discussion topics have been wide-ranging: a woman who interprets the Bible is struggling with reconciling that belief with the world around her.  A couple involved in the RCIA program had a million and one questions. Others wanted to discuss the issues of our day such as Ferguson, Mo., and race relations in our country.  I can see clearly now why Pope Francis is calling us to be in the market place. 

“The Spirit of Christmas Tour” sponsored by American Legacy Tours has brought a couple of hundred people through St. Francis Seraph Friary to see the live nativity in the courtyard and the 50 or so nativity scenes in the front hallways. I have had the opportunity to share with people how central the Incarnation was to St. Francis’ spirituality and why in 1223 in the city of Greccio he had the desire to experience the birth of Christ in such a unique way.

A number of groups make a visit to St. Francis Seraph a yearly tradition at Christmas.  Several senior centers bring a busload of people for their annual Christmas outing.  A Boy Scout troop from Hyde Park stops here first before they go ice skating on Fountain Square.  It is not unusual to find men from the Joseph House, a rehab program for Vets just down the street, sitting on the benches praying and reflecting.  Homeless people visit on a daily basis.  

I personally have been blessed by all of these encounters. I pray and hope that these times are as much of a blessing to the individuals.

Tim Sucher, OFM
Director, Franciscan Mission Office

--Br. Tim Sucher, OFM
Director, Franciscan Mission Office