did you know
Our SJB Province has a “twin” a half a world away, the Custody of St. John the Baptist in Pakistan.

As a religious minority – 98% of their countrymen are Muslim – Pakistani friars face many challenges in daily life and ministry.

friar facts
San Damiano
Convent home of Clare and her sisters. Clare died here.

The pope's recent Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, is guiding my Lenten journey. I treat myself to a few paragraphs daily. This document is the only Vatican publication I've encountered that I wish would not end. The text is well-translated and quite readable, and even more important, very inspiring. Pope Francis helps me to rediscover a spiritual center that somehow I've misplaced over the years: "to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ."

Additionally, one of our fellow friars who is our regional coordinator for evangelization in the Archdiocese of Detroit, has given a regional three-evening workshop on parish evangelization which our parish in Southfield, Mich., is hosting. Several members of our pastoral council attended the workshops. The topic of evangelization is beginning to dominate our monthly meetings, as it should.

Some questions keep arising: What took me so long to appreciate the priority of evangelization? Did the election of Pope Francis a year ago help bring proclamation of the gospel forward? Why didn't Paul VI's message in Evangelii nuntiandi garner more interest back in 1975 when it was first issued? What am I as a follower of St. Francis going to do about it? Our chapter in May will propose that each local friary embrace one project of evangelization. That may be the push I need to become more intentional about spreading the good news.

Fr Bill Farris, OFM
Provincial Councilor

Inspired by the life of St. Francis
The 170 friars of St. John the Baptist Province (SJB) are members of the Order of Friars Minor, a Franciscan brotherhood inspired by the 13th-century example of St. Francis of Assisi. We serve the Catholic Church as brothers and priests, devoting our lives to the search for God in a communal life of poverty, prayer, and service to others.
Globally, the Order is divided into geographic areas known as "provinces." Most of the Friars from SJB province, which has its headquarters in Cincinnati, live and work in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Texas and Jamaica. Others serve in New Mexico, Arizona, Missouri and Washington, D.C. Individual friars presently minister around the world in Kenya, Japan and the Philippines.
We serve as parish and campus ministers; as hospital, military and prison chaplains; as counselors; as educators and administrators in high schools, colleges and our formation program; as preachers and retreat directors in evangelization efforts; as directors of anti-poverty programs; as skilled craftsmen and in support services; as writers and communicators; and as missionaries—all ways of spreading the Good News.