did you know

Every six years Franciscans gather to elect leaders and discuss their future.

May 10-June 7, Provincial Minister Jeff Scheeler will join friars from around the world at the General Chapter of the Order in Assisi, Italy.

friar facts
Third Order Franciscan
The Secular Franciscan Order founded by St. Francis for lay people who wished to follow his teachings. Today it also refers to the sisters and brothers who decided to live under vows as Third Order Regular Franciscans.
The second Sunday of Easter is also known as Divine Mercy Sunday. On that day I celebrated Eucharist with the residents and visitors at St. Margaret Hall, where 10 of our friars live. The Gospel was the story of Thomas, his doubt, his profession of faith, and the invitation Jesus gave him to touch his wounds to help Thomas know that he was real and risen. Most Sundays a woman named Judy comes to bring her mother, a St. Margaret Hall resident, to Mass. Sometimes her mom is a bit “out of it,” and does not understand what is going on. Sometimes she will not open her mouth for communion; on those days, Judy sends me a signal that her mom will not be receiving communion.

That Sunday was one of those days. As I moved on to give communion to others, I saw Judy tenderly pull aside her mother’s hair and gently kiss her on the cheek. It was a very “touching” experience, and I use that word deliberately in the light of the Gospel’s invitation. Judy touched and kissed the wounded Body of Christ. Her mom may not have received sacramental communion, but she surely was given the gift of communion through her daughter’s care. Later in the day I used that story with a couple with whom I am doing marriage preparation as a lead in to a discussion of how physical affection can lead to spiritual communion. I felt like I had seen “divine mercy” that day, and with Mary Magdalen, could say, “I have seen the risen Lord!” Our care for one another can be a sign of God’s mercy. Thank you, our friends and benefactors, for doing that for us friars, and for being for us a tangible sign of the presence of Jesus.

--Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM
Provincial Minister

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.