Our newest postulant was prompted to follow his dream when he saw this sign at the St. Anthony Shrine.
“This shall be the sign to you from the LORD, that the LORD will do what he has promised.”
Early in March of 2019 I received a call while working in the Vocation Office adjacent to St Anthony Shrine in Cincinnati, Ohio. The man on the other end told me that he was interested in becoming a friar. We talked for a little while, and I believed his intentions to be genuine, so I agreed to meet him at my office within the week.
In vocation work these kinds of calls are rare—most people come to my attention through the website. The process can be slow as we arrange a time to meet (usually where they reside), which often requires travel on my part.
During the interview, one of the first questions I asked him is how he found out about the friars. He told me that he was going to Mt. Airy Forest for a hike and he saw our sign. (Mt. Airy Forest is a 1,400+ acre wooded park just across the street from St. Anthony Shrine and Friary, where my office is located.) He told me that when he saw this sign he knew at that instant that the time had come to follow a dream he’d had for many years—and that dream was to become a friar. I made sure that he was talking about the little yard sign at the exit of the Shrine. He assured me that it was. He told me after returning home that he looked us up online and gave me a call.
During the interview I ascertained that he was earnest and wanted to join as quickly as possible. That would mean that he would join the class of 2019! This would be no small feat, since the last Admissions Board would be held in late April. I thought this was not enough time to properly discern. Then I recalled my own discernment and how I was invited, discerned, and then applied in a span of about a three months. In my case I had received my call some time before I was invited. I believed that I had other things I wanted to do first and indeed did them.
The man told me that he was a convert to Catholicism and that he had been interested in religious life since his Profession of Faith. The invitation to me and this yard sign came at exactly the right moment for both of us. Trusting that God may have a hand in this process, I began to ask this man questions to see if he met our criteria: Yes, he was within our age limit. Yes, he is a practicing Catholic. Yes, he is single and without dependents. And so on it went, and there were no impediments to his discerning with us. I explained the short time frame and how I was not willing to cut corners for him. He told me that he understood and assured me that he could meet whatever deadlines I put before him. I gave him some forms to fill out—just a few of the many forms he would have to fill out before the process was complete. Within a week I scheduled a Come and See weekend, a live-in experience with the friars. During the weekend he ate, prayed, and enjoyed recreation time with the friars. He also toured other Franciscan friaries in the Cincinnati area and even visited with the Poor Clares.
So who is this man? His name is Timothy Amburgey. He was born and raised in the Wilmington, Ohio, area—a small town called Lynchburg. He is 44 and became Catholic in 1985. He is currently employed by an electronic film distribution company. He has had a varied work history, including time working in politics. He can be described as lively, energetic, and engaged. He has had some hurdles in his life—a severe car accident severed his left arm, which through good medical care and his own persistence now functions fairly normally.
Men enter Postulancy at all ages and from all walks of life. We don’t always understand God’s timeline, but everything is in His time—God calls both younger and older men to ministry.
Through the Grace of God and the power of His signs, Tim will begin formation as a postulant in Silver Spring, Maryland, on August 14 of this year. He will be joined there by three other men from this province and eleven other men from the other five provinces across the U.S.
With humility and gratitude, we ask for your prayers and financial support for our future brothers as they prepare for religious life.
Br. Tim Lamb, OFM
P.S. Your support means a great deal to this new generation of friars, dedicated to the service of God and His Church.
Contact Br. Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-218-3547 (texting is fine).