With National Vocation Awareness Week, Nov. 7-13, that’s the question we posed to the friars as they reflected on what brought them to the Franciscans and how they live out their love for God and others on a daily basis.
Henry Beck, OFM:
I continue to feel the presence and joy of God in my heart that called me to begin my journey long ago during my years in formation. I especially experience this joy and inspiration during my prayer times, in my spiritual direction times with my mentors and in my ministry moments with others who share their hearts with me and with whom I celebrate the liturgy. God keeps beckoning me through our Franciscan life together and in my walking with others. I continue to be grateful to God for all of these graces.
Bryant Hausfeld, OFM:
I was just following in the footsteps of my uncle, my brother and my two cousins. It has also been a great way to deal with real people, which I love to do.
Bruce Hausfeld, OFM:
I am a friar because of the good example of my mom and dad, how their faith inspired me as a child and the faith of all the Franciscans who taught at Roger Bacon when I was growing up in St. Bernard.
David Kohut, OFM:
Since I was a little boy, I wanted to be a Franciscan. My grandmother had a great devotion to St. Francis. She was a Third Order member and instilled in me a love for the “little poor one.” She died when I was five years old. Before she died, she taught me how to pray. In return, I taught her how to write her name. We got along very well. That was the beginnings of my desire to be a Franciscan.
Mike Lenz, OFM:
When I grew up in Toledo, Ohio, I was heavily influenced by the four Jesuits in my parish, as well as the Conventual Franciscans in my high school, and I ended up with the OFMs. I enjoy being a Franciscan friar because of the sense of community and the down-to-earth approach we have with the people we meet daily. I hope many more young men will continue to join us in this way of life. It’s a good life.
Mark Ligett, OFM:
Francis of Assisi first captured my heart through the Sisters of St. Francis of Oldenburg, Ind. They taught me in both elementary school and high school and I idolized them. Their joy was infectious. While in the first grade, I proudly announced I wanted to be an Oldenburg Franciscan when I grew up. My teacher, Sr. Mary Dorothy Spaeth, told me that would not be possible, but promised to show me a picture of what I could become one day. The next day, she brought in a photo of a friar and said, “This is what you can be.” Then, in the sixth grade, a young Fr. “Theodoric” (aka Ric Schneider) came to help out at our parish in Middletown, Ohio, and visited our school. He was the first friar I ever met, and in him I witnessed the same Franciscan joy I had come to know in the sisters. It was then that I set my heart on becoming a friar. Now, 50 plus years later, that Franciscan joy is still alive in my heart because of my brother friars.
Dominic Lococo, OFM:
I grew up in St. Boniface Parish, Louisville, Ky. The Franciscans staffed the church for many years. I was one of many altar boys who served at the various Masses during the week, and during May, led the rosary. Br. Paschal was our organizer and made sure we were on time at each service. He was a model to me, not necessarily at the time, but later in life when I thought of my vocation, it was a contributing factor. I would give credit to St. Therese the Little Flower and her “Little Way,” who made it known that great things were not necessarily expected of us, but to be faithful in daily chores and schedules. Praying the rosary after school during my senior year of high school and devotion to Our Lady of Fatima helped, too. I wrote to a number of communities before settling on the Franciscans in 1952. Here I am 69 years later, thanks be to God, continuing the life I promised to follow those many years ago. I have no regrets, only gratitude for mercy shown to a small creature who has been so blessed.
Jeff Scheeler, OFM:
My vocation was nurtured by the friars at St. George Parish in Cincinnati, where my family was active. I was baptized by a friar, given first Communion by a friar and generally grew up with the friars being a familiar part of my life. This certainly continued when I went to St. Francis Seminary, Duns Scotus and St. Leonard. The friars became family, companions and mentors. The initial impetus was a desire to serve and to be like these men who I admired. There was not dramatic call, but a rather persistent sense of the friar community being the best place to grow, develop and use the gifts and talents given to me by a good God. It’s been a good choice.