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Casey Cole’s New Video Series Shows Varied Lives of Friars

It is often said that no two days are the same in the life of a Franciscan friar. With this in mind, Casey Cole, OFM, decided to produce videos to share with the world the lives of six friars.

“Sometimes shot in a single day, other times highlighting a variety of tasks over a series of days, no one video is meant to capture every aspect of each friar’s life as if each were complete, stand-alone records of each friar’s life,” said Casey. “Rather, just as we come together to build a fraternity that is greater than any one individual, these videos are intended to be taken together, each as a piece of the wider, ongoing, and growing puzzle of what it means to live as a Franciscan.”

The new six-part web series titled “A Friar Life” features Fred Dilger, OFM, of Philadelphia who shows his work at the Province’s St. Francis Inn soup kitchen; Daniel Horan, OFM, who lives in Chicago and talks about balancing being a friar, speaker, writer and avid runner; and former Siena president William McConville, OFM, who is marking 50 years as a friar and is stationed at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, N.C.

“This series has been tremendously enjoyable to make and the response – from both laypeople and friars — has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Casey. “Viewers comment frequently about the inspiration that the friars give.”

The video series, which is available on Casey’s website, BreakingInTheHabit.org and on his YouTube channel of the same name, also follows a day in the life of Joseph Nangle, OFM, who lives at Clare House, the 30-year old residential community comprising both lay and religious men and women in Washington, D.C.; Patrick Tuttle, OFM, who gives viewers an inside look at life at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Greenville, S.C.; and student friar Angel Vazquez, OFM, who shares what is like to be part of the interprovincial post-novitiate setting at St. Joseph Friary in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.

“There is something very fulfilling about being behind the camera and telling a story by building up others rather than being in front of it,” said Casey. “In such situations, I find myself split between being a director working to get the right show to shape the story while also an interested viewer amazed and inspired by my brothers.”

Casey Cole and Patrick Tuttle at St. Anthony of Padua Church (Photo courtesy of Casey)

This past Lenten season, Casey in collaboration with Franciscan Media, produced a weekly blog and video series tackling themes such as sacrifice, joy, humility, pleasure, and piety. He first started producing videos in 2015 when he and Edgardo Jara, OFM, took a road trip from San Diego, Calif. to Washington, D.C. Since then, he says, he has spent “countless hours” watching tutorials online, practicing techniques, and learning from professionals.

Last summer, videos that Casey produced were aired by Catholic TV, a Massachusetts-based Catholic Cable channel.

“For years, I have gotten requests to share what a normal day is like for a friar, and I’ve wanted to show it,” said Casey. “But who could capture what it means to be a Franciscan for us all? What one single day could epitomize the rest? Surely, for us friars, one does not exist.”

Casey is planning to release regular segments of “Catholicism in Focus,” a series devoted to answering often misunderstood or widely unknown questions about the Catholic Church, this fall, beginning in September.

“I also filmed a documentary series this summer with Robert Serrano, OFM, and Jay Woods, OFM, traveling to six of our ministry sites on the East Coast to learn more about the state of our Church,” said Casey. “The series is still in production, and no name or release date has been set.”

Casey, along with Ramon Razon, OFM, will profess his final vows as a Franciscan on August 26 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. They are both participating in the traditional solemn vows retreat this month. Casey is doing his retreat in Italy while Ramon started his retreat at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. and will finish in Malibu, Calif.

Information about Casey can be found on his blog as well as on his Facebook page, Casey Cole, OFM.   

— Johann Cuervo is a communications assistant in the Provincial Office.

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