A view of Big Sur on California coast, where Erick finds comfort viewing the water. (photo courtesy of the author)

The Caress of Sister Water

Erick Lopez, OFM Features

After 15 months in California, Erick Lopez reflects on the impact that the pandemic and the events around the world have had on him, describing the pain of witnessing sickness, anger, climate change, and the mistreatment of people as well as the need to mourn and to recognize love. When he thinks of Easter, his heart takes him to the celebrations he experienced for nine years at St. Camillus Church. Recently, after extreme sadness, he found consolation in “little sparkling drops.”

The DeBiase family in 2014 in front of Bill's childhood home, taking an annual Christmas photo after Mass. Bill is on the right.

My Uncle, the Franciscan Priest – An Example of Selflessness

Sean DeBiase Features

To Sean DeBiase, his great-uncle William DeBiase, OFM, was always just “Uncle Bill.” But the way William lived his life in service to others as a Franciscan friar helped shape Sean’s own life and teaching career. He reflects on his uncle on the one-year anniversary of William’s death.

(Photo courtesy of Franciscan Mission Service)

Building Community with Living Stones

Megeen White Testa Features

This installment of Franciscan Influences, a series published by HNP Today since 2010, is written by a former missioner with the Franciscan Mission Service who spent three years living and serving in Africa. The author, who feels grateful to the friars and Franciscan-hearted people who have influenced her faith, family and life and spirit over the past 30 years, reflects on experiences that have inspired her.

Reflecting on Lent as a Season of Grace

Charles O’Connor, OFM Features

In our ministries, we serve people from all different walks of life, and of varied ethnic, racial and cultural backgrounds: those who are young and old, rich and poor, liberal and conservative. In my experience as a friar, when you ask those who are Catholic, for example in our parishes, how they understand the season of Lent, a number of them will speak about Lent, as a time to give something up, like a certain food that they really like, or perhaps a certain beverage, like a favorite soda or alcoholic drink.

Reflecting on Ash Wednesday during Pandemic

James Scullion, OFM Features

“Repent and believe in the Gospel.” We receive this invitation each Ash Wednesday as the minister places ashes on our forehead. Each year, we carry our experiences from the past year as we process up the aisle to receive our ashes. This year, we bring our experiences of the pandemic.

Holidays During a Pandemic

Scott Brookbank, OFM Features

The Christmas holidays can be a stressful time, especially when dealing with personal loss and this time of the pandemic. But there are a number of things we can do to celebrate the holidays at our own pace and in our own ways while dealing with grief.

Participants in the October 2019 pilgrimage to Franciscan sites in Italy, in front of a church in Magliano where the group honored the first president of St. Bonaventure University, Fr. Pamfilo Pietrobattista da Magliano. The author is standing in the first row, third from right. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Franciscan Influences: Deepening Faith and Dealing with Loss

Kathy Colucci Features

My friends the Franciscans, followers of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, have had a powerful impact on me for 47 years, shaping the person I have become and deepening my faith. They have been there in good times, and even more so in tough times. Reflecting on how the friars and their values affect me has been especially meaningful during this month of remembrance.