ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — We in the Ministry of the Word keep ourselves quite busy from late September until May or June preaching missions and retreats. As the summer rolls around, the demand for that ministry dies down so, in addition to taking time for vacation and retreat, most of us help out in parishes. Summertime is also a chance to do some reading, to study and to work on our talks for upcoming missions and retreats.
Martin Bednar, OFM, spent several years ministering to the people of Immaculate Conception Parish in Hialeah, Fla., where he and Roderick Petrie, OFM, were involved in a special evangelization program from 2000 to 2004. Since rejoining the MOW team full time, Marty returns to Hialeah during the summer as well as at Christmas time and for Holy Week. He is a much-loved figure in that parish.
On Aug. 22, he joined seven other friars in New York for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of their solemn profession. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, celebrated a Mass for Marty, Richard Biasiotto, OFM,Edward Flanagan, OFM, Berard Hanlon, OFM, William Mann, OFM, Neil O’Connell, OFM, John Pierce, OFM, and Robert Struzysnki, OFM. A photo was taken before the Mass.
Rod Petrie has also at times returned to Immaculate Conception as well as to San Pedro Parish in Key Largo, Fla.
I have ben a regular summer fixture, with the exception of two years, at St. Peter the Fisherman Parish in Eagle River, Wis., since 1995. In 1999, St. Peter’s clustered with two nearby parishes in Phelps and Land O’Lakes, and I move between all three parishes. I made my connection with Eagle River through Sr. Bonnie Alho, a Servite sister from Wisconsin, whom I met while on sabbatical in 1993.
Over the years, my time in Eagle River and the other parishes has expanded as has my involvement with other activities such as singing in the ecumenical choir concert run by the local Lutheran Church each July (shown in photo) and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at the beginning of August. In the last few years, I have also conducted adult education sessions, which seem to be popular and well attended.
As the summer comes to an end, we are looking forward to regrouping with our friar community in St. Petersburg and getting back on the road with our regular work, which in the months ahead will takes us to various parts of Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, New York, and even one mission for me in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
— Fr. John is co-director of the HNP Ministry of the Word.