ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, was among the many attending the recent celebration here marking the 150th anniversary of Sacred Heart Province.
The province, which encompasses much of the mid sections of the United States,from Minnesota to Texas, the Chicago-St. Louis area, concluded its year-long jubilee on Sept. 14 to 15, celebrating its German roots. General Minister Jose Carballo Rodriguez, OFM, attended, along with provincial ministers or provincial vicars from more than six provinces.
“It was a very positive and joyful celebration,” said John, who was asked to speak at the reception as president of the English-speaking Conference of provincials.
The highlight of the festivities was a 3 p.m. Mass on Sept. 15 at St. Anthony Church, presided by the General Minster. Michael Perry, OFM, the newly-elected provincial minister of Sacred Heart, preached. The music was presented by a choir of friars, an organist and brass orchestra.
More than 150 friars participated in the Mass, according to John, including the acting bishop of St. Louis and the bishop of Springfield, Ill. At the end of the liturgy, the General Minister gave each Sacred Heart friar a copy of the Rule. After Mass, a banquet followed at the Frontenac Hilton.
Almost 250-friars strong, Sacred Heart was founded when nine Franciscans from Saxony, a region of Germany, landed in New York and traveled to Teutopolis, Ill., in response to a call from the Catholic bishop of Alton, Ill.
Throughout these 150 years, the province has given more than 3,300 men to the Church, according to Benet Fonck, OFM, Sacred Heart communications director. They have worked in universities, schools, retreat houses, and as missionaries. They have also staffed parishes in Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
The photo above appeared in the Sept. 18 issue of Sacred Heart’s Around the Province newsletter.