CINCINNATI — Recent issues of SJB News Notes, the weekly newsletter of St. John the Baptist Province, include information on how friars of the Midwest province, based here, have been coping with the recent abundance of snow, as well as writings from their provincial minister, Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, on his travels to the Far East.
The Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 issues each included Fr. Jeff’s reflections on his visits to Pakistan, the Philippines and Tokyo, respectively. In each location, he visited SJB friars serving those communities.
The accounts are very personal, including such details as what was served at meals and what are on the grounds of the friaries. In the first of the series, “Spirit of the brotherhood thrives in Pakistan,” Fr. Jeff wrote, “The friary compound is also home to chickens, roosters, turkeys and some very large and loud crows. … At meals, we often had rice, chickpeas, lentils and rose-colored carrots. I did not find the meals too spicy, but I think they toned it down a bit for the assembly.”
Friars, including Fr. Michael Lenz, OFM, based in Pittsburgh, Pa., received more than 20 inches of snow recently. Fr. Mike’s reaction was: “Whatever God sends, we accept,” adding, “I like snow a lot, but this is enough.”
The friars used the opportunity to catch up on things that needed to be done around the house. Fr. Jeremy Harrington, OFM, based in Washington, D.C., reported that the community of 20 friars spent two days cooking for themselves. They were without mail for a week.
Additionally, each issue of SJB News Notes continues to remind readers of the importance to support Franciscan efforts to aid earthquake survivors in Haiti. Funds raised will be distributed to relief agencies on the ground in Haiti, and a portion will be forwarded to General Minster Fr. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, to help friars in Haiti rebuild their community.
The rear photo, which appeared on the cover of the Feb. 12 issue of SJB News Notes, was taken by Br. Scott Obrecht, OFM. The caption read: “Miles Pfalzer supervises while Ed Demyanovich clears a path to the ramp at St. Francis Retreat House in Easton. (Apparently, people from Canada don’t need coats.)”