Student Friars Walk in Francis’ Footsteps

Rebecca Doel Franciscan World

CINCINNATI — Four young friars and their mentors from the Province of St. John the Baptist, based here, are following the example of St. Francis — depending on the generosity of strangers for work, food and shelter as they walk 300 miles during a six-week pilgrimage to Washington, D.C.

The journey, which began last month in Roanoke, Va., and is part of the friars’ formation, can be tracked through Walking with Hope, a blog-style Web site that shows the friars’ progress and features photos and brief reflections from the pilgrims and their supporters.

Along the way, brothers Richard Goodin, OFM, Clifford Hennings, OFM, Roger Lopez, OFM, and Joshua Van Cleef, OFM, with mentors Fr. Ed Shea, OFM, and Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM, have slept on picnic tables and trampolines. On July 12, they departed Harrisonburg, Va., to embark on the Appalachian Trail.

Br. Roger explained why he wanted to take part in the pilgrimage to the Roanoke Times: “When we encounter people on the road, we can spend time with them. We’re going to let God plan this. That way, we can really hear the presence of God.”

The pilgrimage has also been featured in CathNews USA and the July 2 issue of SJB News Notes, the province’s newsletter.

The friars expect to reach Washington the week of July 27.

Rebecca Doel, communications coordinator for Holy Name Province, is a native of Cincinnati.