Monday, April 29, 2013

Pleasing God

Lectio Divina

"... with whom I am well pleased."

Matthew 3:17


Reading Hospitality in the chapel. Johnson, Friends of God and Prophets, and Lawler, Secular Marriage, Christian Sacrament, on my desk.


Yesterday, for the evening meal, served pasta (spaghetti), both plain and a Mediterranean mix of olives, tomatoes, and fake feta (made with tofu marinated in miso brine). Turkey meatballs on the side, as well as tomato sauce canned by one of our novice brothers from produce grown in our vegetable garden. I steamed some carrots and recycled some mixed vegetables, and I tossed a spinach salad with cranberries and toasted almonds and a white wine vinaigrette. And we served some garlic bread, too, with "fake butter." Then, the desserts: two cappuccino mousse pies (non-dairy), and a chocolate ice cream pie.

I will miss cooking and baking for 30 friars plus guests when novitiate ends. And while it is gratifying to receive compliments from the brothers for the food they have enjoyed, I derive the greater satisfaction from knowing I have done something pleasing for God. For in feeding my brothers, I feed Christ. And in cooking well, I have done something beautiful for God.

This week, class sessions on Franciscan approaches to ministry and mission. This afternoon, spiritual direction in Santa Barbara. This evening, schola practice (presumably).


Spring is risen ... spring is truly risen indeed. Slacks and tube socks, and thinner layers under the habit.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Another Chapter

Lectio Divina

I am going to be with the Father.

John 14:12 (New Living Translation)


Continuing Johnson, Friends of God and Prophets, and dipping into Lawler, Secular Marriage, Christian Sacrament. Received the latest issue of Hospitality from the Open Door Community in Atlanta, and finishing the National Catholic Reporter.


House chapter this morning, followed by our regular house jobs. This means watering the grounds, which I will be doing more often, perhaps three days a week as we expect another prolonged season of drought this year. Gearing up with the novitiate newsletter, too.

Hanging back at San Lorenzo this evening instead of going to the vigil Mass at Queen of Angels Parish in Lompoc, where a Guamanian feast awaits the brothers. I will be making preparations for the Sunday evening meal, which I am cooking with one of my novice brothers. A quiet Saturday night in the kitchen ... I am one wild and crazy guy.


Very much like a desert. We expect a high of nearly 90 degrees tomorrow. Once I wrote a bluesy song about high heat.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Glory. Glory?

Lectio Divina

... the Son of Man glorified ... God glorified in him....

John 13:31

Suddenly at a loss to understand this glory. Don't be surprised by this admission. Really, what is glory, and why is it so important? Life, I understand; love, I understand. Glory ... I must attend to my lack of comprehension. Or my forgetting.


Continuing Johnson, Friends of God and Prophets, and reading through the National Catholic Reporter. Dipping into Lawler, Secular Marriage, Christian Sacrament.


Felt one or two hours short of a full night's rest yesterday ... drowsy and inattentive during the day of reflection with the Catholic Worker community. I am sorry about that, but at least the other participants were not slumbering. God, wake me up so I can see ... the glory?

Faith sharing with the men in prison at Lompoc, followed this evening by our review of life in advance of house chapter tomorrow morning. Now, to various writing assignments.


Truly like a desert, hot and cold.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

With All the Faithful

Lectio Divina

I say as the Father told me.

John 12:50


Read the latest issue of America cover to cover in the last 24 hours. The new National Catholic Reporter is waiting on my night table. Still mulling the slim volume by Simone Weil. Meanwhile, began reading the following:

Johnson, Elizabeth A. Friends of God and Prophets: A Feminist Theological Reading of the Communion of Saints. London: Continuum, 1998.

And I am re-reading this book, which I first picked up in 2010:

Lawler, Michael G. Secular Marriage, Christian Sacrament. Mystic, Conn.: Twenty-Third Publications, 1985.


We've bypassed most of the memorials and feast days for saints this Easter thus far, but not today, for we celebrated Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, our Capuchin brother who was martyred in the 17th century. You can read about his life here and here. Given the circumstances of his demise, I am wondering how to claim him as one of my own while remaining in a spirit of ecumenical charity toward my Christian sisters and brothers. The wars over religion in Europe during the 17th century sadden me very much. Let us never take for granted the heroic efforts of the faithful involved in the modern ecumenical movement, who over the last century have moved the Christian churches past those violent times and closer to the unity of mind and heart that the ancient Church glimpsed.

Continuing to feel the pull of Boston, my adopted home, my Jerusalem. Offered prayers for the people of the city and metropolitan region during our holy hour of Eucharistic adoration.

It was a day of extended hermitage for me, reading and working quietly on my third and final formal evaluation. Our day of recollection is done; now going to relax with the brothers and view one of my favorite films, The Usual Suspects, with them. Yes, The Usual Suspects. Who would have thought?

Going to Beatitude House tomorrow morning immediately after Mass and morning prayer to conduct another day of reflection with the Catholic Worker community.


No sun today. Who would have thought?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Just the Same

Lectio Divina

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.

John 10:16


Always reading Scripture, of course, but most personal reading is currently on hold.


A typical day of work and prayer ahead. Not a day to mark time, mind you, but a day without extraordinary diversions from the routine. So let the routine function as it is intended, to enable us to consecrate the whole day to service of God and neighbor (in our case, our brothers). A day just the same as many others, but another day to live in and for God and neighbor. Another day to live the Gospel, and what an extraordinary opportunity that is.

This morning, concluding our two weeks of study of Scripture interpretation with the final small group presentations. House jobs this afternoon. Cycling off my eight-day turn on the kitchen chores team. Beginning a day of recollection this evening on the topic of the international Capuchin fraternity. All the while, continuing writing assignments for the newsletter and evaluations, and discerning theological studies and ministry, a future presenting itself by degrees.


Just right for spring.

Monday, April 22, 2013

On Assignment

Lectio Divina

Now I cry out like a woman in labor....

Isaiah 42:14

God gave them the same gift ...

Acts 11:17


Finishing Dietrich, Broken and Shared. Still mulling the book by Simone Weil. Kind of in between heavy reading with the multiple writing assignments I have now.


My small group gave its presentation on the death of Jesus according to Mark 15 this morning. We were comprehensive, stayed on point, and we stayed within time limits. Considering the scope of our presentation -- to describe the world behind the text, the world within the text, and the world in front of the text -- we acquitted ourselves well, in spite of the compression we had to do!

During lunch hour, I had a conversation with the assistant director of admissions at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry about the Master of Theology program. Discernment of theological studies in the post-novitiate is continuing to heighten in intensity. Preparations are certain to follow and likely to be more than provisional.

In light of the personal reflection I need to do for this third and final period of evaluation, I was anticipating my meeting for spiritual direction in Santa Barbara this afternoon. Unfortunately, it was cancelled. We'll have to "fall back" on my primary spiritual director, the Holy Spirit, which is not that bad a Plan B.

Abbreviated evening prayer, omitting the Office of Readings, so that we can spend some time socializing before dinner to celebrate the patronal feasts of the Central Canada province, Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd, and the Mid-America province, Saint Conrad (a German Capuchin saint). Then, prayerful silence, during which I will pray over the self-reflection and peer evaluations I need to write, among other assignments.


Seventy-seven degrees at quarter to four in the afternoon. Not a drop of rain forecast for the next ten days, and only the slightest of clouds. A dry season is upon us, but hopefully not within us.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Floating About

Lectio Divina

I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Psalm 116:14

This line is presently a permanent part of my lectio divina. And I gather it will become more important as, God willing, the date of my first profession of celibacy, poverty, and obedience approaches.


Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared. Was looking for something intellectual to complement my reading of the Catholic Worker. So I found a volume by Simone Weil in our library. Not sure if I'll read it all the way through. I'll post bibliographical information if I get halfway through the book.


A little lull before the Mass and luncheon to celebrate the 50th anniversary of San Lorenzo Seminary. The gala we had last September commemorated the founding of San Lorenzo itself; today we mark the beginning of the novitiate on these grounds. What was once the novitiate of the California province of Capuchins only is now the novitiate for all the English-speaking provinces of the North American and Pacific Capuchin Conference. We expect a standing-room only scene in the chapel today. From benefactors to friars and members of the community that gathers regularly at San Lorenzo, we will be surrounded by friends of Saint Francis.

No time today to brood over the sorrowful mysteries in Boston. Arose an hour early to shower and have breakfast before morning prayer. My body wanted me to be ready for today. Big parties have always made me feel anxious. Nowadays, on days when we have lots of company, I like to keep busy, to keep moving. Being available for odd jobs, being useful is the way I show charity to many friendly but unfamiliar people in an intensely social situation like luncheons or receptions. Let those brothers who are good at being Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus in the person of our guests, do so, and those who are good at being Martha, working in the kitchen, also do so. I may be choosing the lesser part, but I can do it well, and besides, we don't all have to choose like Mary all the time.

Now, back to floating about.


Looking and feeling like spring, California or otherwise.

Friday, April 19, 2013

No One Can Take Them

Lectio Divina

... no one can take them ...

John 10:28, 29

What I hear in these words of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is that those who let themselves be given over to God's loving care cannot be destroyed, no matter what those who would harm us can do. They can only kill the flesh of the body, but they cannot kill the soul or forever destroy the body and soul in their eternal unity. No one can take a single one from the herd of God's flock. But we must allow ourselves to be sheep, given by God to the care of the Son. Heaven forbid that we be wolves, takers of life. We do not need to take away from anyone or any thing. All is gift; all is given to those who allow themselves to be given over.


Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared, in the chapel stall.


I am reading the news about the events developing in Boston now. My goodness ... I cannot believe what I am seeing. With the whole Boston region in lockdown and the reports of fatal violence in this manhunt, I can't help but feel that yesterday's prayers for justice without vengeance ring hollow in God's ears.

Last night one of my novice brothers related a chestnut of a wisdom saying. There were two persons, one who believed in God, and one who did not. The one who did not believe in God wanted to ask God, "Why is there so much evil in the world? Why do you allow so much evil to persist?" But that person did not dare to ask. When the one who believed in God asked why, the other replied, "I am afraid God will ask me the same questions."

Morning prayer and Mass today with company -- the directors of initial formation for the various provinces of the North American and Pacific Capuchin Conference are here for meetings. Ministry at the prison in Lompoc later today. Faith sharing this evening.

We are on the cusp of the third and final period of evaluation. Next week I will draft my self-reflection and peer evaluations. Also, as I explore options for post-novitiate ministry and studies, a need to compile a curriculum vitae arises. This, and a personal statement awaits composition. These things crowd upon the usual backlog of personal correspondences and the production of our monthly newsletter.

Suddenly, there is a lot of writing and editing to be done.


For a sky more blue than this, you could not ask.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Into the City

Lectio Divina

Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.

Acts 9:6


Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared. Finished the latest issue of National Catholic Reporter.


While finishing my Scripture exegesis assignment and following up on suggestions from my formators for post-novitiate studies and ministry, viewing the interfaith prayer service for the victims and survivors of the bombings in Boston. The clergy and the political leaders have noted the self-giving of Bostonians, their willingness to fill the void of violence with love, even rushing into the very pit of violence, at risk of life itself, to pour in compassion. Everyone recognizes Mayor Tom Menino, Governor Deval Patrick, and President Obama. But I also recognize many of these religious leaders. They are family to me, and family to the city. Today, they are family to the nation.

The city I know and love is beckoning me -- indeed, I must go into it, and the closer I get to it, the more I will be told what to do. And conversion awaits.

Mass combined with morning prayer this morning. Now computing and corresponding. In addition to the above, also preparing a day of Gospel reflection for Beatitude House, the Catholic Worker community in Guadalupe. We will do faith sharing centered around Mark, chapters 9 and 10. One exegete, Ched Meyers, has called these chapters a "catechism of non-violence" and a "discipleship catechism," and we will use his socio-literary hermeneutic to inform our own reflections on discipleship as illuminated by the Word of God. Two novice brothers and I previously joined with the Catholic Worker volunteers for a similar day of reflection on March 14. Then, we read the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, to great spiritual effect.

Later this evening, a rehearsal with the schola. We have two special liturgies this weekend. The first, late on Saturday morning, is a jubilee Mass to celebrate the golden anniversary of the San Lorenzo novitiate. On Sunday morning at the San Lorenzo community Mass, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the priestly ordination of one of our senior friars.

A busy day, and a busy weekend. Let us not forget to pray. 


Getting warmer, and fast.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dark Passages

Lectio Divina

... the crowds paid attention to what was said.

Acts 8:6


Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared. Absorbed by the news about the Boston Marathon bombing.


Today, morning prayer only in the chapel. We will celebrate the Eucharist at Old Mission Santa Barbara this evening. There, we will see relics of Saint Anthony of Padua, the first Franciscan theologian. These relics, I understand, are being presented by two Franciscan friars who have brought them from Padua, Italy. At the eucharistic table (and before that, at the dinner table!), we will enjoy the company of our Franciscan brothers and, via mystical presence, our ancestor in the faith.

Later this morning, continuing our study of methods of Scripture exegesis. Focusing on the darker passages of Scripture, the "texts of terror" that call into question the identity of God and God's will for humanity.

Speaking of dark passages, I am continuing to deal with my feelings of anger over the bombings in Boston. This all feels so close to me, now that it is known that a Dorchester family lost their eight-year-old son, and a Boston University graduate student from China died. I've lived in Dorchester, and I studied at Boston University. These people are my family -- my mother, my sisters, my brothers.

Marsh Chapel, the center of all worship at BU, held a vigil yesterday afternoon as it became known one of their own students had died. I know the dean of the chapel, Rev. Robert Allan Hill, who is also on the faculty of the School of Theology.

The Catholic Church in Boston is also holding prayer services. There will be an interreligious prayer service tomorrow at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the seat of the Archdiocese of Boston. President Obama will be there. I hope to see it on television.

May God open the lips of all the religious leaders who will be called upon to offer words of consolation and hope and a peaceful, healing presence.

From Cardinal Sean O'Malley for the Archdiocese of Boston:

The Archdiocese of Boston joins all people of good will in expressing deep sorrow following the senseless acts of violence perpetrated at the Boston Marathon today.  Our prayers and concern are with so many who experienced the trauma of these acts, most especially the loved ones of those who lives were lost and those who were injured, and the injured themselves.

The citizens of the City of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are blessed by the bravery and heroism of many, particularly the men and women of the police and fire departments and emergency services who responded within moments of these tragic events.  Governor Patrick, Mayor Menino and Police Commissioner Davis are providing the leadership that will see us through this most difficult time and ensure that proper procedures are followed to protect the public safety.

In the midst of the darkness of this tragedy we turn to the light of Jesus Christ, the light that was evident in the lives of people who immediately turned to help those in need today.  We stand in solidarity with our ecumenical and interfaith colleagues in the commitment to witness the greater power of good in our society and to work together for healing.

From the Massachusetts Council of Churches, representing the Protestant and Orthodox churches of the Commonwealth: 

"Behold, I will bring health and healing to the city; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth."  Jeremiah 33:6 

Our hearts are heavy in Massachusetts. On a great day of civic pride and joy, our city of Boston was scarred by violence. We grieve for those who have died. Bodies made to run and cheer were wounded. Our eyes are burned with images of terror in the very streets where we walk. Attend to us, Great Physician. 

We do not yet now why this has happened. Preserve us from quick judgments, O Lord. Give us wisdom in the days ahead. Reveal to us peace and truth. We sing the African-American spiritual "guide my feet, while I run this race, for I don't want to run this race in vain." In this time of uncertainty and fear, we cling to the sure promises of our God that we do not go on in vain. 

Even as we grieve, we will remain steadfast in charity, defiant in hope, and constant in prayer. We are grateful for the prayers and support from across the country and the globe. Please continue to pray for the victims. Pray for our first responders, our elected officials, and the media who work with such trauma and return home to their own families. Pray for those without permanent homes who live in our public parks, displaced by this violence in our city. Pray for the marathoners, tourists and visitors far from home. 

The Massachusetts Council of Churches joins our prayers with citizens throughout the Commonwealth. In the words of the prophet Jeremiah, may our God indeed bring health and healing to the city. 


Too cool. Too cool! Where is the heat to accompany the abundant light?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Too Many Alleluias

Lectio Divina

Revive us now, God, our helper!

Justice shall march ... and peace shall follow.

Psalm 85:5, 14 (The Grail Psalter)


Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared. Turning to the Boston newspapers, as you can imagine.


Three dead, scores injured, hundreds and hundreds traumatized from the bombings at the Boston Marathon. You will forgive me if I don't feel very much like saying alleluia as much as we do in our liturgies. It is taking some effort to vocalize it -- that is, to re-vocalize it as an act of resistance, a holy rebellion against violence.

Alleluia: It means "praise God," in Hebrew. Praise God.

No, I will not praise death and destruction. No, I will not praise the acts of violence, the works of war writ large and small. Yes, I will praise God, the God of life, the God of love.

Our Capuchin brothers in Jamaica Plain, Mass., are safe. Brother Will's sister works in downtown Boston and was approaching the finish line from Beacon Hill when the explosions went off. She is safe.

I do not know yet if all my Boston-area friends are safe and unshaken. It's the first time since I left Facebook that I wish I were on that network so I could find out quickly. When you are able, friends, drop a comment here on the blog and a prayer.

I was in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. I survived, but people I knew did not. After that terror attack, my primary emotions were sadness and fear.

I was not in Boston yesterday. Today, my primary emotion is anger. I am deeply offended. I feel this in a way that so many others outside of New York City felt the Sept. 11 attacks. Although I was not born there and do not live there right now, Boston is my city, and my people live there. For the last 24 hours all I have wanted is to be there.

More than ever, I want to answer the violence of the world with the "weapons of the spirit": fasting, prayer, and self-giving. That is what I can do when I don't know what to do. And doing these things will help me see what more I can do.

"Revive us now, God, our helper" (Psalm 85:5). God bless Boston, and God help our world. 

Continuing to do exegesis on Mark 15, dealing with the death of Jesus. Done with watering the grounds. Now to call a friend from Cambridge, Mass.


Cool and only a little cloudy, and even though they are an ordinary puffy white, the clouds look clear to me.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wisdom and Spirit

Lectio Divina

... the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke.

Acts 6:10


Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared. Finishing The Pilgrim. Getting to National Catholic Reporter in snatches.


Returning to study of Scripture and methods of criticism in our class sessions for the next two weeks. We're working in teams of three. My group will read Mark 15:33-41 and make a presentation next Monday on the world behind the text (the cultural, historical, and social context of this Gospel's author), the world in the text (literary issues presenting within the passage itself), and the world in front of the text (how the church(es) in their tradition(s) have received and interpreted the text through history).

Off now to the grounds to tend the compost heap, pull weeds, and such earthy things. Calling a friend and partner in ministry from Boston this afternoon to talk about the past, present, and future. Also to find out about the awful event that just happened downtown -- two explosions, apparently bombs detonated in a hotel in Copley Square, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Dozens of people are hurt, a few now in the emergency room. Prayers flying now, and hoping for reliable information to come soon.


Cooler than I expect for the season. But I should learn to expect nothing, or expect the unexpected.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Gift of Love

Lectio Divina

... a third time, "Do you love me?"

John 21:17


Reading the latest issue of National Catholic Reporter. America and Commonweal had leapfrogged over Hospitality and The Pilgrim, but I've finished the former and almost the latter. Still have Dietrich, Broken and Shared, in the chapel stall.


My niece, Jade Adele, was baptized yesterday. Now sending her prayers, that one day she will understand the significance of her baptism, and that she will discover and accept the Gospel as the way to true life. May she so blessed as to have an authentic encounter with the living God. I thank my sister and her husband for giving Jade life, but more than this I thank them for having their daughter baptized, so that she may receive a gift even greater than life itself, the saving gift of God's love that promises new life in Christ.

Today, Mass at the parish located on the campus of the University of California-Santa Barbara in the company of some of my novice brothers. We have been worshiping at San Lorenzo a lot lately because of Lent and Easter celebrations. Next Sunday we will all be at San Lorenzo to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the priestly ordination of one of our senior friars in residence.

A leisurely but fat-burning walk this afternoon, followed by our hour of Eucharistic adoration and evening prayer. Now, after dinner, on to prayerful silence, and maybe another contemplative walk.

Continuing to feel the future beckoning. We have less than three months of novitiate left. 


In the center of a foggy world, it is sunny.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Serious Leisure

Lectio Divina

[Y]ou may even find yourselves fighting against God.

Acts 5:39

We are fighting against God all the time but are aware of it barely part of the time. Would we know it even if we were vigilant not to oppose God consciously? Could we know it? And what would we do if we did know it? 


Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared, and Hospitality and The Pilgrim. Commonweal, checking in with another outstanding issue, should be receiving my subscription renewal any day now.


Thanking God for the artists of the world, who, in giving voice and vision to the human soul, create the conscience of the human race; who remind us of the beauty of creation and point out for us the mysteries of life and existence. Spent four hours at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art yesterday, and my eyes were tired by midafternoon. I felt spent the way I do after long and sustained prayer or solemn liturgies. When I stand in galleries of so many visually arresting images, I become conscious of an unusually concentrated presence of the sacred, and I begin to grow weak. Sometimes it becomes too much for me as I am over-saturated by what I behold. The exhibits of Latin American modern art and the photography of Danny Lyon had the greatest cumulative effect, overwhelming my spiritual senses. A good afternoon of serious leisure.

Morning prayer, silent meditation, and Mass this morning. Going to the prison in Lompoc in a little while. Half the men were crippled by the norovirus last Friday; we were sorry not to see them, as it had already been three weeks since we had seen them last. The silent retreat in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Good Friday interrupted our ministry schedule. We'll make up for it today and again on Sunday when my novice brother and I attend Mass with the men at the low- and medium-security facilities. 


It still gets nippy in the morning. The sun melts away the inner chill, though it takes longer some days. Soon enough it will be warm at night, then hot during the day. And the laments will come from those who would rather freeze.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Another Museum

Lectio Divina

We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:29


Reading the latest issue of Commonweal and continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared. Paging through Hospitality and The Pilgrim.


Took a good long walk during hermitage time yesterday afternoon and spent the evening watching The Sound of Music with my musical-ly inclined brothers. A good day of physical and spiritual exercise followed by easygoing fraternity with a few of my fellow friars.

Just concluded Mass combined with morning prayer. Had breakfast long before chapel while finishing the laundry (my weekly turn is Thursday morning). In a little while, I will depart with the brothers for Santa Barbara for our day of extended personal time. This week I will browse the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. I promised myself I would go after Easter -- I must be true to my word!

Also, and all along the way, especially since the silent retreat last month, pondering the future increasingly presenting itself.


Expecting warmth and plenty of sunshine. Let the sun shine in.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Message of Life

Lectio Divina

"[G]ive the people this message of life!"

Acts 5:20


Keeping up with the periodicals and Catholic Worker newsletters. Reading Hospitality from the Open Door Community in Atlanta, and about to open The Pilgrim from the Black Seed Writers Group in Boston. Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared, the anthology from the Catholic Agitator in Los Angeles. Theirs is the word of God as heard and spoken by the poor, the prisoner, the homeless. I am convinced that it is from such voices that the testimony of the Gospels was first given.


Over the last several weeks our class sessions have focused on the following: the history and development of Catholic social doctrine; the histories of the Capuchin provinces of North America; and the origins and meaning of the Easter liturgy.

On Monday we heard about the history of the New York/New England province, the Province of Saint Mary. It is a descendant of Calvary Province, founded in 1857 by German-speaking Swiss priests who undertook to establish a permanent Capuchin mission in the United States ... even before they themselves became Capuchin friars! Gregory Haas and John Frey, who would take the religious names Francis and Bonaventure, respectively, professed their vows after arrival to the States. In time the province extended from Wisconsin to New York and had its own mission fields in Central America, Guam, Hawaii, and Japan. In 1952 the province divided into the present-day Province of Saint Joseph, the Midwest province, and the Province of Saint Mary, which encompasses all the New England states, Connecticut, and New York.

It was a pleasure to have a fellow New York friar with us. A religious brother for over fifty years, he is a living history of our province. And, as a true son of New York, he gave us a feisty, opinionated, even uncensored look at Capuchin life -- fraternity, initial formation, governance, ministries -- over the decades!

Yesterday was unusual: in lieu of class, time for quiet prayer and spiritual reading. Today, one of San Lorenzo's resident friars will talk to us about his experiences in five and a half decades of religious life and nearly fifty years in the priesthood. We will celebrate the golden anniversary of his priestly ordination on the 21st.


Getting very warm this afternoon, but the morning was chilly as usual. Soon, though, it will be nothing less than warm all the time.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

While I Was Away

Happy Easter, brothers and sisters. Thank you for your patience while I was away from the ether of cyberspace. The silence was good for me. As a spiritual discipline, being quiet and doing nothing intentionally can be cleansing. I hope now to resume the practice of blogging daily or every other day during these, the final hundred days of novitiate.

And away we go.

Lectio Divina

The community of believers was of one heart and mind. 

Acts 4:32


What did I read while I was away from From a Brother? Here is a partial list.

Berrigan, Daniel. Exodus: Let My People Go. Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2008.

--------. Uncommon Prayer: A Book of Psalms. New York: Seabury, 1978.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. The Cost of Discipleship (rev. ed.). New York: Macmillan, 1966.  

Crosby, Michael H. Spirituality of the Beatitudes: Matthew's Vision for the Church in an Unjust World (new rev. ed.). Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 2005.

Dietrich, Jeff. Broken and Shared: Food, Dignity, and the Poor on Los Angeles' Skid Row. Los Angeles: Marymount University Press, 2011.

Johnson, Elizabeth. She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse. New York: Crossroad, 1992.

Kavanaugh, John F. Faces of Poverty, Faces of Christ (photographs by Mev Puleo). Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1991. 

Loring, Eduard. The Cry of the Poor: Cracking White Male Supremacy--An Incendiary and Militant Proposal. Atlanta: Open Door Community Press, 2010. 

North American Capuchin Conference. The Capuchin Reform: Essays in Commemoration of Its 450th Anniversary (Ignatius McCormick, trans.). Youngstown, Ohio: Catholic Publishing Co., 1983.

Sandmel, Samuel. A Jewish Understanding of the New Testament (augmented ed.). New York: Ktav Publishing House, 1974.

Periodicals: America, Catholic Agitator (Los Angeles Catholic Worker), The Catholic Worker (New York), Commonweal, Hospitality (Open Door Community, Atlanta), National Catholic Reporter, The Pilgrim (Boston)


Time does not permit me to even attempt a full recap of life in novitiate since Lent. I hope to catch up intermittently, bringing the recent past into the present as I look toward the rapidly presenting future.

What happened while I was away? In short, I was in San Francisco and Los Angeles in February on pilgrimage. I was quiet for a week in Soquel, Calif., deep within the mountains of Santa Cruz.

We have a new pope, and we have a good-as-new chapel.

Here is the April Caperone to help bring you up to date. And here is the March issue before that.

We novices have 95 days to go until we return to our home provinces. But we will know sooner than that whether we will be accepted into temporary vows.


How strong the winds over the last four days! They have calmed for now, but they are here for good, and they are augurs of change.