July 13, 2001® Vol. 35 No. 26®www.friars.org
NATICK SOLD: Provincial Minister John Felice announced this week that the house used as a residence in Natick, Mass., by the New England Ministry of the Word team has been sold. Proceeds from the sale will be used to help develop a residence for the friars working in the Ministry of the Word in Hialeah, Fla., he said. Raphael Bonanno and John Anglin will reside temporarily at St. Anthony's Shrine, Boston.
PASCHAL GALLAGHER has been assigned to residence at St. Anthony's Friary, Butler, N.J.
Developing the Shrine
Boston Globe Article Creates Uproar
NEW YORK, N.Y. - A front-page article in The Boston Globe, Friday, July 6, reported that the Franciscan friars "are considering replacing the order's landmark 'Workers' Chapel' on Arch Street with a $200 million office tower." The threatening news sent shivers down the spines of the faithful who have worshipped at St. Anthony Shrine since the mid-1950s.
"When people read the article," said Donan McGovern, "they were disheartened, saddened. One lady was angry at the cardinal for allowing the friars to leave. Another asked, 'Is it true that you are selling the chapel property for millions and millions of dollars?' "A disconsolate worshipper wondered what the future would bring. 'Where will we go? I come here every morning. Sometimes I have time for Mass, other times just to pray. It will be terrible to leave this place.' "
Donan added: "There were many telephone calls along the same lines." As vicar of the community, he addressed the uproar in the absence of John Ullrich, rector, who was out of town at the time. Donan contacted John O'Connor, who as director of finance oversees provincial properties, and told him about the story and its immediate effect in the city. John then drafted an announcement read at all the Masses in the shrine Saturday evening and Sunday, and all the daily Masses this week.
John O'Connor's statement:
"In an effort to provide much needed new space and to secure the long term financial good health and viability of St. Anthony Shrine, the Franciscan Friars are starting to explore the possibility of the development of a new and better St. Anthony Shrine at its present location.
"If the project goes ahead, the Franciscan Friars have made it clear there will be no interruption of the full schedule of Masses and services now provided by St. Anthony Shrine. To better serve the people of Boston, any new building would contain a beautiful new Chapel plus larger office and meeting spaces for new and expanded ministries.
"Discussions concerning the project are at a very preliminary stage. The commencement of any such development, if at all, would not occur for a year or two at the earliest. Unfortunately, the report in Friday's Boston Globe does not accurately reflect the facts.
"No developer has been, or is about to be selected to work with St. Anthony Shrine."
Donan noted that reactions of the people after the announcement had been read ranged from vocal "Thank God!" and "Alleluia" expressions of relief to "resounding hand clapping."
John O'Connor's announcement "was very well received and calmed the concerns of our faithful," Donan said. "The friars took the article in stride. Our only concern was our faithful."
John Felice commented that the Globe story "took us all by surprise. These conversations were considered to be confidential, and we hoped that we would be the ones to issue any statements to the press should an appropriate time arise."
John said the province's first priority was "the sensitivities of the people who go to Arch Street, and we in no way want to upset them or give them the idea that we were withdrawing from our ministry in Boston. Quite the opposite. But the best-laid plans can go awry. Such is life."
John said he had met with Cardinal Law in May and apprised him of the province's intention to explore developing the site of the shrine, and the cardinal reacted favorably to the proposal. The Globe article reported that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who "regularly" came to the chapel, said "he had been briefed on the development plans and was generally supportive."
John Felice said that "we will continue in good faith and hope our long range plans will be fruitful."
'Ready to Go Home'
Death Row Inmate Becomes Secular Franciscan Before Execution, Asks Forgiveness for Murders By John Zawadzinski
HUNTSVILLE, Texas - James Joseph Wilkens Jr., a convicted murderer and recently professed member of the Secular Franciscan Order, was executed by lethal injection July 11 here.
"Thank you, Lord, for giving me strength to look at the people I so grievously hurt in the eyes and ask them to forgive me," said Wilkens, 39. "I am ready to go home."
He was the 10th inmate to be executed in Texas this year and the third converted SFO member to die within the past year. Wilkens was convicted of shooting and killing Richard Allan Wood, 28, and Larry Wayne McMillan Jr., 4, after Wilkens's former girlfriend, Sandra Carpenter, found a new love interest. Carpenter, who was also shot several times with a .22-caliber rifle, survived the 1986 ambush and later attended her assailant's execution. "I could never forgive him," Carpenter said. "I've lived 14-and-a-half-years of hell. I know it's not over, but it will get easier."
Also in attendance at the execution was Stephen Walsh, who for the past eight years has traveled from his residence in Boston to care for the spiritual needs of the men living on Texas's Death Row. "These men needed spiritual guidance, but they just happen to be in cages," he said. "I have a close spiritual relationship with the men on Death Row." Although Wilkens had been housed on Death Row since the late 1980s, he met Stephen for the first time in 1993, during a prison service. The two established a friendship and Wilkens later expressed serious interest in becoming a Secular Franciscan.
Wilkens, who grew in his spirituality since being incarcerated, was following the example of Orien Joiner and Jack Clark, both former inmates who were professed to the SFO, with the help of Stephen. "In any kind of conversion, you change. It makes no difference if you are on Death Row, in general population or in the outside world," Stephen said. "We're all sinners and we all die, so conversion is important." Less than a year after being professed, both Joiner and Clark were executed by lethal injection in Huntsville. Joiner was cremated and his remains were sent back to his mother.
Like Clark's, Wilkens's body was cremated and sent to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston before being buried in St. Joseph Cemetery in West Roxbury, Mass. Since all three SFO members were inmates who could not afford proper burials, Stephen's benefactors paid approximately $850 for each of the cremation services, allowing the men to be laid to rest with dignity. A $7,500 grant from the Holy Name Province Benevolence Fund also helped pay for the caskets and funeral expenses.
"This is a blessing for the men being executed," Stephen said. "I'm very thankful we have this money and hopefully, we will all meet again, Lord willing, in a better place."
Visitors Welcome to New Durham Friary
By Patrick Tuttle
DURHAM, N.C. - If it isn't the creaky floors, it is the strange vroom! sound that echoes through the hallways. We are surrounded by the sounds of others than ourselves here at the new Duns Scotus Friary. The house sits on the corner of the Durham freeway and a major north/south city road. The previous owner said, "Think of the noises as if you are at the beach."
The creaks come from the 1920 wood floors throughout, (southern pine), including the wrap-around front porch with a swing. After hearing from people in the city that the house had "permanent guests," we went looking for them. We have yet to bless the house, and I figured I would hear something sometime before that, but I think we have given them a scare instead. Four men walking around in robes, they don't know what to make of us, I am sure. I pray they are at peace. A neighbor seeing us - and having heard who was moving in - was walking by. "You folks are ministers, right?"
"Yes," I said, surprised that he knew. "We are Catholic priests." "Oh," our new neighbor said. "I am a Christian." I replied, "We are, too."
He said, "I thought you-all believed in the pope?" I replied, beginning our evangelization, "Yes, he helps us follow Jesus." The man was visibly shaken. Some cookies and sweet tea on our porch ought to help him understand better another day.
We welcome visitors to Durham. There are many diverse ministry opportunities, and a charming guest room looking out over the freeway. Come, and set a spell.
CHRIS DUNN is home on vacation from Peru. Contact: Dunn, 23 Leslie Ave., Utica NY 13501; home: (315) 735-6252; lake: (315) 369-3909; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
GERALD DOLAN, while serving in his new position for the Camden Diocese, is now in residence at St. John Neumann Church, 234 Sicklerville Rd., P.O. Box G, Sicklerville, NJ 08081-0438. Pvt tel: (856) 629-1980; parish tel: (856) 728-1060. As stated last week, e-mail: GMDOLAN@NJI.COM
Michael Jones: Mike@stfrancisraleigh.org Gonzalo Torres: GonzaloOFM@hotmail.com
Jud Weiksnar: Weiksnar@sbu.edu
DAN SULMASY is co-editor with Dr. Jeremy Sugarman of Duke University of a new book entitled "Methods in Medical Ethics," published by Georgetown University Press. The book deals with methods and standards of scholarly research in the field of medical ethics from a variety of disciplines and methods in the humanities and social sciences. Prof. Lisa Cahill of Boston College wrote the chapter on theological methods in medical ethics.
BRIAN JORDAN has been on another mission of mercy in Central America since July 11 and will return Sunday night: "First, I will escort back two Salvadoran boys who have had brain operations in New Jersey and their mothers to El Salvador. Next, my friends and I will deliver donated computers to an orphanage in Honduras. The next day we will travel to Nicaragua to visit a children's clinic in Managua for prospective medical missions in the future. Three countries in four days."
INSTITUTE MEDAL: Fr. Clement Schmitt, OFM, of the French/Belgian Province, will receive the Franciscan Institute Medal at St. Bonaventure University on July 14. Fr. Schmitt served for nearly 40 years as editor of Archivum Franciscanum Historicum. His work, recognized worldwide, contributed substantially to the history of the Order.
BOOK IN FOCUS
is a 176-page paperback collection of nine essays by Peter Fiore on the six prominent classic authors Dante Alighieri, John Donne, John Milton, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Evelyn Waugh and Flannery O'Connor written for the average reader in an informal and personal style. The underlying argument of the book is that the authors' Christian faith gave impetus to their creative output. After an introductory chapter on Dante, his life, his works, and the role of Beatrice in the "Divine Comedy," Peter discusses Dante's treatment of St. Francis of Assisi in the "Paradiso" (the third section of the epic following the "Inferno" and "Purgatorio") which reveals how much Dante, despite some repremanding of the contemporary friars for not remaining faithful to their founder's vision, loved Francis and the friars. In the chapter on John Donne, Peter asserts that despite the poet's defection from Roman Catholicism for the Church of England, his Roman Catholic roots never were far away from him. His great-uncle was the martyred St. Thomas More. Six of More's sons and daughters who had become nuns and priests were ministering at the time in the London area of St. Paul's Cathedral where Donne was the Dean. And there is the fascinating fact that Donne's mother who remained a Catholic right to the end lived with her son in the Deanery and died there several months before he did. Ecumenism in a persecuted society. In two chapters on John Milton, Peter discusses the poet's life and works, giving particular consideration to the unfortunate negative reputation posterity has given him about his marriage and his attitude toward his wife (Mary Powell) and women in general. Research shows that his wife and the Powell family were far more instrumental in the breakdown of the marriage and family relationship than was the poet. In a second chapter on Milton, Peter discusses Milton as theologian (Fall of the Angels, Creation, Incarnation, Atonement, Redemption) and shows how "Paradise Lost" reflects of the poet's r eading of Augustine from a Protestant point of view. The chapter on Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit-poet-priest, discusses the poet's life, his relationship to Cardinal Newman and his conversion to Roman Catholicism, his days at Oxford, his life as a Jesuit, and his poetry. Peter finds unacceptable the theory that Hopkins's Jesuit superiors were oppresive to the point of stifling his creative output and that Hopkins was a very unhappy priest.
On the contrary, evidence shows that despite some dark moments in his quest for spiritual perfection, he was considerably satisfied with his ministry and contented as a Jesuit priest. There is also a reprint of Peter's previously published research on the Franciscan nuns and "The Wreck of the Deutschland." The chapter on Evelyn Waugh discusses the novelist's early life in London and Oxford, his conversion to Catholicism, his early novels, his often despicable conduct due largely to heavy drinking and excessive use of sleeping pills, his best known novel "Brideshead Revisited" which Peter maintains "no serious scholar of Waugh can discuss ... without nodding thankfully to (the province's) Fr. Pacificus Kennedy's discovery of unknown material that shed so much light on the author's intentions and the book's overall meaning." Fiore concludes that Waugh was one of our great 20th century novelists, one that the Nobel Prize people chose to ignore in order to remain faithful to their anti-Catholicism.
The chapter on Flannery O'Connor begins by mentioning the O'Connor family's contribution to Siena College's English Department of a paper entitled "The Role of the Catholic Novelist" which was published in the Greyfriar journal (now defunct). O'Connor was to lecture at Siena in the fall of 1964 but died several months before; the family allowed the lecture to be printed. The chapter discusses Flannery's early life, her early sickness from lupus, her traditional Catholicism, her use of the grotesque, and the theological aesthetic underlying her fiction. There is a thorough analysis of her two stories, "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and "Everything That Rises Must Converge."
"Personal Journeys" (ISBN: 0595172512) is available through Amazon.com; the St. Francis Bookstore (212) 736-8500 ext. 324; or directly from the publisher (877) 823-9235.
Peter, who previously published three books on Milton and Donne, is a professor emeritus of English at Siena College. He is currently working on a volume that compares certain Gospel stories to stories found in the writings of William Shakespeare, Thornton Wilder and John Steinbeck.
Peter conducted a book signing at St. Mary's Church, Ballston Spa, N.Y., after all the Masses on June 24. "The book signing," he said, "brought 200 people - much to my consternation and joy." Another signing is slated at Barnes and Noble in Saratoga in early fall, he said.
Dates to Remember
o SIMPLE VOWS: August 4
o HOSPITALITY WEEKEND: August 10-12
o AFFILIATION TO PROVINCE: August 16
o SOLEMN VOWS: September 15
o FRANCISCAN EXPERIENCE WEEKEND: September 21-23 o CENTENARY CELEBRATION, NYC: October 1
o DISCERNMENT RETREAT WEEKEND: October 26-28 o CENTENARY CELEBRATION, BONA'S: November 8-9 o ALVERNIA WORKSHOP: November 11-16
o FRANCISCAN EXPERIENCE WEEKEND: November 16-18 o HOSPITALITY WEEKEND: December 7-9
HNP Today, weekly newsletter of OFM Holy Name Province, Communications Office, 127 W. 31 St., New York NY 10001. Editorial staff: John Zawadzinski, Phillip Jacobs, Fr. Cassian A. Miles, OFM. Production: Theresa Bartha, Sharon Berrios. Phone: 212/594-6224; Fax: 212/244-7718. E-mail: HNPToday@aol.com Internet: www.friars.org