Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reflection on the Feast of St. Anthony and Peacemaking

June is a time of both sadness and joy many people. In a scene all too familiar, June seems to bring the specter of death upon the world. On June 12, 2016, 49 people lost their lives at a shooting in Orlando. It was the deadliest shooting incident of violence against LGBTQ people in the United States. Two years ago on June 17, 2015, nine people in Charleston South Carolina died in a mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. On June 14, 2017, there was another mass shooting in Washington, D.C., although there were no fatalities, many are wounded. However, for Franciscans, June can also be a time of joy. On June 13 of every year the Franciscan family around the world celebrates the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua. How are these two events connected?

Among these disparate events, the connection is one that is  both simple and one consistent throughout the Gospel: love, love of one’s neighbor or friend. St Anthony in a sermon on the love of God and neighbor stated that “on the fourth day God said: 'Let there be two great lights in the firmament.' " For St. Anthony, these two lights were the love of God and the love of one's neighbor. The love of God represents itself by the sun, while the moon which reflects the dark radiance of this divine love, is the love of the neighbor.

This love is made manifest in all the horrific shootings and acts of violence throughout the world. As many of the survivors of these shootings have told their stories, time and again, the message was clear, how these brave people time and again gave up their safety and security to protect their friends, families, lovers, and colleagues. This is the definition of the love that St. Anthony was talking about and one that God has placed within all humans. As Franciscans, both professed religious and lay Franciscans and any people of good will who follow the Franciscan teachings of peace have a responsibility to keep this value alive by spreading the love of God and the love of peace in their daily lives.


Br. Jeff Durham is a Franciscan friar in formation with St. Barbara Province. He holds a dual masters degree in theology and ministry from the Franciscan School of Theology.
Jeff currently resides at Mission Santa Barbara, California, and working at the Mission Archive Library. His research interests include the history of the Franciscan intellectual tradition and the intersection between theology and technology.


The Provincials of the seven OFM Franciscan provinces in the U.S. released a statement after the Pulse Nightclub shooting last year. You can find the statement here.

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  vocations@sbofm.org
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/SBFranciscans
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Lord Gave Me Brothers (Like Didacus!): A Reflection by Br. Juan-Jose Jauregui



And after the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I had to do, but the Most High Himself revealed to me that I should live according to the pattern of the Holy Gospel.  -- St. Francis of Assisi, “Testament”


Watching Brother Didacus spending time doing his favorite hobby—putting together his electric trains-- makes me think of what Francis said about the brothers. One of the most powerful experiences for me in the community is living with the older friars, because I personally think it would be very hard for me to be a Franciscan living on my own without them. They are the ones I can look up to as good examples, or with whom I can even just have a cup of coffee in the morning and chat.

I know in my own faith journey as a Franciscan and a Christian, I am following Francis walking toward Christ and searching to have a good relationship with the Lord and my brothers. I would not have been able to accomplish anything without the grace of God and the help, support, and companionship of my brothers. Truly, the Lord gave me brothers.




Br. Juan-Jose Jauregui has been a friar of St. Barbara Province since 2010. He is a native of Zacatecas, Mexico and moved with his family to the Bay Area when he was young. He is currently the Assistant Director of Formation for our Temporary Professed brothers at Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, CA.

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  vocations@sbofm.org
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/SBFranciscans
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Discovering My People Again: A Reflection by Fr. Adrian Peelo


Fr. Adrian Peelo with Seán Cardinal Brady, Retired Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and the Choir and Schola of Mission Santa Barbara Parish.
In March of this year, just before the feast of St. Patrick, I accompanied the St. Barbara Parish Choir and Schola on a tour/pilgrimage to Ireland (March 8-18). It was strange to find myself a pilgrim in my own native land and I was surprised at how I could so easily give myself to the experience together with my fellow travelers from the United States.  

What struck me and moved me most as we visited the holy sites associated with St. Patrick was the lingering holiness and rich spirituality that still pervades this small island.  His mission to the Irish nation began in A.D. 432 and despite a golden age of flourishing and four hundred years of destruction and devastation, the echo of his message lives in the very ether of Ireland.  Unlike in Italy or Spain one is not overwhelmed in Ireland by vast churches and cathedrals. There is an unpretentious beauty in the ruins of monasteries and friaries; in simple country churches and roadside shrines, ancient cemeteries, shrouded, silent, peaceful. Weather-beaten Celtic crosses have stood as sentinels of heroic witness for centuries with monastic round towers pointing heavenwards, insisting to be recognized as beacons of an enduring faith.  “ I pray to God to give me perseverance and to deign that I be a faithful witness to Him to the end of my life for my God.”  (Confessions of St. Patrick)

I discovered my own people again through the eyes of my American fellow travelers: the lilting northern accents and the gnarly dialect of my native Dublin.   The warmth and good nature of ordinary folk anxious to help and who laugh easily. A waiter in Armagh leaned in at the dinner table and asked, "Will you have a wee drop of soup, Mam?" to an astonished member of our group who looked back at him in total wonderment. "Mam" was really all she heard. There was great hilarity as things became clearer and two cultures embraced in kindness, courtesy and laughter. I was proud. “That's right, there's free beer in Irish paradise. Everyone's jealous.” (Overheard in the bar after dinner in Armagh).

St. Barbara Choir and Schola were wonderful wherever they sang, whether before the Cardinal in Armagh Cathedral or in the humble setting of Multyfarnham Abbey, the contemplative house of the Irish Franciscans. "Your singing has lifted my spirits" said a beaming Cardinal Sean Brady, Emeritus Archbishop of Armagh, St. Patrick’s own diocese. "Wherever you go in Ireland,  lift the spirits of the people with your beautiful voices," he said with obvious delight. And that they did. In St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin a young woman sitting beside me in the pew and who had come on a break from work whispered as the choir's short lunchtime recital came to a close, "Just what I needed, so beautiful."

The New World came to lift the spirits of the Old, returning with the gift received by so many children of Patrick long, long ago. In time, as poor immigrants they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to bring the precious hope of the Gospel in desperate times.  Their children came back with the hundredfold and it was a privilege for me to stand in the breach of such mystery. 


Cardinal Brady and Fr. Adrian Peelo watching the performance of the Choir and Schola of Mission Santa Barbara Parish at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh, Ireland.

Fr. Adrian Peelo is a Franciscan friar of the Irish Province. He has been living in California while ministering with the friars from St. Barbara Province for many years. He is currently Pastor of Mission Santa Barbara Parish.

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  vocations@sbofm.org
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/SBFranciscans
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Easter Greeting from Br. James Seiffert in Vietnam: Chúc Mừng Phục Sinh!


“Chúc Mừng Phục Sinh!” -that is,  “Happy Easter!”  in Vietnamese.  I have been at the novitiate in Dalat Vietnam now for several weeks.  Dalat is about an 8-hour bus ride north central from Saigon.  It is situated in a mountainous area, where the climate is temperate rather than tropical.  It's delightful being here with the cool temperatures and the abundance of a variety of flowering plants and pine forests.

In former days, Dalat was the resort town for the French colonists.  You can still see the French influence by the architecture and the many gardens that can be found in the area.  The novitiate has its share of beautiful gardens with a view of the surrounding mountains as well.   


My days are spent with the community of novices in prayer, work, and some English classes.  I have spent time doing all kinds of work that I have never done before!  I have worked on the farm with planting, feeding rabbits, chickens, and pigs.  The novitiate is  largely supported by its various nurseries, which employ some 60 workers  These are flower nurseries, whereby the flowers are sold to various businesses in the area.  I am always amazed at everything the novices are able to  do-- from building a hermitage by themselves to maintaining the grounds and novitiate buildings. 

This Easter has been especially significant for me in that I renewed my vows at the novitiate here  in Vietnam.  It has caused me to reflect on how I have responded to the Lord's call.  A lot of my response has been to let go of control and to surrender to what God has invited me to.  I am truly thankful for the life-changing and life-giving experiences I have had so far a friar living here.


Br. James Seiffert is a temporary-professed friar with the St. Barbara Province. He currently is on a mission assignment, staying with the friars in Vietnam. Br. James joined the Franciscans in 2012 and made his first profession of vows in 2014. To read about his life journey prior to joining the Friars, go to http://sbvocations.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-faith-journey-of-br-james-seiffert.html

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  vocations@sbofm.org
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/SBFranciscans
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org