Happy Birthday Friar!!!
On the Feast Day of St Leonard of Port Maurice, November 26th, 2016 this friar received the most wonderful birthday invitation. Not only was this Feast Day my 50th birthday, but I also had the unique privilege to celebrate mass with the children of St Leonard’s School and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the parish & school with Rev. B.J. Breen, St Leonard’s pastor. We introduced the vocation story of St Leonard who was born on December 20th, 1676 and was an excellent student. Given his academic brilliance and fine communications skills his life was on a trajectory toward a medical career as a physician. He lived in Rome with his Uncle Agostino and attended the Jesuit Roman College. When the Divine Physician led him to a higher calling to seek the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Franciscan friar, his uncle disowned him. I like to say he continued to work in the medical field, only he healed the soul as well as the body when he stood in for the person of Christ, the Divine Physician. St Leonard was known as an excellent preacher, professor, and retreat master. When he led a parish mission it often lasted for 15 to 18 days with a week of confessions afterwards. Now that is one faithfully committed missionary as well as a long-winded preacher!!!
For the Feast of All the Franciscan Saints, which occurs every year on November 29th,
we played a Franciscan Saints game with some of the upper classes participating. Mrs. Janice Berry kindly led me throughout the school and introduced me to staff and teachers, and opened doors and opportunities to me that I’m truly in her debt. I would have been lost without her selfless dedication and hospitality. It was such a wonderful way to share our common love for all things Franciscan and be surrounded by so many open hearts living the Franciscan dream. One of the eager students of St Leonard’s shared with me when asked, “what is a vocation?” His reply was, “what God calls you to BE”. I am amazed at the wisdom that comes forth from the mouth of babes!! Thanks for a wonderful day to celebrate a benchmark birthday and a joyful Feast Day of St Leonard along with the eager prospect to return and share more of our common Franciscan heritage!