Easter Novena

Do you ever get the refrain of a song “caught” in your head, and it replays itself quietly, but persistently all day long? I remember fondly these words from a Beatles hit: “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends!”

The wisdom of this lyric is reinforced in our minds as we look back on the last two years. We got by, thanks be to God, with a little help from our friends, from our families, and even from remarkable strangers.

In this season of Lent, my heart is filled with gratitude and wonder. So many healers and health care workers gave so much to care for strangers afflicted with a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Conventual Franciscan Friars were also on the front lines being friend, teacher, counselor, and health care worker to thousands throughout the darkest days of COVID.


As a Campus Minister, Friar Mario Serrano heals and comforts the hearts of students at University of Texas El Paso. Friar Mario prays with them for ailing parents and vulnerable grandparents. The refrain “fear not,” has been constant upon his lips.
Friar Matthew Malek heals through counseling and spiritual direction, mostly at a distance these two long years. But the “virtual” touch and holding of hearts is healing indeed, especially for those completely isolated and alone.
Friar Chuck Henkel is a Hospice Chaplain whose ministry has been too full and tearful for far too long. Friar Chuck used whatever means he could to bring comfort and consolation to those passing from this life and to those they left behind, often forced to say goodbye through a nursing home window or on a cell phone.

Will you renew your generous friendship with the friars to help them educate and form a new generation of young Franciscans to continue ministering to those in dire need?

Psalm 116: 12 proclaims: “How can I make a return to the Lord, for all the good he has done for me?” We make this prayer as we thank God for your faithful friendship. How can we make a return to the Lord for you?

May we include the intentions closest to your heart in an Easter Novena of Masses offered by the Conventual Franciscan Friars? The friars of our Province of Our Lady of Consolation will begin this Novena on April 17th. Please include your Novena Intentions for all those you love and who need the gift of our united prayers.

I pray along with my Conventual Franciscan brothers that our Lord may place in your heart a persistent song of faith, hope and charity.

And remember, by the grace of God, “We’ll get by with a little help from our friends!”

P.S. Please be generous once again to further the healing ministries of our Conventual Franciscan Friars. May God bless you for the love you share.

“The Redeemer” by fabric artist Penny Sisto