Before his death, St. Francis of Assisi saw the number of his little band of brothers grow into the thousands. Men from all walks of life, with different talents and abilities, came together to follow him.
When he heard that his brothers were living in poverty, prayer, and service, and that they were finding the Lord in community, Francis cried out:
I give You thanks, Lord, sanctifier and director of the poor, who have given me such joy in hearing such things of my brothers.
This year, five Friars from the Province of Our Lady of Consolation celebrate anniversaries in their commitment to this 800-year-old project.
60 years of Priestly Ordination
Friar Berard Marthaler is Emeritus Professor of theology and history at the Catholic University of America. After earning doctorates in both subjects, he taught at Assumption Seminary in Chaska, Minnesota, Bellarmine/Ursuline College in Louisville, Kentucky, and since 1963 at Catholic University.
Fr. Berard has been a mentor to many Friars as they went through their student years and beyond. His devotion to education has led to his involvement in making the teachings of the faith more accessible to all Catholics, especially Catholic youth.
40 years of Solemn Profession of Vows
Fray Pedro Damián Massengill currently serves in Rome as a Guardian of the General Curia and Cooperator of the Secretaria General. He has served as our Minister Provincial, pastor and rector of the Shrine and National Basilica of Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio, and in pastoral ministry in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Pleasure Ridge Park, Kentucky.
In 1990, Fr. Peter Damian was called to work as a delegate for the Franciscan Commission on Justice, Peace, and the Safeguarding of Creation. His international service to the Conventual Franciscan Order has taken him to every continent except Antarctica.
40 years of Priestly Ordination
Fray Don Halpin provides spiritual direction at the retreat center at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, but spends much of his time traveling around the world leading retreats. He has worked in retreat ministry in many places, including Carey and Canton, Ohio, Prior Lake, Minnesota, and Assisi House in Lusaka, Zambia. He also taught at St. Bonaventure College in Lusaka.
Fr. Don’s ability to make the Gospel come to life for retreatants has made him a favorite with many groups, including Retrouvaille (a marriage encounter type program providing a complement to marriage counseling).
25 years of Solemn Profession of Vows
Fray Miguel Briseño is Guardian of the Friary and Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in El Paso, Texas. Ordained a priest in 1990, he has worked in pastoral ministry in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and retreat ministry in Mesilla Park, New Mexico. He worked as Province vocation director, and in the formation of Friars in both San Antonio, Texas, and in New York.
Fr. Miguel is well known for his preaching and family-oriented approach to parish and retreat work. He also chairs the Province commission on continuing education of the Friars.
25 years of Diaconate Ordination
Friar Michael Wright spent 44 years in pastoral ministry at parishes in Ohio, New Mexico, Texas, and Georgia. During his years in San Antonio, Texas, he also served the poor, working with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. He was ordained a deacon in 1987.
In his first years as a Conventual Franciscan, Friar Michael worked on the farms at Mount St. Francis, Indiana, and Chaska, Minnesota. That sparked an interest in flowers and plants that continues in his retirement in Floyds Knobs, Indiana.