The gift of fraternity

Those of us of a certain age may remember a 1966 song by a group named The Association, Cherish. You may remember the opening lyrics: "Cherish is the word I use to describe, all the feeling that I have hiding here for you inside…" (I hope that doesn’t become an earworm for you!) Cherish seems like a good word for what I want to do with my memories of our recent All Province Assembly.

I am cherishing: Feeling awe and wonder at all our jubilarians have shared over the years. Mulling over minoritas as Fr. Tom Richstatter preached the Jubilee. Feeling proud as soon-to-be "Father" Deacon Clifford Hennings preached at Mass. Feeling the release of celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation. Enjoying the international presence of our Pakistani brothers, Gul Shahzad and David Masih. Missioning Br. Chris Meyer to Jamaica. Remembering the mercy that I experienced from Ron Nunlist when I was newly ordained at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Galveston when we had the chance to share our stories in small groups. Appreciating the personal greeting from Michael Perry, our General Minister. Enjoying the Irish accents of our General Definitor Caoimhin Ó Laoide and General Visitor Gerry Evans, and thinking about the "formation and transformation" that Gerry experienced in Central America. Thanking God for the directness of Yolanda who helped him decide to stay after the offensive. Feeling grateful about his intention to listen to us and help us listen to God as we discern the future. Watching The Priest and the Politician and feeling proud of Chris Schneider’s stance during the integration of the school in Buras, La. Appreciating the open and respectful discussion as we talked about revitalization and restructuring. I could go on, and I am sure you have your own memories to cherish. The first reading of last Wednesday, when I am writing this reflection, includes these lines: "I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God you have…" I hope we can allow the gift of fraternity we experienced to be stirred into flame as we cherish one another into the future. Thanks again to all who made the APA possible.

– Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM

More photos on our Flickr album APA 2016