Celebrations, Awards, & More
Friar John Heinz visited the parish of Our Lady of Solitude in Soledad, California, on May 4 and 5

Celebrations, Awards, & More

Franciscan International Award Dinner

For sixty-four years, the Franciscan International Award Dinner has been an opportunity for retreatants and friends of the Franciscan Retreats and Spirituality Center in Prior Lake, Minnesota,  to gather and support the ministry of the retreat center as well as to honor a particular person or organization that embodies the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. Previous honorees include the late Dr. Billy Graham, Sister Helen Prejean, Fran Heitzman, and many others.

The 2024 Franciscan International Award took place on May 9, 2024. The award was given to Pastors and Pastoral Teams: men and women who are essential in the life of faith communities.

On behalf of all pastors and pastoral teams, this year’s award was accepted by:
Father Tom Walker (St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Prior Lake);
Father Bill Murtaugh (Pax Christi Catholic Community, Eden Prairie, Minnesota);
Father John Bauer (Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Minnetonka, Minnesota)
Father Terry Rasmussen (retired, St. Joseph Catholic Community, New Hope/Plymouth, Minnesota);
Our very own Friar Phil Ley, OFM Conv., former Pastor of the Jesús de las Misericordias Church in El Salvador, San Salvador.

The award dinner was held at a new venue: the Pax Christi Catholic Community in Eden Prairie. The event began with a joyful social hour followed by a wonderful dinner and moving presentations. The evening concluded with the friars singing the “Ultima,” a traditional hymn sung by the friars of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation. In addition, the friars imparted their blessing on all present, leaving them feeling uplifted and inspired.

 – friar Mario L. Serrano OFM Conv. (visit the Order website for many more photos)

Honoring Mary

Catholics have long honored the Blessed Virgin Mary during the month of May. On May 4, our beautiful statues of Mary at Marytown in Libertyville, Illinois, were crowned with fresh flowers recognizing her significance in the Church and in our lives. (For more about Marytown, visit the website for the National Shrine of St. Maximilian Kolbe)

Mission Appeal

Friar John Heinz visited the parish of Our Lady of Solitude in Soledad, CA., on the weekend of May 4 and May 5 to do a Mission Appeal on behalf of our Vietnam Mission.  This year our Vietnam Mission will celebrate its 21st anniversary.  While the Mission has been greatly blessed with over 70 indigenous Friar vocations, the mother Province is still dependent upon the support of our Mission Appeals, and wonderful donors. (For more about the Vietnam Mission, please visit the website of St. Joseph of Cupertino Province)

World Care 2024 Benefit & Celebration

On the evening of Apr. 18, 2024, at St. Francis Hall located at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, Washington, D.C., I had the pleasure of attending the “World Care 2024 Benefit & Celebration.” This is an annual fund-raising event sponsored by Franciscan Mission Service, an organization that promotes and sponsors volunteer missionary activity throughout to world, particularly in areas affected by poverty and the need for human development. 

Many dedicated lay people, Franciscan Friars from various branches of the order, religious sisters from various communities, and others, were present for the event. 

It was a pleasure to participate in the celebration with Friar Paschal Kolodziej, OFM Conv. and Friar Paul Lininger, OFM Conv., two friars from my own Conventual Franciscan community.  And it was also a joy to see Deacon Joe Petrizzo (a former friar of our community) and his wife Mary Petrizzo!  

See the Franciscans in Mission website at https://franciscanmissionservice.org/

 – friar Timothy Dore OFM Conv. (from the Province of Our Lady of Angels website)