I have been in love with Jesus Christ and his Perfect Reflection, Francesco di Bernadone – Francis of Assisi – for as long as I can remember. Il Poverello’s Gospel-centered vision of life has always appealed to me and challenged me. I was a Third Order Regular friar of the Sacred Heart Province from 1973 to 1977. I graduated not once, not twice, but three times from Saint Francis College of Loretto, PA, with a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology; a M.Ed.; and a M.A. in Pastoral Ministry. I returned to formal membership in the Franciscan Family as a professed Secular Franciscan in 1988.
Other academic credentials include a M.Ed. in Counselor Education and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Penn State University. I am also a National Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Missouri. I taught at Penn State in 1987 - 1988 and at Saint Francis College in 1988 - 1990. I am privileged to share my Catholic Franciscan life with my wife Thérèse, who is also a Secular Franciscan. We live in Kirksville, MO, where I served on the staff of the University Counseling Services at Truman State University for 6 years.
Ordained to the Diaconate in 1999, I was assigned to diaconal service at Mary Immaculate Parish in Kirksville, and its Mission of Saint Rose of Lima in Novinger, MO. I also have the privilege of working as a diaconal couple with Thérèse in coordinating the parish’s ministry of pastoral care to the sick, hospitalized and home-bound parishioners while ourselves visiting the sick and home-bound on a regular basis, and serving as the Catholic representatives to the local ecumenical organization Kirksville Interchurch Ministries.
From 1996 - 2002, I served as co-chair with Thérèse of the National Formation Commission of the Secular Franciscan Order. I am currently a member of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Secular Franciscan Fraternity in Quincy, IL, where I serve as the Fraternity’s Spiritual Assistant. I was secretary and board member of the Verneda A. and Leo J. Wachter, Sr. Foundation from 1987 until 2010.
I offer you the suggestion to take a moment to pray the prayer that Francis composed and prayed in the chapel of San Damiano. As it was his prayer for guidance, enlightenment, and conversion of mind and heart, so let us – you and I – as we journey through this course, make this our prayer as well:
Most high and glorious God, bring light to the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith, certain hope, and perfect charity.
Lord, give me insight and wisdom so I might always discern
Your holy and true will. Amen!