When people would ask our brother friar, Bonaventure Stefun, OFM Cap., how he was doing, he was famous for always responding "Terrific," accompanied by those eyes which told you he would make it be so. Our brother returned to the Lord on March 4, 2017, in Pittsburgh at the age of 88, and we know that it was a 'terrific' experience for him, something he had been waiting and hoping for. Born in New Kensington, PA, on September 22, 1928, to John and Anna (Kovolik) Stefun, he was given the name "Joseph" at his baptism. One of nine Stefun children, he was to be the last surviving sibling. Preceding him in death were his sisters Anna, Barbara (Stanley), Mary (Schuler) and Elizabeth (Reedy); and his brothers Andrew, John, George and Raymond. Numerous nephews and nieces mourn his passing among whom is his nephew and fellow Capuchin friar Emett Schuler, OFM Cap., of our Capuchin College fraternity in Washington, DC.
The friars of "Capuchin College" (St. Francis Friary), home of our formation program for friars in initial and professional formation, have taken on a ministry in conjunction with the Missionaries of Charity. A few years ago, it was suggested by one of the student friars to partner with the Missionaries in their Sunday morning meal program. A phone call was made to them, and the ministry began.
A new book explores the early beginnings of our Capuchin mission work in Papua New Guinea.Written by our confrere Blaine Burkey, OFM Cap., from the Province of St. Conrad, the authorship of the book was a labor of love for this man who, as a young friar, was fascinated by the tales and the travails of our Provincial heroes who sacrificed their lives in post-War America to accept the Church's request to evangelize a territory where few had heard the words and message of Jesus Christ. As Fr. Blaine writes:
God’s Word came into the world nearly two millennia ago, personally and permanently touched a few lives, and returned to the Father. His 33 years on earth, as told in the Gospels, was really only the beginning. Moved then by the Holy Spirit, the Word’s apostles went out into what seemed to many to be the entire world. Really, however, it was still only the beginning.
Three of our Capuchin friars were ordained to serve as transitional deacons in a Mass celebrated on January 3, 2017, at St. Augustine Church in Pittsburgh, PA. The three friars now join three other friar-deacons in their goal to serve the Church as Capuchin friar priests.
In the left photo, friars Roshan Anthonypillai, OFM Cap., Phil White, OFM Cap. and Reynaldo Frías-Santana, OFM Cap., are in the front row, while our three other friar deacons, Al Carver, OFM Cap., James Watson, OFM Cap. and Jonathan Ulrick, OFM Cap., stand behind them in this photo taken after the completion of the Mass.
Our friars in formation continue their discernemnt at our St. Francis Friary in Washington, DC -- also known as "Capuchin College," a name which has 'stuck' through the generations, even though the friars study at Catholic University or other schools in the metro area.
Their stories are accounts of God's action in their lives - an action which will appear much like the human stories they are. God was at work, drawing them from various various walks of life and with various talents and interests, to become part of our Capuchin brotherhood.
A long-time friend and sister to our Capuchin Brothers in Washington, DC, Barbara Dolan was received as an Affiliate of the Province of St. Augustine at the St. Francis Day Mass (October 4) of the 'Capuchin College' fraternity there.
Guardian Paul Dressler, OFM Cap., spoke that "Barb has been more faithful to our prayer life than certain friars--especially the current guardian. Moreover, Barb has supported the friars in many other ways--whether it's offering tutoring to second language friars, providing rides when needed, listening to friars looking for a maternal ear or tending to flowers in our garden -- Barb has been generously there."