Detroit Ministry Weekend Clarifies Vocations

Thirteen inquires and candidates traveled to Detroit October 25-27th to learn more about the Capuchin vocation. This is an important experience for people discerning a religious vocation. It's one of several parts of the discernment process. Other parts include getting to know your own desires, attractions, and feelings. God's call often comes through these parts of our lives as we reflect on our everyday and extraordinary experiences. Then discerners need to learn about the charisms or gifts of a particular way of life. When looking at the Franciscans (Capuchins are Franciscans), this begins with learning the life of St. Francis and some of his writings. Another very important part of learning about the charism is to experience a group's ministries. In fact, each province within the same order can have quite different expressions of the core charisms. The group's ministries uncover a lot of this. This Detroit Capuchin Ministry Weekend was devoted to showcasing Capuchin ministries in Detroit. We began Friday evening by learning about the Fr. Solanus Casey Center. Fr. Larry Webber, Director, was our guide. Since the center was opened more than ten years ago, Fr. Solanus' already considerable reputation has grown enormously. Having died in 1957 in Detroit, Michigan, Fr. Solanus is now a Venerable and only awaiting approval of a "favor" as a miracle by Rome to become  a Blessed. He is already the first native-born American male to become Venerable. His message of trusting in God and following his ways has helped millions of people work through the journey of their lives. Bro. Jerry Smith and many of his staff members and volunteers shared with us the ministry of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen. This huge social service ministry includes five different sites and a great variety of programs, all visited by our participants: two hot meal sites; a service center offering case management, food boxes, clothing and furniture; On the Rise Bakery that helps men coming out of prison adjust to life on the outside; an art therapy program for children;  Earthworks, an urban gardening program; and Jefferson House, a residential treatment center for indigent men overcoming substance addictions. The quiet of Capuchin Retreat in Washington Township gave the group some reflection time. After learning a bit of the retreat program from Fr. Jim Andres, we took some time to learn something of Franciscan spirituality and then a good thirty minutes of personal time to let it all soak in. We continued the reflection after Saturday supper during a holy hour in which we talked about what most moved us during our visits. The Detroit area Capuchins were great hosts of the event. St. Bonaventure Monastery, under the leadership of Bro. Mark Carrico and the culinary skills of Bro. Larry LaCross, was simply outstanding.  St. Mary Friary offered additional bedrooms. Friars from all over the city stopped in to get to know the participants. It's almost inconceivable that a man would join the Midwest Capuchin postulancy without first experiencing Capuchin Detroit. This weekend opened that possibility for many. In the New Year, we hope to do the same with Wisconsin ministries in Milwaukee and Mt. Calvary. Check out our Picasa Photo Album of the event.