Former Cincinnatian, Friar Begs His Way to Rio
A story in last week’s National Catholic Register chronicled how a former Cincinnati resident — Franciscans of Primitive Observance friar Bro. James Wartman — hitchhiked all the way from Cincinnati to Rio with his fellow FPO friar, Fr. Michael Sheehan.
An area native and former Marine, Bro. James was part of the late Fr. Al Lauer’s ministry at Old St. Mary’s in Over-the-Rhine (OH), and had hoped to be part of the Fathers and Brothers of Pentecost, a proposed religious congregation for men that was disbanded after Fr. Al’s death. He left Cincinnati to join the small group of friars, now based in Boston, who had left the New York Capuchins to return to the ascetic roots of Franciscan life as followed by the Capuchins in the 1500s.
The Franciscans of Primitive Observance (no web site, for obvious reasons) don’t have possessions and don’t handle money. How the two friars managed to get to Rio by car, bus, and boat — a 9,815-mile journey through a dozen countries — is a saga worth reading.
“I wanted to make a real pilgrimage, for my own faith, to keep it alive and fervent,” Bro. James told reporter Justin Bell. “We’re not in any way trying to encourage or imply that this is the way we think God calls people to live in general… a unique call that God gives to people.”
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