Our Feature Articles:
Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, SDB, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, addressed attendees at the seventh annual University of Dallas Ministry Conference (UDMC) Friday, Oct. 25 at the Irving Convention Center.
As a boy growing up in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean Bosco “Mbau” Mukolo found great comfort and support in the company of the Catholic missionary sisters in his neighborhood. He even adopted his Christian name at the suggestion of the sisters, who saw something special in the youth. Saint John Bosco dedicated his life to the betterment and education of disadvantaged children and others in dire need of help. For three decades, Jean Bosco Mukolo, now age 35, has strived to live up to the name.
As the rising sun casts a temporary amber glow over the drab, weathered buildings on Fort Worth’s near East Side, dozens of people make their way to the small St. Benedict’s Mission house on Cypress Street, just south of Lancaster Avenue. They wait for its door to swing open, eager to be greeted by the smile of thick-bearded religious men, dressed simply in gray hooded robes, open-toed sandals, and twisted-rope belts, each adorned with a crucifix.
The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal was started in 1987, by eight Capuchin Friars who worked for personal and communal reform in the Catholic Church. They sought a return to the roots of Franciscan life. Today, these “Gray Friars” — known for their simple gray habits and the humble, joyful life of a Franciscan — have grown to include more than 120 religious brothers serving at nine friaries in the U.S., four friaries in Europe, and two friaries in Central America.
“That’s A.J. Schmitz’s pew,” said a parishioner musingly. “He sat right there every time.” St. John Catholic Church swung open its doors in welcome, just like it has done thousands of times over the past 60-plus years, but this time was the last time. A.J.’s pew had an auction number on it, the visible sign that St. John Parish in Valley View would now become a part of the rich history of the Diocese of Fort Worth.