Regional Minister’s Message

Christmas 2021

My brothers and sisters in St. Francis. Merry Christmas! The Holiday season is a time when Christians everywhere pause to reflect on the life-changing Incarnation – God humbly joining us on Earth as Baby Jesus being born in a manger.

2021 has been a year of adjusting to the new normal of living with the COVID Pandemic. I am so grateful for the scientists who developed the vaccine and the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who continue to confront this disease. We continue to pray each Wednesday at 6:00 PM for an end to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our Vice Minister, Sharon Dale, OFS, is leading the Rosary. The teleconference number is 1-978-990-5000. Access code: 734545. Please pass on the information to your Fraternity members.

Your Regional Executive Committee (REC) has been hard at work since the election this last summer. We have been quite busy making Fraternal and Pastoral Visitations and presiding over elections. This past October we were able to gather in person at Marywood Spirituality Center for a retreat and business meeting. The REC was able to plan out the upcoming year. One of the joys of our Marywood meeting was a Zoom video conference with our re-emerging fraternity in Madison. The former Madison cell will be called by the name on their original Document of Establishment – St. Francis and St. Clare Fraternity. The REC appointed an interim Council: Lisa Whelan, OFS, as Minister, Rick Lavolv, OFS, as Vice-Minister, Jim Behan, OFS, as Secretary, Beth Anderson, OFS, as Treasurer, and Eloise Anderson, OFS, as Formation Director. During the process of reupping as a fraternity, the council will be working with the St. Paschal Baylon Fraternity in Wind Lake and the REC. One of the challenges for the reemerging Madison Fraternity will be to find a spiritual assistant to guide them. Please keep the Madison cell in your prayers during this process of re-establishment.

The REC decided to move forward with in person District Gatherings in 2021. The theme of the District Gatherings will be Fraternal Life: Refresh, Review and Renew. After a two year hiatus, I am looking forward to seeing each and everyone of you in person at the district gatherings. The dates for each of gatherings are:
Central District – Queen of Heaven in Wisconsin Rapids, WI – March 26, 2022
Southeast District – Portiuncula at Basilica of St. Josaphat – April 9, 2022
Fox Valley – St. Joseph in Appleton – April 23, 2022

The use of technology like Zoom and conference calls has been difficult for some of our older members. But even with these frustrations several people expressed a sense of resilience in discovering what is truly important in life. Our Spiritual Assistant, Br. Jerome mentioned how this difficult time can be a journey of conversion. At the end of our Zoom gathering we agreed to continue to meet on a monthly basis to support one another.

The REC is blessed to add Fr. Frank Corradi to our council as our Regional Formation Director. Fr. Frank is a well respected priest, a model of living a Franciscan lifestyle and gifted teacher. He served as the Director of St. Anthony’s Retreat Center for a number of years. Fr. Frank is taking over for Jo Ann Boss, OFS, who stepped away from the position in 2021 after faithfully serving the La Verna Region par excellence. Fr. Frank is looking forward to working together with the local Fraternities to bring about the very best formation. He wants to make contact with each of our local fraternities. Fr. Frank’s contact information is phone: 715-723-2620 and email:

The central message of this season is Emmanuel–“God with us.” Let’s be generous in sharing God’s gift of relationship with others. May you and your family have a joyous Christmas!

Jeff Gumz, OFS
Minister of the La Verna Region