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Meeting a Martyr Glenmary's Father Frank Schenk remembers Father Stanley Rother

Good Morning

Brother Craig Digmann's school greeter ministry helps students start the day right.

Growing Up Glenmary Julie McElmurry grew up in a Glenmary mission. Now she's a lay Catholic leader.

Glenmary Home Missioners Founded by Father William Howard Bishop in 1939, this Catholic society of priests and brothers, along with numerous coworkers, establishes the Catholic Church in smalltown and rural America. Glenmary is the only religious community devoted exclusively to serving the spiritually and materially poor in the rural U.S. home missions. Today, supported entirely through freewill offerings, it staffs missions and ministries throughout Appalachia and the South. Glenmary missioners serve in areas where frequently less than one percent of the population is Catholic, a significant percentage have no church afFather William filiation and the poverty rate is almost twice the national av- Howard Bishop erage. Glenmary is known for Glenmary Founder deeply respecting the many cultures encountered in the home missions—Appalachian, Native American, African American and Latino among others. Its missionary activity includes building Catholic communities, fostering ecumenical cooperation, evangelizing the unchurched, social outreach and working for justice.

Glenmary Challenge This quarterly magazine has three goals: to educate Catholics about the U.S. home missions, to motivate young men to consider Glenmary priesthood or brotherhood, and to invite all Catholics to respond to their baptismal call to be missionary by partnering with Glenmary as financial contributors, prayer partners, professional coworkers and/or volunteers. Glenmary Challenge is sent to all donors, to U.S. diocesan clergy and to anyone who requests it. To begin receiving issues, use the contact information below. Publisher: Father Chet Artysiewicz Editor: John Stegeman Assistant Editor: Molly Williamson Art Director: Tricia Sarvak Staff Writers: Margaret Gabriel, Father John S. Rausch Planning-Review Board: Brother David Henley, Frank Lesko, Father Neil Pezzulo, Father John S. Rausch, Susan Lambert, Father Don Tranel, Father Dave Glockner, Brother Craig Digmann, Lucy Putnam

Glenmary Home Missioners P.O. Box 465618 • Cincinnati, OH 45246-5618 513-874-8900 • 800-935-0975 www.glenmary.org • info@glenmary.org © 2017, Glenmary Home Missioners. Reprint permission granted upon request.


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How can you help? Tell a friend FROM THE EDITOR / John Stegeman


here are about 400 counties in the United States that lack a sufficient Catholic presence. About 175 lack a priest, and another 200 may have a church, but don't have a pastoral leadership team. As a reader of this magazine, you know Glenmary's mission is to serve the people of those counties. To reach them all, we need your help. There are many in need and less than 50 Glenmary priests and brothers to serve them. Add in lay pastoral ministers and coworkers, and there's a few more. We are a growing society with more than a dozen students in formation, but even so, we don't yet have enough members to serve the need. Our founder Father William Howard Bishop wrote of this task,"Generations will be required to accomplish it." People ask me, "How can I help Glenmary?" Here's some ideas.


f you have connections with a youth group, tell the leaders about Toppa Joppa and the Glenmary Group Volunteer Program in Tennessee. A week of faith and service awaits the young people who serve there. If you know a young man discerning a vocation, ask if he feels John Stegeman God's calling to be a missionary. jstegeman@glenmary.org If you wish to get more involved in giving to Catholic groups that make a difference in people's lives, consider Glenmary. Our missionaries help the hungry to eat, the poor to pay bills and the lost to find the fullness of truth in the Catholic faith. Visit GlenmaryChallenge.org and click "Give Glenmary Challenge." You can have this magazine sent to a friend, family member or influencer of your choice.


lenmary has been called the best kept secret in the American Catholic Church. We appreciate that, but we don't want to be a secret. We want to go tell it on the mountains of Appalachia, the South and elsewhere in the U.S. With your help and prayers, we can. 

about the cover: American martyr Father Stanley Rother greets a child in Guatemala. w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g


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Vo l u m e 8 0 / N u m b e r 2

Cover Story


Meeting a Martyr

Glenmary's oldest living member, Father Frank Schenk, recalls two meetings with Father Stanley Rother, who will be beatified this September.

Missioner in Action


Brother Craig says Good Morning

Brother Craig Digmann wanted to become a part of his new community, and with the help of the local school district, he gets to meet new people every day. Good Morning, Page 13

Feature Story


Growing up Glenmary

Julie McElmurry spent her youth in a Glenmary mission parish. Now, she is an active leader in spreading the faith. Growing Up, Page 15

Departments & columns

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From the President / Father Chet Artysiewicz

Father Chet has simple advice for those discerning a vocation. Ask, "What does God want?"

Glenmary News & Notes

Glenmary missions welcome 10 at vigil; Brothers symposium draws crowd; El Reto magazine coming soon; State of Appalachia discussed; New blog available.

News, Page 5

Brother Terry 0'Rourke

From construction work to feeding the hungry, Brother Terry O'Rourke was always willing to lend a hand.

Brother Bob Hoffman

Glenmary was still new when Brother Bob Hoffman came aboard, and he made an impact in his many years. Summer 2017

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Memorials, Pages 14, 17


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from the president / Father Chet Artysiewicz

Consider this: What does God want? When discerning a vocation, it is critical to remain open to the will of God


t’s the season for graduation and transitions – and anxiety for many as they wonder, “What next?” Since we were wee ones, we’ve been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Our chosen path often was a marriage of our interests and aptitude – both come into play. (The dream of becoming a concert pianist might have vanished when one’s musical ability peaked at “Chopsticks!”) But I submit there is an often overlooked element when considering a career path, one that is especially important in discerning the call to religious life — the notion of “what does God want?”


hile that concept should be involved in all our choices, the life choice of a religious vocation finds this additional piece critical to the process. Our basic inclination would be to gravitate toward the majority path of matrimony. I venture that all of us in religious life initially found ourselves pulled in that direction. And yet, that little voice, that tug of another direction wouldn’t go away. Insert into this discernment that additional query of what does God want for/from me, and we are no longer talking about a job or a career, but a vocation, a calling to a way of life that encompasses more than just what we do – it is who we are. The previous issue of Glenmary Challenge featured stories about the milestones of three Glenmarians comprising 145 years of priestly ministry. This particular issue of our magazine features stories of two members who have completed their earthly vocation, Brothers Terry O’Rourke and Bob Hoffman. There is need for others to continue the ministry in their place. And the day will come when those three living jubilarians will need to pass the torch to successors, as well. Years ago, a retired priest from Pittsburgh, Father Louis Yunker, served with Glenmary in our western Kentucky missions. At Mass during our Vacation Bible School, he captivated the children as he read certain humorous want ads from a newspaper. As the children listened with rapt attention, he proposed other “want


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ads” for priests, religious brothers and sisters. He planted the seed. I was a young deacon then; 45 years later, the memory of that little message remains with me. So, in that spirit, let me scatter some vocational seeds to you – parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors—nurturers of all stripes. I address it to you, because young people at the career/vocational crossroads usually don’t invest a lot of time in printed materials like this publication; they are much more attuned to social Father Chet media—and certainly today’s vo- Artysiewicz cation counselors are utilizing cartysiewicz@glenmary.org those outlets. But you readers can also extend the “invitation.”


know in Glenmary’s 78 years of existence, every president before me has yearned for more missioners to address the needs of Mission Land, USA. The need is not new, just persistent. It is heartening that even in today’s arid vocational climate many youth admit to having thought about a religious vocation. Perhaps an occasional, “Well, what do you think God wants you to do?” would provide the missing ingredient needed to answer the call. There is no shortage of options for those who wish to serve in a ministerial capacity – multiple religious communities, diocesan ministry, volunteer possibilities, etc. If religious life is your calling, it will be a very happy, fulfilling life. If it’s not your calling, we understand. The last thing we want is for someone to join religious life and be miserable. You can’t spread the “joy of the Gospel” while in despair! As St. Teresa of Avila observed, “May God protect me from gloomy saints!” Years ago, we saw banners and bumper stickers asking WWJD, “What Would Jesus Do?” That pithy question was great. Perhaps we could create an alternate—WDGW—“What Does God Want?” That just might be the best question to clarify one’s vocational decision. Thanks for helping ask that question and for all you do to support our ministry.  w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g


news & notes photo / Ron Brunty


Glenmary missions welcome 10 At vigil, 4 baptized, 6 fully received The Easter Vigil is the customary time for new Catholics to be received into the church, and for those who fell away to return home. This year, 10 people entered the church at Easter vigils in Glenmary's missions. Four were baptized, and six were received into full communion with the church.

Joy of the gospel: Father Neil Pezzulo confirms Rhonda Faye Hacker, center, at Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Hazard, Ky. Father Neil is sacramental minister at the parish.

Glenmary's charge to serve the people in the home missions includes much more than working to make converts,

but when the Gospel is preached and lived authentically, candidates and catechumens will come.

Glenmary serves in missions and ministries across Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky.

photo / Glenmary Vocations


Brothers Symposium draws large crowd Glenmary represented as well [South Bend, Ind.] Glenmary Brothers Jason Muhlenkamp, Jack Henn, Levis Kuwa and David Henley were among the 225 religious in attendance for the National Brothers Symposium, March 25 in South Bend, Ind., at the University of Notre Dame. Attendees represented 32 different communities of men, six communities of sisters, high schools, Cardinal Rule: Glenmary Brothers Jason Muhlencolleges and faith-based organizations. The event was based on the Vatican’s De- kamp, left, Jack Henn, center, Levis Kuwa, right cencember 2015 document, “Identity and Mis- ter, and David Henley pose for a photo with Cardinal sion of the Religious Brother in Church,” and Joseph Tobin, Archbishop of Newark, N.J. at the National Brothers Symposium. speakers covered a variety of topics. Brother John Mark Falkenhain, OSB, a psychology professor at Saint Meinrad W. Tobin, archbishop of Newark, N.J., celebrated the Seminary and School of Theology, delivered Vigil Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart that the keynote address, and Cardinal Joseph closed the symposium. w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

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o u t r e ac h a n d v o ca t i o n s

‘El Reto’ magazine available in June


A variety of uses planned for annual Spanish publication [ohio] The third annual 16page El Reto Glenmary (Glenmary Challenge) magazine will be available in late June. El Reto is a Spanish-language publication that features stories from Glenmary Challenge, making them available to a broader audience. The publication helps spread the word about Glenmary’s mission, ministry and outreach among those whose primary language is Spanish. In addition, missioners and coworkers who minister to

Spanish-speaking persons in mission communities and mission counties will receive copies for distribution. Recently the Glenmary Executive Council approved the creation of an El Reto advisory board to look at expanding and improving the magazine in the future.

Mountain Managers live on site and serve terms from three to 24 months

Around the Missions

Consider a Glenmary Gift Annuity Today!

How do you rate?

By establishing a Glenmary Gift Annuity, you receive:

The following table shows figures based on a one-life annuity of $15,000. Rates are based on the gift annuity rates recommended by the American Council on Gift Annuities. Payout Annual Income Age Rate $660 60 4.4% $765 70 5.1% $1,020 80 6.8% $1,350 90 9.0%

• satisfaction of helping Glenmary continue its mission • fixed-income for the rest of your life • tax deduction and tax-favored income

For more information contact:

Susan Lambert Planned Giving Officer 800-935-0975 slambert@glenmary.org

All information is strictly confidential. This information is not legal advice. A future donor should seek the guidance of a qualified estate and/or tax professional to understand the consequences of a gift. Glenmary gift annuities are not issued in Alabama or Hawaii.

Glenmary Challenge

Glenmary is seeking 5 individuals to serve as long-term volunteers, (aka Mountain Managers) at the Glenmary Group Volunteer program site on Joppa Mountain in Grainger County, Tenn.

For more information: Contact Brother David Henley at vocations@glenmary.org or 800-935-0975.

Mid-Year Gift Planning?


Help Wanted

Summer 2017

 At Glenmary Headquarters Gil Stevens, former executive director of operations, retired March 31 after more than 19 years of service. “I leave Glenmary with great confidence in the people that comprise this organization, knowing that they are capable of overcoming any hurdles that will come up, individually and more importantly, together,” Gil said. Mike Schneider and Sharon Raymond will divide his duties. Their new titles will be treasurer/chief administrator and business manager, respectively.  St. Michael the Archangel youth group from Unicoi County, Tenn., traveled to Knoxville April 23 to visit St. Thomas the Apostle Eastern-Byzantine Rite Catholic mission and participate in the Divine Liturgy.  A two-year-old Knights of Columbus council in Morehead, Ky., has been named the Father John Garvey Council. Father John died in 2002. He was pastor to Glenmary mission Jesus Our Savior in Morehead from 1971-77.  Father Fideles Levri is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his ordination this summer. w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

Ec u m e n i s m

Glenmary represented at State of Appalachia event

from this view!

[West Virginia] The State of Appalachia Conference took place March 31 and April 1 at Pipestem State Park, W. Va. Sponsored by the West Virginia Council of Churches, the conference drew more than 80 participants, representing Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Unitarian Universalists and others to discuss the spiritual state of Appalachia, its economy and environment. Break-out sessions included payday lending in the region, water justice and health care. No united ecumenical voice has been heard in the region since the Commission on Religion in

with negotiable starting dates and breaks for Christmas and summer. Mountain Managers provide a variety of duties.

V o ca t i o n s

Glenmary Book of Prayer gets first update since '09

photo / Tom Navin

Glenmary provides room and board and full medical coverage. Managers receive a monthly stipend of $300, domestic telephone use and use of a Glenmary vehicle. For more info or to apply, visit glenmary.org/long-term-volunteers.

Prayer book contains more than 100 prayers, many written by Glenmarians [Ohio] The Glenmary Vocation Office is updating its current Glenmary Book of Prayer. First published in 1946 and last updated in 2009, the Glenmary Book of Prayer is a small, bound volume for Glenmarians and for distribution to donors and Glenmary vocation prospects. The Vocation Office will print an updated version, including prayers and quotes by Glenmarians and North American saints, as well as traditional prayers like the Apostles’ Creed, the Rosary and prayers from related groups, including Catholic Rural Life and the Religious Brothers Conference. The Vocation Office plans to begin distributing the book to those who attend a variety of events, starting in the fall. For more information or to receive a copy of the Glenmary Book of Prayers, The Glenmary e-mail vocations@ Book of Prayer circa glenmary.org. 1956. w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

Ecumenical Effort: Father John Rausch, right, at-

tended the State of Appalachia conference.

Appalachia disbanded in 2007. The conference seemed to reenergize the representatives from the denominations about Appalachian ministry. Glenmary Father John Rausch participated in the panel on spirituality and emphasized that “spirituality means connectedness—to God, others, creation and self.” He also sat on the economics panel and highlighted the limits of the free market and the need for sustainable development in the mountains. Tom Navin, director of Glenmary’s Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation Commission, observed, “Many were glad to meet others of their faith or geographic area, and indicated they looked forward to working together in the future.” Summer 2017


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news & notes


O n l i n e R e s o u rc e s

Glenmary launches new blog: Home Mission Stories photo / Glenmary Archive

New venue for storytelling stems in part from digital growth

RECENT POSTS: HOME MISSION STORIES Past with missionaries opened door to friendship with Glenmary

Pray for your brothers: Religious Brothers Day

Tell me a story: This iconic photo of Brother Vince Wilmes,

Glenmary's first brother, teaching catechesis to children is the header image of the Home Mission Stories blog.

[ohio] As part of ongoing efforts to reach a broad digital audience, Glenmary Home Missioners has launched a new blog. "Home Mission Stories" will feature original content provided by the Glenmary Communications team and others. "Several Glenmarians and coworkers have created blogs over the years for specific purposes, but we needed a blog dedicated to telling Glenmary's story online," said John Stegeman, Glenmary manager of communications and marketing. "We have a very informative website at Glenmary.org, but hosting certain stories on a blogging platform will allow us to introduce Glenmary to a new audience and drive more traffic back to the website." Stegeman said the blog, which is accessible at Glenmarystories.wordpress.com, will include features that don't 8

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have a home in Glenmary's legacy publications such as Glenmary Challenge magazine or various print and e-newsletters. The blog can also be accessed via Glenmary's main website at Glenmary.org. The blog launched April 20. A new story was posted each week for the first month with bimonthly postings planned after that. "Glenmary's message is timeless and easily translates on print or digital platforms," John said. "We've been seeing some growth on the digital side of things and we're excited to give Glenmary's friends and supporters another vehicle to keep in touch with the work being done in the mission fields of the United States."

Walking among Wildflowers

Tell me a story

For more information: Visit Glenmarystories.wordpress.com or contact John Stegeman at jstegeman@glenmary.org Summer 2017

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cover story

A CHANCE MEETING: Glenmary Father Frank Schenk and newly declared American

photo / Courtesy Denise Bushers Clark

martyr Father Stanley Rother met as counselors in 1964 at an Oklahoma youth camp. They would meet once more in Guatemala less than a year before Father Rother was killed. Father Rother is seen in the top left, with Father Frank to his right.

Meeting a Martyr Glenmary priest remembers encounters with Father Stanley Rother By Molly Williamson


lluminated by torchlight, the two priests processed up the aisle led by native Guatemalan women, their aprons laden with produce collected for the offering. It was a rustic Mass even for Father Frank Schenk, a Glenmary Home Missioner with then-more than 25 years experience serving in rural parts of the United States and Colombia. And Father Stanley Rother knew that every Mass could be his last. He had been warned that his name was on a “death list” for his work ministering to the native population. Surrounded by mountains and  abutting a lake, the mission

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Two Paths: Father Stanley Rother, left, was martyred in 1981 while serving as a missionary in Guatemala. Glenmary Father Frank Schenk, right, knew Father Rother and was engaged in similar ministry in Colombia. Now 101 years old, Father Frank has clear memories of Father Rother and the time S u mthey m e r spent 2 0 1 7 together.  Glenmary Challenge 9 DONATE NOW

Father Rother and Father Frank first met by chance. In 1964, the priests served together as camp counselors at an Oklahoma diocesan youth camp. Father Rother was a newly ordained diocesan priest in the Diocese of Oklahoma City while Glenmary had recently assigned Father Frank to the Idabel, Okla., mission, St. Francis de Sales. Glenmary served the Idabel mission from 1957 until 2010. In total, Glenmary established 10 churches in Oklahoma. Shortly after their meeting, Father Frank went to Glenmary’s mission in Colombia, and Father Rother headed to the Oklahoma City diocese’s mission in Guatemala. Sixteen years later, on a trip celebrating the 25th anniversary of his ordination, Father Frank visited Guatemala. There, he saw Father Rother. The men reconnected, and Father Rother invited Father Frank to spend the night in his isolated mission parish in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. “I was only with him one day and one night, but I could tell that he was a very zealous advocate for his community,” Father Frank said. “He told me that he may be gunned down – that was no surprise to him – because he wanted to distribute land in parcels to the (Mayans) and let them be masters of their own land. He knew

photo / Glenmary Archive

church was an idyllic setting. The 40 acres of mission property owned by the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City was fertile, and Father Rother – a farm boy from Okarche, Okla. – was teaching local Mayans how to cultivate the land. “It was very primitive; there was no electricity, even in the rectory,” said Father Frank, now 101 years old and living in Cincinnati, Ohio. “But the attendance was impressive for a midweek Mass, and the collection was full of ears of corn and other items to be given to the poor.” Less than a year after they concelebrated Mass together, Father Rother was assassinated in his rectory. As part of his mission work, Father Rother wanted to transfer the land around his mission to the indigenous people who farmed it. The Guatemalan government opposed Mayans owning property and killed many of those it viewed as sympathetic to the Mayans. As a result of Father Rother’s sacrifice, Pope Francis named him a martyr in December 2016. Father Rother is the first American to receive the martyr designation. He will be beatified Sept. 23, 2017, in Oklahoma City. After beatification, the canonization committee must confirm a miracle attributed to Father Rother or have the requirement waived by the pope. Then, he may be formally declared a saint.

What's in a name?: Father Frank (Francisco in Spanish) Schenk, left, and Father Stanley Rother were both known for their kindness and missionary spirits. In a sense, they even share a name. In Guatemala, children called Father Rother 'Padre Francisco' because there was no equivalent for Stanley in the local dialect. 10

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that was a dangerous thing to do.” Father Rother had the opportunity to escape death, but felt a need to be with his people. After receiving a warning that he was on a government death list, Father Rother left A GOOD SHEPHERD: the country. He Father Rother was loved by returned briefly his flock. Despite having to Oklahoma in an opportunity to remain January 1981, in the U.S. while his life but he could not was in danger, he chose not to abandon his pastand to be away from his parishio- rishioners and returned to Guatemala. The painting ners during Holy above is featured by the Week. In March 1981, he returned Rother Guild on a prayer card promoting his cause. to Guatemala. Walter Hamilton, a parishioner of former Glenmary mission St. Francis in Idabel, met Father Rother when he spoke at Walter's college, and it made an impression. “Father Rother told us that his life had been threatened in Guatemala, but that the people there needed him, and he was not afraid to die,” Walter said. In a letter written during his mission work, Father Stanley said, “The shepherd cannot run at the first sign of danger. Pray for us that we may be a sign of the love of Christ for our people, that our presence among them will fortify them to endure these sufferings in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom.” On July 28, 1981, assassins threatened a night watchman protecting Father Rother, entered his rectory and shot him twice. He refused to cry out, because he did not want to endanger his parishioners. Before his remains were returned to the states, his parishioners were granted permission to remove his heart and bury it under the altar. The holy site has now become a tourist attraction, said Deacon José Pineda, a pastoral associate serving Glenmary’s Holy Family Church in Lafayette, Tenn. The Mayan parishioners preserved the scene from Father Rother’s death and turned his rectory into a shrine. Visitors can see the marks from the two bullets that killed w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

Father Rother and his toppled chair from when he struggled with the killers. Deacon José grew up in Guatemala, living in the small town of San Ramon outside Guatemala City. Largely sheltered from the civil war, he moved to the United States in 1985. More than 25 years later, he visited Santiago Atitlan while working for the Nashville diocese. Members of the diocese wanted to visit Guatemala to learn more about the culture, because a number of Guatemalans had moved into the area. Deacon José translated on a tour of the country. “(Father Rother) was like a good shepherd trying to help his flock,” Deacon José said. “He saw the government constantly trying to take away his people’s land and negatively affect their way of life, and he advocated on their behalf. But working for their civil rights was interpreted as subversive action.” Being alone, with no support, may have made Father Rother an easier target, Father Frank said. When the Santiago Atitlan mission began, the Oklahoma City diocese sent a few priests, a medical professional, an agronomist and a few lay ministers to develop the mission. By the time Father Frank visited, Father Rother was the only one left. It made him seem more isolated and  vulnerable. Summer 2017


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photo / Glenmary Archive

PRIEST RIDER: Father Frank Schenk spent time as

a missioner in South America. In Colombia, many sites were only accessible by horseback.

Though much of the civil war in Colombia had ended by the time Father Frank arrived in the 1960s, he could empathize with Father Rother. He knew a woman who lost all of her sons to the violence and knew an indigenous man who became a priest, was given his own parish and then was shot, because the government did not want any indigenous people in positions of power. “Anyone with native blood was seen as a rabble-rouser,” Father Frank said. The political atmosphere was similar in Guatemala during Father Rother's time there.

Father Frank's seminary classmate was a missioner in Guatemala and told Father Frank the story of a young priest who was taken to a safe house in the Benedictine Marmion Abbey in Guatemala. Soldiers had twice visited the rectory searching for the priest, but as night fell, the soldiers simply drove by the abbey and would not come in the gates. A large tree was near the door of the rectory, and the soldiers feared that Mayans helped by the young priest would be hiding in the tree waiting to ambush the soldiers. “It was a really dangerous time,” Father Frank said. “You had to be careful where you went and when you went there.” Father Frank can remember how alone he often was in his Colombia mission work. Many of the sites were only accessible by horseback, and he spent days riding around to the mountain communities. “That was the nature of mission work, and Father (Rother) was very passionate about his,” Father Frank said. “He was an interesting man. It is not every day you get to meet a living saint – I also met (St.) Teresa when she visited Tulsa – but I was glad to have known Father (Rother).” Special thanks: Photos of Father Stanley Rother courtesy of Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Archive

Sitting on History Denise Bushers Clark, who contributed the photo atop page 9, remembers the summer of 1964 vividly. A parishioner of St. Francis in Idabel, Okla., she was familiar with the Glenmarians and many seminarians. “Growing up, we always had priests come to the house for lunch or dinner, because my mother was a wonderful cook,” Denise said. “They were always around. It was so different than how my kids grew up. They know the priest, but they don’t have a connection to them like I did.” In her small town, seminarians would come to lead Bible study. They introduced her to guitar music in the church after the passage of Vatican II. But it was Father Frank Schenk who exposed her to the elements. In 1964, he led a diocesan youth camp in Beavers Bend, Okla., about 20 minutes from Idabel. Priests and children from throughout the state came to attend and help


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lead the camp. One of those priests was newly-ordained Father Stanley Rother, the martyr. Together, he and Father Frank celebrated Mass outdoors every day. Against a backdrop of pine trees and the rushing river, Denise said the camp was a picturesque setting. “It was wonderful, I was having the time of my life until my parents showed up,” Denise joked. “I was exposed to all of these new experiences.” She said she always remembered the camp fondly, and had a picture to commemorate the time. She wanted to send the photo to the Oklahoma City Diocese, but she did not really have a story to accompany it. But remembering Father Rother’s role, she said, “I have been sitting on all of this history and never even thought about him being in the picture.”

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Missioner in Action / by Molly Williamson

Brother Craig says 'good morning'


   hen Brother Craig Digmann moved to Hancock County, Tenn., in July 2016 to launch a new Glenmary Home Missioners’ outreach ministry, he knew he needed to establish trust within the community. In Hancock County, most of the people were lifelong residents. There had never been a resident Catholic priest or brother doing outreach ministry, and people were largely distrustful of Catholics. “The reason I am here is education,” Brother Craig said. “I have been educated by these people, and I am trying to educate them. But first, I have to build trust.” He started at the school. Brother Craig approached Director of Schools Tony Seal about implementing a school greeter program. It would be members of the community welcoming the middle and high school students in the morning with a smile and a friendly greeting. “It is a way for the outside community to show their support for the future of Hancock County,” Brother Craig said. “Some of these children come from a tough background, and they may not get much support at home.” Brother Craig knew the program could be effective. He was part of a similar program in Union County, Tenn. In Hancock County, he created the guidelines, advertised the program and helped collect the applications for each greeter.


he school greeter program helped him establish rapport and gain acceptance in the community. “I got to know hundreds of kids (in Union County),” Brother Craig said. “I went to five graduations and got to know their parents. I went to sporting events. People did not know me, but they felt it was good for the school district and community.” Most importantly, the program was free and does not infringe on the school day. The program was approved by the board of education in Hancock County. “(Brother Craig) came highly recommended from Union County,” Tony said. “I know the director of schools in Union County, and he said the program had gone well there. It started slow here, but it is gaining ground.” w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

photo / Molly Williamson

By partnering with public school, Brother builds trust and helps students start their days

Starting the Day Right: Brother Craig Digmann greets Hancock County, Tenn., students at the start of a busy school day.


aving familiar faces like, Claude Collins, an 89-year-old former educator and well-known figure in the community (who died in February 2017), helped legitimize the program, Brother Craig said. It also helps that Brother Craig has become so visible throughout Hancock County. He attends sporting events, where he picks up conversational nuggets for the mornings he greets. He attends community functions, pays his bills in person, visits churches, is active at the senior center and performs jail ministry. “The more places I can be present, the more I can support and become part of the community,” Brother Craig said. “If people know you from one place, that is great, but if they know you from four or five different places, you become like family. That is how you begin building trust. I try to be as present as I can be. That multiplicity deepens the impact and helps me to begin to break down some of their misconceptions of the Catholic Church.” Brother Craig typically greets on Mondays and Fridays. Though there is little evidence of the greeter program effect on student outcomes, Brother Craig and Tony are believers. “He is having a positive impact on the kids,” Tony said. “We are getting a lot of positive comments from some kids, and the parents stop by and say thank you. You never know how a good morning can make a difference. 

Summer 2017


Glenmary Challenge

Brother Terry O'Rourke, 1934-2017

Brother remembered for service A remembrance / Father Robert Dalton

Brother Terry never stopped working for the underprivileged


visit to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Aberdeen, Miss., is a lesson in the life, talents and values of Brother Terry O’Rourke, whose smiling picture greets you as you enter the 10,000-square foot facility that previously served as the distribution center for a cleaning supply company. Brother Terry died March 10, 2017, at the age of 82 after 58 years of service to Glenmary. Commitment to the people in need in Monroe County led Terry to almost 20 years of service feeding the hungry. This ministry began very simply in the cramped cellar beneath Glenmary’s former St. Francis of Assisi mission. A unique feature of Loaves and Fishes is the room arranged as a miniature supermarket, where senior citizens can shop on Wednesdays. Customers can choose their favorite items for free, including frozen meat. The last items before leaving the store are dessert items and candy. Even the poor enjoy and deserve a treat. There are no rules here, just posted guidelines that are carefully observed by the customers. The elderly may be poor, but they have dignity and deserve some individual preference. This reflects Brother Terry’s deep respect for people who just happen to be poor or temporarily fallen on hard times.


ngenuity and skill as a builder were characteristic of Terry, and he recognized the need for fresh produce for a healthy diet. As a result, he built an 8x10-foot walk-in cooler. An air conditioner economically keeps the room at a steady 41 degrees, 20 degrees below its natural shut-off temperature. A 40-foot frozen food truck trailer was purchased on faith for $1,000 for frozen meat storage. His efforts culminated in 450 households receiving nourishing and well-balanced food boxes each month. It is no wonder that Loaves and Fishes was named the outstanding food bank for the fourstate Mid-South region in 2015, the last year

Brother Terry O'Rourke


Glenmary Challenge

Summer 2017

Brother Terry’s health allowed him to minister to the people of Aberdeen. Brother Terry was always collaborating with volunteers and building a team. The food pantry became an ecumenical community project with many supporters and volunteers. Lloyd Massey, a Methodist retired military officer, has succeeded Terry with equal dedication and commitment to the poor. As a young man, Terry was part of the Brothers Building Crew, building homes for the poor in Dahlonega, Ga., and Okolona, Miss., with Brother Paul Wilhelm. While building homes for others, the two brothers lived in a broken down trailer without air conditioning. As dedicated missioners, their goal was building a community, building relationships and witnessing to Christian faith as well as building houses. Often, their clients had no knowledge of Catholicism nor any familiarity with Catholic culture. A comment by one woman would bring a hearty laugh to the two brothers even years later. “Paul and Terry are brothers, but they certainly don’t look nothing alike.”


or over 40 years, Glenmarians served the young people of northeast Mississippi with a summer camp experience with two weeks of Friendship Camp for poor children and two weeks of Glenmary Camp for Catholic youth. Brother Terry was always behind the scenes as “Mr. Fix-It” and preparing the buildings and grounds for the summer sessions. “Brother T” is beloved by a generation of camp volunteers and counselors from around the country. He is remembered for his gentle presence and his deep-fried chicken, okra and French fries. Two weeks before Terry died, a close friend visited him and found him near comatose. He suddenly became awake from the deep slumber and said, “They're coming for me.” The friend asked, “Terry, are you ready to go?” He laughed, saying, “Oh, I’m ready to roll. My reports are all finished, and the ledger is finally correct. I am ready to go!” He then fell back into a deep sleep, a very prayerful disciple ready for the Lord Jesus to welcome him home.  w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

photo / Glenmary Challenge Archive

photo / Courtesy of Julie McElmurry

Growing UP Glenmary

All Grown up: Julie McElmurry, top photo, has come a

long way from the Glenmary mission in Cherokee, N.C. In the photo on the bottom, Julie is pictured at far left about age 7 in 1981. Her brother Dan, can be seen next to Sister of Charity Rita Maureen Schmidt along with other children during a faith formation class.

Julie McElmurry Age: 42 Age of contact with Glenmary: 2 Hometown: Charlotte, N.C. Home Parish: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Glenmary mission from 1955-2000) Family: Five godchildren; 10 nieces and nephews In her words: "I like taking friends to Cherokee, N.C., to take in the beauty and show them the looming stained glass window of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the church."

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Life in a rural Glenmary mission led McElmurry to life of ministry


By Frank Lesko

ulie McElmurry has always felt close to the Catholic Church. When she thinks of the church, she doesn’t recall making her first communion or serving Mass, she remembers eating dinner with Glenmary priests and sisters and swimming with them in the pool. “The Glenmary priests, brothers and sisters were like my uncles and aunts,” she said. “They were always around during Christmas and Thanksgiving meals and other gatherings. They were part of our family. My parents moved to this area from North Dakota, so they didn’t have any other family here.” Julie grew up in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina – in Cherokee, a small town with few Catholics. It was the kind of place where everybody knows everybody and almost everyone is related, “except for us," she said. Growing up a Catholic in the strongly Evangelical South, she continually felt like an outcast. Hers was one of only two Catholic families in the local school, and none of the children were in the same grade. It made it hard to defend their religion. She remembers being shocked one day when her fourth grade teacher made an anti-Catholic remark. "I was trying to muster all my knowledge from the Catechism that I was taught, trying to stand up to her and being shot down,” Julie said. “People from highly Catholic areas in the northeast have no idea what it's like.” That is why the Glenmary community was such a blessing. For those who "grow up Glenmary," church is not just something that happens on Sunday mornings, it is woven into the fabric of daily life. Glenmary had been ministering in the area since 1955, when the Our Lady of Guadalupe mis-  Summer 2017


Glenmary Challenge

As a campus minister, Julie once lived on the same street right between a Franciscan friary and a convent. She felt right at home and attributes that to her experience with Glenmary. “Finding religious to be approachable and being able to form sincere friendships with them probably comes from those personal, friendly relationships with Glenmarians growing up,” she said. Participating in a year of service through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps had a big impact on Julie. She worked at a homeless shelter and lived in community in Hartford, Conn., with other volunteers.

of Sylva (and later as an outpost of Bryson City). It was returned to the care of the Diocese of Charlotte in 2000. Julie and her family lived in the area from 1977 until 1991. “Father Jack McNearney always wore combat boots with white tube socks,” Julie said. “My family owned a campground, so he would come swimming at our campground wearing his whole get-up, including the combat boots, and jump in the pool.” Julie and her family felt accepted and supported by the priests and sisters she saw regularly, including Father Don Levernier, who beneath his formal exterior lay a compassionate heart. “He gave my parents a loan when their campground fell on hard times,” Julie said, choking back tears. “There was no money coming in during the winter, and they had young kids and a mortgage to pay. My parents told me that he never asked for that money back.” Julie’s story illustrates two important facets of Glenmary’s mission. It shows why Glenmary reaches out to isolated Catholics and why Glenmary builds positive relationships and better understanding with other faith traditions, especially Evangelical Christians. The hope is to reduce alienation and misunderstanding. The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a guiding mantra for the missionary work of Glenmary (Luke 15:3-7 and Matthew 18:12-14). Just as Jesus described the Father who would leave the 99 to search for the one lost sheep, so too Glenmary eschews populated areas to minister to the few scattered Catholics, and others, in the rural United States. “Many of my friends and family don’t get it,” said Father Neil Pezzulo, Glenmary’s first vice president. “They don’t understand why Glenmary would make all that effort for just a few people, but it’s what the Gospel calls us to do.” Julie stands as someone grateful for that effort. It would have been impossible to attend Mass without a Glenmary mission. The nearest Catholic Church was a significant distance away, and her family would have been isolated from the Church and alone in their faith. Scripture says to sow good deeds in faith and not worry about the harvest, for “one sows and another reaps (John 4:37).” Missionaries live this reality more than most. By the nature of the work, Glenmarians break new ground, build and then move on, trusting in God that the seeds sown will yield a bountiful harvest later. In Julie, the missioners planted an interest in ministry. She is now a full-time lay minister in the Catholic Church. She earned a master’s in religious studies from Fordham University and another in Franciscan studies from St. Bonaventure University. She served as campus minister at Wake Forest University and Salem College, both in the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C.


Glenmary Challenge

Summer 2017

photo / Glenmary Archive

 sion in Cherokee was established as an outpost

Growing up, Growing Church: Father Jack McNearney,

left, is shown with a group doing construction in Sylva, N.C., in 1984. That mission preceded the one in Cherokee.

The challenges of that experience inspired her to edit a book, Living and Serving in the Way of St. Francis. She partnered with Franciscan Service Network to create this book and served as the editor. It is structured around quotes from Saints Francis and Clare and is a compilation of writings by 40 former Franciscan volunteers who reflect on their own year of service. The book seeks to help others make the most of their service and cope with the difficult situations of poverty, abuse and neglect they often encounter in those they serve. Julie has also produced short films about religious life. Some of her films have been featured at international film festivals. In 2010, Julie founded Franciscan Passages, a nonprofit organization where she helps churches, colleges and organizations with their spiritual needs. In addition to helping interpret and analyze the writings of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, Julie facilitates retreats, gives presentations, offers classes and hosts workshops. She said it is her goal and passion to share what she has learned with others. Her background came full circle when she facilitated a retreat for Glenmary members in spring 2016.  FOR MORE INFORMATION about Julie and her ministry or to schedule her for an upcoming event, visit her website at http://www.franciscanpassages.org/. w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

Brother Bob Hoffman, 1927-2017

Early member of society recalled A remembrance / Father Dennis Holly

Brother Bob made use of many tools


rother Bob Hoffman joined Glenmary during the first decade of Glenmary’s existence. As Father William Howard Bishop, founder of Glenmary, was forming Glenmary into the society that it would become, his vision for the brothers was very much that of Brother the Catholic Church of his day. With the Second Bob Hoffman Vatican Council, new images of ministry surfaced. Brother Bob played an important part in couraged Glenmary to purchase a rural the development of the brothers’ task in Glen- property near Vanceburg, Ky., which became mary from helper and assistant to professional known as “The Glenmary Farm.” Eventually, and leadership roles within the society. more than 22,000 young people would parHe had many tools in his box, like his knowl- ticipate in programs at The Farm. edge of psychology and spirituality. He would move easily from one to the other, depending s Brother Bob became more aware of on what was demanding his attention. the housing needs of many people in Brother Bob had many and diverse interthe eastern Kentucky area, he started ests – building construction, innovative build- People’s Self-Help Housing, a not-for-profit ing design, theology, psychology, spirituality, corporation to help meet these needs. Once writing, watercolor painting, pottery, ceram- this corporation was on a stable footing, he ics, gardening, audio visuals, ecology, travel was able to turn the management of it over to and the cosmos. others and himself to move on to other ministry. The corporation has provided some 350 e was truly a lifelong learner. Besides affordable homes for families in the area. his initial formation as a Glenmary He was also involved in the construction of Brother, he participated in formal ed- parish facilities. He built a church building in ucation programs at Notre Dame University Morgantown, Ky., and a rectory in Franklin, and the Graduate Theological Union – School Ky. He worked with a building crew in Anof Applied Theology at Berkeley, Calif., where drews, N.C., Boone, N.C., Buck Creek, N.C., he earned a Master of Arts degree. He also Lebanon, Va., and West Union, Ohio. spent some time in an Ashram in India purAmong Brother Bob’s most important gifts suing his interest in Eastern religions. for ministry was a charming and engaging perHe learned to be interdisciplinary in the sonality. His smile would light up any group. use of his skills. For example, for many years He was a tireless worker, pushing himself to Brother Bob was assigned as a vocation coun- the limits. By his example, he challenged those selor, helping young men discern whether God who worked with him to do the same. was calling them to serve in the home missions Brother Bob accompanied Father Bishop on as a Glenmarian. His spirituality and psychol- his last mission trip. On June 11, 1953, Brother ogy toolboxes were very important in this task. Bob was with Father Bishop when he died at But he still had that carpenter’s toolbox. And, Saint Mary Hospital in Norton, Va. On March so he involved these prospective Glenmarians 17, 2017, Brother Bob, with his travel and spirituin constructing and repairing homes for the ality toolboxes in hand, made his own last trip to needy in Appalachia as a way of connecting see those “many dwelling places in the Father’s prospects with the people that they might be House” mentioned by Jesus (John 14:2). serving in the future. This author suspects Brother Bob will In order to facilitate this involvement of spend the first part of his eternity suggesting prospects with the people, Brother Bob en- a better design. 



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Glenmary Challenge

final words / from our readers

Spring cover story moves many Readers comment on latest issue, remember Father Les Schmidt and other Glenmarians Thank You


Thank you for the very informative and inspiring articles in your spring issue. Public prayers, surely something that could be duplicated in "my world." Also, "Enlisting the Help of Friends" had such love and compassion. Wishing you the best.

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Spring 2017


Glenmary brother plays key role in getting food to hungry kids


Suzanne Lareau Royal Oak, Mich.

3 Glenmary priests mark milestones in 2017


the help of


When a man asked for help, the Glenmary team came together for the corporal work of mercy to bury the dead

'A blessing to the world'

Amazing Grace

Just writing to let you know how moved I was by "Enlisting the Help of Friends" in the Spring Issue of Glenmary Challenge! I could hear Amazing Grace as I was reading! May you be blessed with vocations galore! Father Anton Trappist, Ky. Praise for cover story

Your Glenmary Challenge magazine, Spring 2017 was outstanding. The article written by Molly Williamson, "Enlisting the Help of Friends" was very touching. God's blessing be with everyone at Glenmary. Keep up the great ministry in God's name. John Kroll Naples, Fla. Readers’ Views welcome! Send comments to: Editor, Glenmary Challenge, P.O. Box 465618, Cincinnati, OH 45246. E-mail: challenge@glenmary.org. Comments are printed at the discretion of the editor and may be edited for clarity and space. Please include a postal address.


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î ś

The articles in your magazine are very moving. Your dedication, passion and tremendous support for those in need is a blessing to the world. Thank you for all you give daily and selflessly. Barbara & Jerry McGovern Peru, N.Y. Good memories of Glenmary

Father Les Schmidt's photo and news item in your Spring issue prompted me to send this comment. At 95, as the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's second-oldest diocesan priest, I have known many Glenmary members. In the late 1940s and 50s, Glenmary students attended our Cincinnati diocesan seminary. I was a classmate with Fathers Robert Rademacher, Charlie Hughes and Frank Schenk, who is still living at 101 years of age. Upperclassmen included Fathers Pat O'Donnell, Bob Berson and Rollie Hautz. I've been a photojournalist most of my life, and Father O'Donnell taught me my first lessons in photography.

Summer 2017

In studying the problem of Appalachia early in my writing career, I visited many of the Glenmary missions. At one time, I visited Father Leo Schloemer and Frank in Colombia. I never got to meet Father William Howard Bishop, but I did know most of Glenmary's presidents throughout the years and not too long ago had a pleasant visit with current president Father Chet Artysiewicz and with Father Dan Dorsey. The Glenmary Home Missioners have done wonderful work through many years. I hope and pray that God will bless Glenmary through many more years. Father Joseph Beckman Cincinnati, Ohio Congratulating Father Les

In the recent issue of Glenmary Challenge, I noticed that Father Les Schmidt was celebrating 60 years of ordination as a Glenmary priest. When I was a third year theology student, studying for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I had the good fortune to spend the summer with Glenmary at the Christian Living Camp in North Carolina. I believe the time was during the late 1950s. Father Les was one of the counselors. How well I remember those outdoor evenings with singing, games and ritual. Taking the campers home was a much different experience. Please offer to Father Les my congratulations for 60 years in the priesthood. In April of this year, I will have completed 57 (or 56?) years. Father Gilbert Romero Seal Beach, Calif. w w w. g l e n m a r y. o r g

w w w.glenmary.org t h e w e b s i t e o f C at h o l i c m i s s i o n e r s t o r u r a l A m e r i c a

O n line Co nte nts

What's New Novices take First Oaths

Three Glenmary novices are scheduled to take their First Oaths as Glenmary missioners on June 8 during Glenmary's General Assembly. glenmary.org/2017firstoaths Novices

Departments Vocations

In this issue you read about the passing of two Glenmary brothers. Vocation director Brother David Henley asks, are you being called to replace them? glenmary.org/remembering-brothers

Planned Giving

A planned gift is any major gift that requires thought and consideration during your life—or thereafter. glenmarygift.org

Give the Challenge


Want to share this magazine digitally? View this edition online at our website. glenmary.org/viewcurrentissue

Volunteer Opportunities

Glenmary is seeking long- and short-term volunteers to serve our Group Volunteer Program in Tenn. glenmary.org/volopps

Toppa Joppa

Featured Stories Prison Ministries Give Inmates Hope

Father François Pellissier says the prisoners he ministers to often come with a mask on, but must allow themselves to become vulnerable and open. glenmary.org/prison-ministry-hope Prison Ministry

Seek and You Shall Find

As Forrest Wylie knows, sometimes it takes a while to find the perfect fit. After converting in 2013, Glenmary helped Forrest find a parish to call home. glenmary.org/meet-forrest

Field Lesson: Be Ready to Evangelize

Glenmary seminarian José Carlos Miguel Lòpez encountered a Walmart employee who knew little to nothing of Jesus. He was happy to share the good news. glenmary.org/walmart-evangelism

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Summer 2017

Walmart Evangelist


Glenmary Challenge

NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. Postage PAID Glenmary Home Missioners

photo / Molly Williamson

Glenmary G l i m p s e / Walking with Wildflowers


ather John Rausch examines the flowers of a redbud tree before a Wildflower Walk he organized at the start of Holy Week. Father John is a member of many organizations that seek to preserve the beauty and dignity of creation. Father Patrick Delahanty, a retired diocesan priest from Louisville, Ky., participated in the walk and observed, “It was interesting to see how Laudato Si fits into the walk. When (the guide) was saying how if the hemlock goes, then something else goes, it shows there is a connection. We are all connected. What we are talking about is integral ecology.” Read more about the Wildflower Walk at Glenmarystories.wordpress.com.

Catholic Missioners to Rural America

Glenmary Home Missioners P.O. Box 465618 Cincinnati, OH 45246-5618

Profile for Glenmary Communications

Glenmary Challenge, Summer 2017  

The magazine of Catholic missioners to rural America.

Glenmary Challenge, Summer 2017  

The magazine of Catholic missioners to rural America.