I am a diocesan priest, but I like to tell people that I am part-Capuchin. That’s because in addition to the diocesan priests that staff our college seminary, we also have three Capuchin friars on formation faculty—it’s been that way since I was a seminarian. Those friars played an important role in my priestly formation, inside and outside of the classroom.
When I was heading off to do graduate work at Catholic University, my bishop told me that I could live on campus, in a rectory, or with a religious community. So I asked the Capuchin friars if they would have me, and soon I had my own room at Capuchin College in Washington, DC. For two years, I celebrated Mass, prayed the office, took meals, washed dishes, watched football, and shared my life with about thirty men who were devoted to the witness of St. Francis of Assisi.
After the Blessed Mother, St. Francis is arguably the most popular saint in the Christian tradition. Everybody loves St. Francis of Assisi, even some atheists. After all, who wouldn’t love a guy who has a nice beard, wears sandals and a simple brown habit, loves creation, and is often depicted with a cute bird on his shoulder or in his hand?