As part of a Four-Year Plan, the friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province drafted a vision statement which included priorities such as Fraternity, Ministry, JPIC Culture, Vocations, Senior Friars, Our Custodies, and in turn, objectives to enact through the work of our varied Commissions and Initiatives.
In accordance with two of the objectives for Senior Friars, in order to provide both the care of our elder friars and their continued inclusion in the fraternal life of our Province, our Senior Friars Commission requested that those friars share Spiritual Testaments, in their own words.
Each week, check back for a new reflection.
Father Boniface Reinhart, OFM Conv.
Spiritual Testimony ~ September, 2019
Greetings everyone! My name is Boniface Reinhart and I am a 92 years old member of the Our Lady of Angels Province (USA). I am retired now and reside at St. Bonaventure Friary in Toronto, Canada, and am happy to say that my ministry is prayer!
I was born on September 19, 1927 in Breslau, Ontario, Canada to wonderfully holy and devote Catholic parents. I was the 10 and last child of this family and we have always been very close all of our lives. When I was growing up, my mother was a subscriber of the “Companion” magazine, a publication of the Conventual Franciscan Friars. I read the magazine and saw the vocation notification and so I contacted Fr. Celestine Regnier and that was the beginning of my vocation story.
In September, 1945 I entered the Franciscan Minor Seminary which was on Staten Island at that time. Later (1948), I entered the novitiate which was in Cohoes, NY. My novice master was +Fr. Engelbert Eichenlaub, OFM Conv. We had a big class of novices but not all were professed at the end of the year. Some of my classmates were: +Otto Fouser, +Fermin Finn, +Camillus Murray, +Charles Nelipowitz, +Longinus Lynch. We professed our Simple vows on August 21, 1949 and our Solemn Vows on October 4, 1952.
I completed my studies for the priesthood at our Seminary (Collegio Serafico) in Rome, Italy and I was ordained in Rome on July 4, 1954. I returned to the States and was first assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Francis Parish in Hoboken, NJ.
I too have had many different assignments but one of my ‘favorite’ assignments was at St. John’s parish in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. I was the first Franciscan to be pastor there so it was challenging but very, very rewarding. I have so many good stories of all of my assignments, I couldn’t begin to recount them all. I just know that I have been blessed.
My favorite prayer/devotion is praying the rosary daily. It has always been my favorite devotion.
I would like to say to any young person considering a Franciscan vocation that I have always been content with my decisions and assignments and living in community with others has been a great support to my vocation. And I would say to our current student friars: study St. Francis! In today’s world we cannot live exactly like he did but we can with the grace of God live the same spirit! And growing older…the older you get, the more you learn of God’s love for us and you appreciate it.