Among the many important components of educating and forming a young man for Franciscan life, is preparing him for international service. Whether an American Friar is being groomed to minister overseas, or a foreign born Friar comes to the United States to learn skills which he can utilize in his native land, this training is vital.
“We are a universal church,” said Fr. Christopher Dudek, OFM Conv., an American Friar with extensive international language and cultural training, currently teaching at Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore, MD. “I did not profess to a province, but an international order that truly brings to light the power of the Gospel and the spirituality of St. Francis.”
Fr. Chris studied Spanish at Catholic University of America (CAU) and in Alajuela, Costa Rica; Italian in Assisi; and Polish in Krakow. He spent two years in a Hispanic community in Washington, D.C. and ministered in Costa Rica, Guatemala City and Honduras. He also studied at Seraphicum, the Orders International College in Rome.
“In each situation, I had mentor Friars who helped me grow by their example,” said Fr. Chris.
Fr. Chris would welcome an opportunity to serve overseas once again.
“I would love to go back to Italy, to study or serve in various roles there. I would be open to going to Latin America to improve my Spanish and help in some of the cities there. As a new priest, I am content to serve my first few years at Archbishop Curley. However, it is great to know the possibilities of international ministry that the Conventual Franciscan Friars can offer.”
Fr. Everest Nyaki, OFM Conv., a Friar from the African nation of Tanzania, currently in the U.S. studying canon law at CAU, is on the opposite end of the spectrum. He has also studied at London University. His international education has already helped him have an impact in his homeland.
“My studies allowed me to help so many people in Tanzania who had different challenges,” said Fr. Everest. “I helped by forwarding their issues and cases to the church tribunal. My studies at Catholic University will help me be even more useful.”
Fr. Everest was introduced to the Friars through Militia of Mary Immaculate, a magazine produced by the Tanzanian Friars, prompting Fr. Everest to pursue his vocation. Eventually he will take his training back home, but Fr. Everest knows he may be called to serve in other parts of the world.
“Being part of an international order, I might be used for the good of the Order in any part of the world,” said Fr. Everest. “I thank God for having the opportunity to study here, helping with the ministry, and serving God’s people. I thank all those who work with the Companions of St. Anthony and the many benefactors that pray for us and support us. May God bless you.
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