The Great Lakes Lighthouse Conference met on April 30-May 2nd at Assisi Heights in Rochester, MN. Those in attendance were Sr. Chris Petersen, Br. Craig Robert Miller, Br. Keith Downey, Br. John, son of Syvert and Sr. Dale Carmen. The theme of the weekend was celebrating our Brother and Sisterhood in OEF, culminating with the Profession of Br. Keith Downey.
The weekend began on Thursday evening in reconnecting with our Brothers and Sisters and sharing how we our currently living out our lives as Franciscans and our journey both recently and long term.
Friday Morning, Brother Craig Robert opened up the day with Morning Prayer and devotions. Our discussions continued with reconnecting with one another and exploring the expansive grounds of Assisi Heights once again.
Friday evening, Brother Keith, members of his family and friends and members of the Order gathered at the Chapel at Assisi Heights to witness the re-commitment of those in attendance who were previously Noviced, those who were previously Professed and for the Profession of Brother Keith. Leading the service was Br. John, son of Syvert with Sr. Chris presiding over renewing of the vows and Br. Keith’s Profession.
Rev. Glenn Monson, who is Br. Keith’s Pastor gave a beautiful Homily on what it means to Profess not only to be a member of a Franciscan Order, but how each one of us boldly Profess who we are each day. Rev. Monson reminded us how Br. Keith’s life has come full circle from his beginnings in being taught by Franciscan nuns in grade school to beginning religious life in a Franciscan Order in his early 20’s to taking his vows in the OEF many years later.
The Holy Eucharist was presided over by Br. John, son of Syvert and Rev. Scott Richards, who was previously a Seminary Intern serving with Rev. Monson.
Br. Keith as a professed member of OEF chose the name Br. Joseph Thomas in honor of his parents Josephine and Thomas who have passed away previously.
It was a wonderful weekend that brought joy to all gathered around Brother Joseph Thomas in the midst of challenging circumstances, and reminded us all of the joy we all share in community.
The gathering concluded with Saturday morning devotions.