In yet another blow to the already low number of priests in the Diocese of Gaylord, the Franciscan Order will not longer be filling the pastor position of Cross In The Woods National Shrine and parish in Indian River. This will strain the already stretched staffing of priests in the Diocese. This past week, Fr. Bryan Medlin was appointed pastor of the parish effective this coming September.

The reason for retreat of the Franciscans from this parish has been due to a “lack of personnel” in the Franciscan Order. This represents yet another example of the lack of vocations seen in what was once a bustling and active religious order.

What has caused the lack of vocations among the Franciscan friars? There are, of course, many reasons. But one of them could be the lack of inspiration one sees in some, if not many, of the current Franciscan friars. One only needs to turn to the parish of Cross in the Woods and Fr. Michael Haney as an example. Fr. Haney has had a controversial, possibly outright heretical at times, pastorship at Cross in the Woods. He has been the subject of numerous posts on this website including a post regarding his political views and his referencing of outright anti-Catholic scholars in some of his bulletin writings. He also admitted to performing baptisms incorrectly, possibly leading to numerous invalid baptisms during the time he has been at Cross in the Woods. Who would want to be a Franciscan with that incompetence?

The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods should be a destination for people who want to grow in their faith.  Instead, it is hanging on by a thread as interest dwindles and the ability of the Diocese to keep parishes open becomes an ever increasing challenge. Please pray for vocations and for inspiration of the Holy Spirit to send a holy bishop and holy priests to the Diocese of Gaylord.