State of the Region – 2019 – 2020 Kate Kleinert, OFS, Regional Minister

State of the Region

St. Katharine Drexel Region

2019 – 2020

It’s tough to report on a year that has been plagued by the pandemic.  I don’t even remember now if January and February were bad weather months and perhaps some fraternities didn’t meet because of weather. Then March hit and some were able to meet before everything closed up.

Living with this life-altering virus, I tried very hard to keep us together as much as possible.  In the beginning of the shut down we met by conference call to say the rosary and then to do Stations of the Cross.   We had a ministers’ meeting and encouraged the ministers to have the Council split up the members’ list for a phone check in.

When it started looking like this wasn’t going to end in a few weeks, we learned how to Zoom.  Life as we knew it just wasn’t there any more.   With the warmer weather, some of us were able to meet outside and even a few professions happened under the new regulations.

There have been no visitations and no elections so if and when this pandemic runs its course, I’m going to be very far behind.  But at least the prayer requests and Regional news continued to flow. And with that segue, let me report on our conversation at the National Chapter.  There has been no contingency plan discussed or implemented to conduct visitations or elections virtually. So for the foreseeable future, things will remain status quo.    As I announced several months ago, if there is anyone on a Council position who feels they cannot stay in their position until this pandemic is resolved, please speak up.  If you feel uncomfortable going to your Minister, please reach out to me.  We will make this work to everyone’s comfort.

After the meeting today, I will be sending out a flyer for a Christmas gathering…by Zoom.  It is scheduled for Sunday, December 20 – the Sunday before Christmas. No matter what happens between now and Christmas, no one… one is going to have a holiday like he or she is used to.  We have a lot of elderly in our Region.  Lots of them will be waking up Christmas morning with no plans. So I’m inviting everyone in the Region to a family gathering again on December 20.  We will have prayer, of course, hear the Love Story of Mary and Joseph, talk about Christmas Traditions and a few things to liven up the day.  Getting together like this helps to keep us connected!

A little over a year ago we were celebrating our 25 anniversary. It’s a good thing we all got together then, because who knew what was coming in 2020?? Jeff and Teresa Redder just attended the Mass they had said for the Region in honor or it’s year of celebration.  Thanks Jeff and Teresa!

Last Spring, I received a message from Father Ramundo Cabrera, OFM, the pastor of St. Paul’s parish in the heart of Wilmington.  He had a group of 18 Hispanic folks who want to become Secular Franciscans.  Father had been working with them for 2 years and I mean meeting at least twice a week.  Unfortunately, the friars were leaving the parish and Father wanted to make sure this group didn’t fall through the cracks.  Also unfortunately, COVID stepped in and has made it very difficult to meet with them and move forward. The goal is to help them form their own Spanish speaking fraternity.  I’ve been there to meet with them on a few occasions and they are a wonderful, spirit filled group of people.

Speaking of the (dreaded) Annual Report, I received mine from National yesterday.  I have NOT had any time to read it; however, I understand the focus this year is on how we all have coped with COVID and kept going. So, you can’t just copy over last year’s answers and use them this year!  The drop dead date to have your Annual Report back to me is February 1, 2021. And by drop dead date, I mean that is when I will drop dead if you don’t have it back to me!  So once I recover from this meeting, I will take a look at what information I have to report on to National and will adjust our Regional report form accordingly. And while we are on that subject, the Fair Share remains the same for this year.  We need to pay National just like any other year.  I do realize that fraternities haven’t been meeting, funds have not been collected.  Before it gets any closer to Christmas, see if you can get your members to mail in their Fair Share and be sure you provide the name and address of your treasurer in your e-mail.  But be prepared for people to call you anyway and say “What is that address I’m supposed to mail this to?”  I am speaking from several years of experience!

Also, as in any other year, you will be able to pay Fair Share in installments and if you just cannot make the amount, call me. Some fraternities who are in better shape financially will sometimes add some to their Fair Share to help out a fraternity that can’t pay.

And this is the year we were warned about last year!  The number of active people reported on the Regional Annual Report must match what is in the National database.  We will owe the difference to National.  I have already received a notice that there are 42 more people in the database than were reported last year. It is my next big task.  Ministers, when I send you your sheet from the database, please look over it carefully and get back to me with corrections as quickly as you can.

One of the things I struggle with every year on the Regional report to National is the subject of Youth and Young Adults.  I’m getting farther away from that category by the minute!  Amanda Jamnicky, Minister of Immaculate Conception fraternity, and I attend an 11 week Youth and Young Adult workshop.  Every Monday night for 11 weeks, we were on Zoom going through some training.  As Regional Minister, I know its my job to oversee some kind of action in this department.  I will tell you honestly, it’s not my bag. And I’m being honest.  I do not feel called in any way to get involved with the younger folks.  Maybe it’s because I never had children, but what I want to say is, if you feel called to this ministry, please let me know.  The Youth and Young Adult Commission is a wonderful group and would be very happy to work with you. So let me know if you are interested.

In the last issue of TAU USA magazine, our very own St. Francis, Long Beach Island was featured for their work on ReClaming the Beach.  I haven’t received my copy yet but I’m sure it shines a great light on the work these folks are doing.  Bravo, LBI!

The Padre Pio fraternity is featured this week in the Catholic’s latest issue. Look under Local news.  It highlights the Transitus procession that included the OFM Caps who live in that area and members of the local fraternities.  It’s invaluable to receive such positive press on both these fraternities’ efforts.

There was no solution given for having National elections – scheduled for October of 2021 or Regional elections.  In our case, the Region is due in March of 2022.  I’m sure you all have read the messages I have sent out about our National Minister, Jan Parker, and her present fight against endometrial cancer.  Jan announced at our National Chapter that she will not be running in the next National elections.  Our elections are a year and a quarter away, but its time to start thinking about who you might nominate for Regional positions – and don’t forget you may nominate yourself if you feel so called.

One of the things I reported on last year was that I intended to hold a Council Position workshop in at least three areas of the Region during this past year.  Like everyone’s plans, that one didn’t materialize.  One thing I have learned about the COVID virus and the fallout from it is this,….. it isn’t going away any time soon,  It will be at least another year before we are back in our usual places with bright shiny faces. So the solution for me is make friends with the situation.  The longer I rail against it, the longer things are not getting accomplished.  I intend to start crafting the workshops but to do them by position and of course by Zoom.  In other words, all of the Ministers would be invited to one and would be open to anyone who would like to be a Minister.  We would talk about the responsibilities, the reports that are needed, the things that are required and of course, the problems and pitfalls.  My hope is to have a quick reference booklet for each position.  The same process would be done for each of the Council positions.  It’s a big undertaking but one that is long overdue and more than needed. So – any Council members out there who would like to help in the planning of the workshop for your position, please be in touch.  It would be great if you maybe sent some questions about your position so that they can be included.

We will be due for Visitation from National next May.  I don’t know if that will be done or not. But its time to start preparing as if it will happen.

Our initiative to send cards to those celebrating a milestone anniversary of their profession has been very well received!  In addition to the anniversary cards, our Regional Infirmarian, Ted Bienkowski, OFS, has done an outstanding job in sending condolences to the families when one of our members passes and also sending our love and prayers to a brother or sister who is dealing with a very serious injury or illness.

I have gotten a great deal of support while I have been Regional Minister and just as much or more criticism.  It comes with the job.  But I will tell you this, good or bad, I try my darndest to keep the Region united as a family.  I don’t always succeed.  I have made my contact information known to one and all and invited any of you to call me or send a message if you have a question or complaint.  That sentiment continues as we will be entering the final year of this term.  I believe that the term Regional Minister really means head servant.  I’m here for all of you not just the Regional Council and not just Ministers.   When I was a candidate – and it wasn’t while I was at St. Francis in Springfield – I had a problem and wanted to contact the Regional Minister and was told “She doesn’t have time for you! You can’t call her:”  Now if you are trying to figure out who was Regional Minister at that time, let me say this……….. she had no idea that I wanted to speak with her. So none of this is any reflection on her.  But I decided then and there if I ever was in any kind of position in this Order, I would make time for anyone at any level who wanted and/or needed to talk to me.


So, I think I have covered what went on in the last year and what I hope to do in the coming year but I’m sure there are things that I missed that you want to talk about or question.  So…………. If you have a question, please feel free to send it to me.


Kate Kleinert, OFS

Regional Minister



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