Br. Henry Shares his Journey as a Friar
When almost 20 young adults gathered to hear Br. Henry Fulmer, OFM, at Theology on Tap, not many expected to hear about his struggle in discerning whether or not to teach tennis on a professional level or whether to discern the call to religious life. Before entering the Franciscan order, he spent four to five hours a day practicing and honing his skills as a tennis player. It took up a majority of his time during the week. However, he had continually felt the Holy Spirit nudging him towards religious life.
“After I became an altar server at my parish in the third grade, I felt the call to religious life,” Henry said to the group. “You have to go through it in order to get to it. That’s always true in life.”
“You have to go through it in order to get to it. That’s always true in life.”
As he began to explore religious life more, the Franciscan order stuck out to Henry. “It always spoke to me,” he said. He went on to say that he joined the Franciscans because they seemed to be more human and down to earth. The majority of Catholic religious orders follow the rules of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Henry explained that he has the freedom to be present with people because of his vow of chastity; he doesn’t have a wife or kids to take care of. “I like being able to be there for all the important moments in people’s lives,” he said. And although he has possessions, nothing belongs to him. Everything he has belongs to the Franciscan order. “It’s quite freeing, actually,” Henry commented to the group.
Br. Henry has served in a variety of places during his time as a friar, including North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina. It wasn’t until he began working at St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, MD that he knew he wanted to stick with parish ministry, especially parishes that are culturally and ethnically diverse. That’s one of the reasons why he asked to be assigned here at St. Francis of Assisi Parish this year.
All in all, a great time was had by all. The young adults enjoyed learning about Henry’s journey to the Franciscans and how they can answer God’s call in their lives as well.
The young adult ministry at St. Francis of Assisi parish is open to all college students and young adults in their 20’s and 30’s. Theology on Tap is an event co-sponsored by the parish and the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.