by Fr. Blaine Burkey, O.F.M.Cap.
Friars of the Capuchin Province of Mid-America are looking forward to the community's first final profession of new members since 1996.
Brother Barnabas Eichor and Brother Joseph Mary Elder (to left and right of Vocation Director John Lager in photo) are scheduled to make final profession March 27, during the friars' annual provincial assembly at Victoria, Kansas.
Both friars are currently preparing for the priesthood at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver and live at St. Francis of Assisi Friary in Denver. In additional to his study of theology, Br. Barnabas is doing a pastoral internship at Sacred Heart Church in Denver, which involves serving on the pastoral and parish finance councils and teaching adult catechism classes. Br. Joseph Mary teaches confirmation classes at Annunciation Church. Both parishes are pastored by members of the Capuchin Order.
During his years in formation as a Capuchin, Br. Barnabas has also worked to improve housing for the poor, taught at Annunciation Elementary School, and worked with Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity. Br. Joseph Mary has also ministered in two centers for the homeless, a retirement center, and a home for severely mentally challenged children and adults, and with people receiving Meals on Wheels.
Born in Denver in 1965, James Richard Eichor, Jr., earned a master's degrees in economics at the University of New Mexico in1987 and one in anthropology at Texas A & M University in 1989. He then served in the Army in both Desert Storm and Desert Shield of the Persian Gulf War, and returned to civilian life to engage in sales and semitruck driving. He entered the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 2000, entered the Capuchin novitiate in 2002, at that time taking his new religious name, Barnabas, and made his first profession of vows in 2003.
Scott Michael Elder was born in Florissant, Mo., in 1977 and grew up in Kirkwood, Mo. A graduate of DeSmet High School in St. Louis in 1995, he pursued a degree in English for several years, but dropped out of school for a while, working in the meantime in ink manufacturing and landscaping. Br. Joseph Mary says his life was profoundly affected by a pilgrimage to Medjugore in 2001. He entered the Capuchin Order in 2003, at that time took a new religious name, Joseph Mary, and made his first profession of vows in 2004.
Br. Barnabas is the son of James and Alice Eichor, who lived for many years in Bayfield, Colo., but are currently in rest homes in the north Texas panhandle. Br. Joseph Mary's parents, Bruce and Mary Cheryl Elder are parishioners of St. Peter's Church in Kirkwood.