FAN Joins in Honoring Fr. Louie Vitale, OFM

Fr. Louie Vitale, OFM with SFO National Councillor Tom Bello, SFO

Fr. Louie Vitale and SFO National Councillor Tom Bello, SFO enjoy a moment of laughter as NAFRA JPIC Commission Chair Kent Ferris, SFO describes why Fr. Louie is receiving the SFO JPIC Award.

On October 27, 2011, FAN Executive Director Patrick Carolan and staff member Christy Elliott joined the National Fraternity of the SFO and other guests and observers when the Secular Franciscans presented their JPIC Award to Fr. Louie Vitale, OFM. Ed Shirley, SFO posted the following reflection on his Facebook account:

The National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order in the U.S. just presented their annual Peace and Justice Award to Fr. Louie Vitale, OFM. Fr. Louie is a former Air Force combatant, living the normal lifestyle of a young member of the military. One day, his unit was told to shoot down a bomber. They decided to get a closer look, and discovered it was an American Airlines passenger plane. That was the beginning of his conversion.

He eventually became a Franciscan friar. During his life as a friar, he has earned a Ph.D. in Sociology, served as the Provincial Minister for the Santa Barbara Province in California, and served as the pastor of St. Boniface Parish in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco. It was Fr. Louie who began, in dialogue with members of the parish, a program that allows homeless to sleep in the pews during the day. These are people who are unable, or afraid, to go to shelters or sleep in the open at night, so they end up wandering the streets at night. They then can sleep in the church from the time it opens for morning Mass, until mid-afternoon.

FAN staff Christy Elliott and FAN Action Commissioner Kent Ferris, SFO

FAN staff Christy Elliott and FAN Action Commissioner Kent Ferris, SFO share JPIC and FAN materials with NAFRA participants during Francesco's Cafe.

He helped begin the Nevada Peace Intiative, protesting the testing of nuclear weapons, and participates regularly in the protests at Ft. Benning, Ga., home of the School of the Americas, where we train Latin American soldiers who oppress, rape, and kill their own people. Fr. Louie has been arrested over 200 times, and has spent time in federal prisons. Bishop Garcia, of the Diocese of Monterey, said at last night’s Eucharistic Liturgy, “Louie, you are holy, even in your prison cell.”

Fr. Louie counts St. Francis of Assisi, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as his inspirations. He has been a friar for over 50 years, and has been socially active for four decades. He is currently 80 years old, and only recently completed yet another prison term.

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Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 11:30 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Blessings of Peace and congrats to Fr Louie Vitale, a brother in Francis and good friend. Pax and Bonum


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