June 5, 2019
Guests: Gino Grivetti & Mike Specht
Listen to “Becoming a Friar [Pt. 1]” on Spreaker.
Episode Description In part one of this two-part episode, Chris Dwyer sits down with Gino Grivetti and Mike Specht, two young men on a journey to become Franciscan Friars. Gino and Mike discuss their paths to finding their vocation, how their friends and families reacted to their decision and why the Church is seeing a decline in youth pursuing a religious life.
“It’s not about my gratification…it’s for the brothers I live with, for the brothers I’m called to be in communion with, and the wider community, not just within the church, but within our entire society. We’re called to be in communion with them.” – Michael Specht
Show Notes: For more information on a Franciscan vocation, please visit: https://myfranciscan.
Chris Dwyer [00:07] Welcome back to Following Francis, I’m Christopher Dwyer, your host today. This is the third in our series, known as Following Francis and a special welcome to any new listeners. If you’re joining us for the first time, I want to give you a little idea of what we’re doing here. We’re recording at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington DC. The monastery is truly a very unique place here on the Washington landscape. It founder, back in 1898, it was the friars who came here and they wanted to create a virtual trip for the folks living in the United States who couldn’t get to the shrines and the Holy Land across the sea. So, right here at the monastery, they have built replicas of many of the places you would find in Jerusalem and Nazareth, Bethlehem, as well as other Catholics shrines. We have a replica of Lords, we have the Port Cheong Cola, which is so important to Saint Francis and his friars. And that would be from Saint Mary of the angels, right in Assisi. We’re located just outside the downtown DC in a little town called Brookland. We’re often described as a little Rome because we have a number of religious orders who have put their houses here along with some shrines and churches. And we literally are within walking distance to Catholic U and the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Today, we are really fortunate to be joined by two gentlemen who are discerning a religious vocation with the order of friars minor, the Franciscan order. We have Gino Grivetti and Michael Specht and these two men are going through the discernment process right now to find out whether ultimately religious life is for them. So, we’re going to be talking today, obviously there’s a decline in numbers in religious life and so we want to know from your perspective what some of the objections out there are among your peers and really any generation, why are folks staying away from religious life? There’s also, we here at the monastery, you get a lot of phone calls about potentially joining the friars and there’s a lot of misconceptions as to what religious life is all about. So, it would be helpful to discuss what the realities are regarding religious life. I doubt you guys are sitting on your knees all day long praying. But, it is a mix of prayer and ministry and all that goes into the Franciscan life. And ultimately I am hopeful that folks hearing this, there might be a young man or young woman out there who is thinking about religious vocation and hearing your journey decides to take the leap and says, okay, I’m willing to give it a try. So, I want to welcome both Gino and also Michael here today.
Michael Specht [03:20] Thank you. Thank you for having us.
Chris Dwyer [03:22] Oh, absolutely. Glad you were able to be here. Give us a little background. Where did you come from? Gino, I think you’re from Chicago, right?
Gino Grivetti [03:31] I’m actually from the downstate half of Illinois, a small city called Peoria. I am in the Province of the Sacred Hearts, which is roughly in the central part of the United States and I just recently graduated from college before coming to the friars.
Chris Dwyer [03:51] And Michael, how about you?
Michael Specht [03:52] Sure. Thanks Chris. I grew up in Buffalo, New York, not terribly far away, so it’s nice to still be here on the East Coast here in Washington. I’m coming in with the friars who are predominantly administering and living on the East Coast, United States, Holy Name Province. I really, mainly got to know them through my college experience. I went to one of their colleges, St. Bonaventure University in western New York. So, my college experience, knowing the friars, definitely helped bring me to this point.
Chris Dwyer [04:23] Oh, that’s great. And I know that you finish up your postulant year and then you move into the novitiate. Can you give the listeners an idea of what that means? What is a postulate, what is the novitiate year and maybe on the broader sense, what are the steps that take you from this whole process of discernment all the way to your final vows?
Gino Grivetti [04:45] The process of becoming a friar really begins before postulancy. When a young man starts to feel a call or feel that the Franciscan life may be the one for them. It may be that you are at a Franciscan parish, you’ve observed friars there. Maybe like Mike and myself, you met them in college or maybe you met them on the Internet through say a Casey Cole, one of our social media personalities. Once you have made that kind of initial meeting with the friar, you’re going to want to contact your nearest vocation director and that vocation director will be able to give you more resources to discern what you want to do with this, with this feeling that you have. You may go on a retreat. Often they’re called come and see, because the point is just to come and see what is the Franciscan life like. If after going through that process, you continue to believe that you are a good fit, there will be an interview. And after that interview you will, you would go onto the postulancy year, which is a year of observing Franciscan life from the inside, a full year of living the Franciscan life. If you wish to continue after that, the next step is called Novitiates, a year of contemplation, a devoted to really to prayer. And after that are the years of simple vows or studies when you’re going to study for whatever your ministry may be. It may be to the priesthood, it may be something else. Of course are many different varieties of things that a friar may do, but that all of those steps that I just outlined are initial formation in a nutshell.
Chris Dwyer [06:45] Excellent. And Michael, when did it first dawn on you? When did you first start thinking about a vocation with the friars?
Michael Specht [06:54] I first started thinking about vocation while to a larger sentence, Chris, to answer your question, the idea of a vocation within the church was pretty early on when I was maybe 12, 13 years old, you know, go to mass every week, and you see the priest up on the altar. You say, that could be me, that could be me, could not be me, but it could be me. So that seed was planted pretty early on. And once I went to college at Bonaventure and saw the friars there, I thought, wow, that’s a beautiful way to live your life. It’s a radical way to live your life. And that was, that kind of stuck with me. But, I put on the back burner handful of years, lived life, did other things. But I couldn’t escape that thought. It kept on coming back to me in my mind. And, so I was seriously considering, probably a couple of years ago, is when I really, really kind of formally started the process. So, it’s been a long time coming. It’s not something that happened overnight. It’s been a long process for me and I’m blessed to be here now.
Chris Dwyer [07:56] I think that’s a similar story for you Gino. Oh, if I remember correctly, you were heading, you were in business school, right?
Gino Grivetti [08:02] Yes, yes.
Chris Dwyer [08:03] And you were going to be a businessman out there, you know, tackling Wall Street or something of the sort.
Gino Grivetti [08:09] Yeah. Well, unlike Mike, I did not have that early experience early in my life where I thought about the priesthood. In fact, I met with a Diocesan Vocation Director once and that was all it took for me to know that I didn’t want to pursue that. That’s a path of life. But, then I went to Quincy University, which is the other Franciscan school in Illinois, run by the friars and that was my first encounter with the order. And you’re right, I was a business major and I had really no intentions of pursuing a religious life, but something about their life kind of caught my eye and as things went on, during my years there, in college, I started thinking about it more, I started reading some books about Francis, about Claire, and decided that actually this might be something I want to look at. So, I added a major, I majored in theology as well, and that gave me enough time to consider a religious vocation to decide, well, yes, I want to go on, and formally apply. And here we are today.
Chris Dwyer [09:26] Well, it seems to be a common theme here that obviously it’s through witness of somebody else who’s already in the vocation that it was a real strong influence on both of you, did you ever look at any of the other orders? Did you look at the Benedictine Order or the Order of Preachers?
Gino Grivetti [09:43] The only other order that that was near me was a Benedictine Monastery. So I really had, growing up as a young person two options that I could see either the Diocesan Priesthood or this Benedictine Monastery. And again, neither of those options really appealed to me.
Michael Specht [10:03] For myself, I actually also had an application to the Diocesan Seminary for my home Diocese of Buffalo. But, that kind of, that didn’t seem right either. But other religious orders, Chris, I looked into the Augustinian Friars, the Order of Saint Augustine, and then also the Jesuits. So, previously before I joined the friars, I was working at one of the Jesuit colleges and engaging with them and seeing what the society had, and it was interesting. It was something compelling, but I knew, the friars got to me first. That’s what it was through all those others years as formative, malleable years in college.
Chris Dwyer [10:41] They left that indelible…
Michael Specht [10:41] The indelible mark. Yes, they did. Yes, they did. So, nothing against those other two orders. But, the friars caught me first.
Chris Dwyer [10:49] What specifically was it that you saw in the friars? Was it their ministry? Was it the variety of ministries?
Michael Specht [10:57] I think the variety of ministries was very attractive. And the places you can be, you know, I could be in a parish in New Jersey for a handful of years. I could be teaching at a college, after that work in Chaplaincy. I could be working in a soup kitchen or I could be across the country in California working at a homeless shelter or a mission in the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona. So the variety of things you can do as a Franciscan is very attractive. So, that’s attractive. And also, I think the friars, there’s a lot of humility with the Franciscans, I think, you know, Order of Friars Minor, it’s the order of lesser brothers. So, there’s the emphasis on it’s really not all about you. It’s not all about you. It’s about the others around you and that’s, to me that’s very attractive. It’s a light for others.
Chris Dwyer [11:51] It’s a big counter cultural, you have to say.
Michael Specht [11:54] It’s quite counter cultural, I will say and that frankly, that does attract me. Yeah.
Chris Dwyer [11:59] Well that goes back to the idea of, I know young folks now, it’s all about an experience. I mean life is about the experience. So for you it’s obvious this experience has to be different. It has to be less cultural.
Michael Specht [12:10] Yeah, yeah. But in that sense, Chris, it’s a life that is not lived for myself.
Chris Dwyer [12:16] Right.
Michael Specht [12:16] It’s not about my gratification, or at least it shouldn’t be. I just have to challenge myself that it’s not all about myself, but it’s for, it’s for the brothers I live with, for the brothers I’m called to be in communion with and the wider community, not just within the church, but within our entire society. We’re called to be in communion with them.
Chris Dwyer [12:33] And that’s a daily thing you have to remember.
Michael Specht [12:36] Certainly.
Chris Dwyer [12:37] And deal with.
Michael Specht [12:37] Certainly.
Chris Dwyer [12:38] Same for you, Gino? Was it the ministry, was it the variety of ministries that caught your eye with the Franciscans?
Gino Grivetti [12:45] I’d use a slightly different word. I’d say it’s the great diversity of the friars. No two friars are alike and no two friar ministries are like, you have all different kinds of things that you could be, that you could, that are within the Franciscan family and that was greatly attractive.
Chris Dwyer [13:07] Do you both have a sense of where you want your ministry to go?
Michael Specht [13:11] I have an idea. I mean, at this point, you know, I can only speak for myself right now at this moment. But, I think Ordain Ministry as a priest is still attractive to me. So, you know, carrying out the sacrament, celebrating mass, what have you, so that’s attractive to me still at this moment. Parish life, I’m not, I’m not objecting to that at all. I love to be in one of our colleges in campus ministry because you really get to engage with students at such a malleable time in their lives where they’re questioning things in doubting things and, just to be a companion with them on that journey. I think that’s an extreme blessing that people can have, friars can have. The friars at my college had a strong enough experience, impression on me that I want to join the ranks. So that’s very attractive, but also, I think what’s really, what’s the beauty about this life is, like I mentioned before, the variety of things that we’re able to do. So, I could spend six to nine years, at of our colleges working campus ministry, engaging with all of the students, and then they’ll send me to a homeless shelter to be among addicts and refugees, and such. So, direct service, the corporal works of mercy, feeding the poor clothing, clothing, the naked, that’s also very attractive to me. So, I kind of want a little bit of both of everything and I think we can get that with the Franciscans. That’s kind of my, my feel. Nothing against other forms of vocations within the church. But, this life really, you can, you can do a lot of things and they’re all good and they’re all, they’re all for God.
Chris Dwyer [14:54] But, that’s also the important part of this discernment process because for you folks, both of you, the active ministry as well as the contemplative is so important. There may be another personality out there, somebody listening who says, no, I really want to spend my life as a contemplative. Sure. So the discernment process helps you find that right order to actually fit that need and ministry because prayers and ministry as well.
Michael Specht [15:23] Absolutely.
Gino Grivetti [15:24] And what I’d say to that person is, Mike is really correct if you want to choose everything then join the friars because we do have men devoted to hermit ministry basically as contemplative. We have of course people in all kinds of different settings, from education to parish life to various, many various charitable activities all over the United States. And then of course the foreign missions. If the Franciscans story and the charism, the spirits appeals to you, you can do anything with it.
Chris Dwyer [16:02] Yeah. In the order. There’s architects, there’s artists, there’s singers. So, in fact, yeah, whatever talent God gave you, you’re asked to bring to the Franciscan order.
Michael Specht [16:13] Yeah. And that comes Chris from the very beginnings of what Francis of Assisi envisioned. Some other orders, religious orders throughout history, the name of the order is connected to what ministry they do. For example, with the Dominicans or the order of preachers, right? You do, you preach. There’s several orders within the church that are explicitly teaching orders, so you’re in a high school a year and at year in college, but you know, the friar, the Franciscans, it’s not who, it’s not what you do. Our name is not the order of such and such, we’re the Order of Friars Minor. It’s who we are and how we connect with others were lesser brothers. We’re not, it’s not connected to our work, it’s connected to our relationship.
Chris Dwyer [17:00] And that relationship, that word brother, I mean, you really are entering into a family. This is a community. And so tell the listeners what that community looks like. Does it look like your family life? Does it look like a fraternity? How does it feel to live within that community?
Gino Grivetti [17:20] I’ve been saying all this year, coming from a big Italian family, me joining the friars has to mean that my family’s getting bigger, not that it’s shrinking. And I have found that to be the case, that the entering the Franciscan family really means, I heard this at a Franciscan ordination, they said to the mom at this ordination, you’re not losing your son, you’re actually all of us as your sons as well. It is different from your family life in that you’re living only amongst brothers. Although there are the sisters we work with and the parishioners of your parish who ended up being part of your community as well, but your core community that you’re spending the days with, are your brothers who you’re praying the daily office with, going to mass with, in some cases ministering with, although often ministries take place in different areas, but eating meals together, going to recreation together, that’s what Franciscan community looks like.
Michael Specht [18:31] Definitely. Our class is a dozen men from all across the country and from abroad as well. So we’re a wide variety of guys, but we’re all connected to something that’s, I say, is stronger than those differences, you know, stronger than those cultural differences that would come from language differences. We own to live the gospel, we feel called by our baptism to join this, to join this group. It’s not perfect. Show me a family that is perfect and yeah, that’d be, that’d be something else. So, you gotta work at it like any relationship anybody ever has. It’s a two way street and you have to work together to make it healthy and to make it a life giving life giving.
Chris Dwyer [19:19] So this postulancy year, has it changed your spirituality? Has it strengthened it or moved it in a different direction?
Michael Specht [19:28] I’d say for myself, it’s taught me to don’t so hard on myself and to not take myself so seriously. In some ways because, yeah, I think just living with others shows me, oftentimes your brothers can humble you, they keep you grounded, and they keep you on the ground and not have your head in the clouds or, oh, look at me, look at all the degrees I have with all the things I’ve done. Well, at the end of the day, you’re the guy who was praying, praying with me and eating with me.
Chris Dwyer [20:03] That’s right.
Michael Specht [20:04] I’ll keep you humble. So, it’s definitely done that. And it’s also shown me that my life is not living just for myself. It’s a life meant to be lived for others as well. Your brothers certainly and the people that we ministered to.
Chris Dwyer [20:18] How about you Gino?
Gino Grivetti [20:21] That’s a difficult question to answer, but I think the number one thing that it has done is the importance of praying together, praying together, the daily office, praying together, going to mass, the community aspect to spirituality. In addition to, and without losing my own individual spirit of prayer and devotion, as Francis called it.
Chris Dwyer [20:47] I can imagine when both of you went to your friends and family and told them that this was your, at least step forward, that you’re going to start discerning, that they had to have a reaction. Was it positive?
Gino Grivetti [21:00] My mom is a big fan of what I’ll call the old Catholic movies. So, the movies from the 1930’s, 40’s, 50’s, black and white about nuns and priests and saints doing all kinds of strange things. And her first reaction, again thinking to the monks that ran her high school was, oh no, my son is going behind the cloister and I will never see him again. And I had to help my mom to understand that that’s not the Franciscan way. That other religious orders, yes, but that’s not the order that I’m joining. And understanding that, I think helped her, helped her to be more comfortable with me choosing this way.
Chris Dwyer [21:55] We hear that frequently. That’s why I asked if it was positive because a lot of parents will react with that same concern. How about you, Michael?
Michael Specht [22:03] Nobody I talked to was surprised, which I took as affirming in a lot of ways. My mom’s uncle was actually a Franciscan Friar as well, and so we know a lot of the Franciscan family. So, they weren’t shocked. They know the friars, they love the friars, but they were a little concerned about me just being away from home and what that means, not being a, you know, 20 minutes away from my parents anymore, so there’s that. Friend not surprised in the least, especially my college friends who saw me hanging out with the Franciscans when I was an Undergrad. But Chris, I’d like to point out, when I was applying before I applied to the order, I was actually in a committed romantic relationship at the time. And so, I didn’t have to tell just my parents and my family, but I also had to break up with a girlfriend of mine and so it was, that was a very important in some parts, tough conversation to have. But it was different because it wasn’t, I’m leaving you for another girl or I’m leaving you for that. It was really a different kind of a way to say goodbye. And we’ve, since we connected and are praying for each other and such, and it’s turned out to be a positive friendship since then. But, she wasn’t surprised either.
Chris Dwyer [23:26] Do you think that sacrifice, which you made of giving up this relationship is one of the reasons we’re seeing a decline in the number of vocations?
Michael Specht [23:37] That could be a reason? That’s certainly part of the reason. I think this question we could write a whole thesis about, about the decline of religious vocations. So, I think it’s partly that, this fear of this or this apprehension of not having romantic partners. I think it’s a larger issue in our world, in our generation, you know, in mind of commitment. People are afraid of commitment. They want to try different things out in their lives and in their world. Before doing something, we’re seeing marriages being pushed off later into their thirties, late thirties, early forties. So, this sense of commitment, people want to do things in their life before they settle down more so now than in the past. So, we’re seeing that and I also think culturally, as a church, you know, if you look at where was the peak of religious vocations, when did that happen? It was really at a time and place in our country when so many Catholic families, where maybe one or two generations removed from immigrating to the United States, and they had many sons and one son or two sons had to do something because there wasn’t the same job opportunities and vocational opportunities back then as there are now. I think that has something to do with it. So, back several generations ago, mom and dad have four sons. Well, one son’s going to go join the church, but now mom and dad have two sons and one son and we have LinkedIn now to check on all the job opportunities. So that’s my take on it, if that makes any sense.
Chris Dwyer [25:23] Gino, you had touched on the steps, the phases to getting towards your final vows and I think the church in its wisdom does this over a very slow, long period of time. It’s not something you have to decide today and next year after you finished your first year, you’re suddenly taken vows and you’re committed forever. So when you mention, Mike, about the commitment, I want folks out there to understand that it is a process. It’s, it’s not immediate.
Michael Specht [25:48] Yeah. I explained that Chris, like I explain dating somebody, you know, when you go on your first date, you don’t propose, at least I hope not. You go through, you feel it out. Is this person a good fit with me? Am I a good fit for them? And it’s like that. It’s like that for our way of life too. So, we have our postulancy year, an entire year, novitiate year, an entire year, and then our years and simple vows. we’re Friars, were Franciscan Friars. And then we’d take a vow each year for about three, or four, or five years saying, I’ll commit to this life for another year, for another year until you take your big solemn, perpetual vows at the end of that process. So, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s like anything else. It’s a process. You don’t marry the person on the first date. It’s a process.
Chris Dwyer: 26:35 So somebody’s looking at a life in a religious vocation should understand that it’s really going to be a process, it’s not going to be immediate.
Michael Specht [26:44] Absolutely.
Chris Dwyer [26:45] And that commitment, fear doesn’t have to be there because it will happen naturally over time.
Michael Specht [26:51] Right.
Chris Dwyer [26:51] Did you feel that way Gino, when you decided to go into the friars, did you at least knew you had the time to think this through carefully?
Gino Grivetti [27:51] Oh yes. Oh yes. I think it has always been emphasized to me that there is a great freedom in discernment. You are always free at any time to leave, and you are also free to stay for how long as you may need. Just looking at simple vows, those could be at a minimum three years, at a maximum up to nine years. So, there’s always that freedom there and it has been my experience, at least with Vocation Directors and Formatters that, at least Franciscan Formation is very low pressure. There’s not, I have never experienced, from either of those Vocation Director, Formatter, Spiritual Director, a pressure, oh, you, you got to keep going. Oh, you got to go faster. Always emphasized the freedom aspect instead.
Chris Dwyer [28:00] What advice would you give to someone who is considering religious life? Would it be the first step would be to talk to their pastor? Would it be to talk to a Spiritual Director?
Michael Specht [28:09] If you haven’t really already really emphasize and be intentional about your personal prayer life. Really put it to God. I honestly, I remember myself like praying to God every night. God, what do you want me to do with my life? It’s a question we all have to ask ourselves. And every night I would always say like, God, what am I supposed to do with myself? You know? And I just, it just seemed that my prayer life was leading me, I felt this compass leading me there. So, definitely, definitely put it to prayer. I would say attend mass as often as possible. Definitely, the sacraments won’t hurt, they’ll help. And yeah, if you want to talk to your pastor, even if you don’t have a relationship with him, it’s a good time to start. And he can maybe recommend you a Spiritual Director, someone to talk to every so often to kind of see where your faith life is taking you and where your life can end up vocationally, and then consider reaching out the local vocation office.
Gino Grivetti [29:13] I definitely want to emphasize again, reaching out to the Vocation Director, you know, for whatever order they are there to help those who are inquiring and to help you get the mentorship or the information or advice from people who, it’s their job to, to help people who are discerning. So, take advantage of them. Don’t let them do nothing because they’re there to help you. They’re there to serve you.
Chris Dwyer [29:47] How was that first call, that first meeting with the Vocation Director? How did that go?
Gino Grivetti [29:52] Mine was kind of ridiculous. I’m not even sure if I can talk about it because I went to Quincy University and many of the friars of the Sacred Hearts Province went there as well. I sent the email into the Vocation Director and received a reply, I’m not exaggerating, five minutes later,. About five minutes after that, I had a phone conversation and it was only several weeks later that it so happened that the next come and see retreat was happening and things went very quickly. Again, I don’t want to contradict myself. It was a very low pressure, but it just so happened that everything happened extremely quickly.
Chris Dwyer [30:42] He took advantage of what the spirit was doing in you.
Gino Grivetti [30:45] Oh, we can say that.
Michael Specht [30:46] I personally knew my spirit, my Vocation Director who was formerly a professor at St. Bonaventure, so he knew me peripherally through college and he knew he could tell like, I think they can smell it. You know how like a shark to blood, that there’s something going on with this guy and what he’s thinking. So it wasn’t a shocking conversation, shocking moment when he saw my name pop up on his caller id. But it felt, it felt right. Low pressure. Like Gino said, they’re there to talk you through it and really see if it’s right for you. And there’s a lot of processes before even applying just to see where friars live and what they do. So it’s definitely worthwhile. Even if you say no, if you walk away, there’s no shame in that. There really is no shame in that.
Chris Dwyer [31:35] And sometimes it’s the right thing. I mean, without a doubt it could be the right thing to do. And that’s why it is set up this way.
Michael Specht [31:41] Yeah, absolutely.
Chris Dwyer [31:42] Not everybody is called to this life.
Michael Specht [31:44] That’s true.
Chris Dwyer [31:44] So, you’re finishing up that first year and now heading off on a tour of the provinces around the U.S. Here. And that’ll last for how long?
Michael Specht [31:54] It’ll be about 10 days for me.
Chris Dwyer [31:56] And how many different provinces will you see in those?
Michael Specht [31:59] So, I’ll see what’s some of what we were having in the New York area, the Holy Name Province. So we’ll be, I’ll be in North Jersey, and midtown Manhattan, and then I’ll go to upstate New York and go to my Alma Mater, St. Bonaventure, and a couple other places where we are. So, those I’m quite familiar with because that’s my neck of the woods.
Chris Dwyer: 32:17 And Gino, I think you have a long road trip ahead of you from home to down south, correct?
Gino Grivetti [32:22] Yes, yes. Our, our provincial tour takes us from Saint Louis, Missouri down to our parishes in Rural Louisiana and then over to the missions in San Antonio, Texas. It may help for the listeners to know that there are seven different provinces in the United States, six of which participate in the postulancy and novitiate. So, besides Mike and myself, people will be, the other postulants will be all over the United States from Wisconsin to Mississippi to California, the southwest, they will be all over the United States for about two weeks touring our individual provinces.
Chris Dwyer [33:08] And then from there, you head out to California, correct?
Gino Grivetti [33:12] Yes.
Chris Dwyer [33:13] And that’ll be for your novitiate year. Is that Santa Barbara?
Michael Specht [33:16] Yes. Our novitiate’s in Santa Barbara, which is in Santa Barbara, California and north of Los Angeles. So, the history of California is deeply intertwined with the Franciscan Friars. They were some of the first European settlers there. And so the mission that we’ll be at, is what, 300 years old, something like that, and of all the missions, I mean, these missions are the names of these cities, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, all these places. So it’s deeply intertwined with the state. So, we’ll be there for a year, hear it’s beautiful. Never been. And that year we’ll discern more deeply, we’ll get our Franciscan habit, which are the brown robes that we wear, that you’ll see in the bird baths of Saint Francis. So, we’ll look just like him and then we’ll at the end of that year, God willing, if God wills it, we’ll take our first vows that we were speaking of earlier to start that commitment.
Chris Dwyer [34:13] Oh, Gino and Mike, I can’t thank you enough for coming by today. You’ve been very informative, but I think there’s even more that we can cover, so if you’re available, I’d like to have you come back again and we can do this on our next podcast. So, thanks for taking time today, thanks for coming over to the monastery and we’ll pick this up on our next podcast. Thanks, Mike. Thanks, Gino.
Michael Specht [34:36] Thank you, Chris.
Gino Grivetti [34:36] Thank you, Chris.
Chris Dwyer [34:45] For all of those who are listening I ask that you visit our web page, Myfranciscan.org. Certainly check us out on social media. We have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And I would ask that you share the link, particularly to this episode, to anybody who you might think has a vocation, a religious vocation, or you’ve heard them discussing the possibility of entering religious life. I think Mike and Gino gave us some solid information that would be helpful to them. So, until next time I offer you the Franciscan blessing of peace and all good.