Cura animarum was once used to describe the role of priests: to care for souls, not bodies. This ensured that priests would ignore the external characteristics of the person they were serving. Today, ordained priests are assisted in most parishes by deacons and laity. Therefore, friar brothers and priests see their places in the church as ministers who save souls and share stories of Jesus, themselves, and of the people they minister.
With the intent of preserving a record of institutional structures that have shaped the lives of the friars of the Province of the Sacred Heart, Father Joseph Zimmerman reflects on a time when the province had over seven hundred members while vividly describing the parishes and other ministries carried out by its friar brothers and priests over the past one hundred and sixty years. This resource is shared for those wishing to study developments in a group of vowed religious men as they moved from flourishing roles in immigrant US Catholicism to respond to changes in the Catholic Church and the wider society during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Cura Animarum details how Franciscan friars from Germany shaped Catholicism in the United States and responded to cultural trends in the late twentieth century.