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Priest recovers from assault, asks for prayers for robber who harmed him


Franciscan Father Ed Mundwiller offers a homecoming Mass at a church in Case, Mo. The priest, who goes by "Friar Ed," was assaulted by a teenager while walking in his St. Louis neighborhood the afternoon of Feb. 2. He'll face some surgery for a fractured bone, but his main focus has been calling on people to pray for the teen. (CNS photo/Jay Nies, The Catholic Missourian)

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CNS) -- For his silver jubilee as a priest almost a decade ago, Franciscan Father Ed Mundwiller prayed for God to keep calling him beyond the boundaries of his own comfort zone, into places he never thought he would go.

"The old 'normal' and the old certainties go away, and God fills in the void with a call to justice and decency," he said in a 2007 interview with The Catholic Missourian, newspaper of the Diocese of Jefferson City in central Missouri.

Father Mundwiller, who goes by "Friar Ed," believes that is exactly what happened while he was walking in his St. Louis neighborhood the afternoon of Feb. 2.

He spoke briefly with a teenager and gave him a dollar. The teen followed him into an alley and attacked him, pummeling his face and breaking his leg while trying to get his billfold.

Friar Ed was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was treated and released pending surgery to mend a fractured bone.

"We all have our days," he said in a Feb. 6 telephone interview. "Some days, we're the hammer; some days, we're the thumb."

His doctor said he'll probably need "a little hardware" in his knee and won't be able to put weight on it for about three months.

Friar Ed, a native of Gasconade County in the Jefferson City Diocese, said this was the only time anything like this has happened to him in the 15 years he's been part of the Franciscan community at St. Anthony of Padua Friary in South St. Louis.

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