February 11, 2018: Already in the USA for the February 10th Funeral Mass of the late +Fr. Donald Kos, OFM Conv. and before heading back to Rome, the Minister General of our Order, the Most Reverend Fr. Marco Tasca, OFM Conv., along with his Assistant General (CFF), Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv. and the Regent Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, OFM Conv., took some time to visit with our own Br. Michael Duffy, OFM Conv. and his caRe vaN Ministry.
The Assistant General, Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., who also is a friar of our province, noted these words on the Order’s Website about the visit, that included some great photos of the ministry in action:
“This mobile apostolate travels throughout western Massachusetts providing medical care, food and other necessities to homeless people encountered along the way. Friar Michael is the Dean of Nursing Studies at Elms College and he organizes groups of volunteers from among his students who serve the needs of the homeless twice a week. Both the Minister General and Bishop Girotti were most impressed with this initiative which is certainly consistent with the mandate from both our Founder St. Francis and our Holy Father Pope Francis, a mandate which directs us to reach out to the margins of society so that we might show concern and compassionate love to those who most need it.
The symbol chosen to represent this ministry is ‘caRe vaN.’ These words are enclosed with an ICHTHYS, a fish symbol which represents Christ. The students chose an unusual capitalization with R and N in large letters because those two letters stand for ‘Registered Nurse’ and the van is run by nursing volunteers.”