Franciscan International Study Centre 1973-2017

The closing Mass for the Franciscan International Study Centre (Canterbury, England) was held on June 23, 2017. For the last five years, the Principal of the Study Centre (FISC) has been our own Fr. Thomas Reist, OFM Conv. The last Chairman of the Board of Trustees (12 years) was Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv.

After forty-six years of existence, the Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury (England) will close on the 30th of June 2017.” Statement from the Board of Trustees

As a founding member of the Franciscan International Academic Federation (FIAF) the Study Centre worked to increase collaboration between Franciscans working in the academic field so as to ensure that the unique Franciscan approach to theology and spirituality continues to be available to the wider Church. 

Fr. Thomas Reist, OFM Conv., the last Principal of FISC worked the grill at the Closing Celebration after Mass.


Upcoming Deaconate Ordinations

At the August 15, 2016 Solemn Profession of Vows of Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. (right kneeling) and Friar Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv. (left kneeling) in the Chapel of the Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD

It is with great joy that on this Saturday, June 25, 2017, our friars will again gather in the Shrine of St. Anthony Chapel for the Deaconate Ordination of our confreres, Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. and Friar Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv. Family and friends of these two friars will join us in celebration of their continued journey as Franciscan Friars Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels Province. Soon after, they will each begin to serve as Deacons, at two province parishes. Please keep them in your continued prayers.


Fraternity Is Ageless

Friar Luis Palacios Rodriguez, OFM Conv. (photo cred) is currently in his Apostolic year in Formation with our province, living in the St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Friary (Chicopee, MA), in primary ministry to our Senior Friars in the area, as well as serving at our pastoral ministry at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr.
On Sunday June 18, 2017, he joined one of our student friars, br. Tim Blanchard, OFM Conv., on a visit to the nearby Our Lady of the Angels Care Center of the Felician Sisters (Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, in Enfield, CT), where six of our Senior Friars reside. While there, they met up with another confrere, Fr. Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv., Chaplain for the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice, who gave the group that included br. Tim’s parents a tour to the facility. They had a great time with the Senior Friars, in particular with Fr. Firmin Finn, OFM Conv.
Friar Firmin is the one who had originally encouraged br. Tim to consider joining our Order. They met while br. Tim was still in high school, working in the kitchen of one of the homes run by the Little Sisters of the Poor, for whom Friar Firmin then served as Chaplain. Friar Firmin’s spiritual direction was a gift in the discernment of br. Tim for which he is profoundly grateful.
The visit also included a stop to see some of the Little Sisters of the Poor who minister in the neighboring facility of St. Joseph’s Residence. These young friars really enjoy sharing in the Franciscan joy of our Senior Friars, and benefiting from their experience.
This summer, br. Tim has been enjoying living with our friars at St. Paul Friary, and serving at our pastoral ministry of St. Paul Catholic Church, in Kensigton, CT. Please keep praying for an increase in vocations to our Franciscan community.

Secular Franciscan Profession of Vows

On Saturday the 17th of June – at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Belchertown, Massachusetts – Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. was principal celebrant and homilist at the Perpetual Profession of Vows by three members of the St. Pio Fraternity of the Secular Franciscans.  He was joined by their local Spiritual Assistant, Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv. and the Parochial Vicar – Fr. Jack Roach. online article on the event

Meet Friar Saviour Karamvelil

On Friday, June 9, 2017, Friar Saviour Karamvelil, OFM Conv. arrived in Canada as the first friar to join us at our new international house in Ottawa (St. André Bessette Friary). Friar Saviour is 46 years old and one of eight children; two of whom are also priests (a Carmelite and a Diocesan). He made first profession in 1994 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2003, as a member of our Syro-Malabar Eastern Catholic Province in Kerala, India. Before entering the order, Friar Saviour earned a diploma in Electrical Engineering and Psychology. He has served as guardian and rector of the minor seminary and, most recently, served as parish priest in the Latin Church outside his native Kerala. We are excited to have Friar Saviour in Ottawa and we very much look forward to the rich and multi-talented contribution he will bring to our community and to the province.
In the next few months, Friar Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. – Guardian of the new St. André Bessette Friary and Friar Saviour will welcome Friar Dominic Lim, OFM Conv. from the Philippines and Friar Jeremiah Budău, OFM Conv. from Romania.

{lefto to right: Fr. Ed Debono, OFM Conv., Fr. James Fukes, OFM Conv. – Guardian, Friar Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. – Guardian of the new St. André Bessette Friary, Friar Saviour, and Fr. David Collins, OFM Conv.} On Wednesday, June 14th, the friars of St. Anthony Friary, in Kingston, Ontario warmly welcomed Friar Jobe and Friar Saviour to share a delicious “welcome” meal together.

Fostering Vocations

Our Lady of the Angels Province friars: Fr. John Koziol, OFM Conv., Friar Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv., friar Franck Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv., and Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv.

Several Our Lady of the Angels Province friars attending the Archdiocese of Atlanta 2017 Eucharistic Congress, June 16-17, 2017, took the opportunity to promote vocations. On hand were our Province Vocation Director ~ Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv., Pastor of St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church ~ Fr. John Koziol, OFM Conv., Post Novitiate Student ~ friar Franck Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv. and “soon to be Deacon” ~ Friar Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv.
On Sunday, June 25, 2017, our friars will gather to celebrate the Deaconate Ordination of Friar Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv. and Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv., at the Shrine of St. Anthony in Ellicott City, MD.
Please keep praying for vocations to our province, as you keep all of our friars in your prayers.

Friar Max and friar Franck manning the booth


friar Franck and Fr. John mingling and speaking with attendees


Many other Our Lady of the Angels Province friars were in attendance, as well. One of the June 17, 2017 11:00 am – 4:00 pm Spanish Track Speakers, was Fr. Calixto Salvatierra Moreno, OFM Conv.  (pictured below with our province Definitors, during a visit with his Provincial Custos, to our Provincial House), a Bolivian friar who moved to the United States in 2016 and served with our province friars, at Holy Cross Church, Atlanta. He currently serves with our province friars at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Fr. Ronald Armijo, OFM Conv. (5th from left), Provincial Custos of the Custody of St. Francis in Bolivia, visited our province at our friaries in Winston-Salem, NC; Ellicott City, MD; and Brooklyn, NY. He was accompanied by Bolivian friar, Fr. Calixto Salvatierra Moreno, OFM Conv. (4th from left) who ministers through our friary and parish in Winston-Salem. Friar Ronald spent May 31 – June 5, 2017 with our friars in Ellicott City where he was able to meet our Province Definitory.

“Assisi in Albany” Honors Friar Tony

Friar Tony is holding the New York State Resolution by Senator Neil Breslin, acknowledging his recognition.

On June 9, 2017, several of our friars were in attendance as “Assisi in Albany” honored Fr. Tony Kall, OFM Conv., as the Friar representative serving on its Board since 2005.  “Assisi in Albany” was founded by Fr. Paul Lininger, OFM Conv. (also an Our Lady of the Angels Province friar) and Dr. Bill Cromey. The organization provides free employment placement assistance to Albany’s undeserved and homeless population.
Their Mission Statement: “Rooted in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare, we want to be of service to the People of God, especially those within the Center City of Albany. As followers of Jesus, we choose to be instruments of peace & healing, and a visible sign of hope to each other and to all we meet in service.”



JPIC Friar Focus

In his own words… Friar Paul Lininger, OFM Conv.:

Conventual Franciscan Friars Responding to Real Needs
Helping to Turn Strangers into Neighbors

On February 21, 2017, Pope Francis in an address to the VI International Forum: Migration and Peace, felt compelled to address the nature of contemporary migratory movements, which increases challenges presented to the political community, civil society and to the Church, and which amplifies the urgency for a coordinated and effective response to these challenges. Our shared response, according to our Holy Father Francis, may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.”    

Have you ever wondered what it is like living in a world, city, or local neighborhood, where your very presence arouses contempt, suspicion, prejudice or common indecency?  Where judgements are made of you based on the tone of your skin, the first language you speak or the accent present in your words?  Where you as the stranger are literally untrusted, despised or rejected?  Where your description begins with a negative – illegal? Where the term friend, neighbor, brother or sister are unspoken?

Sometimes we forget that the words we choose to identify another person do make a difference in whether they meet with our approval, are treated with respect and dignity or vilified and turned away.

Ever given a second thought, to what is to be in hand to enter your child’s school, pick-up a pharmacy prescription, enter a hospital, sit in a library or present when you use a credit card?

Most of us perhaps fail to ponder and take for granted that when a person, be they an officer of the law, pharmacist, teacher, sports coach or cashier, ask for a picture identification we readily show a driver’s license, passport or BJ’s / Costco ID which has a picture, address and baseline information stating who we are and where we live.  It is not so easy for everyone.

Essentially, it is the reality of tens of thousands reaching into the millions now living within our country’s borders, cities, villages, towns and rural areas.  They are the souls we greet in the market, on the streets, in our churches, work places and gatherings.  They are the anawim of God, loved and cherished by Jesus, and named by him as our brothers and sisters.

As part of small but growing effort, the Blessed Sacrament Faith Community and the Conventual Franciscan Friars together with the local Burlington Police Chief, law enforcement officers, and a dedicated group of volunteers representing various religious traditions and families came together two years ago – May 2015 – hoping to make a meaningful dent into a lived problem.  Namely, “How to help turn strangers into neighbors”.  The result of our coming together was the formation of the Faith ID Card Task Force of Alamance County, linked to an expanding program here in North Carolina known as the FaithAction Network.

So What Is A Faith ID Card Program?

The Faith ID Card Program is a connected group of faith communities, nonprofits, and grassroots movements that recognize the urgency of valid ID cards for members of our community who may have limited access to government issued forms of identification, and the importance of creating a unified model and vetting process that community partners (law enforcement, health centers, schools, businesses, and other city agencies) can trust and use to better identify, serve, and protect all residents in cities across North Carolina and the United States.

The Blessed Sacrament Faith ID Card Program is part of the FaithAction ID Network. Shared hallmarks of FaithAction ID network programs include:

  • Ensuring each program has a strong home base that can effectively communicate and coordinate a community ID drive with staff and volunteers
  • Utilizing the same policies, procedures, and vetting process to receive an ID card
  • Ensuring partnership with local law enforcement and other community partners who formally agree to support the program and attend ID drives
  • Utilizing the 4 stage ID drive model in a large, safe space (welcome, orientation, document check, photo/computer intake)
  • Facilitating dialogue throughout the ID drive between ID participants and law enforcement and other community partners with the goal of building greater understanding, trust and cooperation
  • Providing the same or similar look as other network programs on the front of the card, and signifying you are a part of the FaithAction ID network on the back
  • Printing and distributing hundreds of ID cards within two weeks of each drive, and securing the personal information of all participants

*There may be some flexibility and unique characteristics of each program, depending on the needs of each community.  *All participants must attend a mandatory orientation at an ID drive, and provide proof of photo identification (passport, foreign national ID card, driver’s license, matricula consular) and proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, current rental agreement, medical record) in order to receive an ID card from a FaithAction ID Network member.

Finally, network members believe it is crucial we continue to work for a driver’s license for all residents at the state level, as well as lasting immigration reform at the federal level.  In the meantime, we believe community ID programs represent a very important step forward in creating safer, more inclusive, and united communities for all – a much needed example of positive collaboration at this divided time in our nation’s history.

To date, the Faith ID Card Program here in Burlington, NC, has distributed over 5000 Faith ID Cards. The challenge now is to keep moving forward towards the realization of its mission and vision, a place where strangers become neighbors.

Friar Paul is the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, in Burlington, NC

Celebrating the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua

Pilgrims gather for Adoration, in the Chapel of the Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua, as the Director of the Shrine, Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. leads the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

All over our province and throughout the world, Conventual Franciscans celebrate this very special Feast Day in honor of our confrere, St. Anthony of Padua.

This past weekend, at our Province Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City – MD, pilgrims gathered to kick off the celebrations with our friars and guest speaker and guest presider, Fr. Leo Patalinghug, at the Annual St. Anthony Day Pilgrimage. Fr. Leo Patalinghug, a native of Baltimore – MD, is a priest member of a community of consecrated life called Voluntas Dei, who founded “Grace Before Meals,” an apostolate to strengthen families around the dinner table. He is an internationally renowned speaker, author, TV & radio host. He is also a decorated martial artist and break dancer. Our friars serving at the Shrine were joined by Fr. Leo in providing pilgrims with fellowship festivities, outdoor Masses, Adoration, recitation of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy, and opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Dennis Mason, OFM Conv., who serves our province through his ministry at the Shrine of St. Anthony including traveling to other parish and ministry locations preaching and facilitating retreats – talks – informational sessions, presided as the main celebrant for one of the Outdoor Masses, alongside his confreres, Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv. & Friar Matt Foley, OFM Conv. and their guest, Fr. Leo. Follow this link to enjoy his HOMILY from that Mass.

Today, the actual Feast Day of St. Anthony of Padua, please join our friars in ministries near you, as we celebrate in varied ways. At the Shrine today, our friars will celebrate Noon Mass in the Chapel, followed by a special blessing of the new statue depicting St. Francis and St. Anthony in the Shrine Courtyard. After the blessing, all are welcome to stay for a free hot dog lunch in the Shrine’s dining room. For more information on the Shrine or the events held there, please contact the Shrine office at 410-531-2800 or visit their website.

At the Franciscan Church of the Assumption, in Syracuse – NY, our friars, and the parishioners we serve, have been celebrating since Sunday.
Join them today (June 13, 2017) where the theme of the day is “Saint Anthony, Miracle Worker.” Celebrate the 7:00 p.m. Mass for the Solemnity of Saint Anthony of Padua and for Veneration and Blessing with the Relic of Saint Anthony.

To see what events might be happening near you, please visit our province “Locations” page and follow the link to your closest ministry.

St. Anthony of Padua ~ Pray for Us!

New Province Friaries

Our friars have two new friaries to celebrate.

St. Hyacinth Friary Chapel

St. Hyacinth Friary (Chicopee, MA) was formerly a Senior Friars Residence functioning as de familia and under the leadership of the Guaridan of the St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Friary. As of earlier this Spring, St. Hyacinth is now categorized as a friary with its own resident Guardian, with a separate friar in residence serving as Senior Friar Care Liaison. There are seven friars in residence there and six more who are de familia, while living in the nearby Our Lady of the Angels Care Center, under the watchful care of the Felician Sisters, in Enfield.

St. André Bessette Friary is part of the complex of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish

The second friary to celebrate is the brand new St. André Bessette Friary, in Ottawa, Ontario. This new Canadian friary will be the home of Our Lady of the Angels Province friar and Guardian, Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv., as well as friars from the Philippines, India and Romania. The erection of our third friary in Canada strengthens the presence of the friars in Canada, in accord with the wishes of the Minister General. There will be a dedication of this new “International” Friary in Ottawa, and the 2nd of our Province Masses Celebrating the Centenary of The Militia of the Immaculata (MI), held on August 22, 2017, at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish Church (Ottawa, Ontario). Our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. will be the principal celebrant and homilist of the 5:00 p.m. Mass. The Archbishop of Ottawa, Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J. will also preside. Following the Mass, the Archbishop will bless and dedicate the new friary in honor of St. André Bessette (Brother André).