Congratulations friar Jason DeMartini, OFM Conv.

The Simple Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience Professed by friar Jason DeMartini, OFM Conv., accepted by the Minister Provincial of Our Lady of the Angels Province – the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. (seated center) and witnessed by Fr. Giles Zakowicz, OFM Conv. (former Director of the Novitiate at left) and Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. (Province Vocation Director at left). Seated at left is Friar Max Avila, OFM Conv. who served as Deacon. Seated right is Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, OFM Conv. who was one of the friars who was one of many friars in attendance honored at the Jubilarian Celebration, for his 60th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood.

Today, Our Lady of the Angels Province friars joyfully celebrated the Profession of Simple Vows of friar Jason DeMartini, OFM Conv., as a Franciscan Friars Conventual. The Mass took place in the Chapel of our Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD. On hand were many pilgrims to the Shrine, staff of the ministries of the province, and a very special guest; friar Jason’s grandfather. Our province was so pleased to be able to include friar Jason’s Profession during the Jubilarian Celebration for our friars honored for their 25th, 40th, 50th and 60th Profession and Ordination Anniversaries. Friar James (one of the friar Jubiliarians, as well) spoke with pleasure about the great witness of our friars who have spend years as examples of the life of St. Francis, to all of our province friars in formation, including not only friar Jason, but of two more on hand; our youngest Postulant – Joseph Krondon and Simply Professed friar Manny Wenke, OFM Conv. who were both serving at the Mass.
Please keep friar Jason in your continued prayers as he begins his studies, joining our other friars in formation at The Catholic University of America, in Washington DC.

friar Jason is presented with the Rule of the Order.

friar Jason signs the Book of Profession joyfully observed by Fr. Matt Foley, OFM Conv. & Joseph Krondon

Newly Ordained as a Deacon, Friar Max Avila, OFM Conv is blessed by our Minister Provincial prior to proclaiming the Gospel

Photo Cred: Fr. Tom Lavin, OFM Conv.

60th Ordination Anniversary

On Friday, July 14, 2017, friars, staff and friends gathered to celebrate with Friar Peter Damian Fehlner, OFM Conv., on the 60th Anniversary of his Ordination to the Priesthood. After celebrating Mass with the pilgrims to our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellcott City, MD) the festive occasion was remembered with cake and fellowship.
Congratulations Friar Peter Damian!

Canonical Visitation (Part II)

Before returning to Rome, the Most Rev. Fr. Tadeusz Świątkowski, OFM Conv. met with our Definitory at our Provincial House, in Ellicott City, MD. (left to right: Br. Jim Moore, OFM Conv., Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., Fr. Jude Surowiec, OFM Conv., Fr. Tadeusz, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv., Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv. and Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv. – not pictured Fr. Tony Kall, OFM Conv.)

As stated in our March 31, 2017 “Canonical Visitation” post, the Most Rev. Fr. Tadeusz Świątkowski, OFM Conv., the Assistant General for the African Federation of Conventual Franciscans (AFCOF), is now in his second leg of a journey to our Province where he currently is serving as the Delegate-Visitator, on behalf of the Minister General of our Order, the Most Reverend Fr. Marco Tasca, OFM Conv.  Here are some photos from his visits with our friars.

March 2017 visit to St. Mark Friary (Boynton Beach, FL) with Friar Germain Kopaczynski, Friar Tadeusz, Friar Daniel Fink, Friar Richard Florek, Friar Gabriel Scasino and the late +Friar Sam Zebron.

March 2017 visit to St. Lucie Friary (Port St. Lucie, FL) with Friar Tadeusz, Friar Paul Gabriel, Friar Mark Szanyi, Friar Curt Kreml and Friar Daniel Pal.

February 2017 visit with Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, the Most Rev. Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., Bishop of Savannah.

February 2017 visit to St. Philip Benizi Friary with Friar Tadeusz, Friar Paul Miskiewicz, Friar Santo Cricchio, Friar Piotr Tymko, Friar John Koziol and friar Colton Rodgers.

March 2017 visit to Holy Cross Friary (Atlanta, GA) with Friar Tadeusz, Friar Gary Johnson, Friar Jude Michael Krill, Friar Reto Davatz and Friar José Guadalupe Matus Castillo.

March 2017 visit to Blessed Sacrament Friary (Burlington, NC) with Friar Paul Lininger, Friar Vincent Rubino, Friar Briant Cullinane and Friar Peter Tremblay.

March 2017 visit to Our Lady of Guadalupe Friary (Pittsboro, NC) with Friar Raymond Sobocinski, Friar Joseph Madden, Friar Tadeusz and Friar Gregory Spuhler.

March 2017 Visit at Our Lady of the Angels Friary (Winston-Salem, NC) with Friar Joseph Angelini, Friar Calixto Salvatierra Moreno and Friar Carl Zdancewicz.

March 2017 visit to SS. Francis & Clare Friary (Washington DC0 with Friar Marek Stybor (far left), Friar Jude DeAngelo (3rd from left-2nd row), Friar Albert Puliyadan (left front) & not pictured here: Friar Ericson de la Peña and Friar Michael Lasky.

March 2017 visit to St. Bonaventure Friary Post Novitiate (Silver Spring, MD) with bottom row – Friar Brad Milunski, Friar Max Avila, Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos & top row – friar Israel Arauz-Rosiles (St. Joseph Cupertino Province), friar Bede Thigpen (St Bonaventure Province), friar Franck Lino Sokpolie, friar Andrew Hennessy (Our Lady of Consolation Province), Friar John Burkhard, Friar James Moore, br. Timothy Blanchard and friar Jim Hoffman. Not pictured: br. Emmanuel Wenke.

March 2017 visit to St. Joseph Cupertino Friary (Ellicott City, MD) with Friar Douglas McMillan, Friar Hilary Brzostowski, Friar Emmanuel Acquaye, Friar Peter Damian Fehlner, Friar Tadeusz and Friar Tom Lavin. Not Pictured: Friar Michael Heine, Friar Justin Ratajczak, Friar Dennis Mason and Friar Edward Ouma Owino of Kenya.

March 2017 visit to St. Casimir Friary (Baltimore, MD) including a stop at St. Ann Catholic Church with Our Lady of the Angels Province friar and pastor there, Friar Timothy Dore.

March 2017 visit to St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Friary with Friar George Sabol, Friar Vincent Gluc and the late +Friar Berard Dudek. Not pictured here: Fr. Julio Martinez

March 2017 visit to Immaculate Heart of Mary Friary with Friar Matt Foley, Friar Nick Rokitka, Friar Tadeusz, Friar Lawrence LaFlame, Friar Donald Grzymski and (as of July 19, 2017 Newly Invested in the Franciscan Conventual Friars’ habit) friar Joseph Cannon.

March 2017 visit to St. Francis of Assisi Friary (Athol Springs, NY) with Friar Brian Newbigging, Friar James Doyle, Friar Michael Sajda, Friar Francis Lombardo, Friar Tadeusz Friar Nick Romeo and Friar Mark David Skura.

March 2017 visit to St. Maximilian Kolbe Friary and Fr. Justin Senior Friar Residence with Friar William Surdyka, Friar Joe Bayne, Friar Ross Syracuse, Friar Tadeusz, Friar Kenneth Lucas and Friar Marcel Sokalski.

April 2017 visit to St. Francis Friary (Syracuse, NY) with Friar Tadeusz, Friar Robert Amrhein, Friar Gerald Waterman, Friar Adam Keltos, Friar James Smyka, Friar Rick Riccioli, Friar James Amrhein, Friar Nevin Hammon, Friar Brennan-Joseph Farleo, Friar Nader Ata and Friar Edward Falsey.

April 2017: Before Friar Mark Steed (pictured here) moved back to Canada, he was able to show Friar Tadeusz our beautiful National Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine, in Fonda, NY

April 2017 visit to Saint John Paul II Friary (Holyoke, MA) with Friar Andrzej Brzezinski, Friar Stanley Sobiech, Friar Albert Scherer, Friar Frank Grimaldi and Friar Benedict Fagone.

April 2017 visit to St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Friary and St. Hyacinth Friary (Chicopee, MA) with top row: Friar Joseph Freitag, Friar Dennis Sokolowski, Friar Luis Palacios Rodriguez, Friar David Stopyra, and bottom row: Friar Stephen Murphy, Friar Joseph Benicewicz, Friar Noel Danielewicz, Friar Michael Englert, Friar Hugh Dymski, Friar Jude Surowiec, Friar Stephen Merrigan, Friar Michael Duffy and Friar Nicholas Lorson. Missing from photo: Friar Tomasz Ryba of Krakow.

While on his April 2017 visit to the Chicopee area, Friar Tadeusz was able to visit our elderly friars who are living in the Our Lady of the Angels Care Center, under the care of the Felician Sisters. including the oldest living friar of our province, Friar Lucjan Krolikowski, OFM Conv. who is a very young 97.

April 2017 visit to St. Paul Friary (Kensington, CT) with Friar Timothy Lyons, Friar Mark Curesky, Friar Jerzy Auguscik, Friar Augustine Pilatowski, Friar Tadeusz, Friar Charles Jagodzinski, Friar Raymond Borkowski and Friar Robert Schlageter.

April 2017 visit to St. Adalbert Friary (Elmhurst, NY) with Friar Patrick Gallagher, Friar Miroslaw Podymniak, Friar Tadeusz, Friar Raphael Zwolenkiewicz, Friar Herman Czaster and Friar Stanislaw Czerwonka.

April 2017 visit to Most Holy Trinity Friary (Brooklyn, NY) with Friar Pedro de Oliveira, Friar Mieczyslaw Wilk, Friar Tadeusz, Friar Justin Biase, Friar Nicholas Spano and Friar Russell Governale.

July 2017 visit to St. Bonaventure Friary (Toronto, ON) with Friar Tom Purcell, Friar Peter Knaapen, Friar Boniface Reinhart, Friar Mark Steed and Friar David Suckling.

July 2017 visit to St. Peter Friary (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) with Friar Tadeusz, Friar Michael Lorentsen, Friar Richard Rossell and Friar Robert Benko.

July visit to St. Catharine of Siena Friary (Seaside Park, NJ) with standing: Friar Bartholomew Karwacki, Friar Tadeusz, Friar John Ruffo and seated Friar Emmett Carroll & Friar Antone Kandrac

July 2017 visit to Mother Cabrini Friary (Shamokin, PA) with Friar Steven Frenier, Friar Edward Costello, Friar Adam Ziolkowski and Friar Martin Kobos.

2017 Investiture and Sending

Novitiate Class of 2017 pictured with Friar Jude Winkler, OFM Conv. ~ Assistant General CFF (far right), Friar Jim Kent, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Province of Our Lady of Consolation (far left), Friar John Heinz, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Province of St. Joseph Cupertino (2nd from left), Friar Michael Zielke, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Province of St. Bonaventure (kneeling left) and Friar James McCurry, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Our Lady of the Angels Province (kneeling right)

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, the Minister Provincials from the four Provinces of North America welcomed the Novitiate Class of 2017 to the St. Francis of Assisi Friary Interprovincial Novitate in Arroyo Grande, CA.

friar Fabian is vested with the habit of our Order by our Minister Provincial, Friar James

friar Rich receives his 1st cord from Friar James. He will not receive a knotted cord until his Profession of Simple Vows.

friar Steven’s habit is complete

friar Joseph and friar Mario joyfully vested in the habit of the Franciscan Friars Conventual

The newly Invested Novices of our province pictured with our Vocation Director ~ Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. (far right) Pictured left to right: friar Richard Rome, OFM Conv., friar Fabian Adderley, OFM Conv., friar Mario Camarillo, OFM Conv., friar Joseph Cannon, OFM Conv. and friar Steven Arias Mosquera, OFM Conv.

friar Mario, friar Steven, friar Fabian and friar Rich spent this last year of Formation at our Inter-Provincial Postulancy in Chicago, IL under the tutelage of Our Lady of the Angels Province friar (Guardian & Postulancy Director) Br. Paschal Kolodziej, OFM Conv. (pictured in sunglasses). As friar Joseph (far right) passed to us from another Order, he spent his last year teaching at one of our high school ministries. Please keep our five newly Invested Novices, and the additional five 2017 Postulants under the care of Br. Pascal in Chicago, in your continued prayers.

In addition to the joyful celebration of the newly Invested Novices, those of the Novitiate Class of 2016 were sent forth to their own Provinces for Post Novitiate studies. During this “sending” the Minister Provincials gifted a new cross and a knotted cord to each of these “graduating” friars. Our Lady of the Angels Province is please to announce that friar Jason DeMartini, OFM Conv. (seen here receiving his cross and knotted cord from our Minister Provincial, Friar James) will Profess his Simple (Temporary) Vows on on Monday, July 24, 2017, at our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD) during our Province Jubilarian Celebration.

Please keep all of these friars, and all of the friars of our Order in your continued prayers.

Embracing Love: A Vocation Prayer

Loving and Generous God,
it is You who call us by name
and ask us to follow You.
Help us to grow in the Love
and Service of our Church
as we experience it today.
Give us the energy and courage
of Your Spirit as we make all things new.
Grant us faith-filled ministers
who will embrace Christ’s Mission
of love and justice.
Bless our faith community
by raising up dedicated, generous disciples
who will serve Your people as Sisters,
Friars, Priests, Deacons and Lay Ministers.
Open our hearts to hear Your call
and inspire us to know You better.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

For more information on Vocations, Franciscan Friars Conventual or Our Lady of the Angels Province, please contact Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. at 718-510-5822 or via email at vocations@olaprovince.org

Curley ENCOUNTERS The Gospel of Life ~ Again

Once again, students from our Franciscan Youth/High School ministry of Archbishop Curley High School were led by two Our Lady of the Angels Province Friars and Director of FYM at Curley (Baltimore, MD), Fr. Matt Foley, OFM Conv. (2nd row far right) & Religion Teacher and Campus Minister of our other Franciscan Youth/High School ministry of  St. Francis High School (Athol Springs, NY), Br. Nick Romeo, OFM Conv.(3rd row 3rd from left) on Friar Matt’s 7th “Encounter The Gospel of Life” Service Camp, Jul 8-14, 2017.

Fr. Matt said it was his largest group as 36 students, 4 alums, 3 teachers, a parent, and Friar Nick joined him for his “favorite week of the year.” As he stated last year, “Encounter is not your typical service camp. It focused on Direct-Relational ministry opportunities, where the participant actually work with & get to know the people served. We believe that we will be served by the individuals that we came to serve, as we encounter Christ in ‘disguise’.”
This year Friar Matt said, “The days are long and the sleep is short. The weather is hot and it is easy to sense the palpable presence of God everywhere! The first time I brought a group, as I know that young men (and friars) can be competitive, to help them bond their goals that week was to “win Encounter.” It has become a running joke with a number of friends and youth ministers. This week I watched my guys lead prayer, share musical talent, dye their hair, recruit guys from other parishes to be honorary Curley men, be gentle with the disabled, be kind to children, shave their eyebrows, recognize and share the gifts God has given them, be patient with the elderly, advocate for the poor and marginalized, sing the Curley Alma Mater onstage, call me out for “cheating” at UNO and bond with their brothers in ways that inspire me more and more. Yes Curley “won” Encounter and because of that everyone else could too! I can’t wait for Encounter 2018!

Take moment to read one of the participating student’s reflection.

JPIC Friar Focus

I was a stranger and you welcomed me…” (Matthew 25:35-36)

In his own words… Friar Peter Knappen, OFM Conv.:
St Bonaventure Parish has a long history of helping refugees settle in our community.  It all began in the late 70s when we sponsored a family of “boat people” from Vietnam who were seeking freedom and a better life.  In the 90s it was a Bosnian family seeking safety from the ethnic cleansing and civil war in the former countries of Yugoslavia.  In 2010 Archbishop Collins asked the Catholic Community to come to the aid of Iraqi Chaldeans, Assyrians and others Christians displaced from their homelands  and undergoing systematic elimination.   St Bonaventure generously answered the call and sponsored an Iraqi family of four.  We had money left over from our refugee fund so we decided to sponsor another family.  The Office of Refuge of Archdiocese of Toronto recommended three families and in 2015 we decided to help a single mom with her two children who were refugees from Rwanda.  In 2016 the Archdiocese of Toronto initiated Project Hope, a campaign to sponsor 100 families from Syria. Because we were in the midst of our yearlong sponsorship of our Rwandan family we could not commit to another family but our parishioners generously gave over $12,000 to support Project Hope.
In Canada in order to sponsor refugees an organization must be a Sponsorship Agreement Holder.  In our case the SAH is the Office of Refuge of Archdiocese of Toronto. So for all refugee sponsorships we work closely with the Office of Refugee. They have information sessions explaining the whole process, timelines and responsibilities of the sponsoring parish. These responsibilities include finding and furnishing an apartment, providing food, clothing and all the other basic necessities of life for the whole year, enrolling them if necessary in an English as a Second Language course and helping them to find a job or enroll in school. It can take from one to two years for the whole process. Finally the best part is meeting them at the airport and bring them to their new home.
There are two types of sponsorship that our parish participates in. One as the parish is to sponsor and raise the money, find the apartment and get the name of the family from the Office of Refugees.  The other is the parish as a co-sponsor. In this second case, a family member is trying to sponsor relatives to come to Canada. They have to supply the money (up front), provide accommodations for them and jobs. The parish cosigns the agreement with them, gives them moral support, and helps them through the process.  We were successful in helping one Iraqi and two Syrian Kurdish families this way.
We have all seen the pictures of Alan Kurdi dead on the beach and the boy covered in dust pulled from the ruble in Aleppo and our hearts and prayers go out to them and their families.  It is a much different feeling when a family member is in your office pleading with you to help their family get to safety. This has happened to me seven or eight times.  In two cases we were able to help by co-sponsoring their family members. Because the Canadian Government had pledged to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, our co-sponsorship was fast tracked. Instead of taking a year and a half to process the case the family members were here within six months!  One man sponsored his mother, brother, sister and her husband to come to Canada.  He helped them financially to get out of Aleppo and into Turkey. It is only about 30-40 miles to the Turkish border, but it took them 8 hours to go through or around different checkpoints and then to sneak across the border. The man was there to meet them, found them an apartment and paid the rent for a whole year.  This gentleman sold his house in Toronto and moved to a smaller house in the outskirts of Toronto so he could help his family.
It was great to be able to help this individual and his family.  But on the other hand it is tough when you have to say “I am sorry we cannot help you.”  This happened several times; twice because the families were still in the country where they were born so could not be classified as refugees. Sadly one person said we will have to try and buy them passage on a boat to Europe or Indonesia.  Other times it was because the quota was full.  This happened last year because Canada made Syrian refugees their priority and so people from other countries were overlooked. This year we were all set to help an individual from Iraq co-sponsor his relatives. However the quota for 2017 given to the Office of Refugee was already filled by April. Unfortunately I had to say to the individual that he would have to try some other Sponsorship Agreement Holder. Sadly he has been trying for three years to get members of his family to Canada.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day Celebration

One of our most beautiful ministry sites is that of our National Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, in Fonda, NY. This past weekend (July 14-16, 2017) was packed with Feast Day Celebrations at the Shrine. On the Friday Feast Day, pilgrims gathered to celebrate 9:00 a.m. Mass with Solemn Blessing with the relic of Saint Kateri. On Saturday the festivities began with a 1:00 p.m. Welcome and Opening Ceremony, followed by joyful song presented by members of the award-winning, all women drum group Spirit of Thunderheart, and 2:30 p.m. prayer and worship with our First Nations friends from Akwasasne, Terry Steele, Kateri Native Ministry of Ottawa, and other special guests. The 4:30 p.m.Vigil Mass included a Traditional Purification Rite and Solemn Blessing with the relic of Saint Kateri and the evening ended with a 7:00 p.m. prayer and healing circle with Deacon Ron Boyer and Terry Steele. The weekend celebration ended with 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass that also included the Traditional Purification Rite and Solemn Blessing with the relic of Saint Kateri, followed by a Solemn Offering and burning of the prayer petitions. All weekend long the Shrine collected donations of non-perishable food items for those in need. For more pictures and videos from the weekend, be sure to visit the Shrine’s Facebook Page.

Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. (at center holding reliquary) was on hand for the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day celebrations, pictured here with Deacon Ron Boyer at his left, Terry Steele at his right alongside members of the Kateri Native Ministry of Ottawa, Akwasasne Mohawk Territory, and the Shrine Advisory Council.

8th Annual Linda’s Walk 5K

The Annual Linda’s Walk began in 2010 and is the largest fund raiser supporting St. Clare Inn, a transitional housing program helping homeless women with mental health challenges rebuild their lives. These homeless women (aged 30-60) find community, care, shelter, and support in their healing journey.  The walk is named in honor of  Linda Houston, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and who died of a heart attack, alone and homeless, in 1997. The people and the friars of the Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure, who often helped her out with some money and food, were moved by her tragic life circumstance and her resulting death. In 2007, St. Clare Inn was established by the Friends of Saint Francis, a group of dedicated professional lay men and women, along with our area friars. St. Clare Inn’s also holds an Annual Soirée. This past April, 230 people were on hand to join the celebration of St. Clare Inn’s 10th anniversary.
In its 8th year, Linda’s Walk 2017, an easy 5k walk through their neighborhood that is more of a fun get together than a physical labor. Last year’s walk raised over $45,000 for St. Clare Inn and we hope that this year’s walk will be even more successful.

  • Saturday, August 19, 2017
  • 8:00 am Registration at St. Bonaventure Church (Please Pre-Register)
  • 9:00 am Walk Begins (Warm Up with Fitness Trainer)
  • 10:00 am -11:00 am Walk Ends at St. Bonaventure Church
  • 12:00 pm Complimentary BBQ at St Bonaventure Church, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • All funds raised will support the work of St. Clare Inn.
The St. Clare Inn operates under the direction of
Our Lady of the Angels Province friar and Executive Director,
Friar Tom Purcell, OFM Conv.
He and all of our friars thank you for your support. 

Simple Vow Renewal – Friar Manny Wenke

On July 1, 2017, Fr.Tony Kall, OFM Conv. (Guardian of the Immaculate Reception Friary in Rensselaer, NY) received the Renewal of Temporary Vows of br. Emmanuel Wenke, OFM Conv. (friar Manny) during the Friary Community Eucharist.  The family of friar Manny was visiting from Olean, NY for the weekend and several of his brothers were able to participate. Three of friar Manny’s brothers provided the music and lectored, while another served. Friar Manny spent the first part of the summer assisting at our Senior Friars’ Residence. He will next be assigned to Archbishop Curley High School in Baltimore.

Welcome New Postulants

On July 5, 2017, Our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. officially welcomed into the Postulancy program Four new members. After speaking with our Vocation Director and through prayerful discernment, interested candidates were presented to the province admission board, whose friars then gave their own recommendations to Friar James. Those accepted this year, began the Postulancy on July 1st. This year’s class includes the four new postulants and one from last year, who will participate in a second year experience in our Postulancy, in Chicago, IL.

Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. blesses San Damiano Cross Medals for the new Postulants with Postulancy Director (Our Lady of the Angels Province friar) Br. Paschal Kolodziej , OFM Conv.

Meet our newest Postulants:

My name is Raad Eshoo and I am 31 years old. I am originally from Iraq but relocated to Canada in 2007. My hobbies are playing and watching soccer, reading religious books and listening to music. I found out about the Conventual Franciscans through the internet. My hope in the future, besides being a Conventual Franciscan and a Priest, is to bring people closer to God and let them know that God is love and peace.

My name is Gustavo García and I am 44 years old. I am a gemologist, jewelry designer and a polyglot. I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico but have lived in Mexico City, as well as several other countries throughout my life including: France, Italy the U.K., the Czech Republic and the USA. I am very used to traveling worldwide. Feeling a great attraction to the personality of Jesus Christ, I’ve been discerning about religious vocation with my spiritual Father for the last three years. We both engaged in a very deep prayer experience asking the Holy Spirit to show us the will of God and to please open the corresponding doors! The Vision Vocation Network has put me in touch with the Franciscan Conventual Order where I found the strongest compatibility. I am super happy and blessed to belong to the OLA province. I’m very keen on cooking, singing, laughing and itinerant preaching.

My name is Antonio Moualeu. I am 31 years old – born and raised in Douala, Cameroon. My family and I moved to Dallas, Texas in 2004. Prior to joining Our Lady of the Angels Province, I was pursuing graduate studies in Atlanta, GA. I encountered a Conventual Franciscan for the first time at the Eucharistic Congress in Atlanta about two years ago, at a time when I was discerning a call to the priesthood. Through spiritual direction and a friend from the Georgia Tech Catholic Center, I ended up going to the OLA Province Come and See retreat in Maryland that same year. There, I found out for the first time about Franciscan spirituality; a pivotal moment that started giving meaning to prior events in my life. Through meeting with friars in Jonesboro, GA and around the US, I found myself constantly drawn to their way of life, their fellowship and ministry. I am so thankful and excited about the opportunity to be an instrument of God’s will, and to spread the Gospel.

I am Drew Santoro and have come to know the friars through Holy Cross Catholic Church, in Atlanta, GA. Living the Franciscan way is something that I have been considering for quite some time. Thankfully, I finally took the final step and approached the Conventual Franciscans to pursue Postulancy. The simple life of poverty, chastity and obedience will be a fulfilling change in my life and I am eager to begin. Previously, I taught High School English with a Master’s Degree in Secondary Education. Now that I am entering this life I will be happy to teach for the Order or provide whatever service is needed. I have been very active in the church as a Knight of Columbus, Legion of Mary member and Padre Pio prayer group member. It would be great to participate in the prayer group ministries in the future, as well.

If you now of any men who are in discernment, please encourage them to consider our way of life. Perhaps you will notice a college student who is home for the summer who shows an extra interest in parish or Young Adult events. Maybe someone in your own family has shown interest in looking into the life of a brother or priest Franciscan. Our province presently has three more men who are seriously considering joining us in July 2018. Please keep all of our friars in your prayers – that our witness of life will inspire others to follow Jesus in the way of Francis.

Keep an eye out during the summer for some new Vocation Prayers, composed by our own Friar Alex and thank you for your continued prayerful support of the vocation ministry of our province.