This past weekend, many friars of our Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody gathered at the Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Fairview Strand (Dublin, Ireland) to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Profession of Vows of Fr. Aidan Walsh, OFM Conv. (left – behind altar) and Fr. Joseph Connick, OFM Conv. (right – behind altar). The main celebrant for the Mass was Fr. Ciprian Budău, OFM Conv. (center – behind altar), the Custos. He was joined by many more friars serving throughout other ministries of the custody, including Fr James Mary McInerney, OFM Conv. (far back left) who serves as Guardian of the Our Lady of the Visitation Friary (home to Friar Aidan & Friar Joe), Fr. Aquino Maliakkal, OFM Conv. (far back center) who serves as Guardian of St. Francis Friary, in Wexford Town (County Wexford, Ireland), and all the way from Rome, Fr. Kevin Hanley, OFM Conv. (not pictured here) who serves as a Confessor at the Vatican. The festivities continued as parishioners, friars and guests gathered for a celebratory meal. For more pictures from the day’s events, visit the Visitation Fairview Facebook Page.
Thank you Friar Aidan and Friar Joseph for your great example of 50 years of brotherhood, as Franciscan Friars Conventual!
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.”
Rue du Bac Chapel containing the in-corrupt body of St. Catherine Laboure (lower right of photo) where pilgrims will celebrate their first Mass, on October 10, 2018.
In August of 2017, our province sponsored a very successful pilgrimage this past summer to mark the centenary, or 100 Years in Mission, of the Militia of the Immaculata (aka M.I. or Militia Immaculatae) and the 35th Anniversary of the canonization of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv. During that pilgrimage, as we came down from Jasna Gora (Czestochowa) and reflected upon St. Maximilian’s love for Our Lady and that holy shrine, it became clear to all of the participants that our province should plan another pilgrimage to other shrines that Our Lady holds dear.
Almost immediately, our friars contacted the tour company to arrange an October 9-21, 2017 Pilgrimage to Paris, Lourdes and Fatima. Once again, Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province M.I. Assistant) will serve as Pilgrimage Director, with the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial) will serve as Spiritual Guide. “The two most famous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in modern times took place in Lourdes (France) and Fatima (Portugal). Saints and Popes, as well as believers from all over the world, have visited these miraculous sites. Continuing that tradition, the Franciscan Friars Conventual will lead a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrines of France and Portugal in the Autumn of 2018. Since 1982, the Franciscans have been guiding pilgrimages in the footsteps of their fellow friar St. Maximilian Kolbe, the “Knight of the Immaculate,” who himself once went on pilgrimage to Lourdes. This trip with the Friars will immerse its participants in an unforgettable experience of culture, history, religion, and spirituality – all in a relaxing and enjoyable community of Americans and Canadians. Mass will be offered daily. Pilgrims of all ages are welcome.” ~ Sincerely, Friar James
Space on group flights is limited and early reservations guarantee lowest fares! All Inclusive Cost (based on double occupancy – single room additional $750) From New York/JFK: $3,395 & from Toronto: $3,495 Departures from other cities are available. A deposit of $200 per person is required at the time of booking.
Full payment is due August 24, 2018 – payable by check.
PILGRIMAGE COST INCLUDES:
• Round trip air transportation
• First Class Hotel Accommodations (twin bedded rooms)
• Two meals daily
• Transfers on arrival and departure
• Daily Mass
• Transportation between cities
• English speaking pilgrimage escort
• Sightseeing tours with local guides
• Entrance fees to included site locations
• Service charges and hotel taxes
• U.S. and International departure taxes, customs and immigration fees
NOT INCLUDED IN THE TOUR COST:
• Cost of passports
• Items of a personal nature
• Phone calls
• Optional insurance
• Additional meals & beverages
• Gratuity for tour guides and drivers
On the evening of Thursday, February 15, 2018, friars, priests, bishops, sisters and laity who knew +Friar Donald Kos, OFM Conv. gathered at the Basilica Santi Apostoli our Curia’s Basilica of the Twelve Apostles in Rome) for a Mass in his remembrance. The Major Penitentiary of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza JCD celebrated the Mass along with three other bishops and over 100 concelebrating priests. The Minister General of our Order, the Most Reverend Fr. Marco Tasca, OFM Conv. presented +Friar Donald’s various ministries and accomplishments throughout his tenure in Rome and Cardinal Piacenza delivered a beautiful homily in his remembrance.
A few weeks ago, Fr. Jacek Leszczyński, OFM Conv. organized a three-day workshop for the Hispanic Servers of Iglesia Catolica de St. Julia, in Siler City, NC. Topics included how to be a committed server, the image of the parish portrayed at Mass, reconciliation with God and our brothers and sisters, and much more. Participants worked on what individual ministry groups accomplished in 2017 and proposed activities to support spiritual enhancement and contributions. More on Friar Jacek and his ministry:
Known as Friar Jacek (to his Polish speaking parishioners), as Padre Jacinto (to his Spanish speaking parishioners) and as Friar Jack (to his English speaking parishioners), he is a Polish Conventual Franciscan Friar Missionary who in 2008 came to the United States, after serving for 10 years in Peru. At the request of our Minister Provincial, he has served the multicultural parish (American-Spanish-Polish) of St. Julia, since 2014, while residing in our Our Lady of Guadalupe Friary, in Pittsboro, NC, alongside Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Br. Raymond Sobocinski, OFM Conv., Fr. Joseph Madden, OFM Conv. and Friar Gregory Spuhler, OFM Conv. The parish is part of the Diocese of Raleigh. Each weekend, he celebrates at least seven Masses (in English, Spanish and Polish), as well as Weddings Masses, and Quinceañera Masses. Over these past few years, Friar Jacek has facilitated many improvements to the property, including new bathrooms, floors, and stairs, as well as upgrades in the offices and courtyard, catechesis tools, a more secure roof, new paint for the church, offices and parish rooms, and new statues & artwork. The parish was gifted a new statue of St. Francis of Assisi and in the sanctuary space, they were able to mount a three dimensional work of Last Supper, painted by an Polish artist, from Raleigh. Although the parish is large, it is a poor community of mostly those who have come to this country to work; providing a future for their children and helping family they left in their home countries. However, they are very devout and spiritually connected community, closely and lovingly involved in the work of the parish. As a whole, they do everything for the glory of God. The Masses in Spanish are overcrowded, with a major lack of parking, causing hardship for the neighborhood. So, in November of 2017, St. Julia purchased 10 acres adjacent to the parish. They plan on expanding the parking area and building a Franciscan Spiritual Center.
Bishop Madden and Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv. distribute ashes.
February 14, 2018: Marking the beginning of Lent, including the reception of ashes on the forehead to proclaim that we are sinners in need of God’s grace, Bishop Denis J. Madden, Auxiliary Bishop and Urban Vicar for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, was the principal celebrant and homilist at the school wide Ash Wednesday Mass for the community at Archbishop Curley High School (Baltimore, MD). In his homily, Bishop Madden encouraged the use of the opportunity that Lent provides to do the traditional works of Lent: prayer, fasting and alms-giving. He went further to suggest that as we all perform these works, we go beyond our comfort zones, and discover our true selves. The Curley Choir and the Praise Band led the assembly in song. Archbishop Curley students, Michael Gardiner and Kyrian Elekwachi proclaimed the readings.
(left to right): Archbishop Curley High School Student Choir and Student Altar Servers, Fr. Matthew Foley, OFM Conv. (Campus Minister, Director of the FYM and Religion Instructor), Bishop Denis J. Madden, Fr. Nick Rokitka, OFM Conv. (Business and Religion Instructor), Fr. Donald Grzymski OFM Conv. (President) and Student Lectors.
As we live these days of Lundi and Mardi Gras before Ash Wednesday, I would imagine that many of us are thinking of how we will spend this Lent which is soon to be upon us. I am making my final preparations for Ash Wednesday, the day I will be leaving for Italy to lead the pilgrimage for the Co-workers in our Conventual Franciscan ministries. I and Sr. Anne Bremmer, OSF are really excited to walk this journey with them, the fourth that our Province is sponsoring. I promise to hold each of you and your intentions in prayer, especially before the tombs of St. Francis, St. Clare and St. Peter.
One intention that I am holding within me as I make this pilgrimage is to ask God to touch the hearts of men in our ministries and beyond, that they may hear a call to share our Conventual Franciscan life. Presently, we have three (and possibly a fourth individual) who wish to join us in the Postulancy in July 2018. Inviting others to get to know us and our vocation to follow Jesus in the way of Francis is the best publicity for vocation promotion.
We know that conversion is one of the hallmarks of our Spirituality. St. Francis and the first “penitents of Assisi” were all about that, as we, their sons, are as well. Perhaps on Ash Wednesday, when so many more people enter our churches, we have the opportunity to invite people, generally and specifically, to a life of conversion as friars (and Franciscan Sisters too!). I will try to do so here in Brooklyn, and then during the pilgrimage with our fellow co-workers. It would be great if more of our Catholic young men would consider being like us, descendants of the first “penitents of Assisi.” Oh, that our Seraphic Father and St. Clare intercede for us so that more “co-workers” who are Conventual Friars may come into the vineyard of our Province and preach the Good News of Jesus, Incarnate, Crucified and Risen for us.
Thank you for all of your past, present and future efforts in the vocation ministry of our Province. I pray that each of you enjoy the feasting of these days of Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras … and may your Lent be even more fruitful!
Friar Russell Governale, OFM Conv.
Director of Vocations for Our Lady of the Angels Province
Learn more about life with we Franciscan Friars Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels Province, here!
Profissão Temporária: We congratulate our brother friars, Frei Ricardo Elvis Arruda Bezerra, OFM Conv. (right) and Frei Jesus Rodrigues do Amaral, OFM Conv. (left), from our Immaculate Conception Custody (Brazil), who Professed Simple Vows at 7:30 p.m., on February 8, 2018, at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, in the Rio Comprido neighborhood, at the center of Rio de Janeiro. The friars of the Custody were quite happy, since it has been six (6) years since the Custody has had any new Novices.
Please keep these, and all of our friars in formation, in your continued prayers.