Vocation Corner

Presently, we have eleven men in various stages of active discernment for our Province.  Please pray for them as they continue to listen to God’s voice in their hearts.  They are good men who want to follow Jesus, according to His will.
In order to foster vocations, our friars are planning to institute a “vocation corner” in the bulletins of our parishes, schools and other ministries. Our friars plan to fill those “corners” with personal vocation stories. Here, we present the Vocation Story of the Director of Campus Ministry at the Duke Catholic Center, Fr. Mike Martin, OFM Conv.:

Vocation Story ~ Friar Mike
I was a regular teenager from a good Catholic family who went to school, had a part-time job and dated a girl who was really sweet. I had my future plans in mind, and life was good. My pastor was a good man who taught me how to pray and was passionate about Jesus. I met the Franciscan Friars Conventual at my high school which they administered, and they made a definite impact on me. They taught me about the Catholic faith and encouraged me to love Jesus and others – especially the marginalized. I was impressed by their common life, their service and their spirit, but I had plans of my own, even though there were times that I thought I might find that way of life compelling. My life wasn’t perfect, but it was good.
I had been told by people in the past that I would make a good priest or Franciscan, but I think I simply shrugged it off. Not that I thought that I couldn’t, but rather, I had other plans of my own. My senior year in High School, Fr. Marty Kobos, OFM Conv. asked me to meet with the Vocation Director of the Franciscans, and after a brief push back I acquiesced, given that at least I would be getting out of class. The meeting ended with me giving a gentle “Thanks, but No Thanks.” As time went on, I found myself having to work harder and harder to keep from thinking the thought of possibly being a Franciscan priest. The thought scared me, so better to just not think it. The longer I fought it, the more I realized that maybe it was worth at least considering. Not that there was some flash of lightning, nor some deep loud voice from heaven, but when I permitted myself to seriously consider the possibility of being a Franciscan priest, in the freedom to be open to it, I found a peace to embrace it.
I was uncertain what others would say or even if I would make it through the formation process. But I knew one thing for certain – I needed to try and I needed to try it right then. I knew if I waited any longer, I would be taken up with my other plans and this call would be slowly, but really quieted. There was grace in that realization! And while there have been difficult times over the 39 years since I made that decision, I have never regretted saying YES! I believe that I could have enjoyed being a husband and a father and could have excelled in business and led a fruitful and holy life. But I am certain that the path that the Holy Spirit has led me on as a Franciscan Friars Conventual priest has been and will continue to be the road for which I am on this earth. I was in no way as certain of that when I said yes to it many years ago – it wasn’t that clear. However, it has been in the saying yes to it daily that has brought clarity, purpose, and peace to my life in diverse spiritual, fraternal, and ministerial situations ever since. May God continue to give me the courage and wisdom to say yes today and for as many tomorrows as I am gifted.

If you are interested in Franciscan Life,
please contact our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv.:
vocations@olaprovince.org.,
www.franciscans.org,
@conventuals1223,
or call 718- 510-5822.

Vocation Corner

Presently, we have eleven men in various stages of active discernment for our Province.  Please pray for them as they continue to listen to God’s voice in their hearts.  They are good men who want to follow Jesus, according to His will.
In order to foster vocations, our friars are planning to institute a “vocation corner” in the bulletins of our parishes, schools and other ministries. Our friars plan to fill those “corners” with personal vocation stories. Here, we present the Vocation Story of one of our Parochial Vicars serving in an Archdiocese of Baltimore, three parish Pastorate – Fr. John Ruffo, OFM Conv.:

Vocation Story ~ Friar John
It was early in grammar school when I was first attracted to the priesthood. I’m not really sure why. I guess I felt that our parish priest was special and “Wouldn’t it be cool to be like him?”.
One year, at a “vocational day” at our school, representatives from various walks of life came to speak to the 7th and 8th grade students: one singing the praises of the Army, another the rewards of a career in medicine, another the benefits of higher education, and so on. The priest who spoke to us that day happened to be a Franciscan Friar Conventual, and like every curious child I picked up all the free literature Father offered to us.
Sometime later, I read through the information I’d collected that “vocational day” and noticed that most of the brochures had contact information. Prompted by curiosity (or was it the Holy ?) I wrote to the Conventuals expressing my interest in the friars.
At first I didn’t understand all the difference between Religious Orders and the many different kinds of priests and Religious. When I finally had to ask my own Diocesan pastor’s permission to enter the seminary, he pointed out very quickly that the local Diocese needed priests too!
Thankful for my pastor’s signature, I entered the Franciscan Friars Conventual minor seminary in September of 1961, at the ripe old age of 14.
When did I decide to actually become a Franciscan friar? It’s difficult to pinpoint one particular day or event. The day I made vows, 50 years ago now, or was ordained a priest, 44 years ago now, were certainly grace-filled moments reflective of my ongoing commitment to St. Francis’ way of life. I see my vocation more as a process I live, a decision reaffirmed every day, rather than as a particular ceremony that gives public testimony to that evolving commitment.
In my years as a friar I’ve ministered in two countries, five states, and seven dioceses. I’ve enjoyed parish ministry, campus ministry, Franciscan formation ministry, and a stint as vocation director in Canada. I’ve always believed that I am where I am because God wants me to be there, according to His plan. I continue to enjoy living and ministering in community with my Franciscan brothers.
Being a Franciscan Friar Conventual is a blessed calling. As I said ‘yes’ to Christ’s invitation to follow Him in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi in my own personal past, with His grace I’ll continue to do so in my future. Then, as I come nearer the end of my life I’ll still be able to learn what my vocation means and become new again, even as I grow old.

If you are interested in Franciscan Life,
please contact our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv.:
vocations@olaprovince.org.,
www.franciscans.org,
@conventuals1223,
or call 718- 510-5822.

National Vocation Awareness Week

National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) will be celebrated by the Catholic Church in the USA (as well as several Canadian Dioceses) during the week of November 4-10, 2018.  We friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province ask the faithful to include in your intentions, prayers for in increase in men being called to serve God as friar brothers and friar priests, as members of our Order of Franciscan Friars Conventual (OFM Conv.). May these men be inspired by Our Lord Jesus Christ, while benefiting from the support of our faith communities and their families, to respond generously to God’s gift of a VOCATION.
This annual week-long celebration promotes prayer, education, inspiration, example and aid to families supporting those in vocation discernment. This organized effort first began in 1976, when the USCCB designated the 28th Sunday of the year as National Vocation Awareness Week. This celebration was moved in 1997 to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, traditionally falling on January 13th or on the 1st Sunday following the Feast of the Epiphany. Since 2014, it has been celebrated the first full week of November, making this year: November 4-10, 2018.

From the NVAW Prayer Resource:
Prayer to Saint Junípero Serra 
y Ferrer, O.F.M.
O sincere and humble Saint Junípero Serra,
we ask for your intercession
that those called to serve our Lord
through priestly and religious vocations
might do so with the same
obedience, zeal, and humility
you exhibited as a priest,
brother, teacher, and spiritual father.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Our friars have been sharing with you their own vocation stories through a series of News Posts. In order to foster vocations, our friars have also instituted this “Vocation Corner” in the bulletins of our parishes, schools and other ministries. In the next months, be sure to check back on our website to read even more Vocation Stories.

Vocation Story ~ Friar Russell
Vocation Story ~ Friar Jim
Vocation Story ~ Friar John
Vocation Story ~ Friar Mike

Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis

TRANSITUS: Each year, on October 3rd friars from all over the world gather to celebrate the Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi. Transitus is Latin for crossing or passage, and is commemorated on the Vigil of the Feast of St. Francis with prayer, scripture readings, joyful songs of praise and thanksgiving. The often candle lit night service commemorates the 1226 death of our beloved Seraphic Father, as he crossed over from life on earth to eternal life with the Lord. Traditionally the celebrations of these Feast Days are chosen to mark the date of a saint’s death and are remembered by the faithful with special mention, prayers, and scripture readings.  For Franciscans, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th) is much more. It is a day filled with celebration and joy, including the traditional Blessing of the Animals and gatherings of fellowship with our brothers and sisters, in Christ.

FEAST DAY FRATERNAL FELLOWSHIP: Throughout the province, our friars shared this joyful day with the people we serve. We also took the opportunity to celebrate our Franciscan Brotherhood with Mass, prayer, meals and laughter together in our friaries and in our ministries.  Archbishop Curley High School stated it well on their Facebook post that day. “The Church celebrates the Poor Man of Assisi on October 4th and so do we at Curley. St. Francis is the founder of the Franciscan Order and he is the patron saint of Archbishop Curley High School. Since its doors opened, Curley has been imbued with the Spirit of St. Francis through the Friars who have staffed the school for 57 years. Today the Curley community celebrated Mass and heard Friar Chris Dudek, OFM Conv. preach about how St. Francis was engaged, excellent and holy. Friar Chris, who is a deacon just like St. Francis was, challenged us to accept the call of Jesus as St. Francis did.”

In celebration of the October 4, 2018 Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, our friars of St. Philip Benizi Friary (Jonesboro, GA) hosted our friars of Holy Cross Friary (Atlanta,GA) and Franciscan Martyrs Friary (Columbus, GA), as well as their confrere – the Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of the Diocese of Savannah. These friars serve as pastors and parochial vicars in six Georgia parishes. It was the first time that all of our friars ministering in Georgia were able to come together to share a meal, fellowship and fraternity.

The friars living, serving and studying (current and some prior) in the Washington DC area gathered for Mass with the faithful at the Catholic University of America.

For the feast of St. Francis the local St. Francis Hospital near Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church where Fr. Bob Benko, OFM Conv. serves as pastor holds an annual Mass and Muffins.  Before and after Mass the chaplains of the hospital distribute the Muffins to each nursing station, as well as the back office staff, offering a prayer at each stop. This year they invited our friars to have the honor of praying with the staff and distribute the Muffins and our Friar Bob enjoyed the opportunity.  The staff and nurses were extremely grateful for the prayers and the muffins.

Fr. Carl Zdancewicz, OFM Conv. blessed a new born pony (Our Lady of Mercy Church, Winston-Salem, NC)

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: This year, on the weekends prior to and after, as well as several days during the week of the October 4th Feast Day, friars from throughout our province ministries enjoyed the traditional Blessing of Animals; a simple act that helps us share the charism of St. Francis by blessing these special “companions” of those we serve. It is always a source of great joy for our friars and it was wonderful to have others who serve through several of our special ministries there to join in the fun. Here are just a few shots from around the province. This is one of the most fun filled days of the year for our friars.
Included among the ALETEIA.ORG 10-5-2018 online article’s photos of the Blessing of the Animals from around the world, are shots from last year’s blessing with our very own Fr. John Ruffo, OFM Conv. when he was serving at The Church of St. Catharine of Siena, in Seaside Park, NJ. Friar John is currently serving as a Parochial Vicar of the Baltimore, MD Pastorate which includes St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Church, St. Michael the Archangel Church and the Church of the Annunciation.

On the morning of October 3rd, Fr. Mark David Skura, OFM Conv. (pictured here) and Fr. Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv., who both serve as Parochial Vicars at St. Anne Catholic Church (Columbus, GA), blessed many pets, including this beautiful chicken, in remembrance of St. Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures.

On September 30th, the Franciscan Church of the Assumption Community (Suracuse, NY) gathered with Fr. Rick Riccioli, OFM Conv. (pastor – pictured here) and Fr. Nader Ata, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar and director of the Franciscan Place Chapel & Gift Shoppe at Destiny USA) for the Blessing of the Animals.

Fr. Marek Stybor, OFM Conv., parochial vicar at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

 

Vocation Corner

Presently, we have eleven men in various stages of active discernment for our Province.  Please pray for them as they continue to listen to God’s voice in their hearts.  They are good men who want to follow Jesus, according to His will.
In order to foster vocations, our friars are planning to institute a “vocation corner” in the bulletins of our parishes, schools and other ministries. Our friars plan to fill those “corners” with personal vocation stories. Here, we present the Vocation Story of the Vocation Story of our Senior Friars Director in Seaside Park, NJ – Br. Jim Moore, OFM Conv.:

Vocation Story ~ Friar Jim
Fifty years ago this September 5th, God blessed me with a special gift of vocation: Religious Brotherhood. It was on that day in 1968 that I entered the Franciscan Friars Conventual to begin my life as a Religious Brother. My ‘call’ first came to me as a member of a wonderful Irish-Italian family in Syracuse, NY where I was a ‘brother’ to my four siblings! Along with my parents, they were the first to teach me about the joys and struggles of ‘brotherhood’ and community/family living. At the same time, I also credit my elementary and secondary school teachers, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. These Religious women were wonderful role models and witnesses of ‘community living’ and ministry. I believe it was this call to community that drew me to the life of St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan community.
As a Religious Brother, I consecrated myself through the profession of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and I have lived a wonderful life of communal prayer and witnesses to God’s love and presence in my life by serving in a number of creative ministerial opportunities. Thanks to the support of my brothers in my Franciscan community, I have been a high school teacher, a vocation director and a formation director. For our Franciscan community, I have served on our Leadership Team and been a university campus minister and a spiritual director. I was also fortunate to be the founder of a year-long, non-profit volunteer service program for young adults (FrancisCorps). God has certainly been good to Jim Moore! Religious Brothers are called to be brothers to Jesus, and therefore deeply united with Him in brotherly service to others. I hope and pray others join me in this amazing vocation. To me, St. Francis of Assisi is the perfect example of Religious Brotherhood. He is my role model, my friend, my brother.

If you are interested in Franciscan Life,
please contact our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv.:
vocations@olaprovince.org.,
www.franciscans.org,
@conventuals1223,
or call 718- 510-5822.

 

News from Our Friars Serving in GA

Our friars of residing in the newest friary of our province, the Franciscan Martyrs Friar (Columbus, GA) were invited by those who staff and serve the St. Benedict the Moor Parish Outreach Community Lunch Program,  to come and share a meal with the more than 75 people they serve each day. Since August 2, 2018, Fr. Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv. (at far right) has been assigned as pastor of St. Benedict the Moor Parish. He was joined that day by his confreres, Fr. Bob Benko, OFM Conv. (at left back row – pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church), Fr. Robert Schlageter, OFM Conv. (2nd from left back row – pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church) and Fr. Mark David Skura, OFM Conv. (at right back row – parochial vicar of St. Anne Catholic Church).

All of the friars of the Franciscan Martyr Friary gathered for their first Transitus Prayer Service with the faithful of Columbus, GA. The candlelight service remembering St. Francis of Assisi’s passage from death to glory was hosted by Friar Noel and St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church. Parishioners from all three parishes served by these friars enjoyed the time for prayer, song and fellowship. (left to right: Friar Robert, Friar Bob, Friar Noel, Fr. Emanuel “Manny” Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. and Friar Mark David)

In celebration of the October 4, 2018 Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, our friars of St. Philip Benizi Friary (Jonesboro, GA) hosted our friars of Holy Cross Friary (Atlanta,GA) and Franciscan Martyrs Friary (Columbus, GA), as well as their confrere – the Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. of the Diocese of Savannah. These friars serve as pastors and parochial vicars in six Georgia parishes. It was the first time that all of our friars ministering in Georgia were able to come together to share a meal, fellowship and fraternity. Pictured left to right: Friar Manny, Fr. Luis Palacios Rodriguez, OFM Conv. and Fr. John Koziol, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar and pastor of St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church, Jonesboro), Friar Bob, Friar Robert, Friar Noel, Fr. Vincent Gluc, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar of St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church), Bishop Hartmaryer, Fr. Calixto Salvatierra Morena, OFM Conv. and Fr. Jude Michael Krill, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar and pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Atlanta), Friar Mark David, Fr. John Voytek, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Atlanta) & Fr. Tom Reist, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar of Holy Cross Catholic Church)

Transitus 2018

On Wednesday evening, October 3, 2018, the Friars of St. Joseph Cupertino Friary and our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD) hosted a celebration of the Commemoration of the Passing (Transitus) of St. Francis of Assisi from Earthly Life to Eternal Life.  Organized by our post-Novitiate friars of St. Bonaventure Friary (Silver Spring, MD), the celebration brought together our OFM Conventual Friars with Dominican Friars, Secular Franciscans, and Felician Sisters – who sang the Blessing of St. Francis at the close of the service. Fr. Eric de la Peña, OFM Conv. (at front center), Director of the Shrine of St. Anthony, was the celebrant and Fr. Albert Trudel, O.P. (next to Friar Eric) preached a vibrant homily including the story of the meeting of our founders; St. Francis and St. Dominic.

Our friars serving in Columbus, CT invited the parishioners they serve at St. Anne Catholic Church, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and St. Benedict the Moore Parish, to their “Transitus of St. Francis” – a candlelight service remembering his passage from death to glory – at St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church. Many enjoyed the time for prayer, song and fellowship.

The Secular Franciscan Community of St. Clare of Assisi celebrated the Transitus of our Holy Father, Francis, into eternal life on Oct. 3, 2018, at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Winston-Salem, NC, along with their pastor emeritus, Fr. Joseph Angelini, OFM Conv.

Our friars serving on the “Jersey Shore” at our pastoral ministries of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) and the Parish of St. Junipero Serra worshiping at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church (Seaside Heights, NJ) and the Church of St. Catharine of Siena (Seaside Park, NJ) gathered with the area’s faithful to celebrate the Transitus together at St. Peter’s.

Friar Nader Ata, OFM Conv. presenting at the Transitus Celebration at our pastoral ministry of The Franciscan Church of the Assumption, in Syracuse, NY.

All of the friars of the Franciscan Martyr Friary gathered for their first Transitus Prayer Service with the faithful of Columbus, GA.

Walsingham, England

Friars of our Province’s Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody returned to Walsingham, England in June 2018 and now three friars serve the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
‘We feel we’ve come home’: Franciscans return to Walsingham for first time in 480 years

Triduum Prayers for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi

 

To be prayed on October 2-4th

MORNING PRAYER
St. Francis, our Seraphic Father,
you espoused Lady Poverty,
– May we follow your example by our poverty of spirit
which leads to humility and our simplicity of life.

EVENING PRAYER
Holy Father Francis,
you were filled with the joy of the Incarnation and the centrality of Christ,
– May we follow your example of
respect for all human life and for our Mother Earth.

Franciscan Action Network (FAN)

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. (JPIC Province Chairman) serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Franciscan Action Network (FAN). FAN’s Mission Statement:
Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of Saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.”
Our Lady of the Angels Province student friar, brother Tim Blanchard, OFM Conv. is majoring in Media and Communications at The Catholic University of America. Over this past summer, he interned with FAN and our Province’s JPIC Ministry. This new FAN Video was part of his work: