Keynote Speaker ~ Br. Michael Duffy

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
~ St. Francis of Assisi

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Brother Michael Duffy, OFM Conv., Associate Dean of the Elms College School of Nursing, delivered the Keynote address on December 5, 2018, Elms College Doctor of Nursing Practice White Coat Ceremony.

Congratulations, Friar Joe Bayne!

Fr. Joe Bayne, OFM Conv. has been serving as pastor of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, in Chicopee, MA, since August 2, 2018. Prior to his move, he spent three decades serving those in need in the Buffalo area through his work as Executive Director of The Franciscan Center (closed in 2018) as well as serving as Chaplain for the Erie County (NY) Department of Emergency Services.
He is now one of the Honorees inducted on the Erie County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services Wall of Honor.

Read a few of our recent articles about Friar Joe’s years of service in the Buffalo, NY area:
2017 Carl Day Award for Community Service
2017 Fourth Degree of the Knights of Columbus
The Franciscan Center – Logistics
2016 Gaudete Medal
2015 ~ Meet Fr. Joe Bayne, OFM Conv.
2015 Blue Mass – Buffalo, NY

“Rejoice with me!”

A Message from Br. Ed Handy, OFM Conv.
“Rejoice with me,”
with great joy and thanksgiving to Almighty God, after 30 years of ministry with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ!
In 1988, I began a ministry as a teacher of special education with the Mt. Carmel Guild School for Students with special needs. Eight years later I was assigned to St. Bridget’s Transitional Housing and Supportive Services Program for Homeless Men Living with HIV/AIDS as a residential counselor.  This year, after 22 years at St. Bridget’s, I retired from Catholic Charities and will move from Clifton, NJ. to my birth city of Baltimore in the near future.


The following excerpt was taken from a post on our site, where Brother Ed shared this description of his ministry of service with St. Bridget’s Residence Program:

St. Bridget’s is one of many community services provided by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey. It is not a hospice nor a medical facility, but a transitional housing program, providing a safe and healthy environment necessary to enable each resident to empower himself with skills necessary to obtain a permanent home.
Ministering to homeless men with HIV/AIDS at St. Bridget’s reminds me of how St. Francis, with love and compassion, approached the leper 800 years ago. Many of our men have shared with me their personal stories of how they have been rejected by society, family and friends because of their HIV/AIDS condition. Much education is still needed in this area. ‘What you did for the least of these…, you did for me’ (Mt 25:40). This is our testimony and our challenge to offer a better life for those who seek our services. My weekly ministry hours and days at St. Bridget’s are from 3:00 p.m. to 12.00 a.m. – Monday through Friday. Compassion and Service has been the hallmark of my … years ministering at St. Bridget’s.

Approval of the Constitutions

Chairman of the Revision Committee ~ Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Timothy Kulbicki, OFM Conv.:
On this day, November 29, 2018, the Feast of All Franciscan Saints and the anniversary of the solemn approval of the Rule of St. Francis, November 29, 1223, the Prefect of the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, João Cardinal Braz DE AVIZ, has issued the decree approving the revised text of the Constitutions of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.

Catching Up with friar Franck

friar Franck Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv. ~ While still a full time student at The Catholic University of America (CUA-Washington DC), part of his friar formation includes serving as the Youth & Young Adult Minister of our Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD.
Born in Lome, Togo, friar Franck immigrated to the United States with his family, in 2006. Before professing Simple Vows as a Franciscan Friar Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels, he was studying, philosophy, political science and foreign languages. After visiting many Orders, friar Franck felt called to the Conventuals as he experienced our ministries, spirituality and community lifestyle. He enjoys reading, learning, and the outdoors, is very devoted to Our Lady and is fascinated by the lives of the Saints.

Message from friar Franck: “All is well here in the St. Bonaventure Friary – House of Studies (Silver Spring, MD) and the student friars send our greetings. As we are all gearing up for final exams, please keep us in your prayers.”

Shrine of St. Anthony Mass to end the celebratory year commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Militia of the Immaculata by St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv., on October 16, 1917. The Mass was celebrated by the Shine Director, Fr. Eric de la Peña, OFM Conv., served by friar Franck.

Kolbe Room at the Shrine

On the 16th of October, the end of the year of celebrating the 100th Anniversary of establishment of the Militia of the Immaculata (MI), a special Mass was offered at our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD). The friars serving there also initiated a successful general meeting for all those interested in becoming members of the MI. The already established Washington DC – Mission Immaculatae Capital 16670 Village (young adults) was invited to extent its territory to include members through our Shrine of St Anthony.

On a crisp evening, Friday – October 19th, the Shrine hosted a bonfire gathering, with youth and young adult participants from Washington DC (especially CUA), Baltimore, Ellicott City and other surrounding areas, including some student friars from Silver Spring. Among those enjoying the event were Shrine Director – Fr. Eric and Our Lady of the Angels Province’s newest Solemnly Professed friar, Br. Emmanuel “Manny” Wenke, OFM Conv., who was able to take a bit of a break from his busy schedule teaching at Archbishop Curly High School, in Baltimore. The friars counted 25 young adults in attendance and ended the evening with night prayer in the Shrine’s Chapel. It was truly a great night for the books.

The Shrine’s first Taizé night was held on November 19th and it was very beautiful. The chapel was certainly not empty, and the prayer service went really well. Again, people came from all over the area. In addition to our Conventual friars on hand, some OFM Postulants made the drive from Silver Spring, as did some of our Capuchin brothers from Washington DC. The schola was filled with students from CUA, including several friars from our house of studies. Participants also included attendees from Archbishop Curley High School, as well as friar Franck’s brother, nephew and sister-in-law traveling from Richmond, VA.
Adding to the joy of the event, on the following day, Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, was able to personally bless our Taizé Cross, on his visit to the Shrine.  Another Taizé night is in the works for Lent 2019. We will keep you posted.


EWTN ~ Featuring Our Minister Provincial

In celebration of the Feast of All Saints of the Seraphic Order, our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. was the featured homilist at the November 29, 2018 Daily Catholic Mass Live Broadcast on EWTN. On this day in 1223, The Rule for Franciscans was issued by Pope Honorius III, in the eighth year of his pontificate. To commemorate this event, each November 29th, all the saints of the Franciscan order are remembered at Franciscan churches around the world.

Later that same day, he was interviewed as a guest on EWTN’s Life on the Rock.


Pilgrimage with Friar Matt Foley

Join Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Matthew Foley, OFM Conv. on a pilgrimage to Poland, following the footsteps of St. John Paul II, St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv., Saint Maria Faustyna (St. Faustina) Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament OLM, St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce (Edith Stein), Servant of God Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński, and Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko. In addition to daily Mass, the pilgrims will also have an opportunity to visit the third-largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world and celebrate Mass by the beloved miraculous icon of Our Lady of Częstochowa, in the Monastery of Jasna Góra, followed by a guided tour of the Shrine by one of the Pauline monks. The group will also have an opportunity to pray before the relics of two more martyrs of our Order; Blessed Michał Tomaszek, OFM Conv. and Blessed Zbigniew Strzałkowski, OFM Conv.
More information, including a downloadable flier listing the details of the pilgrimage itinerary, can be found at Pilgrimage to Poland with Friar Matthew Foley.
Friar Matt currently serves our province as an Instructor & Director of Campus Ministry at our St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, NY, while also serving as Guardian of the St. Francis Friary. A native of Massachusetts, Friar Matt first professed vows as a Franciscan Friar Conventual in 2004. Ordained to the priesthood in 2009, he began 10 years of service at our Baltimore high school ministry of Archbishop Curley High School, where he taught and served as Campus Minister, as well as Guardian of our Immaculate Heart of Mary Friary, until his August 2018 move to NY.
Friar Matt encourages those interested to book your pilgrimage before January 31, 2019 to receive a $100 discount. If you can pay by cash or check, you will also receive an additional $110 discount. Take advantage of the two discount options and your pilgrimage cost is $3599!

Safeguarding Statement

The Franciscan Friars Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels Province are committed to creating safe environments for children and vulnerable adults. Our safeguarding processes for the protection of minors and vulnerable adults are routinely reviewed by the accrediting organization Praesidium, in accordance with strict Church norms. Any allegation regarding the Franciscan Friars Conventual of this Province receives an immediate response, according to Praesidium’s rigorous standards.  This includes the Province’s full cooperation with local law enforcement authorities and Ordinaries who have ecclesial jurisdiction over the matters, as well as a duly diligent investigation by a qualified third party in order to substantiate credibility.  This investigative process is being followed with respect to the questions currently being raised about Fr. James Smyka, who is suspended from public ministry.

Come and See Weekend

Participants are pictured here as they visited our St. Bonaventure Friary (Silver Spring, MD); home to both Solemnly and Simply Professed friars from the provinces throughout North America, who are currently in advanced studies at the Catholic University of America. The group visited several friaries in the Maryland and Washington DC area and enjoyed talks by visiting friars and vocation stories during this fraternal weekend.

At the end of the November 4-10, 2018 National Vocation Awareness Week, our province held a “Come and See” Weekend. Seven men in discernment had the opportunity to spend some time living, praying and serving with our friars, in the hopes of gaining and better understanding our life, charism and ministries. These weekends are not meant to be a commitment to our province, but are to be utilized as part of the process of discernment, as men experience a weekend living the life of a friar.
Our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. shared this statement:
The most recent COME AND SEE weekend was held November 9-11, 2018. It was a great weekend for the five full time participants, as well as the two gentlemen who joined us for dinner on Saturday night in Silver Spring. The friars in formation, along with Br. Manny Wenke, OFM Conv. and Friar Chris Dudek, OFM Conv. from Curley, were amazing in making the weekend a success. Conferences on Franciscan Discernment, Conventual Franciscanism and the “Spices” of Franciscan Spirituality were offered. The interaction with the friars was essential to the good working of the weekend. Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv. offered a superb homily at the Sunday Mass at which he presided for us. Three men are currently in application. Pray that others may continue to listen to the Call to our Life.”
The next “Come and See” Weekend for our province will be held March 8-10, 2019. If you are interested in attending, we encourage you to contact our province Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. for more information. Events such as these are held throughout the country, by the different Franciscan Friars Conventual Provinces living and working in those areas. In North America, there are four provinces. Our province primarily is located on the East Coast, from Ontario, Canada down to Florida, USA. We serve in parishes, hospitals, communications, schools, universities and chaplaincies, as well as social justice ministries helping the vastly under-served. Our province is home to two National Shrines and several of our friars work in academia, hold seats on the boards of charitable institutions, and serve in diocese administration.
As you can see, our ministries are diverse and our province utilizes the gifts of each individual friar through our varied service, as members of the same Order (OFM Conv.).