Student Tree Planting

Expert from the Archbishop Curley High School Facebook page

Anticipating Arbor Day, Archbishop Curley High School teamed with the Baltimore Tree Trust to plant another 115 trees on the Curley campus on March 23rd. This is the second part of an effort which has added a total of 215 trees to the East Baltimore campus. The trees planted this spring, a combination of red maples and Jefferson elms, will enhance the East end of the 33-acre campus, and complement the trees that were earlier planted on the West end.
The School is grateful for grants received by the Tree Trust from American Sugar Refining / Domino Sugar and Pennrose Properties which designated the Curley site for this project. Students assisted in the planting efforts, recognizing the Franciscan value of respect for the environment that is part of the School’s tradition.

COMMUNITY MORNING PRAYER – March 21st: As Fr. Donald led the students, faculty and staff in prayer; focusing on fasting and a mid-Lent  challenge to continue the self-discipline we have chosen for ourselves for Lent.

Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv., president of the School, commented, “We are so grateful for this cooperative effort with the Tree Trust, an effort that improves the campus and will also improve the air quality of Baltimore, and so grateful for the corporate support that has made this second round of planting possible.”

Our friars have been a part of the administration, leadership, campus ministry, instruction and staff of Archbishop Curley High School (a Catholic high school in the Franciscan tradition, serving young men in grades 9 – 12, since 1961.

CFF Meeting ~ March 2017

Friar Jim Kent, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Province of Our Lady of Consolation – USA, Friar Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv. ~ Province Secretary * Our Lady of the Angels Province – USA, Friar Jude Winkler, OFM Conv. ~ CFF Assistant General of the Order,
Friar James McCurry, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Our Lady of the Angels Province – USA, Friar Leo Payyappilly, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe – India (President of the FAMC: Federation of Asian Minor Conventuals),
Friar Michael Zielke, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Province of St. Bonaventure – USA, Friar Joseph Wood, OFM Conv. ~ Provincial Delegate of the Australian Provincial Delegation * Province of St. Bonaventure, Friar Józef Błaszczyk, OFM Conv. ~ Provincial Custos of the Canadian Provincial Custody * Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe – Poland and
Friar John Heinz, OFM Conv. ~ Minister Provincial * Province of St. Joseph Cupertino – USA
Not pictured as he attended the meetings via Facetime:
Friar Peter Damian Massengill, OFM Conv. ~ Provincial Custos of the Great Britain / Ireland Provincial Custody of Blessed Agnellus of Pisa * Our Lady of the Angels Province – USA

The Leadership of the CFF: Conventual Franciscan Federation including the CFF Assistant General of our Order, Friar Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., gathered at the Our Lady of the Angels Provincial House, March 20-23, 2017, for a week of meetings. On Wednesday, March 22nd, the Minister Provincial of India’s Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe stopped in for a short visit as well, as he began his Provincial Visitation with Fr. Albert Pulliyadan, OFM Conv., a friar from India’s province who is currently serving as a campus minister with our friars in The Catholic University of America – Campus Ministry Office.

Members of Franciscan Mission Service (seated) gave a presentation during the 3-22-2017 session

Stations of the Cross Video Series (CRS)

Last year, a video Stations of the Cross series was created through the Catholic Relief Services’ Lenten faith-in-action program for families and faith communities ~ CRS Rice Bowl. Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Robert A. Twele, OFM Conv., Esq., who serves as the Director of the CRS Office of Legal Counsel as well as legal counsel for our province, narrated Station XII: Jesus Dies on the Cross. CRS provided not only the video series, but a printable prayer resource, through this same site.

Here is an example of the prayers for the 12th Station from that same resource:

TWELFTH STATION: Jesus Dies on the Cross
: We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Leader: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
(All kneel together for a reflective pause, and then rise.) By human standards, the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus is the ultimate failure. Members of the Jewish community had waited so long for the Messiah, had put their faith and hope in a man they believed had come to liberate them, and he died a horrific death. It was a devastating, final moment, and so many of Jesus’ friends had already fled the scene, abandoning hope in a better future. It’s a good thing the Crucifixion and Death of Jesus are not to be judged by human standards. Rather, what we see as failure, God transforms into victory. Where we see nothing but hopelessness and devastation, God is at work in surprising and spectacular ways. When we think of the hardships so many in our world face, we might easily grow discouraged; but our God offers us hope, and wants all of us to work together to build a world of peace and justice.
How does this perspective of Easter inspire our own work in seemingly hopeless, failed situations? How does God want us to look upon problems like poverty, natural disasters and environmental decay—by human standards, or something more hopeful?
All: Christ Jesus, even in the most devastating failures, you show us the importance of hope. May we have the courage to work patiently and tirelessly with those in need, always keeping our sights on you.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be to the Father…

Formation Retreats

Seven friars in Post-Novitiate Formation in Silver Spring spent March 7-11, 2017 in a mid-year retreat in Ellicott City, MD.  Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., Assistant General of the Order and a friar of our province, led the retreat with a focus on the Letter to the Hebrews.  While soaking in the Scriptures and having some much-needed rest from the semester’s activities, the friars also enjoyed the warm fraternal hospitality of the Friaries of the Ellicott City.

Pictured in the St. Joseph Cupertino Friary Chapel with Friar Jude (under the San Damiano Crucifix) are Friar Bede Thigpen, OFM Conv. (St. Bonaventure Province), Friar Jim Hoffman, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province), Friar Tim Blanchard, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province), Friar Israel Arauz-Rosiles, OFM Conv. (St. Joseph Cupertino Province), Friar Franck Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province), Friar Andrew Hennessy, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of Consolation Province), and Friar Manny Wenke, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province)

In addition, after making formal requests to be ordained deacons, Friar Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv. and Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. traveled to the Immaculate Conception Friary in Rensselaer, NY—their first time!—for a Diaconate Retreat.  They enjoyed their first foray into the history of Rensselaer and the friars’ long presence there.

Many thanks to the friars for sharing their gifts and fraternal example with our friars in formation!

Two Friars to be Ordained to the Priesthood

Friar Nick (second from left serving as Deacon of the Eucharist) and Friar Nader (sixth from right serving as Deacon of the Word) at the August 15, 2016 Mass in celebration of the Solemn Profession of Vows.

It is with great praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God that we,
the Franciscan Friars Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels Province,
joyfully announce the Ordination to the Priesthood of
Friar Nicholas Carmelo Spano, OFM Conv. &
Friar Nader Nabil Ata, OFM Conv.
through the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit by the Bishop of Syracuse, the Most Reverend Robert J. Cunningham, on Saturday, May 27, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., at our pastoral ministry of the Franciscan Church of the Assumption, in Syracuse, NY.

Catching up with Our Postulants

Under the careful eye of his Guardian and Postulancy Director, Br. Paschal Kolodziej, OFM Conv., Postulant Fabian Adderley is being measured for his habit by Rosario and Theresa, parishioners at St. Ita’s Parish (Chicago, IL); one of the newest pastoral ministries of our friars. Friar Paschal and Fabian are both of our province. St. Ita’s is also the ministry home of another one of Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Fr. José Guadalupe Matus Castillo, OFM Conv., who serves there as Associate Pastor. The other friars serving at St. Ita Catholic Church are from the St. Bonaventure Province.

The last time we checked in with our province postulants, they were spending three weeks in January visiting with our friars in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Our five postulants (Mr. Fabian Adderley, Mr. Richard Rome, Mr. Steven Arias Mosquera, Mr. Mario Camarillo and Mr. Joseph Krondon) enjoyed the opportunity to visit with our newest and oldest friars during those weeks; visiting not only the ministries of active friars but also visiting with our infirmed and hospitalized friars.
Postulants from the four provinces serving North America have been living in our Order’s Postulancy that is located in Chicago, IL (St. Bonaventure Friary). It is important to note that friars from all of these provinces often work together in ministry, although each of the four provinces in North America primarily minister to individual jurisdictions. Our Lady of the Angels Province serves the East Coast. St. Bonaventure Province serves the Midwestern US. The Province of Our Lady of Consolation serves the belt of states between them. St. Joseph Cupertino Province serves the Western Coast of the US. Each province also has friars working abroad, as well as governance over Delegations and Custodies around the world.

Currently the postulants from these four provinces are sharing a milestone in their formation. They are being measured for their habits. The new habits will be conferred to them during the Investiture (as shown in the insert at the 2011 Investiture of Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. and Friar Maximilian Avila Pecheco, OFM Conv. who hope to together celebrate their Diaconate Ordinations this year) by their Minister Provincials of their respective provinces as they move from the life of a Postulant onto their time of continued formation as Novices, at the Order’s North American Novitiate, in Arroyo Grande, California.


Franciscan Conservation (Update)

As of March 8, 2017, the solar array of Ellicott City has generated its first Giga Watt Hours of electricity, since going online in 2013.

One of the ways our friars who are based in Ellicott City, MD have worked diligently to be good stewards of God’s creation, respecting the environment and promoting of a loving respect for all of God’s creatures, is by adopting an extremely practical path of energy efficiency. Since February 2013, our friars have incorporated solar panels to support the energy needs of the two friaries and the several ministries that are part of the Ellicott City Complex. Read More: Franciscan Conservation in Action & Catholic Social Justice – Franciscans at Work for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation


Meet Our Novice

Friar Jason Anthony De Martini, OFM Conv. is currently the only Novice from our Province, living and learning at our Order’s North American Novitiate, in Arroyo Grande, CA. The St. Francis of Assisi Friary Novitiate is led by three of our own province friars.
Fr. Giles Zakowicz, OFM Conv. serves as Director. Fr. Maurice Richard, OFM Conv. serves as Assistant Director. Fr. Alexander Cymerman is a priest in residence and author of the Novitiate’s Blog, “Fr. Alex’s Corner.”

Friar Jason is from New York City and writes in his online bio on the Novitiate website, “I find myself now in picturesque Arroyo Grande, California watering cacti and counting how fast a hummingbird can flap its wings (turns out it’s around 80 times per second). More important than the hummingbird, more important than the cacti, more important than the grapevines I prune and even more important than the compost heap I dote on is why I’m here. I’ve traveled more than 2,900 miles from home donned a Franciscan habit and occasionally gardening galoshes because above all else I desire to grown in my relationship with God. With all my heart I wish to further my conversation and grow closer to Christ in all that I think, say and do. So please say some prayers for me during this novitiate year – Lord knows I’ll need em.
Oh and go Knicks!”

The time a friar in formation spends at the Novitiate includes many activities in line with the goals of this stage of formation, including:

  • Communal Prayer – Daily Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, Common Meditation, Common Catholic Devotions, Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as recitation of the Rosary and the Franciscan Crown during the week.
  • Private Prayer – Spiritual Reading, Solitude, Days of Recollection, Spiritual Direction, Personal Devotions and Meditation.
  • In-House Classes – Franciscan History, Franciscan Spirituality, Rule and Constitutions of the Order, Liturgical ~ Devotional ~ Contemplative Prayer, History of Consecrated Life, and the Gospel Counsels.
  • Other Activities Include – Manual Labor which promotes the growth of the community, Outside Apostolates (Hospice and Ministry of Presence), Workshops & Seminars on a variety of topics (Scripture, History of Provinces, Mariology, etc.), Fraternity, Recreation, and participation in the life of the local diocese.

In North America, Our Lady of the Angels Province currently also has five friars in formation in the Order’s North American Postulancy (beginning stage), in Chicago, IL, and nine friars in formation in the Post-Novitiate (ending stages), in parishes, schools and studies, with one in Post-Novitiate studies in Rome. We also have several men who are highly interested candidates for formation for the upcoming year. Please keep all of these men, those who instruct and guide them, as well as those who are still discerning God’s Call, in your continued prayers. Be sure to forward on our contact information to any man you know who is in the discernment process. Enjoy this video by our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv., for a better idea on when it is a good time to contact a Vocation Director.

“Come and See” March 2017

On the weekend of March 3-5, 2017, Our Lady of the Angels Province hosted a Come and See weekend; the opportunity for men in discernment to spend some time living with and better understanding the life, charism and ministry of our friars.  Our March 2017 participants were from Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Mexico City.  The group gelled well and were very open and receptive to the talks given by Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. (in his last year of formation) Br. Jim Moore, OFM Conv. (Definitor and Guardian of St. Bonaventure Friary – Post Novitiate, Silver Spring, MD) and Fr. Emmanuel Acquaye, OFM Conv. (a friar from Ghana’s Provincial Custody of St. Anthony of Padua, of the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua, who is currently in studies at Loyola University Maryland, while living with our province friars and helping serve at our ministry of the Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD).   Our friars in formation shared their vocation stories, their home (St. Bonaventure Friary – Post Novitiate, Silver Spring, MD) and a delicious meal with the participants.

The weekend ended with Mass and Breakfast with our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. hosted by the Province Secretary and Guardian of the Portiuncula Friary, Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv., at the Our Lady of the Angels Provincial House.

There was a true sense of “province” over the weekend, rather than participation in a “vocation office” event, and the experience of fraternitas was palpable.  If you would like more information on how you can participate in the next Come and See, please contact our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv.

Thank you for your continued prayers on behalf of our work for vocations for our Order and in particular for the Our Lady of the Angels Province.

Friars Engaged In National Research Project

Our Lady of the Angels Province Friars, Fr. Justin Ross, OFM Conv. (Pastor and Campus Minister – Newman Student Center Parish, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Fr. Gerry Waterman, OFM Conv. (Roman Catholic Chaplain – Syracuse University Catholic Center serving SU/SUNY ESF Catholic Campus Ministry) and Fr. Michael Martin, OFM Conv. (Director – Duke Catholic Center) are part of a research project that is breaking ground in the area of beliefs and practice of the faith of Catholic college students.  The research project being funded by Duke University is delving into an area that has seen little activity until quite recently.  The longitudinal study will examine what Catholic college students believe just prior to their college experience and then track their participation in programming over the course of their 4 years.  The surveys will also measure behaviors to see if there is a causal link between participation in the faith and minimizing negative behaviors in college.  The research will attempt to survey students for two years post graduation to measure how engagement in their faith in college affects their faith lives after graduation.  Participants who joined our friars at Duke for a strategy session on February 21st were directors of campus ministry at Yale University, Brown University, University of Wisconsin, and the University of Missouri.  The Director of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association as well as the USCCB’s Assistant Director for Higher Education for the Secretariat of Catholic Education also attended the meeting.  Campus Ministries at Iowa State University and the University of Southern California will also participate in the research while they were not able to attend the meeting.