St. Julia Parish Festival

This year the Parish Festival in Honor of St. Julia was a family affair and the proceeds from the Festival and Raffle are going toward building a Franciscan Center for Faith Formation, retreats, meditation, and contemplation.

Our pastoral ministry of St. Julia Catholic Church (Siler City, NC), under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Jacek Leszczynski OFM Conv. (a friar of the Province of St. Anthony of Padua and B. James of Strepa of Kraków, Poland, who serves through Our Lady of the Angels Province), is also expanding the steps to the entrance to the church and adding to the parish “Plaza.”

Farewell Celebration for Friar Mark Steed

Friar Mark Steed, OFM Conv. greet congregants attending the Saturday Vigil Mass, on May 20, 2017, in the Shrine’s Outdoor Pavilion Chapel

A grand farewell celebration took place during the Native American & First Nations Weekend at our National Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, in Fonda, NY. The weekend began on May 20th with a Vigil Mass that included the Traditional Purification Rite of the Native American and First Nations Friends, followed by a Prayer and Healing Circle. The next morning, the community gathered for Sunday Morning Mass, the last to be celebrated by Fr. Mark Steed, OFM Conv., a friar of our province who previously served as the Shrine’s Director and upon the appointment of Lay Director – Bill Jacobs and Lay Assistant Director – Rita Gullion, has been serving as the Spiritual Director of the Shrine. The community also participated in their annual Food Bank Collection during all of the weekend’s events. All of this was followed by a Farewell Reception for Friar Mark in Grassmann Hall, and a Guided Nature Walk up to, and around, the Caughnawaga village site and Kateri’s Spring.
Many members of the community
joined together and sent prayers and good wishes to say goodbye, for now, to Fr. Mark Steed, OFM Conv., who has served the community over this past decade. Fr. Mark has now returned to his homeland ~ Canada. He will be dearly missed by the entire Shrine community.

Deacon Ron Boyer (left) while Friar Mark celebrates Mass, accompanied by the Native American – First Nations choir. Deacon Ron served as the Vice-Postulator for the Cause of Kateri Tekakwitha.

Traditional Purification Rite, Smudging

Saint Peter’s Chapel: Friar Mark’s last Mass as Shrine Chaplain on Sunday, May 21, 2017.

Sunday Reception: Friar Mark (far left) with Native American and First Nations Friends dignitaries. The community gathered in the Shrine’s Grassman Hall, named after Father Thomas Grassman, OFM Conv., the Shrine’s first Director.

Sunday Reception: Friar Mark received several gifts of appreciation. (Pictured with Tom Porter of the Kanatsiohareke Mohawk Community)

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha ~ Pray for Us

Golden Walking Stick 2017

Upon the February 3, 2017 peaceful passing of 99 year old Mrs. Kathleen Reist, a retired U.S. Army Nurse and the mother of Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Tom Reist, OFM Conv., the Golden Walking Stick has been passed onto the next eldest living parent of a living friar of Our Lady of the Angels Province.

The newest recipient of the Our Lady of the Angels Province’s 2017 Golden Walking Stick is Mr. Henry Newbigging, the 98-year-old father of Br. Brian Newbigging, OFM Conv.  The gold-handled cane is presented to the eldest parent of a friar in the Our Lady of the Angels Province.  Mr.  Newbigging is the first “father of a friar” ever to receive the award – all five previous recipients were friars’ “mothers.” The honor was gifted to Mr. Newbigging, on a recent visit by our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv.



St. Kateri Feast Day Celebration Weekend

The Shrine’s “Little Candle Chapel” is open 24 hours a day all year.

One of our Province Shrine sites is located in Fonda, NY.
The National Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha began its 79th season, May 1, 2017.

Shrine Open: May 1 – October 31
Saturday 4:30 p.m. Vigil Mass & Sunday 10:30 a.m. Mass
Shrine Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. every day. Hiking trails open dawn to dusk.
Gift Shop: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Office Hours: 9:30 a.m. –  12:30 p.m., Monday – Friday
For more information please contact:
National Shrine of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha
PO Box 627
Fonda NY 12068-0627

Saint Kateri Feast Day Celebration Weekend 2015

A great way to introduce yourself to the Shrine is during this year’s
St. Kateri Feast Day Celebration Weekend, July 14-16- 2017:
7/14/2017 – St. Kateri Tekakwitha Feast Day Mass

with solemn blessing with the relic of St. Kateri.
7/15 – 4:30 p.m. Vigil Mass
7/16 – 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass
More activities will be announced.
Check back on the Celebration Weekend Event Posting on Facebook.

– Annual Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Pilgrimage Day
19th Annual 2017 Kateri Tekakwitha Peace Conference
Prophets, Rabble Rousers & Agitators: A Call to Creative Activisim

9/16-17/2017 – Saint Kateri Sacred Art Exhibit and Sale
9/24/2017 – Guided Nature Walk following 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass

Celebration of Saint Francis of Assisi
10/1/2017 – 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass, followed by Blessing of the Animals
10/3/2017 – 7:00 p.m. Transitus Service
A Franciscan commemoration of the death of Saint Francis / Blessing with the relic of Saint Francis / Procession to Saint Peter’s Chapel / Reception to follow in Grassmann Hall
10/4/2017 8:30 a.m. Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi Mass
with Solemn Blessing with the relic of St. Francis

Native American & First Nations Weekend
10/7/2017 – 4:30 p.m. Vigil Mass with Traditional Purification Rite
10/7/2017 – 7:00 p.m. Prayer and Healing Circle with Theresa (Terry) Steele
10/8/2017 – 10:30 a.m. Sunday Mass with Traditional Purification Rite
After Mass, the Solemn Offering and burning of the prayer petitions from the Shrine season
– 4:30 p.m. Vigil Mass – Closing of the Summer Season
10/29/2017 – 10:30 a.m.Sunday Mass – Closing of the Summer Season

Solemn Profession ~ Friar Milton

Our Lady of the Angels Province Secretary, Fr. Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv. traveled to Costa Rica to serve as the Provincial Representative and Homilist at the Solemn Profession of Friar Milton Torres Albarran, OFM Conv., at the Convento Nuestra Señora de la Asunció, in Alajuela, Costa Rica. Fr. Jorges Dobles Ulloa, OFM Conv., Provincial Delegate of our friars in Costa Rica, was the main celebrate for the Mass, translated Friar Richard-Jacob’s Homily and received Friar Milton’s Solemn Vows.
It is with great joy that our friars in Ellicott City will soon welcome Friar Milton to stay in one of our friaries. Please keep him and all of our friars in formation, in your continued prayers.

Kingston ON Friars’ Award

During Catholic Education Week, Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Fr. James Fukes, OFM Conv. (center) and Fr. David Collins, OFM Conv. (right) received the Annual Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board’s Contribution to Catholic Education Award, on behalf of all our The Franciscan Friars Conventual of Kingston.

The Contribution to Catholic Education Award recognizes those who have made a significant visible contribution to the school system. The Franciscan Friars Conventual of Kingston, both past and present have gone above and beyond their vocation of pastoral ministry, in supporting the Elementary Catholic School communities of St. Patrick, St. Peter & Holy Family, (in Fall 2017 these three schools will consolidate into one under the patronage of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School), as well as that of the oldest Catholic High School in Canada, Regiopolis-Notre Dame. Our friars have supported students and staff through the RCIA/RCIC programs, supported families in need, provided professional development to staff, were involved in a Nativity Project, accompanyed students to Providence Manor, provided altar server training for students, and were involved in the transition process to the new St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School. In addition they support academic achievement through regular participation in Religious Education classes at Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School and class visits at the elementary level; most recently helping the students learn more about St. Francis of Assisi. The long-service of the Friars in Kingston has been interwoven with the rich history of the four Catholic Schools there, and will continue with the opening of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School in the fall.

Currently Fr. James Fukes, OFM Conv. serves as Guardian of the St. Anthony Friary, pastor of Holy Family Parish, chaplain of Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School, and as administrator of St. Barnaby Catholic Church (Seeleys Bay, ON).
Currently Fr. David Collins, OFM Conv. also resides in the St. Anthony Friary, serving as pastor of the Parish Community of St. John the Apostle.
The other friar living in the Kingston ON Friary, Fr. Edward Debono, OFM Conv. serves as the Sunday chaplain for the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, as well as a contact for
Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. was de familia to the St. Anthony Friary, serving as a professor in the St. Paul University Canon Law Program. As of August 1, 2017, he will become Guardian of our newest friary under the patronage of St. Andre Bessette (Ottawa, ON)

Congratulations to our friars of Kingston, Ontario. Please keep them, their ministries and those whom they serve in your continued prayers.

Meet the Friars ~ Fr. Briant Cullinane, OFM Conv.

The recognition of 65 years as a friar is something extraordinary. What is even more extraordinary is that this year (2017) our province proudly has 6 friars celebrating just that:
Friar Ronald Sermak, OFM Conv.  (August 15, 1952)
Friar David Stopyra, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1952)
Friar Giles VanWormer, OFM Conv. (August 17, 1952)
Friar Duane Mastrangelo, OFM Conv. (August 17, 1952)
Friar Alvin Somerville, OFM Conv. (August 17, 1952)
and the focus of this post –  Friar Briant Cullinane, OFM Conv. (August 17, 1952).

Friar Briant is still quite active in our province work and currently serves as Pastor Emeritus of our pastoral ministry Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community as well as the Guardian of our Friary there; home to four of our friars.
The responsibility of a Guardian is extensive. He is responsible for all that pertains to the community and prayer life of the friars, and for the necessities of life of the friars in the local fraternity (friary), each of which is made up of at least four friars, and is led and governed by the Guardian, either alone or with the Friary Chapter. The Guardian and Director of Ministry for each friary collaborate through fraternal dialogue, particularly with regard to scheduling and calendars, to ensure that each can faithfully fulfill his respective responsibilities. The purpose of this service is to correctly order the life and mission of the entire fraternity. Guardians are bound to their friary residence so as to be available for service to the friars assigned to them. It is the duty of the Guardian to safeguard the rights of each individual in the friary and to respect and implement the decisions of the majority in matters which require a deliberative vote.
Fr. Briant is a well respected and knowledgeable friar, who friars characterize as someone known for his equanimity, gentleness and wisdom. He professed his Solemn Vows on September 17, 1955, was Ordained to the Priesthood on February 8, 1958 and has served in varied ministries throughout his 65 years as a friar, including pastor-ships, diocesan offices (Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Toronto) and roles of high province leadership. Even though he will be turning 85 this year, he continues to give freely to the Province, the needs of our friars and of our ministries.
If you “Google” Fr. Briant you will find more information that you would have time to read, but here is a very nice blurb from the “About Us” page of our pastoral ministry, The Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure (Toronto, ON).
The appointment of Friar Briant Cullinane (OFM Conv.) as pastor in 1970 was very well received, since he had already been a lively, energetic part of the parish team for more than seven years. Nobody worked harder than he did, though it’s fair to say he pushed many parishioners to try! And they did try, since Friar Briant showed himself to be a truly inspirational leader, capable of getting the best out of his flock. The Franciscan community was very vibrant and various friars lived among us including Friar Raymond Sobocinski, (OFM Conv.) and Fr. George Sabol, (OFM Conv.). They and Friar Regis Rodda, (OFM Conv.) were also involved in the establishment of our “daughter” parish of Blessed John XXIII. In his 13 years with us (6 as pastor) Friar Briant helped create a warm spiritual home that was also the focus of many social and sporting interests. Friar Briant led the renovation of St. Bonaventure’s Church and expansion of the Parish Centre. He brought an exceptional level of care to this project which resulted in the excellence and beauty of our parish facilities. St.Bonaventure became the jewel of the Archdiocese. Friar Briant’s farewell party at the parish hall in 1976 (he was elected Vicar Provincial  for his province) is remembered as a joyous occasion tinged with more than a little sadness. It was attended by just about the whole parish as well as fellow priests, well-wishers and clergy of other denominations. It would come as no surprise when, shortly afterward, Friar Briant was elected Minister Provincial ...”

November 2016: Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Fr. Paul Lininger, OFM Conv. (at left) and Fr. Briant Cullinane, OFM Conv. (at right) welcomed Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge to Blessed Sacrament School, Burlington to celebrated his his final school Mass before his departure to the Diocese of Arlington.

Here are the other 2017 Jubilarian Friars of our Province.
Our friars will hold a special celebration in their honor at the
Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD,
starting with noon Mass, on July 24, 2017.

65 Year Profession
Friar Ronald Sermak, OFM Conv.
Friar David Stopyra, OFM Conv.
Friar Giles VanWormer, OFM Conv.
Friar Duane Mastrangelo, OFM Conv.
Friar Briant Cullinane, OFM Conv.
Friar Alvin Somerville, OFM Conv.

60 Year Profession
Friar Phillip Blaine, OFM Conv.
Friar Joseph Madden, OFM Conv.
Friar Paul Varga, OFM Conv.
Friar Nevin Hammon, OFM Conv.
Friar Herman Czaster, OFM Conv.
Friar Alexander Cymerman, OFM Conv.

50 Year Profession
Friar Jude Surowiec, OFM Conv.
Friar Paul Miskiewicz, OFM Conv.
Friar Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv.
Friar Martin Kobos, OFM Conv.
Friar Karl Kolodziejski, OFM Conv.
Friar Joseph Connick, OFM Conv.
Friar William Robinson, OFM Conv.

40 Year Profession
Friar Paul Lininger, OFM Conv.
Friar Michael Taylor, OFM Conv.
Friar Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv.
Friar Daniel Fink, OFM Conv.
Friar Richard-Jacob Forcier, OFM Conv.
Friar Dennis Grumsey, OFM Conv.
Friar Stephen Murphy, OFM Conv.
Friar Timothy Kulbicki, OFM Conv.

25 Year Profession
Friar José Guadalupe Matus Castillo, OFM Conv.
Friar Marek Stybor, OFM Conv.
Friar Abelardo Huanca Martinez, OFM Conv.

60 Year Ordination
Friar Giles VanWormer, OFM Conv.
Friar Antone Kendrac, OFM Conv.

50 Year Ordination
Friar John Burkhard, OFM Conv.
Friar Dominic McGee, OFM Conv.
Friar Benedict Fagone, OFM Conv.

40 Year Ordination
Friar Justin Ratajczak, OFM Conv.
Friar Carl Zdancewicz, OFM Conv.
Friar James McCurry, OFM Conv.

25 Year Ordination
Friar Miroslaw Podymniak, OFM Conv.
Friar Timothy Dore, OFM Conv.

Congratulations Friar Rick

A message from Friar Rick Riccioli, OFM Conv.
May 18, 2017:Today I had the privilege of becoming a citizen of The United States of America. While forever grounded in my Canadian roots and values I commit myself to this generous and great nation, its founding principles and Constitution. In these turbulent times there is no place for spectator citizens but rather active participation in shaping the future.”

Statue Relocation

The statues of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua, which had been in the welcome area of the former St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary,found a home in the cortile of our Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD. This statue will be blessed on the Feast of Saint Anthony June 13, 2017 following the noon Mass. The friars of the Shrine invite you to come and celebrate, then stay for a free cookout.

St. Anthony of Padua was born in Lisbon in 1195 (13 years after St. Francis of Assisi) and was baptized – Ferdinand. His parents were influential and were therefore able to provide him with a quality education. Ferdinand was pious and prayerful which put him at odds with his family who wanted him to achieve worldly success, yet he only wanted to answer God’s Call. At the young age of 15, he left his home to live in the Augustinian Abbey of St. Vincent, outside of Lisbon; an Order well known for scholarly and intellectual prowess. As an Augustinian, his intellectual formation flourished, when he could find peace. Often his studies were interrupted by visits from family and friends, as he was so close to “home.”
His superiors agreed to his transfer to the Augustinian Abbey of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, Portugal; too far for family and friends to regularly travel. There he found the peace needed to continue his studies. He was ordained to the priesthood as an Augustinian, at the age of 25, and placed in charge of hospitality for the abbey, affording him the opportunity to meet and be inspired by 5 followers of St. Francis (soon to be martyrs) who were on their way to preach to the Muslims in Morocco (1219). The willingness of these Franciscans to live the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ unto death, drew Ferdinand to obtain permission from his superiors to join the Franciscans.
He was invested with the Franciscan habit and studied the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, assuming the name Anthony (the hermit St. Anthony of the desert to whom the Franciscan hermitage was dedicated).  Although wishing to follow in the footsteps of the Franciscan Moroccan Martyrs, several deterrents led to his eventual visit to Assisi, where on the feast of Pentecost (1221) he joined thousands of Franciscan friars gathered from all over Europe for the Chapter of Mats. It was there that Anthony was able to listen to the teachings of Francis first hand, and he was consoled by Francis’ presence and message. Anthony served as a friar for several years before actually speaking with Francis. Even though Francis felt a spirit of prayer and devotion was more important than work, study or preaching, once some of the friars realized Anthony’s vast knowledge, Francis granted Anthony permission to teach Theology to the friars (1224), with the warning to keep close the words of the Rule and “do not extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion” while proceeding with Theological studies.
Eventually Anthony was commissioned by Francis to preach everywhere. By the time Anthony was 36 years old, he had traveled thousands of miles in his missions and he had preached to countless thousands of the faithful.

General Secretariat for Mission Animation Visit

The General Secretariat for Mission Animation (SGAM) had an opportunity to share with the community of seven students from the four Provinces of the United States. The students are currently studying theology at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., guided by their formators, Friar Brad Milunski, OFM Conv. and Friar James Moore, OFM Conv.