Blessing & Dedication of Newest Province Friary

Durham, NC - Dedication of St. Anthony of Padua Friary (1)

St. Anthony of Padua Friary, Durham, NC

Durham, NC: On Monday, January 26, 2015, the Very Rev. Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., Minister Provincial of Our Lady of the Angels Province, blessed and dedicated the new residence of our friars working at Duke University, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Holy Cross Catholic Church. Having been already canonically erected by our Order’s Minister General, the newest friary of the Our Lady of the Angels Province is under the patronage of St. Anthony of Padua. Friars who are stationed not only at St. Anthony of Padua Friary but in other areas of North Carolina assembled for the fraternal festivities, along with the Diocese of Raleigh dean of the region, the guardian of the local OFM community, and a vocation applicant and senior Theology major at Duke University. The blessing took place in the context of Evening Prayer, where Fr James’ reflected on the vocational journey of St. Anthony of Padua, as a flight from mediocrity:
Mediocrity is compromise worked out into a system. For the young Portuguese Anthony, the vocation to religious life could brook no such thing as compromise. If we examine the vocational journey of Anthony, we note that his was a continuing ‘flight from mediocrity.’ First, he entered the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross at St. Vincent’s in Lisbon, trying to immerse himself in the supernatural life. Unfortunately he kept getting interrupted by visitors from his past, who distracted him from the path of interior formation. So he requested of his superiors to be transferred to their monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, where he could further distance himself from the distractions of the world. While in Coimbra, he met and hosted the five young Franciscan Friars who were en route to Morocco. They stirred higher longings in his soul. When word later reached Coimbra that these five had been martyred – the protomartyrs of the Franciscan Order – Anthony’s ‘flight from mediocrity’ would take a new and life-changing turn. After praying before their remains, which were returned to Holy Cross in Coimbra for burial, Anthony discerned to leave the Canons and join the Franciscans at their nearby hermitage “The Olives.” Later as a Franciscan, he pursued the call to follow in the footsteps of the protomartyrs by going as a friar-missionary to Morocco. Illness and shipwreck eventually led him to Italy. His ‘flight from mediocrity’ deepened in the obscurity of his early assignments among the Italian friars, until Francis himself and the other leaders among the Friars of the Community recognized his preaching talents. Itinerancy characterized Anthony’s entire religious journey – grounded in a humble and perpetual desire to be authentic to the charism of following Jesus after the manner of Francis. He relied on Our Lady for supernatural help during his lifelong ‘flight from mediocrity.’ It is my prayer that you Friars here in Durham, following the example of your friary patron, never be content with anything mediocre. May Our Lady of the Angels intercede for you as She did for Anthony. God asked Our Lady to oversee the work of the Angels in His divine plan. May she oversee the work of the Angels as His divine plan unfolds here in the North Carolina Triangle. There are two important features about angels – their purity of spirit; their energy for mission. May Our Lady of the Angels stimulate each of you individually and all of you collectively towards ever greater purity of spirit and energy for mission, as she did the good St. Anthony.”