Catholic Social Justice – Franciscans at Work for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation

Doc1Our Lady of the Angels Friars, Fr. Dennis Mason, OFM Conv., Fr. Julio Martinez, OFM Conv. and Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. {All living in and working out of the St. Joseph Cupertino Friary, in Ellicott City, MD}, joined Bishop Denis J. Madden (Auxilary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore) and over 100 area priests, religious and people from multiple faiths, for a peaceful prayer march through the area where Freddie Gray was arrested and the recent riots in the City took place. The picture here (taken from The Catholic Review, May 27, 2015 article: At prayer walk, Bishop Madden floats ideas for helping West Baltimore) shows our friars among the marchers, as they leave the area where rioters burnt down a Baltimore business, owned by a Korean couple, with no insurance. At each of the “7 stops” there was a description of what happened at that location, prayers lead by the Bishop as was the recitation of the Peace Prayer. The spirit of St. Francis of Assisi could really be felt!

One of the many ministries of our friars is at the parish of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, in Burlington, NC. In the May 30th The Times News online article, “IDs could bridge gap between law enforcement, Latino community, The work of Fr. Paul Lininger, OFM Conv., pastor of Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, as well as his parish community and Outreach Ministry, is highlighted. In a trust building event at the parish, the local police and the Latino community came together to foster better understanding and communication, including the issuance of ID cards, recognized by law enforcement agencies in Burlington, Graham, Elon and Gibsonville, and by Elon University campus police (Another Our Lady of the Angels friar, Fr. Gerald Waterman, OFM Conv. is the Chaplain for the Catholic Campus Ministry at Elon University). The trust that the people have in The Church was utilized to create a peaceful environment, full of informational opportunities. Continued events will aid in the success of the work of the FaithAction International House of Greensboro, Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, and Burlington Police Department.


user_photo-552fb66e98ba0Pastoral Leadership is one of the varied ways friars from Our Lady of the Angels Province serve. There are over 40 parishes throughout the province, from which there are numerous outreach programs operating as individual parish ministries, as well as joint community and partnership organizations. One such outreach is Simon’s Soup Kitchen, operating out of the parish center of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, in Seaside Heights, NJ. This outreach is run by Council #8415 of the Knights of Columbus. Throughout the off season months of October – April, this kitchen serves super from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays. The soup kitchen serves neighbors of all ages in need of a little help. Seaside Heights is a beach community, where business is strong during the summer months and sporadic during the 30 week “off season.” This is when Simon’s Soup Kitchen helps locals by serving over 250 meals-twice a week, to resident community members, who often need to stretch the summer tourism income, to last throughout the year. Summer is now in full swing so the kitchen is not open. This time is spent gathering resource and operating funds.
In the back of the parish rectory, there is a food pantry that is open every Wednesday, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to continue the assist area residents in need throughout the whole year. There are always those whose every day is an “off season.” For those residents, the parish tries to provide some steady relief.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Pastor, Fr. Bart Karwacki, OFM Conv. invites you all to visit this parish community “down the shore,” for a weekend celebration of the Eucharist, alongside his welcoming Spirit filled parishioners, in their simple yet wonderful worship space.


Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv.St. Francis of Assisi viewed all in the world as his brothers and sisters; each living person, animal, or plant has a place in this world because we are all created by God. Because of his profound understanding of all of creation, he is considered the patron saint of the environment. As the Franciscan Friars we founded by St. Francis of Assisi, this ideal is held strong in the heart of every friar. We Franciscan Friars Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels Province are no exception. Throughout the Province, friars work diligently to be good stewards of God’s creation, including the environment and a promotion of a loving respect for all of God’s creatures. The friars who are based in Ellicott City, Maryland, have taken that mindset to an extremely practical path of energy efficiency.
There have been two phases of solar panel placements on the Ellicott City property. Phase I was slated to support the Portiuncula Friary (pictured a the 16:30 mark in the video link below). The friars who live there work in several ministries, including the on-site Provincial House. Phase II, a much larger installation, supports the energy needs of the St. Joseph Cupertino Friary (pictured at the 16:19 mark in the video link below) from which several ministries flow, including the on-site Shrine of St. Anthony. Any energy credit that remains from the Phase II panels is directed to the consumption needs of Carrollton Hall, an on-site historic landmark house museum. On an annual basis, the system was designed to provide enough electricity to cover the needs of the entire property. In 2014, ALL ELECTRIC USAGE for the Portiuncula Friary was completely provided through the panels, with approximately 6,000 kWh to spare.
Featured in the Wednesday, May 27, 2015 edition of EWTN News Nightly, at the 16:07 mark.

The Canticle of the Creatures

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High One.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather
through which You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.