In May 2017, Friar Joseph Blay, OFM Conv., the Delegate General for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (elected January 15, 2016), visited the USA to attend a JPIC meeting with our US Provinces. While here, he also spoke at a seminar for our Postulants in Chicago.
His first stop was at our Provincial House, in Ellicott City, MD – also the home of our province’s Shrine of St. Anthony. Friar Joseph was hosted by Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv., who serves as our province Chairman of JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission). He was impressed that our Ellicott City complex has a vast solar array and organic farming.
Friar Michael accompanied Friar Joseph to our Multi-Province Postulancy located the territory of the St. Bonaventure Province – Chicago, IL. There, Friar Joseph led a retreat for the postulants, assisted by Friar Michael, and the two presented a seminar on JPIC and LAUDATO SI’: the second encyclical Letter of Pope Francis on Care for Our Common Home.
While still in Chicago the meeting of three of the four USA Provincial Delegates for JPIC took place at the St. Bonaventure Friary. In the words of Friar Joseph: “The Provincial Delegates for JPIC shared their experiences. They discussed what they do in their Provinces and how it is possible to work together as friars in the same country.” Friar Joseph also presented JPIC projects from around the world that other Provinces of the Order are implementing, and how he will be attending a GPIC meeting convened by Friar Marco Tasca, OFM Conv. – Minister General of our Order – in Rome. He was very grateful for our friars’ fraternal hospitality during his USA visit.
Friar Joseph Blay, OFM Conv. is from the Provincial Custody of St. Anthony Province, Padova, Italy (in Ghana). In 1977, missionary friars from St. Anthony Province ITALY and our missionary friar from the St. Anthony of Padua Province USA (after the 2014 union with Immaculate Conception Province USA – becoming “Our Lady of the Angels Province”) arrived in Ghana and worked in separate ministry there until 1991. Read more history here. Three Our Lady of the Angels Province friars were among those who ministered to the people of Ghana. Friar Joseph took his visit to the USA as an opportunity to reunite with Fr. Mitchell Sawicki, OFM Conv. (now serves as Province Treasurer – Provincial House) and Fr. Raymond Borkowski, OFM Conv. ( serving the parishioners of St. Paul Roman Catholic Church – Kensington, CT) The third OLA friar who served in Ghana is Fr. Giles Zakowicz, OFM Conv. Since returning to the USA from in Africa (He served both in Ghana and in Kenya) in 2007, Friar Giles has served our USA Friars as Guardian and Novice Director, at the St. Francis Novitiate; first in Mishawaka, IN and then in Arroyo Grande, CA.