On our Province Feast Day, August 2nd, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels (also known as the Feast of the Portiuncula), over 50 friars began new ministry assignments, all around our province. Some moved within the city they were already serving, some moved to a different state and some even moved to a different country, but all have moved with a joyful Franciscan Friars Conventual charism of obedience.
As our Vicar Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. said in an email to all of our friars that day, “May you be surrounded by loving angels as you imitate Our Lady in saying YES to the Lord.”
Our friars have been welcomed with such grace and enthusiasm, for which we are all grateful. Please keep all the friars in ministry, as well as all those served in our province in your prayers.
Fr. Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv. is now pastor at one of our new parochial Ministries – St. Benedict the Moor Parish, in Columbus, GA. He and four more friars have moved into the Diocese of Savannah to serve at three parishes, at the request of Our Lady of the Angels Province friar and Bishop of Savannah, Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv. At St. Anne Catholic Church, Fr. Robert Schlageter, OFM Conv. is the new pastor while Fr. Mark David Skura, OFM Conv. and Fr. Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. are the new parochial vicars. At Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Fr. Bob Benko, OFM Conv. is the new pastor. All five of these friars are living in community in our new Franciscan Martyrs Friary.
At St. Anne Pacelli Catholic School’s Opening Mass for the 2018-2019 year, students in grades K-12 were invited to pray over faculty and staff as they begin a new school year. The school is operated by St. Anne Catholic Church, under the supervision of the Diocese of Savannah. At St. Anne Catholic Church, Fr. Robert Schlageter, OFM Conv. is the new pastor while Fr. Mark David Skura, OFM Conv. and Fr. Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. are the new parochial vicars. During this back-to-school Mass, Friar Robert enjoyed a chance to have a special talk to the Seniors. In his homily, he encouraged students to do three things this year: “Do your work, have fun, and most importantly…be holy!”
Fr. Jacek Leszczyński, OFM Conv. is the new pastor of our pastoral ministry of St. Anthony of Padua, in Chicopee, MA. Our friars have been serving at the parish since 1925. Friar Jacek formerly served as pastor of our pastoral ministry of St. Julia Catholic Church, in Siler City, NC. The new pastor there will be Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Julio Martinez, OFM Conv.
On July 29, 2018, at the 11:00 a.m. Mass at St. Ann Catholic Church (Baltimore, MD), Fr. Tim Dore, OFM Conv. celebrated his last Sunday Mass as pastor of the parish. The parishioners gathered for refreshments on the plaza in front of the church; with kind words and lots of affection, they too (like he had experienced when saying goodbye to the people of St. Wenceslaus) offered him a wonderful send-off. He stated, “What a tremendous blessing St. Ann has been to me, not only for the past three years, but beginning with thirty-five years ago when I first came to the parish and spent a summer as a diocesan seminarian. Praise God!” This week, Friar Tim met with Fr. Xavier Edet, S.S.J., the new pastor. Friar Tim stated, “With mixed feeling, I handed over to him the keys to the church. He is now the Pastor of St. Ann and St. Wenceslaus (my “old” parishes), as well as St. Francis Xavier (where he has been the Pastor for the past three years). For all of these years, Fr. Xavier and I, as well as Rogelio D’Almeida, the lay administrator of St. Ann, have been working and collaborating closely together in preparation for this day—the inauguration of the new St Ann-St. Wenceslaus-St. Francis Xavier Pastorate. I truly believe he is the right man to have been made the pastor of these wonderful parishes. They are certainly in good hands.”
Friar Tim Lyons, OFM Conv. is now the Chaplain of our National Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine (Fonda, NY). Here he is shown presenting the life of Saint Kateri, to a Confirmation Class visiting from New Paltz, NY.
August 5, 2018 Baptism of one of the newest parishioners of St. Paul Catholic Church (Kensington, CT), baptized by their new pastor, Fr. Joseph Benicewicz, OFM Conv.
On the 1st Day of School, Fr. Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv. (new pastor of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr – Chicopee, MA) welcomed student at the parish school.
Br. Nicholas Romeo, OFM Conv., new to the Theology Department this year, addressing a group of students during the 2018-2019 School Year Junior/Senior Orientation at Archbishop Curley High School (Baltimore, MD).
Father Bob Benko, OFM Conv. serves as the new pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish (Columbus Georgia). He enjoyed his first combined Mass with the English and Spanish Communities, as the pastor. It was a tremendous success and he looks forward to more Masses like this in the future.
Welcoming the Class of 2022 to St. Francis High School (Athol Springs, NY), Fr. Matt Foley, OFM Conv. who is now serving as the Campus Minister and as an Instructor, joined the Freshman Class as they gathered for their retreat on Wednesday, August 29, 2018.
The students and Faculty of St. Peter School (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) welcomed their new Pastor, Fr. Pedro DeOliveira, OFM Conv. their September 4, 2018 opening ceremony. The Student Council even presented him with some SPS swag!
As photos come in, we will be sure to share them here, so please check back and see more of our friars in joyful ministry in their new assignments.