November 2019: Our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. traveled to the Rio de Janeiro district of Brazil for his annual Fraternal Visitation with our Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception. The visit commenced at our Order’s Interprovincial Novitiate for Brazil, near the borders with Argentina and Paraguay. Our Immaculate Conception Custody has one novice, Frei Fernando Pereira Júnior, OFM Conv. (above with Friar James). He is joined by 7 other friar novices, under the leadership of two Formation Directors.
Coinciding with Friar James’ visit was that of Friar Joseph Blay, OFM Conv., a Ghanaian friar who serves in Rome as our Order’s JPIC (aka GPIC) Delegate General. Friar James, Friar Joseph, along with a group from the Novitiate, took the opportunity to visit the nearby Monastery of Poor Clares (above) – whose contemplative spirit overflowed in an abundance of sisterly joy. Post on Order’s Site
The next stop of Fr. James’s fraternal visitation in Brazil was the large city of Belo Horizonte. The Custodial Chapter of 2017 voted to open a presence of the Order there. At the invitation of the local Archbishop, the Friars assumed pastoral care of Paróquia Santa Cecília, which had been without priests for many years. Fr. James’s visit coincided with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (see below) newly inaugurated parish Dia de Santa Cecília 2019 (Festival of St. Cecilia).
The Custodial Definitory met with our Minister Provincial – Friar James – at our former seminary in Andrelândia – now our experimental hermitage – all day on the 28th of November – America’s Thanksgiving Day. While signs galore commemorate “Black Friday” in Brazil, the unique American holiday of Thanksgiving is unknown. (more photos) – São Francisco em Conversa Facebook Page
The Friars of our Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception have begun steps towards opening the Cause for Sainthood of the late +Frei Martin de Porres Maria Ward, OFM Conv. Frei Martin was an early missionary friar of our province, who died in while serving the people of Brazil. He was also the first person of African lineage to enter the Order in modern times. His grave in Andrelândia (at left) is now a place of pilgrimage by the local faithful.
The friars and parishioners of all ministry sites in our Immaculate Conception Custody made their 3rd Annual Pilgrimage to The Cathedral Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida (Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida) ~ Patroness of Brazil. On Saturday the 30th of November, Friar James was welcomed by the pilgrims. Following the Liturgy, our group of 600 held a spiritual convocation of music, talks, and prayer on the Shrine premises.
No fraternal visitation of our Brazilian Custody feels complete without spending time with Mother Pacifica (Abbess) and the Poor Clares at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Rio. For over 50 years as Abbess, Mother Pacifica has served as the Clarissan Matriarch in Brazil. Due to her failing health, the Friar James and the Custódio Provincial, Frei Ronaldo Gomes da Silva, OFM Conv., were allowed to visit inside the enclosure behind the grill.