Our Order, the Franciscan Friars Conventual have served as the official confessors at the Vatican Basilica since 1774, when Pope Clement XIV in his Apostolic Letter Miserator Dominus established our Order as the “College of the Penitentiaries.” Upon passing his examination at the Vatican on the 12th of May, Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. John M. Voytek, OFM Conv. was immediately taken to the Chapel of the Penitentiaries by His Eminence Cardinal Mauro Piacenza (Major Penitentiary, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary), and Msgr. Krzysztof Józef Nykiel (Regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary) to take his oath and make his profession of faith. Having signed the official documents, the Vatican officials enrolled Friar John in the official ranks of friars who for 246 years have carried out this great service of the Order to the Church. The most recent predecessors of Fr. John as English-speaking “penitentiaries” from Our Lady of the Angels Province were Friar Kevin Hanley, OFM Conv. and Friar Nevin Hammon, OFM Conv.
While preparing three months in Rome for his Penitenzeria exam, Friar John lived at our General Curia’s Convento Ss. XII Apostoli (Friary of the Twelve Holy Apostles). Our Minister General, the Most Reverend Fr. Carlos Trovarelli, OFM Conv. (at left), who sincerely asserted that the fraternity of the Friary will miss Friar John very much as he moves across the River Tiber to Vatican City. Before moving, however, Friar John flew back to Atlanta to begin the six-week process of obtaining an Italian Visa.