During the February 2022 school break, 18 students from our province’s Athol Springs, NY high school ministry ~ St. Francis High School ~ went on a pilgrimage to Rome and Assisi, led by Our Lady of the Angels Province friars ~ Fr. Bryan Hajovsky, OFM Conv. (above 5th from left) and Fr. Matt Foley, OFM Conv. (above right), along with SFHS Religion Teacher Rory Reichenberg (above 3rd from left). The insert photo below shows the student pilgrims in prayer at the Tomb of St. Francis, in Assisi.
From Fr. Matt:
“It was ten beautiful days of prayer, fraternity, laughter, and gelato. I found most moving how prayerful the students were. Watching 18 young men pray in silence for more than 20 minutes before the San Damiano Cross was inspiring. We were blessed with several opportunities for Franciscan hospitality. We were greeted at St. Peter’s Basilica by Friar John Voytek, OFM Conv. (pictured above left – another Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, serving as a Confessor at the Vatican). After Mass, Friar John took us to the Apostolic Penitentiary and a tour of St. Peter’s; two areas closed to the general public. We were also joined by Friar Mike Lasky, OFM Conv. (another friar of our province, serving as the Delegate General – JPIC, in Rome), who led us on a walking tour of the city and shared his Franciscan presence and knowledge with the guys. Later in the week, Friar Mark Folger, OFM Conv. (a friar of the St. Joseph Cupertino Province USA) arranged a private Mass in Santi Apostli and gave us a basilica tour. More than one student described the experience as life-changing. We pray the fruits of this pilgrimage and the example and intercession of the poor man of Assisi will inspire these young men for the rest of their lives, and perhaps please God one or two might consider a religious vocation.”