On this Feast of Our Lady of the Angels, as we begin our third* Province Quadrennium,
we reflect on these words from our Minister Provincial, Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv.:
“May the simplicity of life
that our friars lived at the Portiuncula
inspire all of us to focus on what truly is important,
her Son, Jesus.”
Our province logo incorporates the Portiuncula graphic. This small chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, nicknamed Portiuncula – “Little Portion” by our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, is located within the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli – The Basilica of Our Lady of the Angels, in Assisi, Italy, and is considered the cradle of the Order. Franciscans around the world celebrate August 2nd as the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels, but as friars of a province named in her honor, we hold the day in special regard, as it is also our Patronal Feast Day. There will be many opportunities to join our friars for celebrations (live and virtual) throughout the province. We encourage all to find a ministry location nearest to you, and to join with our friars in celebrating Our Lady of the Angels. Visit our ministry locations page for links to our various ministries’ websites.
*NOTE: In 2014, friars of the Immaculate Conception Province (est. 1872) and the St. Anthony of Padua Province (est. 1906) joined together in union to become, our friars of the Franciscan Friars Conventual – Our Lady of the Angels Province. (Read more about our history in the USA) This is why it is only our province’s “third” Quadrennium (four year period). Our province includes over 220 friars, under the leadership of Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. [Minister Provincial], Fr. Gary Johnson, OFM Conv. [Vicar Provincial], and Br. Nicholas Romeo, OFM Conv. [Province Secretary]. Most of the friars of our province serve in ministries along the United States’ East Coast. We also have a handful of friars serving in Italy (Assisi, Rome, Vatican City), Japan & Australia. In addition, our province includes friars of our Provincial Delegation – St. Francis of Assisi in Canada, and friars of our two Provincial Custodies – Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. in Brazil & Blessed Agnellus of Pisa in Great Britain-Ireland.
More on the Portiuncula,
and the Il Perdono (the Portiuncula Indulgence):
Six years ago (2016) marked the 800th Anniversary of the August 2nd Portiuncula Indulgence.
The small chapel (at left) of St. Mary of the Angels (Our Lady of the Angels) was very dear to St. Francis of Assisi. He referred to it as the Portiuncula (aka “Little Portion”). Originally settling into the sacred hut of Rivo Torto for about two years with his companions, serving the lepers in the valley below Assisi, an area known as “Arce,” St. Francis obtained from the Benedictines the use of the Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels, for which he paid a basket of fish. The chapel and the surrounding small parcel of land were in disrepair. He relocated there, and just as he had done at San Damiano, St. Francis rebuilt the chapel, adding small huts (cells) and enclosing it all in a protective hedge. It was there that St. Francis gained a more vivid understanding of his own vocation. It was there that he held the annual meetings of the growing Order of friars (Chapters), and it is there, where he desired to spend his final earthly moments; dying in his nearby cell in 1226.
St. Francis felt that the Portiuncula was a place filled with God’s grace. In 1216, at the request of St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Honorius granted special privilege (plenary indulgence – a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins) to all those who would visit the little chapel.
Although limited to include from noon on August 1st to midnight on August 2nd, the privilege continues to be granted to this day; not only to those who visit the Portiuncula, but to anyone who visits any church where Franciscan Friars live and minister.
Conditions to receive this privilege for yourself or for someone else – living or deceased:
- Sacramental confession to be in God’s grace (during the eight days before or after)
- Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharistic Communion
- Visit to the Portiuncula or another Franciscan Church, followed by Profession of Faith, in order to reaffirm one’s own Christian identity
- Say the Our Father, in order to reaffirm the dignity as a child of God that one received in Baptism
- Pray for the Pope’s intentions, in order to reaffirm one’s membership in the Church, of which the Roman Pontiff is the foundation and sign of visible unity
The beautiful Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli (below) that now surrounds the Portiuncula chapel was begun in 1569 (completed in 1684) by decree of Pius V. It was meant to accommodate the huge crowds of pilgrims who came on August 2nd for Il Perdono (Portiuncula Indulgence). This is an important feast day for all Franciscans and is celebrated in Franciscan churches throughout the world.