Consecration to the Immaculate Schedule

The Militia of the Immaculata (MI) was established on October 16, 1917, by Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, OFM Conv., along with six confreres, during a particularly tumultuous time for the Church in the world. Over the last 100+ years, members of MI live out their baptismal consecration in the light of the Blessed Mother (the Immaculata), with the conscious decision to consecrate to the Immaculata as a dynamic commitment to follow Christ, in her example.

Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculata
…composed by Saint Maximillian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv.
O Immaculata,
Queen of Heaven and earth,
refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother,
God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you.

Although established in 1917, the Militia of the Immaculata was granted the first verbal blessing by Pope Benedict XV, on March 28, 1919. The official recognition of the Church occurred on January 2, 1922, granted by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj, Vicar of the Diocese of Rome: “With fervent desire that devotion to the Blessed Virgin may extend everywhere, with our authority we establish canonically the pious association commonly called ‘the Pious Union of the Militia of Mary Immaculate’ in the chapel of the Seraphic College of the Friars Minor Conventual in Rome and approve what was established.” On the 80th Anniversary of the founding of MI, the Pontifical Council for the Laity recognized the MI as a Public Association of the Faithful, universal and international, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law, and approved, at the same time, its General Statutes.

Militia of the Immaculata & Our Lady of the Angels Province
With a view to promoting consecration to the Immaculate among the faithful served through the ministries of our friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province, Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv., who serves as our Province MI Assistant, plans to visit all of our pastoral ministries, over the next four years. In working with our Director of Mission Advancement, new prayer cards and MI enrollment forms are being created. Friar Jobe will be preaching at the Masses in the parishes to encourage the faithful to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate and to enroll in the M.I. At those Masses, the congregation will be given an envelope with the consecratory prayers card and a miraculous medal. On the envelope those who wish to enroll will have to opportunity to fill out the information and apply to enroll in the M.I. Enrollment Certificates will be issued from our offices in Rensselaer, NY.
Consistent with our Franciscan charism and tradition of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Order’s Constitutions remind our friars that in St. Maximilian’s unconditional consecration to the Immaculate, we have found “a concrete form of openness to the new challenges of mission.” Our province plans to more fully tap into this devotion from our Kolbean heritage. Friar Jobe and our friars serving as pastors have mapped out a partial schedule through January 2020, to preach at the Masses to promote the consecration and enrollment in the Militia of the Immaculata.


Personal Consecration to the Immaculate

May 11-12, 2019
Ottawa, ON (St. Ignatius the Martyr Parish)

July 6-7, 2019
Point Pleasant, NJ (St. Peter Roman Catholic Church)

July 13-14, 2019
Seaside Park/Seaside Heights, NJ (St. Junipero Serra Parish)

August 17-18, 2019
Elmhurst, NY (St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church)

August 24-25, 2019
Brooklyn, NY (The Parish of Most Holy Trinity – St. Mary)

September 7-8, 2019
Toronto, ON (The Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure)

September 14-15, 2019
Hamburg, NY (St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church)

September 21-22, 2019
Baltimore, MD (St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Church)

September 28-29, 2019
Baltimore, MD (St. Michael the Archangel Church & Church of the Annunciation)

October 12-13, 2019
Kingston, ON (Parish Community of St. John the Apostle)

October 19-20, 2019
Kingston, ON (Holy Family Parish)

November 9-10, 2019
Syracuse, NY (The Franciscan Church of the Assumption)

November 16-17, 2019
Chicopee, MA (The Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr)

November 23-24, 2019
Holyoke, MA (Our Lady of the Cross Parish)

November 30 – December 1, 2019
Jonesboro, GA (St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church)

December 7-8, 2019
Atlanta, GA (Holy Cross Catholic Church)

December 14-15, 2019
Vanier/Ottawa, ON (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish Church)

January 18-19, 2020
Boynton Beach, FL (St. Mark Catholic Church)

January 25-26, 2020
Port St. Lucie, FL (St. Lucie Catholic Church)

Note: Follow the parish links for Mass times.

Posted in MI

Religious Brothers Day ~ May 1, 2019

On Monday, May 1, 2019 – the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker – Religious Brothers from the many Orders will celebrate their 3rd Annual Religious Brothers Day. Religious Brothers, including those from our own province, serve in varied Apostolates. Last year, in celebration of Religious Brothers Day, Our Lady of the Angels province friar, Br. Emmanuel Wenke, OFM Conv. presented a reflection to the students of Archbishop Curley to whom he serves as a Theology Instructor. (Listen Here) In addition, in 2018 several of our Friar Brothers presented individual written reflections. (Read Here)

Religious Brothers Day on Facebook

Within our own community, our Friar Brothers serving in North America include:

  • Br. Stephen Merrigan, OFM Conv.
    ~ Senior Friar Resident
  • Br. Dennis Sokolowski, OFM Conv. 
  • ~ Senior Friar Resident
  • Br. Edward Handy, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Senior Friar Resident (recently retired Social Worker)
  • Br. James Amrhein, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Senior Friar Resident
  • Br. Nicholas Lorson, OFM Conv. 
    Senior Friar Resident
  • Br. Hugh Dymski, OFM Conv.
    ~ Senior Friar Residence Treasurer
  • Br. Raymond Sobocinski, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Friary Guardian
  • Br. Andre Picotte, OFM Conv.
    ~ Creator and Artistic Designer of Franciscan Soy Candles
  • Br. James Moore, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Founder of FrancisCorps, Friary Guardian & Senior Friars Commission
  • Br. Tom Purcell, OFM Conv.
    ~ Friary Guardian, St. Clare Inn Executive Director
  • Br. Brian Newbigging, OFM Conv.
    ~ Lake Shore Volunteer Fire Company – Paramedic & Chief
  • Br. Douglas McMillan, OFM Conv.
    ~ Shrine of St. Anthony – Speaker, Presenter and Spiritual Direction
  • Br. Gerald Seipp, OFM Conv.
    ~ Senior Friar Resident
  • Br. Paschal Kolodziej, OFM Conv.
    ~ Friary Guardian & Senior Friar Director
  • Br. Edward Falsey, OFM Conv.
    Friary Guardian, Psychotherapist & FAN Director of Franciscan Solidarity Tables
  • Br. Kenneth Lucas, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Senior Friar Resident
  • Br. James Doyle, OFM Conv.
    Buffalo Public School’s Adult Learning – ESL, GED & ABE Instructor
  • Br. Stephen Murphy, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Senior Friar Resident
  • Br. Michael Duffy, OFM Conv., DNP, ANP-BC
    ~ Friary Guardian, Regent of Studies, Elms College School of Nursing – Professor & Faculty Athletic Representative and founder of CaRe vaN
  • Br. Lawrence LaFlame, OFM Conv.
    ~ Archbishop Curley High School – Philosophy Instructor
  • Br. Dan Geary, OFM Conv.
    ~ Senior Friars Assistant & Fr. Justin Rosary Hour Chaplain
  • Br. Frank Grimaldi, OFM Conv
    ~ Definitor, Friary Guardian
  • Br. Joseph Freitag, OFM Conv. 
    Senior Friar Care
  • Br. Gregory Spuhler, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Assumption Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen Director
  • Br. Daniel Lutolf, OFM Conv.
    ~ Friary Guardian, St. Frances Academy – Religion Instructor & Campus Minister
  • Br. Nicholas Romeo, OFM Conv.
    ~ Friary Guardian, Archbishop Curley High School – Theology Instructor
  • Br. Emmanuel Wenke, OFM Conv.
    Archbishop Curley High School – Theology Instructor
  • Br. Vincent Vivian, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Senior Friar Healthcare Assistance
  • br. Timothy Blanchard, OFM Conv. 
    ~ Friar in Formation, Full Time Student
  • br. Alejandro María Arias Mosquera, OFM Conv.
    Friar in Formation, Full Time Student

If you would like more information on how to become a brother or priest as a friar of Our Lady of the Angels Province, please contact our Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. for more information.

Ordination to the Priesthood ~ Friar Chris

Taken at the July 7, 2018 Ordination to the Deaconate Mass at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr (photo cred – Basilica)

It is with great joy that our friars will gather 11: 00 a.m., on
Saturday, April 27, 2019
for the Ordination to the Presbyterate of our confrere,
Friar Christopher Dudek, OFM Conv.,
by Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, of the Diocese of Springfield, MA, at the
Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, in Chicopee, MA.

After 10 years of formation, study and ministry, which included several years of study in Rome, Friar Chris will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Orders with our province friars, family, friends and parishioners of the Basilica; his home parish. In addition, our province welcomes Friar Benedict Abugu, OFM Conv. of our Province’s Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody to be Ordained to the Priesthood along with Friar Chris. Friar Benedict was Ordained to the Diaconate in 2017 and has been serving as a Deacon in Liverpool, England.

Since Friar Chris’ July 7, 2018 Ordination to the Deaconate (click on the photo above for more from that day), he has been serving the people of Baltimore, Maryland. As Deacon for the Baltimore Pastorate of St. Casimir Church & St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, he has had the opportunity to serve the faithful of two Archdiocese of Baltimore Pastorates, which include three more parishes, all served by seven of our friars. Once the 2018-2019 school year began, Friar Chris added to that ministry, his service as Campus Minister and Instructor of Theology & Modern Language, at our Archbishop Curley High School. There he lives with five more friars; four of whom also serve at the high school and one serves as the Vicar for Religious for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Read More about Friar Chris.

Masses of Thanksgiving
April 30, 2019 ~ 9:15 a.m. at Archbishop Curley High School (School Community only)
May 5, 2019 ~ 12:30 p.m. at St. Michael the Archangel Church (in Spanish)
May 12, 2019 ~ 10:00 a.m. at St. Casmir Church

Franciscan Young Adult Ministry

In the Fall of 2018, our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD) added a Young Adults Community program. Throughout the year, this community of friars & pilgrims host spiritual and social events, as well as bring awareness of the shrine and its facilities to the greater area Young Adult Ministry programs of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington DC and their neighboring diocese.

Recently, our young adult friars and our friars in formation, led by the shrine’s Young Adult Community Animator – friar Franck Sokpolie, OFM Conv., along with the Director of the Shrine – Fr. Eric de la Pena, OFM Conv.,  hosted a social night with night prayers. The group gathered in the Shrine’s Glass Room for games, snack and socializing and then ended the night with night prayers in the Shrine’s Chapel.

The Next upcoming event is an Ecumenical Taizé prayer service April 17, 2019, the Wednesday of Holy Week. Open to everyone, come share an evening service of prayer, song, and contemplation by candlelight, from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m.

Helping to Turn Strangers into Neighbors

Franciscan Friars Conventual Responding to Real Needs –
Helping to Turn Strangers into Neighbors

On February 21, 2017, Pope Francis in an address to the VI International Forum: Migration and Peace, felt compelled to address the nature of contemporary migratory movements, which increases challenges presented to the political community, civil society and to the Church, and which amplifies the urgency for a coordinated and effective response to these challenges. Our shared response, according to our Holy Father Francis, “may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.”
Have you ever wondered what it is like living in a world, city, or local neighborhood, where your very presence arouses contempt, suspicion, prejudice or common indecency? Where judgements are made of you based on the tone of your skin, the first language you speak or the accent present in your words? Where you as the stranger are literally untrusted, despised or rejected? Where your description begins with a negative – illegal? Where the term friend, neighbor, brother or sister are unspoken?
Sometimes we forget that the words we choose to identify another person do make a difference in whether they meet with our approval, are treated with respect and dignity or vilified and turned away.
Ever given a second thought, to what is to be in hand to enter your child’s school, pick-up a pharmacy prescription, enter a hospital, sit in a library or present when you use a credit card?
Ever question, why we do what we do to others who like ourselves are merely looking for opportunity and means to provide for themselves and those they love and care for?
Most of us perhaps fail to ponder and take for granted that when a person, be they an officer of the law, pharmacist, teacher, sports coach or cashier, ask for a picture identification we readily show a driver’s license, passport or BJ’s / Costco ID which has a picture, address and baseline information stating who we are and where we live. It is not so easy for everyone. Essentially, it is the reality of tens of thousands reaching into the millions now living within our country’s borders, cities, villages, towns and rural areas. They are the souls we greet in the market, on the streets, in our churches, work places and gatherings. They are the anawim of God, loved and cherished by Jesus, and named by him as our brothers and sisters.
As part of small but growing effort, the Blessed Sacrament Faith Community and the Franciscan Friars Conventual together with the local Burlington Police Chief, law enforcement officers, and a dedicated group of volunteers representing various religious traditions and families came together two years ago – May 2015 – hoping to make a meaningful dent into a lived problem. Namely, “How to help turn strangers into neighbors”. The result of our coming together was the formation of the Faith ID Card Task Force of Alamance County.

With financial and moral support from the Conventual Friars of Our Lady of Angels and Our Lady of Consolation Provinces and the approval of Bishop Burbidge, then Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, we setup a specialized FAITH ID CARD PROGRAM linked to an expanding program here in North Carolina known as the FaithAction Network.

So What Is A Faith ID Card Program?
An ID card is just a piece of plastic until a person gives it a face and story, and our community gives the card value. We believe each person in our community, regardless of race, culture, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration or socio-economic status has inherent dignity and worth, and is deserving of a valid form of identification.  At this particularly divisive time in state and national politics on issues of immigration and diversity, community ID programs bring greater dignity, access and hope to our newest neighbors, while building safer, more inclusive and united communities for all.
The Faith ID Card Program is a connected group of faith communities, nonprofits, and grassroots movements that recognize the urgency of valid ID cards for members of our community who may have limited access to government issued forms of identification, and the importance of creating a unified model and vetting process that community partners (law enforcement, health centers, schools, businesses, and other city agencies) can trust and use to better identify, serve, and protect all residents in cities across North Carolina and the United States.

The Blessed Sacrament Faith ID Card Program is part of the FaithAction ID Network. We are proud to say we are the first franchise so to speak. We call ourselves In the past two years the network has experienced tremendous growth and community ID programs now exist in Guilford, Alamance, Forsyth, Randolph, Orange, and Mecklenburg counties, and may soon be expanding to Wake, Moore, Montgomery, and other counties throughout North Carolina and there is a satellite sponsored by Catholic Charities in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Network members agree to utilize the same community ID model to ensure the integrity and further the growth of new and existing programs.  Shared hallmarks of FaithAction ID network programs include:

  • Ensuring each program has a strong home base that can effectively communicate and coordinate a community ID drive with staff and volunteers
  • Utilizing the same policies, procedures, and vetting process to receive an ID card
  • Ensuring partnership with local law enforcement and other community partners who formally agree to support the program and attend ID drives
  • Utilizing the 4 stage ID drive model in a large, safe space (welcome, orientation, document check, photo/computer intake)
  • Facilitating dialogue throughout the ID drive between ID participants and law enforcement and other community partners with the goal of building greater understanding, trust and cooperation
  • Providing the same or similar look as other network programs on the front of the card, and signifying you are a part of the FaithAction ID network on the back
  • Printing and distributing hundreds of ID cards within two weeks of each drive, and securing the personal information of all participants
  • Participating in monthly calls to share experiences and best practices with other network programs

*There may be some flexibility and unique characteristics of each program, depending on the needs of each community. *All participants must attend a mandatory orientation at an ID drive, and provide proof of photo identification (passport, foreign national ID card, driver’s license, matricula consular) and proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, current rental agreement, medical record) in order to receive an ID card from a FaithAction ID Network member.
Finally, network members believe it is crucial we continue to work for a driver’s license for all residents at the state level, as well as lasting immigration reform at the federal level.  In the meantime, we believe community ID programs represent a very important step forward in creating safer, more inclusive, and united communities for all – a much needed example of positive collaboration at this divided time in our nation’s history.

In closing let me say, Thank You, to our Conventual Franciscan Provinces’ leadership and members for helping make this program possible. To date, the Faith ID Card Program here in Burlington, NC, has distributed over 5000 Faith ID Cards. Without your financial and fraternal support, the effort might never have gotten off the ground. The challenge now is to keep moving forward towards the realization of its mission and vision, a place where strangers become neighbors.

Respectfully submitted by,
Fr. Paul Lininger, OFM Conv.
Blessed Sacrament Church, Pastor


An article entitled, “Community ID Program Builds trust between migrants and police,” by Maria Benevento, appeared in the April 5, 2019 online edition of the National Catholic Reporter. To read the full article, click on the following link: ID Card Program

2nd Annual Cornerstone Day

Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv. (President of Archbishop Curley High School) presented the Cornerstone Awards. Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. (Vicar Provincial for Our Lady of the Angels Province) was the main celebrant and homilist. The Mass was served by our friar deacon, Friar Christopher Dudek, OFM Conv. (Campus Minister, Theology & Modern Language Instructor at Archbishop Curley, as well as Deacon for St. Casimir Church & St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, Baltimore)Last year, our Baltimore, MD high school ministry, Archbishop Curley High School, launch its first Cornerstone Day, as a day honoring all those of the “Curley Family” since the placing of the school’s cornerstone on April 17, 1962. Each year, a day in April will be set aside to recognize and honor individuals and groups who have promoted the mission of Archbishop Curley High School.

Our friars have been serving at Curley since the beginning stages of its development in 1961. Last year, during the inaugural year for Cornerstone Day, Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. received the first Cornerstone Award, on behalf of all of the friar who have served through the years.

April 2, 2019: During the livestreamed Cornerstone Mass,
celebrated by Our Lady of the Angels Province Vicar Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv.,
this year’s honorees were saluted and awards were presented by
Curley’s President, Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv.

This year’s honorees:
Mission Support Cornerstone:  The Alumni Association
Scholarship Donors Cornerstone:  Joe ’69 and Arleen Citro
Dedicated Volunteers Cornerstone:  Dave ’80 and Darlene Gerstmyer & Tim ’71 and Rita Everd
Unsung Alumnus  Cornerstone: Dr. Dave Lumsden ’79
Long Serving Faculty and Staff Cornerstone: Richard “Coach” Patry

Congratulations Friar “Duffy!”

Congratulations to our own Friar Michael Duffy, OFM Conv.!
  March 29, 2019: Our Lady of the Angels Province friar,
Br. Michael Duffy, OFM Conv. (DNP, APRN, ANP-BC)
received the 2019 “Community Service Award”
from the American Nurses Association (ANA) Massachusetts,
during a banquet ceremony, in Boston.
The ANA Massachusetts “Community Service Award” is for a registered nurse whose community service has a positive impact on the citizens of Massachusetts. We  friars are proud of Friar Duffy’s ministries at The College of Our Lady of the Elms, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen, the Elms’ caRe vaN, and serving our own Senior Friars as a consultant and guide to many.
Bravo Friar Michael Duffy! “Quis ut Deus?”

Virtual Stations of the Cross

The Stations of the Cross are of Franciscan origin and are attributed to St. Leonard of Port Maurice, a saintly Franciscan Friar who preached on the sufferings of Christ. For those who cannot get to a church location but want to pray the Stations of the Cross, our pastoral ministry at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr’s website shares an online version featuring the finely sculpted and painted figures in each of the Stations of the Cross which are attractively set in large niches around the Basilica. These begin in the front of the church with the first through seventh stations on the right and the eighth through the fourteenth on the left side.

Lenten Mission – St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church

In English with Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. – Our Lady of the Angels Province JPIC Chairman

St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church (under the pastoral leadership of Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Fr. John Zoziol, OFM Conv. – Pastor, Fr. Vincent Gluc, OFM Conv. – Parochial Vicar, Fr. Luis Palacios Rodriguez, OFM Conv. – Parochial Vicar and Fr. Martin Breski, OFM Conv. – in Residence) celebrated a Lenten Parish Mission on March 23-27, 2019 with the theme: “Racism: Moving through Resistance to Reconciliation.
The Parish Mission was presented in English by Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. (Our Province Chairman of JPIC – Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation) and in Spanish by Fray (Friar) Fabián Esteban Arrieta Botero, OFM Conv. (Vocation Director for the Franciscanos Conventuales Friars – Columbia – and Parochial Vicar for Immaculate Conception Parish in Filandia, Colombia). Friar Michael and Friar Fabián began the Mission by preaching during all of the weekend Masses, then preached during the Morning Masses, Monday-Wednesday, followed by Mission talks after each Mass. The 7:00 p.m. evening presentations were followed by a reception.

In Spanish by Fr. Fabián Esteban, OFM Conv. – Franciscan Friars Conventual of Columbia Vocation Director

Day 1: Refining Our Images of Jesus –
Turning the Other Cheek and Non-Violent Resistance with Friar Michael
~ In Spanish with Friar Fabián ~

Day 2: Images of Reconciliation: The Cross and Mary  –
Two Difficult Stories to Hear: The Lynching Tree, and Our Lady of Guadalupe with Friar Michael

~ In Spanish with Friar Fabián ~

Day 3: Seeing through Tears of Faith and  Responding with Broken Hearts of Love –
MLK on Racism: An Examination of Conscience with Friar Michael

~ In Spanish with Friar Fabián ~

Photo and Video Credit:
Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Martin Breski, OFM Conv.
who is currently in residence at the friary, assisting at the parish.