+ Br. Andre (James Armand) Picotte, OFM Conv.

Br. Andre (James Armand) Picotte, OFM Conv., a Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of the Angels Province, died peacefully on Friday, May 3, 2024.  Born in Schenectady, N.Y., on April 11, 1945, he was the son of the late Armand and Bernice (nee Flynn) Picotte. After graduating high school, James entered the formation program of the Conventual Franciscans in Watertown, N.Y., completing postulancy in 1963-64 and novitiate in 1964-65, taking the religious name Andre. He professed simple vows on August 8, 1965. During his years in simple vows, he ministered as the local director of the Franciscan Mission Association (FMA). After completing studies, he made his Solemn Profession on October 4, 1970.

From 1970-73, Br. Andre was assigned to Rensselaer, N.Y., where he served as director of the Franciscan Press. From 1973-82, he was stationed in Trenton, acting as the director of Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery. He would serve as director of Province Cemeteries for seventeen years. In 1982, he moved south to North Carolina, where he ministered for four years in Burgaw and Jacksonville as the business manager for the friars’ parish and two parochial schools. Elected province treasurer, Br. Andre moved back north to Union City, N.J., where he lived until 1990. He then spent almost three decades (1990-2019) stationed in Rensselaer, serving as province treasurer, director of Province Cemeteries, head of the province Communications Ministry, and provincial coordinator of Internet Communications. In 2019, Br. Andre moved back to North Carolina, where he remained in residence in Pittsboro until his death.

Visitation hours will be Thursday, May 9, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at Immaculate Conception Church (540 Chestnut Ave, Trenton NJ 08611), with a Franciscan Wake Service at 7 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Immaculate Conception Church on Friday, May 10, at 11:00 a.m. Interment will follow in Our Lady of Lourdes Cemetery, Trenton. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Franciscan Education Fund (12300 Folly Quarter Rd., Ellicott City MD 21042).

Franciscan Mission Service celebrates World Care Benefit

By Friar Timothy Dore, OFM Conv.

On the evening of Apr. 18, 2024, at St. Francis Hall located at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, Washington, D.C., I had the pleasure of attending the “World Care 2024 Benefit & Celebration.” This is an annual fund-raising event sponsored by Franciscan Mission Service, an organization that promotes and sponsors volunteer missionary activity throughout to world, particularly in areas affected by poverty and the need for human development. 

Many dedicated lay people, Franciscan Friars from various branches of the order, religious sisters from various communities, and others, were present for the event. 

It was a pleasure to participate in the celebration with Friar Paschal Kolodziej, OFM Conv. and Friar Paul Lininger, OFM Conv., two friars from my own Conventual Franciscan community.  And it was also a joy to see Deacon Joe Petrizzo (a former friar of our community) and his wife Mary Petrizzo!  

See the Franciscans in Mission website at https://franciscanmissionservice.org/

Friar Franck-Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv., ordained a deacon

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower in San Antonio, Texas, was the setting for the diaconal ordination of Friar Franck-Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv., on Saturday, Apr. 6, 2024. Bishop Gary Janak, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, presided.


“I can remember interviewing Franck 12 years ago before he entered the Franciscan Orde,” said Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv. “It is exciting to see so many years later where the Lord has led him, and I am inspired by Franck’s openness to be lead. He will make a great friar-deacon and I look forward to seeing where the Lord will take him next on his journey.”

Born in Togo, West Africa, Friar Franck-Lino lived in Europe as a child. His father, Koffi, moved the family to Richmond, Va.,19 years ago to pursue an opportunity in engineering, bringing his wife, Emilie, and their nine children with him. Friar Frack-Lino professed simple vows on July 21, 2016, and solemn vows on July 30, 2021.

“It’s been 11 years since I joined the friars,” Friar Franck-Lino said. “I never thought my life was going to lead me to where it has. As I continue on this vocation journey, I think one of the most impactful things is how closer it has led me to God and the people of God. The diaconate is simply that. It has been a great journey and I look forward to continuing my service as a Franciscan Friar.”

Friar Franck-Lino will spend the next year completing his studies in San Antonio for a Master of Divinity at the Oblate School of Theology. At The Catholic Univesity of America in Washington, D.C., he earned a bachelor’s degree in French and Francophone Studies. He minored in philosophy and was awarded an Advanced Certificate in European Studies. In his free time, he said he likes to play tennis and go hiking, “When I’m dragged by my friends!”

Friar Franck-Lino was one of six men from three provinces who were ordained: Friar Pedro Lopez, OFM Conv. (Province of Our Lady of Consolation), Friar Noé Alfara Casas, OFM (Our Lady of Guadalupe Province), Bro. Dogo Anaguedeu, OMI, Bro. Dogo Anaguedeu, OMI, and Bro. Liba Jacques-Marie, OMI (Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate United States Province).

Friar Michael T. Martin, OFM Conv., to become fifth Bishop of Charlotte

The Diocese of Charlotte today announced that longtime Bishop Peter J. Jugis is retiring due to health limitations and that Pope Francis has appointed Friar Michael T. Martin, OFM Conv., of Atlanta, as his successor to lead the growing diocese.

Bishop Jugis submitted his request for retirement to Rome last June, saying a chronic but non-life-threatening kidney condition made it difficult for him to preside over lengthy liturgies and travel across the 46 counties of the expansive diocese. Bishop Jugis recently celebrated his 20th anniversary as bishop and 40th anniversary as a priest. He will serve as administrator of the diocese until May when Bishop-Elect Martin is installed, then he will continue to assist the diocese as bishop emeritus.

Bishop-Elect Martin, 62, is a priest of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual and serves as pastor of St. Philip Benizi Parish in Jonesboro, Georgia. He has deep roots in Catholic education – having served as a teacher, coach, and school administrator in Baltimore, New York, and Durham – and arrives at a time of record enrollment in the Diocese of Charlotte’s 20 schools.

He will be ordained and installed as the fifth Bishop of Charlotte on May 29 at St. Mark Catholic Church in Huntersville.

“I am amazed and humbled that the Holy Father has faith in me to call me to serve the people of Western North Carolina,” Bishop-Elect Martin said. “I am excited to get to know you and to listen to the ways in which together we can respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to be disciples of Jesus.”

Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv., rejoiced at the news: “The Holy Father has recognized our brother as an excellent spiritual leader and administrator.  Friar Michael has the God-given gifts to be a successor of the Apostles.”

The Friars pray for Baltimore

A message from Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv.

The Franciscan Friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province are praying for everyone involved in this morning’s tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. We remember the victims and their families, may God grant them comfort and peace. We pray for the brave first responders who put their own lives at risk in the recovery effort, and we pray for strength for the government officials who are tasked with leading the Baltimore community in the aftermath of this horrifying event. During this Holy Week let us be united in prayer with the people of Baltimore.