Catching up with Friar Tim

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Tim Kulbicki, OFM Conv. has been busy of late beginning the process of helping the friars to “receive” the new Constitutions. He presented at two academic occasions: on the Feastday of the Faculty of St. Bonaventure on “Narbonne and Nemi: Bonaventure’s Franciscan Constitutions and the New Ones,” and at a conference on the particular law of the Order sponsored by the General Procurator “The Criteria and Process for the Revision of the Constitutions;” both will eventually be published. He also presented workshops to the friars of the Custody of the East in Büyükdere (Turkey) and Sin-El-Fil (Lebanon), and to the friars of the Sacred Convent in Assisi; he will do the same next month in Dar-Es-Salaam for the friars of the Custody of Tanzania. His commentary on the new Constitutions (co-authored with Friar Robert Leżohupski, OFM Conv.) was recently published by the Friars’ Press of Niepokalanòw, and is being translated into several other languages.

Martyrs of Peru Icon Blessing – Friars of Istanbul

This icon of Bl. Michał Tomaszek, OFM Conv. & Bl. Zbigniew Strzałkowski, OFM Conv. was a fraternal gift from the Provincial Delegation in Bulgaria to the friars of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land (of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Romania). On March 15, 2019, Our the Minister General of our Order, the Most Reverend Fr. Marco Tasca, OFM Conv., while a guest of the Custody in Istanbul, took the opportunity to bless the icon and to pray for the Order, reflecting on the Franciscan witness in Turkey. 

Read more on on the March 24th “Day of Prayer and Fasting in Memory of Missionary Martyrs” celebrated in Turkey, as well as the March 15th icon blessing: “Turkey: Missionary Martyrs’ Day

+Fr. Canice Connors, OFM Conv. (1934- 2019)

+Fr. Canice (Donald) Connors, OFM Conv. was born in Hazelton, PA, December 3, 1934, and passed away on March 17, 2019.   He was the son of the late James and Elizabeth (née Roarty) Connors. In addition to his Franciscan family he leaves his brother James and his wife Christine Connors of Fayetteville, NY, a sister, Dolores Cea, sister-in-law Mary Ann Anderson and 10 nephews and nieces, as well as several great nephews and nieces. He was predeceased by his brother Robert Connors.
Fr. Canice entered the Franciscan Friars Conventual Novitiate in Middleburg, NY, on August 15, 1954. He professed his Temporary Vows on August 16, 1955 and his Solemn Vows on September 27, 1958. Fr. Canice was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1961.
After his ordination, Fr. Canice attended The Catholic University of America and received an M.A in Philosophy, in 1962. He attended the University of Ottawa, from 1962-1963, receiving a M.A. in Psychology. Fr. Canice served as teacher and Headmaster at Canevin High School in Pittsburgh, PA from 1964 to 1975. During that time, from 1969 to 1971, he also studied at the University of Pittsburgh and he was awarded a Ph.D. in Psychology, in 1971.
A man of dauntless energy, Fr. Canice served in the Chancery of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, from 1975 – 1979. Using his skills in Psychology, Fr. Canice was asked to be the Director of Southdown Institute, in Holland Landing, Ontario, Canada, where he served from 1979 to 1986. After serving a year (1986-1987) as Rector of St. Anthony-on-Hudson, in Rensselaer, NY, Fr. Canice was asked to be the Pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Winston-Salem, NC, where he served from 1987 to 1992.
Returning to the use of his skills in Psychology in 1992, Fr. Canice became the Director of St. Luke’s Institute in Silver Spring, MD, where he worked until, in 1997, when Fr. Canice was elected as Minister Provincial of the Immaculate Conception Province. This was ministry that he offered until 2005.
Fr. Canice was a well-respected Guest Speaker in both the U.S and Canada. He received the Annual Touchstone Award in 1997, which is the President’s Award of the National Federation of Priests Council, given to one whose service in the Gospel of Jesus Christ exemplifies the goals and purposes of the NFPC. Fr. Canice was the Vice-President and President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) and a member of the Board of Directors from 2001 – 2004.
From 2005 to 2008, Fr. Canice served as the Rector of the Franciscan Church of Assumption, in Syracuse, NY. For health reasons, in 2008 Fr. Canice resigned from this position and was assigned to St. Bonaventure Friary, Toronto, Canada. Despite his illness, he became the effective leader of “Tea and Theology” discussion groups in Toronto. As his health declined, Fr. Canice was transferred in 2015 to Mercy Nursing Facility at Our Lady Victory, Lackawanna, NY. For most of his time there, he was still able to minster the sacraments to his fellow residents. Sister Death called him home on March 17, 2019.
Fr. Canice will lie in state at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Hamburg, NY 14010 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, 2019, with a Franciscan Wake Service at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, March 22, 2019, a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Interment will be in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Buffalo, NY after a repast in St. Francis of Assisi Parish Hall. A Memorial Mass will take place at Immaculate Conception Church, Fayetteville, NY, in the Spring. Memorial Donations may be made to the Franciscan Education Burse, 12300 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042, or to Francis House, 108 Michaels Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13208.
Funeral arrangements are by Lakeside Funeral Home, Hamburg, NY.


Spring Medical Service Trip – Jamaica 2019

Our friars hold the people of Jamaica close to our hearts. In addition to the many years we served there as Missionaries, several of our friars have taken student groups there on Missionary trips. None have gone back more often than Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Br. Michael Duffy, OFM Conv. (pictured in the blue scrubs).
From 2005-2011, Friar “Duffy” served as a Missionary, at St. Mary above the Rock, in Kingston, Jamaica, with our current Vicar Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. After accepting his assignment back in the States (2011), serving as a Professor and Coordinator of the Accelerated Second Degree Program at Elms College School of Nursing (Chicopee, MA), he has returned with his students for nursing clinical experience.
Read more:

Provincial Visit to the Novitiate

Franciscan Fraternity

On March 16, 2019, our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. (pictured top right) presented a seminar on “Franciscans & Mariology” at our Order’s Novitiate in Arroyo Grande, California. Novices from other Franciscan Orders, including Capuchin and Observant Friars, joined our Franciscan Friars Conventual for an enlightening experience of Franciscan “ecumenism.”

Franciscan Friars Conventual currently in formation at the Novitiate:
friar Antonio Moualeau, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province), friar Raad Eshoo, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province) – 3rd from top right, friar Joseph Krondon, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angles Province), friar Kyle Banks, OFM Conv. (Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody), friar Peter Flynn, OFM Conv. (Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody) – 5th from bottom left, and friar Matthew Bradley (St. Bonaventure Province) – 3rd from top left.

Serving there as formation leadership are two more of our friars; Fr. Alexander Cymerman, OFM Conv. and Fr. Maurice Richard, OFM Conv. – Assistant Director. The Director of the Novitiate is Br. Joseph Wood, OFM Conv. of the St. Bonaventure Province.

friar Joseph Krondon, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province Novice) was missing from the top photo. He was probably working hard in the kitchen.

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Alexander Cymerman, OFM Conv. (center) provides a wise voice of experience for the Novices.

Br. Joe Wood, OFM Conv. (St. Bonaventure Province) is the Director of the Noviciate. he is pictured here with friar Kyle Banks, OFM Conv. (Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody), friar Antonio Moualeu, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province) and Fr. Maurice (Moe) Richard, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province), who serves as Assistant Director.

MI News with Friar Jobe

Sr. Régine Canetti, NDS and Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. at the graveside of Fr. Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne

During my study here at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, I took advantage of a free day to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of Fr. Marie-Alphonse Ratisbonne. Born to a Jewish family of bankers in 1814, Ratisbonne was highly critical of the Catholic faith and Marian apparitions. However, on January 20, 1842, when Ratisbonne visited the Basilica of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte in Rome, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and he was immediately converted. St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv. always marveled at Ratisbonne’s conversion and he celebrated his first Mass (April 29, 1918) at the “Altar of the Miracle” where Mary had appeared to Ratisbonne. Because the City of Jerusalem figured prominently in the apparition, Ratisbonne, who became a priest and missionary, headed to the Holy Land where he founded the Congrégation Notre Dame de Sion (the Sisters of Our Lady of Zion).Fr. Ratisbonne remained in the Holy Land until his death in 1884 and is buried in the cemetery of the sisters’ convent in Ein Karem. On the day I made my pilgrimage, I was met by one of the sisters, Sr. Régine Canetti, NDS. Born in Bulgaria (May 16, 1921) of Jewish parents, the family subsequently escaped the Shoah and, although Sr. Régine lost her mother and brother when their ship sank, she eventually made it to Israel, became Catholic and entered the Sisters of Zion. A remarkable woman, Sr. Régine’s inspiring life’s story made my pilgrimage to Fr. Ratisbonne’s tomb and Ein Karem truly unforgettable.

~ Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. (M.I. Assistant for Our Lady of the Angels Province)

Posted in MI

Consecration to the Immaculate

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. In the coming months, Friar Jobe will be in contact with each of our pastors to map out a schedule to preach at the Masses to promote the consecration and enrollment in the Militia of the Immaculata. 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.

Posted in MI

Checking in at St. Francis High School

Founded under the leadership of the Very Revered Justin Figas, OFM Conv, St. Francis High School was established, administered and staffed by the friars of our province, alongside dedicated lay staff and Religious Sisters, to serve young men of diverse faiths and backgrounds from throughout Western New York and beyond. The students receive a top notch college preparatory education that can include a residence program where students from all over the world can live in a safe, structured and enjoyable living environment. Students enjoy a wide range of extracurricular activities, rigorous academics, sports, and fine arts through a Franciscan holistic education: mind body and spirit.
St. Francis High School’s Mission Statement

Currently, we have three friars serving at SFHS. Fr. Michael Sajda, OFM Conv. serves as President, Fr. Matthew Foley, OFM Conv. serves as an Instructor & as the Director of Campus Ministry and Fr. Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv. serves as an Instructor. Friar Max submitted the following article on one of the recent student events.

The Department of Modern Languages celebrated the National Foreign Language Week, March 4th-8th, 2019, including a March 7th dinner with food from different countries, trivia questions, and much more. The students, members of the Spanish Club and the French Club, went over and beyond preparing, planning, and running the different events during the week.


“We see the sun as our brother … and the sun is a gift of energy to give to us that’s meant to be shared.”

Provincial Visit – Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody

All Saints in Barton (Manchester, England)

The camellias were in full bloom!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019: His Lordship – the Right Reverend John Stanley Kenneth Arnold, Bishop of Salford welcomed our (BAP) Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custos – Fr. Ciprian Budău, OFM Conv., Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial – the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., our Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody Bursar – Fr. Rory Doyle, OFM Conv. and Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Friar – Fr. Agnellus Mary Murphy, OFM Conv. to a meeting at his chancellery in Manchester, England. There they discussed various options for the future of the Friars’ ministry at All Saints in Barton (Manchester, England). The BAP Custodial Chapter of 2017 established a Commission to do a thorough study of the Barton fraternal/ministerial complex, where for many years the Greyfriars’ “The Crusader Magazine” had been headquartered. The church is listed as Grade 1 and is considered to be the chief work of the architect Edward Welby Pugin. E.W. Pugin was an English architect, the eldest son of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. It is a remarkably complete example of Victorian Catholic Church architecture in the Gothic style.

Friar Ciprian, Bishop John Arnold, Friar Rory Friar Agnellus Mary

Visit with our friars in Walsingham, England
Fr. James Mary McInerney, OFM Conv., Fr. Gerard Mary Toman, OFM Conv. and  Bro. Solanus SIMM, OFM Conv.

Bro. Solanus, Friar James and Friar James Mary in front of the Greyfriars’ Friary, at 23 High Street, Walsingham

Inside the friary with Friar Gerard Mary

Friar James warms himself by the coal and timber fire in the 15th-century friary.