JPIC Message

“Fratelli tutti”

The Encyclical of Pope Francis on Fraternity and Social Friendship

The days of the long hot Summer of 2022 are fading, as Autumn ushers onto the scene. Arriving hopefully, as St. Francis expressed in the, “Canticle of the Sun,” with an array of the beauty, grandeur and splendor of God radiated in all creationThis changing of the season also reminds us that the Feast Day of Our Holy Father Francis grows near. In remote preparation for the coming (October 4th) Feast, as Our Lady of the Angels Province JPIC Director, I would like to invite you to read, reread, or perhaps listen to for the first time,
Pope Francis’ Encyclical – “Fratelli tutti.”

The Introduction to the encyclical captures Pope Francis’ understanding of the spirit of our Franciscan way of life: “Inspired by Saint Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis gives us “Fratelli tutti,” a proposal for a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel. It is a call to love others as brothers and sisters, even when they are far from us; it is a call to open fraternity, to recognizing and loving every person with a love without borders; it is a call to encounter others in a way that is capable of overcoming all distance and every temptation to engage in disputes, impositions, or submissions.” Hopefully, encountering the insights so wonderfully presented by Pope Francis may stir our collective reflection and its meaning for us as Franciscan Friars Conventual today.

For your convenience linked here is a PDF Version of the encyclical along with a PDF version of a short-handed ‘at-a-glance’ summary of the text.  For those who may not always have time, are better auditory learners, or for those on the go, here is a link to an audio recording that contains the Introduction and Chapter 01. In the Introduction and 1st Chapter, Pope Francis lists the issues confronting God’s people. Skillfully, in a nonjudgmental fashion, he lays out the problems facing all humanity. And he reminds us that none of them can be healed with simple fixes nor can they be treated with band-aids. In the successive chapters, Pope Francis prophetically addresses the issues calling upon all to listen attentively to God’s grace in this moment of history.

Our Franciscan response to the multiple issues facing humanity urges us to look deep within and ask, “Am I advocate or adversary to the grace of God? Is faith leading life or has it taken a back step to something else leading? What does it mean to be committed to the Gospel of Christ Jesus and to the mission of seeing as St. Francis did; all peoples as brother and sister?”

Audio version of the entire encyclical narrated by Kevin Karam, SJ

Who is Kevin Karam, SJ?


Audio Version – Chapter by Chapter


As always, Thank You for your commitment, efforts and service to making the Making the Gospel Real – Today!  You do make a difference!

Pax et bonum…
Fr. Paul

Friar Paul Lininger, OFM Conv.
Our Lady of the Angles Province – Director of JPIC
Franciscan Friars Conventual

Strong Friar Presence – Syracuse, NY

On September 11, 2022, several of our friars living in our St. Francis Friary, in Syracuse, NY, were on hand for the community’s Northside Festival (Franciscan Northside Ministries). Many of our Syracuse ministries were represented. FrancisCorps FC24 members were there to not only enjoy the fair but also to provide sidewalk chalk as an activity for those who attended (photo cred). Our province’s pastoral ministry ~ Assumption Church ~ was well represented with a booth providing parish information & giveaways, manned by Our Lady of the Angels Province friars: Friar Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv. (Pastor), friar Joseph Krondon, OFM Conv. (Apostolic Year of Formation) and Friar Jim Moore, OFM Conv. (Director of The Franciscan Place, in Destiny Mall, USA). Read more about the parish and how they minister to the people of Syracuse.

RaeAnn Kirk and Lucy Wilkerson are two of the five FrancisCorps current Volunteers.

Fr. Jude, Mr. Clint Mitchell (Parish Manager), and Br. Jim manning the Assumption Church stand.

Greeting passersby is Br. Jim, with friar Joe manning the booth.

Here is another photo, shared by FrancisCorps, of friar Joe, Br. Jim and Fr. Jude watching the Tae-Kwon-Do presentation. Br. Jim joined in the fun (see below).



Reflection by Fr. Ed Ondrako, OFM Conv.


12 Days on Pilgrimage in August
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life” Jn 14:6.

In my first entry, I ended with Kierkegaard’s story of the clown who shouted that the circus was on fire. The more he shouted, the harder everyone laughed until the circus and village were destroyed. As a Franciscan priest for fifty-one years, I have taught Catholic truth claims. At times I felt like the clown shouting to warn but to no avail. For thirteen years my Franciscan formators prepared me with the Marian integrating element in St. Francis’ life. They did not use the term post-Christian culture but perceived it on the horizon. Without apology, they insisted that the Franciscan way of life means that I can know truth and I am to teach truth because philosophy links with Revelation. The key is Christ as the way, the truth and the life.[1]

I join the generations who are growing up in post-Christian culture. E.g. At Notre Dame an open minded, inclusive  and critically engaged senior asked her philosophy and theology professor: “If I approach others who think differently than I do as a Catholic by saying, I have my truth and you have your truth, do I align with Fides et Ratio?” [2] In reply, the professor qualified that  the words my truth and your truth are consequences of language. To say my truth is no longer a truth claim. He explained that the implication is that truth is collegial which results in a “slippage.” If your truth is as valuable as my truth, are we not subverting truth?

Fides et Ratio pivots on the claim in John 14:6. Only if the Christian faith is truth does it concern everyone. If Christian faith is a cultural variant of the religious experiences of mankind that one tracks through history, with symbols that can never be deciphered or interpreted, then Christian faith has to come clean. It has to remain within its own culture and leave others to theirs. Fides et Ratio aims to rehabilitate the question of truth in a world that carries the weight of post-Christian culture. For me, that means to recognize many external factors, the temporization of authority, and inviting in ideas without the competence to regulate Christianly.

Catholic thought (doctrine) develops. Without giving anyone a pass, Catholics failed to act in a timely manner or made decisions that were incredibly poor in any given age.[3] Without denying the truth, Fides et Ratio opens the windows to the fresh air that faith breathes. The encyclical is a diagnostic of why faith is rational and scientific. One gains reflective courage for the adventure of truth in a post-Christian culture. Fides et Ratio is speaking beyond the sphere of faith and into the heart of faith which strengthens all Catholics who investigate, i.e. faith seeking understanding. In this context, to investigate is different from to seek. The latter starts with reason seeking faith. Take it or leave it. The former starts with faith seeking to know truth.

Spe Salvi facti sumus – in hope we were saved (Rom 8:24).[4] Deep thinking about Fides et Ratio by engaged students at Notre Dame unfolds the belief of others and enables them to hold on to their Catholic faith. By getting philosophy right, they discover Christian faith’s struggles with a certain type of modern culture as only one variety. They learn to diagnose well what presumes to be culture and how it can despise the human person. John Paul II’s call for fresh examination and discussion includes qualifying lawgiving in any society. To favor the convictions of the majority, to separate private conscience from public order,[5] shuts out any society from the truth. What is accidental and arbitrary threatens to be set up in place of being open to truth. The very capacity to know and to recognize truth needs science and scholarship. Nothing is left out when philosophy asks about the person, way towards life and death, God and eternity. We seek truth, to find the common dignity beyond the bounds of cultural settings.

Truth and tolerance need a starting point and a return, philosophy. Theology necessarily touches upon this starting point and return. In life, a person changes and becomes righteous.  In the modern debate about Christianity and world religions, the question about being saved and eternal salvation has a view that one attains salvation through all religions, a view  that corresponds to the idea of tolerance and of respect for others. A modern idea of God is that because persons know nothing of Christianity and happen to have grown up in other religions, God will accept their worship and religion as he does ours. The problem is contradicting things leading to the same goal. The theory of universal salvation is extended. Truth is replaced by good intentions for one cannot know what is objectively good and true.

Pope Emeritus Benedict diagnoses the problem of what is not being thought about. First, he sees the mistake that all religions (including agnosticism and atheism) are of the same kind, which is delusional for all religions. Second, he senses the complex error that the significance of religion for salvation and eternal life is being neutralized i.e., whatever heaven is, it begins on earth. Salvation does not lie in religions as such; religions need to be criticized. Third, the modern concept of conscience emphasizes autonomy and makes the claim that it is “impossible” to establish common moral and religious standards. Proof is in “pagan saints” who show a turn toward each other and towards God. He sees such proof as salvation by another means. Benedict critiques these errors with true recognition of God’s voice in conscience.

Without wavering, Benedict is resolute that none of us is God and how any person approaches God is God’s secret. Truth and tolerance call on a methodological suggestion: the idea of circularity. The relationship between philosophy and theology, faith and reason and their renewal benefit from a dynamic circular movement which means that theology must always start with the word of God. It is set in relation to the search for truth with the struggle of reason for the truth and in dialogue with philosophy. Our 12 day pilgrimage built upon this unifying intention.

Fr. Ed Ondrako, OFM Conv. Univ of Notre Dame,


[1] St. Bonaventure, Sermon, Christus Unus Omnium Magister, Christ is the One Teacher of All.
[2] Pope John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, 1998. Does faith really need philosophy? If philosophy is just an academic discipline among others, faith is independent of it. The Pope understands philosophy in a broader sense and puts the question of whether a human person can know truth which is his worry.
[3] One example of many by Pope John Paul II stands out, Tertio Millennio Adveniente. Moreover, he was determined to canonize St. Edith Stein without harm to her Jewish origins.
[4] Pope Benedict’s encyclical, Spe Salvi, 30 November 2007, opens with these words.
[5] Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, no. 69 and 70.

Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, OFM Conventual
Research Fellow Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure, Rome
Visiting Scholar, McGrath Institute for Church Life
University of Notre Dame
Holy Name of Mary – September 12, 2022


Reflection by Fr. Ed Ondrako, OFM Conv.

Several friars of our province {top row left to right}: Friar John Voytek, OFM Conv., Friar Mirosław Podymniak, OFM Conv., Friar Ed Ondrako, OFM Conv., Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. and Fr. Bob Benko, OFM Conv.} on the Franciscan Marian Shrines of Europe Pilgrimage, from August 13 -25, 2022, including attending the Passion Play at Oberammergau, Germany. Pictured here at the Ettal Abbey, the largest Benedictine monastery, on the morning of the Passion Play.


12 Days on Pilgrimage in August
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life” Jn 14:6.

Can I know truth? Can I know fundamental truths about myself, my origin and future? Do I live in a twilight that cannot be illuminated? Must I restrict myself to what is useful and provable scientifically? These are fair questions for our age. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote Canterbury Tales, raucous stories told by pilgrims traveling to a sacred pilgrimage site in England. From Francis of Assisi to Vatican II, Catholics remember the theme of life as pilgrims.[1] In August, I joined twenty-eight pilgrims on a Marian Franciscan Pilgrimage.[2] Pilgrims share stories. The question about truth was the essential question I heard about challenges to Christian faith. Unwittingly, perhaps, the pilgrims were asking questions that have to do with philosophy.

To sketch the question of truth in our world characterized by relativism is the favorite phrase in the life’s work of the public theologian Pope Benedict XVI.[3] Happily, God aligned him with the philosopher Pope John Paul II who set out to reinstate the question of knowing truth.[4] The search is a rational and scientific task in our world which celebrates the positive developments of modern science. It is a doublet, however; for modern science, to a great extent, disqualifies the search for truth as being unscientific. We may not have known it, but the twelve days together in prayer was giving us more courage to embark on the adventure of seeking the truth and skills to articulate it to our families and communities with greater love.

Put another way, we pilgrims were discussing the need to make a bold account of Christian faith in a modern world that is not especially hospitable to it. We had a certain unity of themes about the Christian story from creation to last things that were taught to us from our youth. That is why I find the arc which Benedict’s career has given to theology accessible to the broad Catholic public, because it reflects the wisdom of the church tradition rather than his own creativity. I am setting out to provide a backdrop that will assist in reading his three encyclicals which have a different authority than the works he produced as an individual theologian.

Let’s begin by reflecting with Socrates, who told Phaedrus a story he had heard from the ancients who knew about truth. An Egyptian king was being told about the invention of writing. The king objected because he foresaw that it would be a means of recording and not remembering, that it would give the appearance of wisdom to pupils, but not wisdom itself. The king worried that people would hear much without learning anything and think themselves knowledgeable. He knew that in general they were ignorant and difficult people to deal with, for they appear wise but are not truly so.

Fast forward to our information age: no one denies the good associated with the explosion of information available in our world. In Phaedrus, Plato was warning about gaining information without working it into one’s thinking. Pope Benedict observes that a complex multi-cultural world, notwithstanding its claim to be neutral, is not always neutral. He asks: who is the referee? There are multiple religions. Are they equally valuable? Is one religion as good as another? Benedict, as a theologian, wants us to think deeply, to get to the truth. Christianity, to John Paul II who adopts philosophy finds ancient philosophy a help to get to truth. Philosophy costs us. Nihilism asserts that there is no truth and no meaning.  Autonomy is self-rule, seeking to be free from most laws and coercion. Do we need a God? To be as autonomous as possible is to act with responsibility such as to aging parents, to accept one’s own failures, and to receive love and support from others. To Benedict, autonomy is good until it is not.

Historically, Christianity has behaved “badly.”  To try to remedy by being nice is an unthinking response. To say I have my truth and you have your truth denies that there is such a thing as a truth claim. No claim to truth in favor of a common society is cleverness. There is a subversion of truth, a “slippage.” Catholic Christianity never threw philosophy overboard. Luther and the Protestant tradition does not have both, but either/or, either faith or reason. Catholicism always emphasizes “both/and” – both faith and reason.  Revelation answers the questions of the meaning of the world and of the existence of God. Philosophy can inform theology that deals with ultimate questions. Revelation has provided answers which can benefit philosophy. John Paul II and Benedict get philosophy right, the relation of philosophy to faith.

The aim of these Benedict-inspired reflections is retention. What set of questions is in his text, and how do we go about answering what he has lovingly written?  For example, Benedict points out what all twenty-eight of our pilgrims experienced. In the presence of family members or friends who are not thoroughly at home with ecclesiastical language and thought, sooner than later one gets the feeling that Kierkegaard sums up in his allegory of the clown and burning village. When a traveling circus caught fire, the manager sent the one already dressed to the neighboring village to fetch help. The villagers took the clown’s shouts as advertising and laughed till they cried. The more the clown tried to get the people to be serious that there was a real fire, the more they laughed. The circus and village were burned to the ground.

As a Franciscan, might some see my Franciscan habit and think of it as medieval or an old-fashioned clown costume? Might whatever I say about truth claims be classified as not to be taken seriously? The analogy applied to our pilgrims.  They are Catholic teachers and parents who speak to their children and grandchildren about Christ’s gifts, such as the seven sacraments. Do children dismiss parents, teachers and clergy as just giving a performance that has nothing to do with the reality of another generation which they see in themselves? That is precisely the point of a true pilgrimage – namely, our examination of conscience in this philosophical and theological call to keep going deeper.


Fr. Ed Ondrako, OFM Conv. Univ of Notre Dame,
[1] Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, ch. 7. The Mystery of the Church links with Gaudium et Spes,  the Church and the World. Vatican II is irreplaceable until it isn’t.
[2] 13-25 August 2022: Prague, Czech Republic; Altoting, Munich, Oberammergau, Ettal, Germany; Salzburg, Melk, Maria Zell, Vienna, Austria; Bratislava, Slovak Republic; Estergom, Budapest Hungary.
[3] Joseph Ratzinger was born in 1927 in Catholic Bavaria and loved the Shrine of Our Lady at Altoting. The Passion play at Oberammergau and many visitors to the Benedictine Monastery at Ettal, where Dietrich Bonhoeffer remained safe until his arrest at the end of World War II, are signifiers. As I traveled, I mused: how Catholic is Bavaria today? What is the status of Christianity in the first world today?
[4] Pope St. John Paul II, Fides et Ratio, 1998. One can make a claim in truth without noxious side effects.

Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, OFM Conventual
Research Fellow Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure, Rome
Visiting Scholar, McGrath Institute for Church Life
University of Notre Dame
Holy Name of Mary – September 12, 2022

Welcome God’s Graces for the 2022-2023 Academic Year

Taken from a September 9, 2022 post on the St. Francis High School (Athol Springs, NY) Facebook page:

Today the St. Francis community celebrated Mass together to welcome in God’s graces for the new school year. We were honored to have Fr. Gary Johnson OFM, Conv. as the celebrant for the Mass. Friar Gary is the Vicar Provincial of The Our Lady of the Angels Province for the Franciscan Friars Conventual and vice-chair for the school’s corporate board.
During mass, Fr. Matthew (Foley, OFM Conv.) was offered a special blessing by Friar Gary and the school community as he continues his ministry as president of St. Francis High School.

Linda’s Walk 2022!

One of two annual St. Clare Inn major fundraisers ~ join virtually or in person, on Saturday September 24, 2022, to help raise money for operational costs, as this ministry is entirely funded privately and receives no government support.

Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody ~ Elections


September 7, 2022: During the third Ordinary Chapter of our Province’s Blessed Angellus of Pisa Custody (Great Britain and Ireland – aka The Greyfriars), held at the Loreto Spirituality Centre, in Llandudno, North Wales, in the UK, Friar Maximilian M. Martin, OFM Conv. was elected Provincial Custos.  Friar Maximilian is the third Custos of the Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody, which was established as a custody of our province, in 2013. He first professed his Simple Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, as a Franciscan Friar Conventual, on May 18, 2012. He professed his Solemn Vows as a friar of Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody, on September 10, 2015, was Ordained a Transitional Deacon on August 6, 2016, and was Ordained to the Priesthood on March 25, 2017. Since September 2018, he has served the Custody as Secretary, Definitor & Associate Formation Director, and in November of 2020 also took on the roles of Prefect of Formation and Vocation Director.

The election and selection of the Custodial Vicar, Custodial Secretary, Custodial Econom and Exactor, and the Definitors of the Custody took place September 7th:

  • Custodial Vicar – Friar Colin Edwards, OFM Conv.
  • Custodial Secretary – Friar Kevin Hanley, OFM Conv.
  • Custodial Econom and Exactor (known as the Bursar) – Friar Rory Doyle, OFM Conv.
  • Definitors of this Custody –
    Friar Kevin Hanley, OFM Conv.
    Friar Ieremiah-Catălin “Jeremiah” Budau, OFM Conv.
    Friar Rory Doyle, OFM Conv.
    Friar Colin Edwards, OFM Conv.

Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. and our newly elected Provincial Custos of Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody, Fr. Maximilian M. Martin, OFM Conv.

The Installation of our new Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody Provincial Custos ~ Fr. Maximilian M. Martin, OFM Conv., at the hands of our Minister Provincial ~ Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. Our Lady of the Angels Province Secretary & Vocation Director ~ Br. Nick Romeo, OFM Conv. served as witness.

Friar Michael and Friar Maximilian with the Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody Definitory: (left to right) Friar Kevin, Friar Jeremiah, Friar Rory and Friar Colin


Friar Maximilian reflects on his vocation journey:


NOTE: Our Lady of the Angels Province includes friars living and serving on the East Coast of the USA, as well as friars of our two Province Custodies: Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody (Great Britain and Ireland) and Immaculate Conception Custody (Brazil), and friars of our Province Delegation of St. Francis of Assisi (Ontario, Canada), under the leadership of our Minister Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv., who was on hand to facilitate the September 5-9, 2022 Ordinary Chapter of our Province’s Blessed Angellus of Pisa Custody. Our Lady of the Angels Province friar and Assistant General (CFF), Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv. [pictured top left] was also present for this 3rd Ordinary Chapter of our Province’s Blessed Angellus of Pisa Custody. (Article on the Curia’s website)
Our province is grateful to Friar Ciprian Budău, OFM Conv. [4th from top right], a friar of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary  (Romania), who has served as Provincial Custos of our Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody, since September 2017, and to Friar Peter Damian Massengill, OFM Conv., a friar of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation (USA), who served as the first Provincial Custos.

Vicar Provincial Visit ~ September 2022

Our newest provincial pastoral ministry, Our Lady of Fatima Parish (Ludlow, MA) celebrated their annual FESTA, September 1-5, 2022.

Joyfully, during his multi-day Fraternal Visit with our 17 friars residing in (and de familia to) our St. Stanislaus Bishop & Martyr Friary (Chicopee, MA), St. Hyacinth Friary (Chicopee, MA), and Our Lady of the Angels Care Center (Enfield, CT), the Vicar Provincial of our Province, Friar Gary Johnson, OFM Conv. was able to join Friar Pedro de Oliveira, OFM Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province friar serving there as Pastor), Frei Luiz Fernando Lima Rangel, OFM Conv. (a friar of our Custódia Província Imaculada Conceição – Province Custody in Brazil – who will soon serve there as Parochial Vicar), parishioners, neighbors and thousands (an estimated 30 thousand over the course of the FESTA was reported) of visitors from many states, for this year’s 74th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima Parish celebration. On Sunday, September 4, 2022, the faithful gathered at the outdoor chapel for Mass and a Candlelight Procession (praying the Rosary in five different languages) through the streets of Ludlow, with Most Reverend William Byrne. D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield.

Friar Gary shared these beautiful photos he was able to capture as a participant.

Preparation of the litter and crowning of Our Lady for the procession. Several of our friars in attendance can be seen in the back of the photo: Fr. Brad Milunski, OFM Conv. (pastor/rector of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr – Chicopee, MA), Fr. Andrew Santamauro, OFM Conv. (Guardian and Senior Friars Director at our St. Hyacinth Friary in Chicopee, MA & Chaplain of Our Lady of the Angels Care Center, in Enfield, CT), and Fr. Mieczysław Wilk, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar of Most Holy Trinity – St. Mary Church in Brooklyn, NY & Parochial Vicar Emeritus of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus)

Before joining, Friar Pedro, Frei Luiz and Bishop Byrne watch as the statue of Our Lady of Fatima is carried out to begin the procession.

Small sampling of the thousands of faithful gathered for the procession through the streets of Ludlow.

Friar Andy was able to catch this beautiful photo before the procession began.

Read more about the 74th FESTA celebration, in the September 5, 2022 online article.

Online article by Henrique Mano Luso-Americano including photos