Happy 90th Birthday, Friar Augustine!

As our province prepares for the grand celebration of the 100th Birthday of the oldest living friar of our Order, our own Fr. Lucjan Królikowski, OFM Conv., on September 7, 2019, we would also like to celebrate the
90th Birthday of
Fr. Augustine Pilatowski, OFM Conv.
on September 5, 2019.

The 3rd oldest living friar of our province, Friar Augustine was born on September 5, 1929, in New Haven, CT. He first Professed Simple Vows on September 18, 1951, and his Solemn Profession took place September 18, 1954. He was Ordained to the Priesthood, on May 23, 1959 and spent the next six decades in pastoral, education, vocational, chaplaincy and mission advancement ministries, throughout five different U.S. States.
Since 2018, he has lived with a group of our confreres in Enfield, CT, under the care of the Felician Sisters (officially known as the Congregation of Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi).

Join us in wishing Friar Augustine a very Happy 90th Birthday, by keeping him in your prayers.
“Watch over thy child, Augustine, O Lord, as his days increase;
bless and guide him wherever he may be.
Strengthen him when he stands;
comfort him when he is discouraged or sorrowful;
raise him up if he falls;
and in his heart may Thy peace abide all the days of his life.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Priesthood Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Hilary Brzostowski, OFM Conv., preaching on the occasion of his 50th Ordination Anniversary Mass (November 18, 2018), at our Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD. Born July 27, 1938, at the tender age of 81, Friar Hilary is still in active priestly ministry, assisting at the Shrine and with the Chaplaincy needs of a nearby nursing home. Keep him, and all of the friar priests of our province in your prayers, as you also pray for an increase in vocations.

Priesthood Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, is a special day set aside to honor priesthood in the United States. It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the Church as a central one. ~From the USA Council of Serra International

To support Vocations to the Priesthood, we friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province request that you hold these reflections in your weekly prayers, from September 8th – the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, until November 24th – the Solemnity of Christ the King.

September 8, 2019 – 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time:
Having a loose grasp on those things that rightly belong to God is required of every follower.
The open hands you are left with will be filled by God and overflowing.
Can you let go of those things?

September 15, 2019 – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
God is the Father with open arms.
Who will preach this Good News of reconciliation?
Consider service as a priest or deacon, brother or sister.

September 22, 2019 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
We cannot serve two masters.
Which one are you willing to follow?
Could it be you are being called to serve the Master as a priest, deacon, sister or brother?

September 29, 2019 – 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
But if only someone would go to them.

October 6, 2019 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
“Increase our faith.”
Listen for the voice of God.
Are you being called to be a priest or religious?

October 13, 2019 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
How has Jesus touched you and made you whole?
In gratitude, ask Him how He would like you to respond.
Could Jesus be calling you to follow him as a priest, sister, brother or deacon?

October 20, 2019 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
God will answer the prayers of those who cry out.
Ask for men and women to respond to the call to service as priests and religious.

October 27, 2019 – 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
WANTED: Humble sinners who know the forgiveness of God.
These make good servants of the Gospel.
They can be priests, deacons, sisters or brothers.

November 3, 2019 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time:
Can I risk sharing the goodness God has given me?
Can I care for the needs of my neighbor?
Can I respond to God as a priest, deacon, brother or sister?

November 10, 2019 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time:
Our God is a God of the living not of the dead.
Have you had an experience of this living God and want to share it with others?
You may be called to the priesthood or religious life.

November 17, 2019 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time:
“By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
Be patient with yourself and with God as you await the sign of your call.

November 24, 2019 – Solemnity of Christ the King:
“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”
Can you lead others to make this request of our Lord and King?
Give your life to Jesus and others are sure to hear,
“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

If you think God is calling you to be a priest, religious or deacon; talk to your pastor and contact

Nirmalaram Franciscan Ashram ~ Kottayam District, Kerala, India

The Province of St. Maximilian Kolbe in India runs four Minor Seminaries in different regions of the Province. The three-year program for aspirants to the Order, aged 15 to 18, has 50 young men at its Kerala site called “Nirmalaram” – Garden of the Immaculata (pictured above). When our Order’s Minister General – Most Reverend Fr. Carlos Trovarelli, OFM Conv., the Assistant General for the FAMC – Friar Benedetto Seung-jae Baek, OFM Conv., and our Minister Provincial – Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. visited Nirmalaram Franciscan Ashram on the 28th of August, they were joyfully welcomed with garlands of flowers and a sumptuous meal. Friar Carlos leaned over to Friar James and observed awestruck, “This is like a film scene!”

Blessing of School Bags

Sunday – September 1, 2019: The Blessing of School Bags and Backpacks at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, with Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Fr. Pedro de Oliveira, OFM Conv. (pastor) and Fr. Marek Stybor, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar). Students were encouraged to bring their school bags and backpacks to Mass with them so that they could be blessed by our friars. In addition, the students received blessings and the celebrants invoked God’s blessing on all those involved in education.

Friar Marek presides

Friar Pedro presides


Transitus Invitation

2019 Invitation from Our Student Friars
Each year, on the evening of October 3rd, our Franciscan family throughout the world pauses to celebrate the Solemnity of our Holy Father Francis’ Transitus, as a reminder to renew our own commitment to follow Christ, in the way of the poor man of Assisi. We student friars and our friars of our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD) invite you to come celebrate this special evening with us.
Transitus of Saint Francis
Thursday ~ October 3, 2019 ~ 7:30 p.m.
The Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD

The Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi ~ October 3rd
The Solemnity of Our Seraphic Father Francis ~ October 4th

Known as the Transitus (Latin: crossing/passage), the Vigil of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi is celebrated by Franciscans all over the world with prayer, scripture readings, joyful songs of praise and thanksgiving. It is the night commemorating the death (in 1226) of our beloved Seraphic Father, as he crossed over from life on earth to eternal life with the Lord. Just as with all of the saints, he holds a special place in the Body of Christ, of which Christ is the Head (Colossians 1:18). Through intercessory prayers, saints in heaven (members of the Church who have arrived at perfect union with Christ) play an integral role in the life of the Church, by praying for those still on our earthly pilgrimage of faith.

Traditionally the celebration of a Saints’ Feast Day is marking the date of the saint’s death and is remembered by the faithful with special mention, prayers, and scripture readings.  For Franciscans, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th) is so much more. It is a day filled with celebration and joy, including the traditional Blessing of the Animals and gatherings of fellowship with our brothers and sisters, in Christ. Join our friars for the celebrations surrounding the Feast Day. To find contact information for our ministry nearest to you, please visit our Locations page.

For the past several years, the celebration held at our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD) has been co-hosted by our student friars studying at The Catholic University of America.

Visit to Tamil Nadu, India

August 26-27, 2019: While in India for the Dedication of the new St. Bonaventure Franciscan Ashram Seminary, in Bangalore, the St. Maximilian Kolbe Province of India‘s Minister Provincial – Very Reverend Fr. Leo Payyappilly, OFM Conv. joined our Order’s Minister General – Most Reverend Fr. Carlos Trovarelli, OFM Conv., the Assistant General for the FAMC – Friar Benedetto Seung-jae Baek, OFM Conv., and our Minister Provincial – Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. for a vistit to the Belvedere Franciscan Ashram Novitiate  and their 16 novices and a 3-man staff of formators (above).
Tea is a staple of the Tamil Nadu Novitiate in a double sense. Besides drinking India’s favorite beverage, the novices also farm the crop on their ten hilly acres which are 8000 feet above sea level. Expert pickers (above) do the expert work, with the novices’ assistance. A local factory processes the leaves. The enterprise helps in a major way to defray novitiate costs. Friar Leo and Friar James even tried their hands a harvesting (right).

Also on August 26th, Friar Carlos, Friar Benedetto, and Friar James visited the cloistered monastery of the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration (above). The nuns spoke with the friars about their Foundress – St. Clare of Assisi. After sharing that St. Clare used to make altar linens for poor churches, the nuns presented each of the friars with a set of altar linens made by them.

In the State of Tamil Nadu, the Friars run Assisi Snehalaya,a hospice for end-stage HIV/AIDS patients. There are presently 36 in residence, including 8 children. At every site they visited, the Minister General, Assistant General, and Minister Provincial were formally welcomed, according to traditional local customs, with the presentation of a garland of flowers called a “Mala.” On their August 27th visit to Assisi Snehalaya, they were each also given a prayer shawl and coconut with straw to sip coconut water (above).

St. Bonaventure Franciscan Ashram Seminary ~ Bangalore, India

August 25, 2019: Our Order’s Minister General – Most Reverend Fr. Carlos Trovarelli, OFM Conv. (2nd from right), Assistant General for the FAMC – Friar Benedetto Seung-jae Baek, OFM Conv. (far right), and our Minister Provincial, Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. (center) were in Bangalore, India for the  Inauguration and Blessing of the new St. Bonaventure Franciscan Ashram Seminary.  Our Province, Our Lady of the Angels, was the principal benefactor funding the construction of the 42-room building.

The Second Part of the Ceremony took place in the Dining Hall, where our Minister Provincial, Friar James, gave an inspiring message and blessed the Cross to place on the Dining Hall wall (below).

Friar Carlos, Friar Benedetto and Friar James celebrated Holy Mass with post-novitiate philosophy students in the very cramped chapel (below) of their 4-room rented house without indoor bathroom facilities. They now will be moving into the newly built seminary.

Read more on the Order’s Website!

Consecration to the Immaculate

Consistent with our Franciscan charism and tradition of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our province is progressing in our efforts to more fully tap into this devotion from our Kolbean heritage, through the example of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv., and the continued efforts of his Militia of the Immaculata’s (M.I.) unconditional consecration to the Immaculate. 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, has completed the sixth stop on our Province M.I Initiative Tour of our pastoral ministries. Over the next few years, Friar Jobe will preach at the Masses to encourage the faithful to consecrate themselves to the Immaculate and to enroll in the M.I.

Most Holy Trinity – St. Mary’s Parish, in Brooklyn, NY

On the weekend of August 24-25, 2019, Our Lady of the Angels Province friars ~ Fr. Raphael Zwolenkiewicz, OFM Conv (Friary Guardian and Pastor), Fr. Nader Ata, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar), Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. (Vocations Director) and Fr. Tomaz Ryba, OFM Conv. (Friar from Krakow serving as Parochial Vicar) welcomed Friar Jobe to our Most Holy Trinity Friary and Most Holy Trinity – St. Mary’s Parish (Brooklyn, NY) for the sixth stop on our M.I Initiative Tour of our pastoral ministries.

With the help of our friars serving at the parish, our message was well received in the parish’s three languages – Spanish, Polish and English. The weekend was made all the more special since that Monday, August 26th was the Feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa (see note below). Many of the parishioners who made their personal consecration to the Immaculate, after the 12.30 p.m. Mass, are pictured above, with Friar Raphael (center right in green vestments) and Friar Jobe (center left in dark grey habit).

Note taken from the parish’s August 27, 2019 bulletin: “The devotion to Our Lady of Częstochowa centers on the icon of our Blessed Mother. Painted on wood, the icon itself depicts Mary pointing with her right hand and holding the Infant Jesus in her left; technically, this depiction of the Blessed Mother is identified in iconography as Hodegetria. As in other icons, Jesus looks like a small man held by his Mother, an imagery that reminds the faithful that Jesus is fully mature in His divine nature. Over time, due to exposure to devotional candles, the image has darkened, and consequently, Our Lady of Częstochowa is also known as the “Black Madonna.”  As to its origins, tradition holds that St. Luke painted the icon on a wooden table top made by St. Joseph, which Mary had kept when she moved to Ephesus and lived under the care of St. John the Apostle. Remember St. Luke included in his Gospel details of the annunciation, visitation, Christmas, the presentation in the Temple and the finding in the Temple, which were not included in the other Gospels and which he must have learned from Mary herself.  St. Helena is credited with finding the icon.

The next stop on the Province M.I Initiative Tour of our pastoral ministries will be over the weekend of
September 7-8, 2019
Toronto, ON (The Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventure)

Fraternal Visitation ~ Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody (Ireland)

Our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. spent some time this August (2019) with our friars of our Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody, in the Republic of Ireland. We have two friaries there, Our Lady of the Visitation Friary is in Dublin and St. Francis Friary is in Wexford.

Friar Marius-Ciprian Tomulesei, OFM Conv. poses with a few parishioners of Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, gathered for the St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv. Novena (Dublin, Ireland)

Friar Aidan Walsh, OFM Conv. and Friar Joseph Connick, OFM Conv. sharing fraternal joy inside of the friary. (Dublin, Ireland)

Friar James (center) with (left to right) Friar Solanus M. Simms, OFM Conv., Friar Robert Cojoc, OFM Conv., Friar Aquino Maliakkal, OFM Conv. and Friar Joseph Fenton, OFM Conv., at St. Francis Friary. (Wexford, Ireland)

Blessing of the Sea 2019

Each year, on August 15th our friars serving at our pastoral ministry of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ celebrate a unique Mass with the community, for the Solemnity of Assumption of Our Lady. The Mass always includes the Blessing of the Sea. This is am important tradition for the people of Point Pleasant Beach because so much of their daily lives revolve around the sea. As the parish bulletin for August 12, 2018 explained: “It is a custom in many coastal regions in the US and Europe to have special blessings of the water –the sea or ocean– on the Feast of the Assumption. The custom originated in the 15th century Italy. A bishop traveling from Venice, during a storm at sea on the Feast of the Assumption, prayed and threw his pastoral ring into the sea from the ship. The waters were calmed. In these “blessings of the sea” celebrations, after the priest blessed the water, the people wade out into the water and fill bottles with it, and use the holy water in their homes.”

This year, Friar Brennan-Joseph Farleo, OFM Conv. remained at the parish to have Mass for those who could not attend, as hundreds of the Faithful joined Friar Pedro de Oliveira, OFM Conv. (Pastor),  Friar Marek Stybor, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) and Friar Richard Rossell, OFM Conv. for Mass on the nearby Boardwalk. Friar Pedro and Friar Marek then dipped a statue of Our Lady, into the sea after the procession of Faithful gathered at the water’s edge. Many on hand then gathered the blessed water for their homes.

Friar Marek carries a statue of Our Lady, as Friar Pedro processes with parishioners to the water’s edge.

More Photos from St. Peter’s



Fr. José Guadalupe Matus Castillo, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar) processes with the parishioners to the sea.

Blessing of the Ocean at Saint Junípero Serra Parish
Once again this year, the Parish of Saint Junípero Serra gathered at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Seaside Heights, NJ, for the celebration of the Eucharist on the Solemnity of the Assumption with a procession to the shore and a blessing of the ocean.

Parishioners of Saint Junípero Serra Parish carry the Statue of Our Lady, in a procession from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Seaside Heights to the shoreline.