Wine at the Shrine 2021

A message from Farmer Matt Jones, the Little Portion Farm Outreach Coordinator and our Province JPIC Assistant Director:

“Thank you to all who braved the rain to join us for Wine at the Shrine on Saturday! We were lucky to celebrate another successful year of partnership with The Franciscan Center of Baltimore and we thank all who continue to support our mission to bring farm fresh food to the table of those in need.
By the way, the season is far from over! We are still in need of volunteers as we continue to harvest food and prepare for next year. If you’d like to volunteer, please sign up on our website: to be added to the email list.”

Our Province JPIC Commission Chairman & Director of Little Portion Farm, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. was on hand to help keep the day running smoothly. Friar Michael also serves as pastor for two of our PA pastoral ministries.

The rain did not keep the participants away. Over 600 guests enjoyed the day, as most of the artisan stalls and tasting areas were moved indoors.

Our ministries worked together to make the event a huge success. Br. Brian Newbigging, OFM Conv. works as Director of Franciscan Soy Candles. He created a few new fragrance options just for the event, and all proceeds from those sales went directly to Little Portion Farm.

More photos from the day can be found on our Province Facebook Page:

Blessed Sacrament Church Welcomes Back Friar Juan!

On Sunday, October 17, 2021, our Burlington, NC pastoral ministry of Blessed Sacrament Church is celebrating one of their former parishioners and employees, who became a friar of the Mexican Province of the Franciscan Friars Conventual (Provincia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en México) ~ Fr. Juan Zuñiga Lopez, OFM Conv.

Friar Juan is currently working in El Paso, Texas, and is returning to the parish to say, “thank you for all the support and encouragement he’s received from the parishioners both the Spanish and English community.”  Newly ordained to the priesthood on July 14, 2021, Fr. Juan will preside as the Principal Celebrant at the 8:30 a.m. (English) and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish) Masses of Thanksgiving. Our Lady of the Angels Province friar & pastor of our Columbus, GA ministry of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church ~ Fr. Bob Benko OFM Conv., a former pastor and close friend to Friar Juan, will serve as the homilist. Local NC friars will also concelebrate these Masses, including Fr. Briant Cullinane, OFM Conv., a spiritual advisor to Fr. Juan and former parochial vicar for the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, who will also return to concelebrate at the 8:30 a.m. Mass.
Congratulations to Friar Juan, his family and his confreres.  A special “Thank You!” to the parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Church for supporting Fr. Juan on his journey to the Franciscan Friars Conventual and to the priesthood.

Article Posted on the Blessed Sacrament School, Burlington Facebook Page:
We had two very special visitors at school today! Father Bob Benko OFM Conv. and Father Juan Zuniga Lopez, OFM Conv. stopped by to say hello. Father Bob is a former pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church. Father Juan is a former parishioner and employee of the church. They are both in town to celebrate Father Juan who recently became a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province of the Conventual Franciscan Friars (Mexico). Congratulations to Father Juan! On Sunday, Father Juan, Father Bob and Father Briant joined Blessed Sacrament Church for Mass to thank the parishioners for the support they’ve given to Father Juan.”

For more information on vocations for our
Franciscan Friars Conventual – Our Lady of the Angels Province USA,
contact our Province Vocation Director,
Br. Nick Romeo, OFM Conv. at

Duke Catholic Student Center Building Blessing

Wednesday September 27, 2021: Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Michael Martin, OFM Conv. (Director of Campus Ministry at Duke Catholic Center) served as emcee, welcoming Duke University leaders, alumni and students who joined our friars, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, and Diocesan officials for the Blessing of the Falcone-Arena House; the Newman Center at Duke University. Our Vicar Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. led the blessing and gave a reflection. Two more friars were on hand for the event: Fr. Jude Michael Krill, OFM Conv. (pastor – Holy Cross Catholic Church, Atlanta, GA) and Fr. Tim Kulbicki, OFM Conv. (pastor & campus minister – Newman Catholic Student Center Parish, UNC at Chapel Hill, NC). The FAH underwent a two-million-dollar expansion/renovation that has been completed through donor support.
To view photos of the completed project, click on this link: Photos.

Friar Michael Heine’s reflection begins at 24:00

CUA – Marian Procession by Candlelight

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar ~ Fr. Louis Maximilian Smith, OFM Conv. leading the procession, Fr. Andrzej Brzezinski, OFM Conv. pictured at right. [Photo Cred: Daniel Taylor, a student studying at CUA]

On the evening of October 6, 2021, the 3rd Annual Marian Procession by Candlelight was held across the campus of The Catholic University of America (CUA), co-sponsored by the University’s Office of Campus Ministry (where four of our friars serve) and the University Council of the Knights of Columbus. About 150 students processed around the University Campus during the hour-long event, honoring Our Lady with song and an “International Rosary,” prayed in six different languages. Fr. Louis Maximilian Smith, OFM Conv. (Associate Chaplain for University Faculty and Staff) was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Also participating were Fr. Andrzej Brzezinski, OFM Conv. (Associate Chaplain for Faith Development) and student friar – br. Joe Krondon, OFM Conv.

Our Lady of the Angles Province student friar ~ br. Joe Krondon, OFM Conv. joined his fellow CUA students in the procession. [Photo Cred: Patrick Ryan, University photographer at The Catholic University of America]

More photos are available on our Province Facebook page.

Franciscan Soy Candles – New Frangrances

Consecration to the Immaculate

The M.I. Initiative made its 28th stop at St. Paul Catholic Parish (Kensington, CT), on the weekend of October 9-10, 2021. St. Paul Church is one of the largest Franciscan parishes of our province, with a Saturday evening Vigil Mass as well as four Sunday Masses. Together with the pastor ~ Friar Joe Benicewicz, OFM Conv. ~ Friar Michael Englert, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar), Friar Peter Timko, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar), and Friar Raymond Borkowski, OFM Conv. are all actively involved in the ministries there. During Friar Jobe’s visit, the parishioners were most open to the invitation to entrust themselves to Mary, the Immaculate Conception and many enrolled in the Militia of the Immaculate. Centered in the photo above, with Friar Jobe (left) and Friar Michael (right), who is also guardian of the St. Paul Friary, are many of the new M.I. members.

St. Paul Catholic Parish, in Kensington, CT


Be sure to mark your calendars
and check back as more information will follow about the
First Annual Franciscan Pilgrimage to the
National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
in Washington D.C.,
on Saturday, April 30, 2022

Posted in MI

“Rebuild My Church” Book Signing

Rebuild My Church

Rebuild My Church:[1] Inspiration and Content by Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, O.F.M.Conv.
Published 2 August 2021   ISBN 978-1-943901-18-0

  1. Origin and Tribute. With an eye on modernity, this volume critically engages the scholarly life’s work of an extraordinarily faithful follower of St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, O.F.M.Conv. (1931-2018). In 2012, the theology department at the University of Notre Dame encouraged me to research all of Fehlner’s writings. In 2017, I defended my conclusions before C O’Regan (advisor), J Cavadini and L Cunningham, the doctoral committee. Fr. Fehlner read the original chapters: ”You have represented the development of my entire life’s thought correctly.”
  2. The first edition of RMC, the fruit of four more years of Fehlner’s engagement of the history of Christianity and irreplaceability of Vatican II, amplifies his fertile thought and makes it fully accessible to the scholar and avid reader. His original insight into commonalities in the works of St. Bonaventure (d. 1274), Bl. John Duns Scotus (d. 1308), and, the surprise of surprises, St. John Henry Newman (d. 1890),[2] are an anchor for Newman – Scotus research.
  3. Emanation. Scholars, my publisher and chats with Fehlner’s acquaintances prompted a longer prologue and introduction. I include the Protestant Reformation as revolution and resulting changes in the cultural atmosphere that are not unlike the cultural polarization of the twenty-first century. Fehlner weaves continuity of principles from Bonaventure to Duns Scotus, Vatican II and the Franciscan Marian principle. I engage C Taylor’s two-band theory of modernity to weigh losses and gains in the rotating of the axis of the world that constructs a “new world.”[3]
  4. John Duns Scotus – St. John Henry Newman. Commonalities weave throughout ten chapters. More biographical data on Fehlner and Newman clarify his connecting of these University of Oxford’s theologians. Fehlner addresses many misreads of Scotistic thought to make his case. Fehlner’s eye is always on what has a significant bearing on the future of Catholic theology. I add readings of Newman that threaten to undermine good theology.
  5. Content of Ten Chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 are a portrait of Fehlner’s life. Ch 1 navigates the twilight of modernity; ch 2 is his middle voice. Chapters 3 and 4 explain his appropriation of Bonaventure; ch 4 on the Trinity and the Franciscan School today. Chapters 5 and 6 clarify key concepts of Duns Scotus; ch 6, Duns Scotus’ Marian principle. Chapter 7 narrates the original discovery of the relationship of Duns Scotus to John Henry Newman. Chapter 8 engages modernity with Newman’s Christology and Mariology. I add chapter 9 as Fehlner’s theological response to the event in the life of St. Francis: “Rebuild My Church.” His thought offers an escape from the Hegelian web, the necessity of engaging Heidegger’s anti-Catholicism, and the doubleness of the gift of modernity. I add chapter 10 on why Fehlner matters, why his theology is prophetic, apocalyptic and aesthetic, his retrieval of the all but disabled Scotistic tradition, diagnoses of forgetting that is sanctioned by the Holy Spirit, remembering deeply and broadly,[4] his new “eyes” on Duns Scotus’ and Newman’s system of truths.
  6. Comparing with Judge Ken Starr.[5] Fehlner and I engaged in heart-to-heart conversations about critical engagement with our post-Christian culture. The temporization of Church authorities in the face of the secular invasion and inviting ideas into the Church communities without the competence of leaders to guide them Christianly, engender collective complicity in creating a post-Christian culture.[6] I compare Fehlner’s faith context to that of Judge Ken Starr, who shines a bright spotlight on the autonomy principle at the heart of religious liberty in America. An extra layer of constitutional protection exists for all faith communities. Faith and non-faith contexts have many external reasons that contribute to a post-religious and a post-Christian culture.
  7. Application. “God has sent the Spirit of his Son, into our hearts”; “You are no longer a slave, but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Gal 4, 6, 7). Starr analyzes the erosion of religious freedom; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; and freedom of assembly as a retreat from our nation’s commitment. Fehlner, a Scotist, aligns with St. Maximilian Kolbe. Fehlner’s Theologian of Auschwitz[7] lays out the reasons why Kolbe is a Scotist. Rebuild My Church is a companion volume. Proving why Kolbe is a theologian was Fehlner’s life’s work.
  8. Inspiration. In his Testament, Francis of Assisi said: “The Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would simply pray and speak in this way: We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches throughout the world, and we bless You, for through Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.” As Francis prayed before the crucifix, he took literally a message from Christ to “rebuild the Church.” He gathered rocks, mortar and funds to rebuild three small stone Churches that still exist. Our Lady of the Angels, the Little Portion or Portiuncula, became his favorite. There he founded the Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Poor Clares, received a papal blessing that visitors in perpetuity could receive a plenary indulgence, and died nearby on 3 October 1226. He passed over into God in a transport of contemplation and invites every spiritual person into a passing over and transport of soul.[8]
  9. A World Bled of Mystery. Without a sense of the invisible and mystery, it is impossible to understand sacraments as hardly reduced to rituals. For troubled times, St. Francis’ faith in priests is restorative. They must live according to the manner of the holy Roman Church, the holy mysteries of the Most Holy Body and Blood which they receive and which they alone minister to others. Theologians minister the most holy divine words of life.[9] Fr. Fehlner’s Franciscan spirit and life aligns with Judge Starr’s analysis of religious liberty under assault and the entire constitutional order of democratic debate under challenge and “cancel culture.” I found the way Fehlner presents Kolbe’s Scotistic method aligns too with De Lubac’s recovery of the Joachimite problem Bonaventure dealt with: the subtle uncoupling of Spirit and Christ, i.e., the failure to believe that the Spirit does not function to critique but to support the institutional Church and distribute its gifts.

21 October 2021 at The Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore;

[1] E. J. Ondrako, Rebuild My Church: Peter Damian Fehlner’s Appropriation and Development of the Ecclesiology and Mariology of Vatican II (Hobe Sound, FL: Lectio Publishing, LLC, 2021).
[2] E. J. Ondrako, The Newman-Scotus Reader (New Bedford, MA; Academy of the Immaculate, 2016, canonization issue, 2019), ch 7, 239-389. See p. 244 to compare Bonaventure, Duns Scotus and Newman. See p. 331 in RMC.
[3] C. Taylor, A Secular Age (2007). C. O’Regan finds Taylor, a Catholic, clear about what has come and what is gone.
[4] “Remember catholicity” fits Balthasar’s life works. See C. O’Regan, “Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Beauty of Forgetting,” in Church Life Journal, McGrath Institute for Church Life, U. of Notre Dame (24 August 2020).
[5] Ken Starr, Religious Liberty in Crisis (New York: Encounter Books, 2021), 169-170. To Starr, the unforgiveable offenses in modern thinking: “racist, sexist, anti-gay” are indictments even from books that are well documented.
[6] C. O’Regan’s expanse of historical-systematic theological thought interlocks with Fehlner’s Franciscan breadth.
[7] P. D. Fehlner, Theologian of Auschwitz (Hobe Sound, FL: Lectio Publishing, LLC, 2020).
[8] St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum; The Journey of the Mind to God, chapter 7, 3.
[9] St. Francis of Assisi, Testament: “We should honor and respect all theologians and those who minister the most holy divine words as those who minister spirit and life to us” (Jn 6:64).


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
October 4, 2021

April 30, 2022 M.I. Pilgrimage Announcement (2)

(1941 – August 14 – 2021)

Following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi over the last eight centuries, the Franciscans have promoted a constant devotion and veneration of Our Lady, especially under Her title of the Immaculate Conception. Indeed, that constant and filial promotion of Our Lady as the Immaculate Mother of God represents a golden thread that holds together and highlights our Franciscan tradition and charism.
In the line of great Franciscan saints, St. Maximilian Kolbe M. Kolbe, OFM Conv. would state that the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX in 1854 represented only a first victory for Our Lady. When St. Maximilian would form the Militia of the Immaculate (M.I.) in 1917, he would call upon Mary, the Immaculate Conception, to gain a lasting victory over evil in the world and to draw all souls, even those fallen away from the Church, to Christ and the source of all love, His Sacred Heart. When Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Maximilian in 1982, he declared St. Maximilian to be a “saint for a difficult century.” In the twenty-first century, more than ever, St. Maximilian’s entrustment to the Immaculate for the conversion of all serves as a key to a better world for all of us.
That is why, over the last three years, Our Lady of the Angels Province has sponsored an M.I. Initiative to promote consecration to the Immaculate Conception and membership in the Militia of the Immaculate. In the next few months, this Initiative will make its final and 36th stop at our Franciscan parish sites and we are very happy to report that the response of the faithful has been most gratifying as we will have enrolled close to 5,000 new M.I. members.
However, we can’t stop there and we believe that Our Lady and St. Maximilian are now asking us to do something else as a community of Franciscan Friars Conventual along with those with and for whom we minister. As a result, Our Lady of the Angels Province is sponsoring the 1st Annual Franciscan Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 30, 2022. The Program for the day is below and we invite all friars, M.I. members, and all the faithful to join us in celebrating our devotion to the Immaculate Mother of God. If you are already enrolled, you will be receiving a letter with more instruction on registration. If you are not, but are a member of one of our pastoral ministries, check with your parish office to see if how your parish is participating.

Friar Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv.
Our Lady of the Angels Province Delegate for the Marian Apostolate


Be sure to mark your calendars and check back as more registration information will follow about the First Annual Franciscan Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington D.C., on Saturday, April 30, 2022.



  • 11.00 a.m. – WORDS OF WELCOME from the Very Rev. James McCurry, OFM Conv., Provincial of Our Lady of the Angels Province and Rev. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv., Provincial Assistant of the Militia of the Immaculate
  • 11.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. – LUNCH TIME
  • 12.30 p.m. – 1.00 p.m. – Seated Overview TOUR of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Upper Basilica)
  • 1.00 p.m. – 1.30 p.m. – COMMUNAL PRAYER
  • 1.30 p.m. – 3.00 p.m. – EUCHARISTIC LITURGY and CLOSING
  • 3.00 p.m. – 4.00 p.m. – FREE TIME (There is a scheduled Vigil Mass at 4.30 p.m. The Basilica closes at 6.00 p.m.)
Posted in MI