News from the Novitiate

Franciscan Friars Conventual {only} Top Row: Fr. Raphael Zwolenkiewicz, OFM Conv. (Friar in Residence – Our Lady of the Angels Province – OLA), Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. (Minister Provincial – OLA), Fr. Marek Stybor, OFM Conv. (Assistant Novice Director – OLA), Fr. John Koziol, OFM Conv. (Prefect of Formation – OLA), friar Eric Rewa, OFM Conv. (Novice – Province of Saint Bonaventure – SB), friar Robert Moynihan, OFM Conv. (Novice – Province of the Our Lady of Consolation – OLC) Bottom Row: friar Marvin Paul Fernandez, OFM Conv. (Novice – The Provincial Delegation of Saint Francis of Assisi, Canada, of OLA), friar André Miller, OFM Conv. (Novice – OLC), friar Colden Fell, OFM Conv. (Novice – OLC), Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. (OLA). Fr. Jacob Carazo, OFM Conv. (Assistant Formation Director of St. Bonaventure Friary Post Novitiate – Province of St. Joseph of Cupertino – SJC), friar Connor Ouly, OFM Conv. (Novice – OLA) and Br. Joseph Wood, OFM Conv. (Novice Director – SB)

March 18-22, 2023: Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv., who also serves as President of the CFF: Conventual Franciscan Federation – Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, U.S.A., met with each Franciscan Friar Conventual Novice and with the Novitiate Directors (photo above), to talk about each Novice’s vocation, spirituality and progress in the Franciscan life. Joining him was Friar John Koziol, OFM Conv., who serves as the Prefect of Formation of Our Lady of the Angels Province and Friar Jacob Carazo, OFM Conv., a friar of the St. Joseph of Cupertino Province, who serves as Assistant Director of the Silver Spring, MD St. Bonaventure Friary Post-Novitiate, the next Stage of Formation for our Novices.

March 21, 2023: Novice friars and their directors from across the USA’s First Order of the Franciscan Family [photo below – OFM, OFM Conv., OFM Cap.], gathered at the St. Francis of Assisi Friary Novitiate of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual – CFF, in Arroyo Grande, CA, for an inter-novitiate conference on the Marian Tradition of our Franciscan Heritage, led by Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. (photo above). During the conference, Friar James explained the importance of our Blessed Mother Mary in the life of every Franciscan friar, and by extension, the whole Family of Faith.

_________________    _________________    _________________

We, as lesser brothers,
walk with the People of God,
with a special mandate
to accompany the poor and most vulnerable of our society.
Guided by the Holy Spirit,
we are involved in a community-based approach
to the works of evangelization and service to humanity

If you would like more information on formation for, and on life as, a Franciscan Friar Conventual, spend some time scrolling through the pages of If you live on the East Coast of North America and would like to speak to a Vocation Director of Our Lady of the Angels Province, email Friar Nicholas Romeo, OFM Conv. & Friar Emanuel Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. (East Coast of the USA) at or call 202-681-6051, and Friar Reto Davatz, OFM Conv. (Canada) or call 343-989-1459. For information on vocations with our Custódia Província Imaculada Conceição (Immaculate Conception Custody – Brazil) contact: For information on vocations with our Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody (Great Britain & Ireland), contact:

Strong Franciscan Pastoral Presence

Often, our pastoral ministries include a parish or parochial school.
Our friars serving in these ministries are very present
in the faith lives of the students
as well as the lives of the greater school communities.

Friar John – Parochial Vicar at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, in Chicopee, MA., Province Definitor, Friary Guardian and the Province’s Prefect of Formation) presided over the February 2023 First Reconciliation celebration for the 2nd grade students, of St. Stanislaus School.

Over these past few months, St. Stanislaus School, in Chicopee, MA, the parish school of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, has utilized social media to share many celebrations led by, and presided over by, our friars serving in pastoral ministry there.
Friar Brad Milunski, OFM Conv. (right center: February 2023 Catholic Schools Week Concluding Mass – St. Blaise Blessing of the Throats) serves as the Basilica’s Rector & Pastor. The two Parochial Vicars there are Friar John Koziol, OFM Conv. and Friar Lucjan Szymański, OFM Conv. (a friar of the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar, in Kraków Poland, who serves in ministry with the friars of our province).

Friar Brad leads the student in the music for the weekly 2023 Lenten Prayer Services. “Teach us forgiveness, Jesus our savior. As we walk this Lenten journey, give us the courage to follow you. As you prayed for your enemies from the cross, so help us to pray for those who have hurt us.”


Friar Robert Schlageter, OFM Conv. (St. Peter Roman Catholic Church – Pastor), Friar Nicholas Rokitka, OFM Conv. (St. Peter Roman Catholic Church – Parochial Vicar), Friar Brennan-Joseph Farleo, OFM Conv. (Friary Guardian) and Friar Richard Rossell, OFM Conv. (In Residence) joined the many supporters on hand for the St. Peter School Jubilee March 2023 Gala.

St. Peter School, in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ is another parish school where our friars have been a visible presence, serving over its 100-year history. On March 18, 2023, the school celebrated 100 YEARS anchored in faith, during a Jubilee Gala, providing an opportunity for the community to gather together and celebrate with the School Superintendent, Administration, Friars, PTA Executive Board, Parents, Grandparents, Faculty, Friends and Alumni. Friar Robert (at left: receiving ashes from a young student on Ash Wednesday 2023) and Friar Nick not only celebrate the liturgies for the school community but can also often be found at school functions and visiting the classrooms.

St. Peter School’s PreK 4 brought in stuffed animals for the October 2023 Feast of Saint Francis and received a special blessing from Friar Nick.


To find a ministry location nearest to you, visit

Featured Ministry ~ St. Clare Parish, Manchester

One of the two Custodies of Our Lady of the Angels Province is the Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody, aka “The Greyfriars.” There are 24 friars of this Custody with four more friars of other jurisdictions (including Friar Giles Zakowicz, OFM Conv. of Our Lady of the Angels Province) serving in ministry with them, in seven cities in Great Britain and Ireland. In the Manchester, England area there are two friaries: All Saints Friary (Barton, Urmston) and St. Clare’s Friary (Higher Blackley). Served by Fr. Cãtãlin Ieremia (Jeremiah) Budău, OFM Conv., Fr. Colin Mary Edwards, OFM Conv. and Br Joe Fenton, more can be learned about the weekly calendar of the parish, by following the St. Clare’s R.C. Parish Facebook page, from which the photo in the post was taken.  On a side note, Friar Jeremiah also serves the Custody as a Definitor, and Friar Colin Mary also serves as the Custody’s Vicar.

Check out more about our Province’s Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody in Great Britain & Ireland, including vocations information, news posts on the friars and more information on their ministry locations, on their website:

“Don’t Let the Poor Get Too Close.”

Many years ago, in conversation with others involved in ministry, someone said: “Be careful and prudent.  Don’t let the poor get too close.  They can mess everything up.”  Those words have accompanied me throughout all these years like uninvited and unwanted company.  But, how right he was!  The poor indeed mess everything up.

They mess up our idea of the Kingdom of God, if we have kept to those safe reflections that have come down through centuries of safe theological complacency.  They mess up our idea of Jesus’ preference, if you have spiritualized his message beyond recognition.  They mess with our perspectives about the poor, the unrecognizable, the hidden, the unwanted, the discarded, the used and abused, and the begging immigrant.  But, man, they really mess with our consideration of the wealthy, the system, the structures of power, the hierarchy, capitalism, sexism, patriarchy, and everything in between.  The poor mess with our view and consideration of Jesus, religion, and the church.  Yes, they even mess with our relationship with the poor themselves.  You have to be very careful, because they can mess up everything.

They can really mess you up if you’ve turned your theories, opinions, interpretations, and conclusions into idols of worship.  The poor, well…they’ll just come into those temples and tear them apart!  Where would we worship then?  What would we worship?

~ Friar Julio


Fr. Julio Martinez, OFM Conv. [pictured at left during the Eucharistic Procession for the parish’s Celebración a Nuestra Señora del Carmen – The Festival for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, aka Stella Maris, or The Star of the Seas] wrote the above reflection a while ago, in preparation for Palm Sunday. In his current ministry, Friar Julio serves as pastor of St. Julia Catholic Church, in Siler City, NC, alongside Fr. Luis Palacios Rodríguez, OFM Conv. (parochial vicar), who began serving the Siler City community in the Fall of 2022. On the parish website, part of the Parish History states: “On July 1, 1999, St. Julia became a parish and one year later a groundbreaking ceremony took place to begin the construction phase of the new St. Julia Parish church. Parishioners wanted the new church to convey the diversity of the parish and to welcome newcomers who might, for the first time, recognize the Catholic Church presence in the county…Today’s St. Julia Parish Church can seat 450 people. Currently, more than 2,000 parishioners call St. Julia home, and 85% of them are Spanish speaking. St Julia now has the largest weekly attendance of any church in Siler City. It is often said that Sunday is the most segregated day of the week. However, a visitor to St. Julia’s will see evidence to the contrary. The parish community celebrates diversity and the richness of the cultural backgrounds that bring us together as a Catholic community in the 21st Century.”

Friar Julio’s charism fit the parish environment like a glove, when he began serving as pastor five years ago. The parish community’s ministries also include Social Services and Food Pantry Distribution, Justice & Peace and a Sister Mission. Learn more about this vibrant parish on the St. Julia Catholic Community website.

Lenten Thursday Prayer Service and Lunch

Before the meal, Friar Max helps participants learn more about struggling families around the world, who are overcoming hunger and of the impact of climate change, through hard work and prayer.

Fr. Max Avila, OFM Conv. (Spanish Instructor) and friar Antonio Moualeu, OFM Conv. (Religion Instructor and Campus Minister) join together for this week’s St. Francis of Assisi High School Campus Ministry led Lenten Thursday Prayer Service, followed by a simple meat-less meal in solidarity with those who struggle with poverty.

[Photo Cred: St. Francis High School Facebook Page]

Currently serving his Apostolic Year of Formation, friar Antonio is a simply professed friar of our province, who plans to profess his Solemn Vows on August 14, 2023, the Feast of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv. Please keep him and all of the friars in formation of our province, in your continued prayers.
Read more about friar Antonio.

Joined by SFHS Religion Teacher, Mr. Michael Specht, friar Antonio helps to serve the simple meat-less meal shared after the Prayer Service, by those gathered.

For more information on vocations, visit or email our Province Vocation Directors, Fr. Manny Vasconcelos, OFM Conv. and Br. Nick Romeo, OFM Conv. at

Post-Novitiate Mid-Year Retreat

Pictured (L-R): Friar Rich Rome, OFM Conv., friar Jonathan Zenteno, OFM Conv., friar Edgar Varela, OFM Conv., Fr. Jacob Corazo, OFM Conv. (Assistant Formation Director and a friar of St. Joseph Cupertino Province, in California), Fr. Michael Zielke, OFM Conv. (Formation Director), friar Sebastian De Backer, OFM Conv., friar Raad Eshoo, OFM Conv., and Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv. (Assistant General for the CFF, of our Order ~ The CFF is the Conventual Franciscan Federation, which includes Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, and the U.S.A.).

March 6-10. 2023: Our province’s student friars in Post-Novitiate Formation, at St. Bonaventure Friary, in Silver Spring, MD gathered for a mid-year retreat to the Priestfield Pastoral Center, in Kearneysville, WV. For more information on formation and vocations with Franciscan Friars Conventual in the USA, visit or email our Province Vocation Directors, at

Welcome Friar Josel!

Over the March 5, 2023 weekend, our Elmhurst, NY pastoral ministry, St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church, formally welcomed Fr. Josel Martinez, OFM Conv. as Parochial Vicar.
Excerpt from the March 5, 2023 parish bulletin: Friar Josel “has arrived from the Philippines to join our parish family. Fr Josel Ponce Martinez, OFM Conv., a professed Franciscan friar for about 14 years comes from the Philippine Custody of the Immaculate Conception and Bl. Bonaventure of Potenza. In the Philippines he was assigned to the St Maximilian Mary Kolbe Parish in Marytown Circle, Greenfields 1 Subdivision, Novaliches, Quezon City as the Associate Parish Priest. Fr Josel has been the Friar Assistant of the local Secular Franciscans or OFS in the area. He is looking forward to meeting everyone here at St. Adalbert.”

Marian Apostolate News

The main Marian project for this quadrennium is to visit our pastoral ministry sites and preach on the lives of three contemporary Polish saints (Pope Saint John Paul II, Saint Faustina Kowalska, OLM and St. Maximilian M. Kolbe, OFM Conv.) and their devotion to Mary Immaculate. The holy lives of these great saints of the twentieth century continue to bless the Catholic Church and the world. We will look at each saint’s unique “entrustment” to the Immaculate Mother of God that inevitably led to a deeper relationship with Christ and a fuller understanding of God’s will in their lives. At every stop on the tour, first-class relics of the saints will accompany us for the veneration of the faithful. More information will follow, but for now, check out the tour schedule and be sure to join our friars at a parish location nearest to you.

Our Lady of the Angels Province Marian Apostolate
 Three Contemporary Polish Saints and their Devotion to the Immaculate

(September 2023 – August 2024)

September 23-24, 2023 – St. Peter Parish, Ottawa, Ontario
October 21-22, 2023 – St. John the Apostle Parish, Kingston, Ontario
November 18-19, 2023 – Assumption of the BVM Parish, Ottawa, Ontario
December 9-10, 2023 – St. Bonaventure Parish, Toronto, Ontario
January 20-21, 2024 – St. Lucie Parish, Port St. Lucie, Florida
February 10-11, 2024 – St. Mark Parish, Boynton Beach, Florida
March 16-17, 2024 – Blessed Sacrament Parish, Burlington, North Carolina
April 13-14, 2024 – Our Lady of the Cross, Holyoke, Massachusetts
May 11-12, 2024 – St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
June 8-9, 2024 – Mother Cabrini Parish, Shamokin, Pennsylvania
July 13-14, 2024 – St. Peter Parish, Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
August 10-11, 2024 – Saint Junipero Serra Parish at St. Catharine of Siena Church, Seaside Park, New Jersey

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