Friar Franck-Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv., ordained a deacon

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower in San Antonio, Texas, was the setting for the diaconal ordination of Friar Franck-Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv., on Saturday, Apr. 6, 2024. Bishop Gary Janak, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, presided.


“I can remember interviewing Franck 12 years ago before he entered the Franciscan Orde,” said Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv. “It is exciting to see so many years later where the Lord has led him, and I am inspired by Franck’s openness to be lead. He will make a great friar-deacon and I look forward to seeing where the Lord will take him next on his journey.”

Born in Togo, West Africa, Friar Franck-Lino lived in Europe as a child. His father, Koffi, moved the family to Richmond, Va.,19 years ago to pursue an opportunity in engineering, bringing his wife, Emilie, and their nine children with him. Friar Frack-Lino professed simple vows on July 21, 2016, and solemn vows on July 30, 2021.

“It’s been 11 years since I joined the friars,” Friar Franck-Lino said. “I never thought my life was going to lead me to where it has. As I continue on this vocation journey, I think one of the most impactful things is how closer it has led me to God and the people of God. The diaconate is simply that. It has been a great journey and I look forward to continuing my service as a Franciscan Friar.”

Friar Franck-Lino will spend the next year completing his studies in San Antonio for a Master of Divinity at the Oblate School of Theology. At The Catholic Univesity of America in Washington, D.C., he earned a bachelor’s degree in French and Francophone Studies. He minored in philosophy and was awarded an Advanced Certificate in European Studies. In his free time, he said he likes to play tennis and go hiking, “When I’m dragged by my friends!”

Friar Franck-Lino was one of six men from three provinces who were ordained: Friar Pedro Lopez, OFM Conv. (Province of Our Lady of Consolation), Friar Noé Alfara Casas, OFM (Our Lady of Guadalupe Province), Bro. Dogo Anaguedeu, OMI, Bro. Dogo Anaguedeu, OMI, and Bro. Liba Jacques-Marie, OMI (Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate United States Province).

Friar Michael T. Martin, OFM Conv., to become fifth Bishop of Charlotte

The Diocese of Charlotte today announced that longtime Bishop Peter J. Jugis is retiring due to health limitations and that Pope Francis has appointed Friar Michael T. Martin, OFM Conv., of Atlanta, as his successor to lead the growing diocese.

Bishop Jugis submitted his request for retirement to Rome last June, saying a chronic but non-life-threatening kidney condition made it difficult for him to preside over lengthy liturgies and travel across the 46 counties of the expansive diocese. Bishop Jugis recently celebrated his 20th anniversary as bishop and 40th anniversary as a priest. He will serve as administrator of the diocese until May when Bishop-Elect Martin is installed, then he will continue to assist the diocese as bishop emeritus.

Bishop-Elect Martin, 62, is a priest of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual and serves as pastor of St. Philip Benizi Parish in Jonesboro, Georgia. He has deep roots in Catholic education – having served as a teacher, coach, and school administrator in Baltimore, New York, and Durham – and arrives at a time of record enrollment in the Diocese of Charlotte’s 20 schools.

He will be ordained and installed as the fifth Bishop of Charlotte on May 29 at St. Mark Catholic Church in Huntersville.

“I am amazed and humbled that the Holy Father has faith in me to call me to serve the people of Western North Carolina,” Bishop-Elect Martin said. “I am excited to get to know you and to listen to the ways in which together we can respond to the call of the Holy Spirit to be disciples of Jesus.”

Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv., rejoiced at the news: “The Holy Father has recognized our brother as an excellent spiritual leader and administrator.  Friar Michael has the God-given gifts to be a successor of the Apostles.”

The Friars pray for Baltimore

A message from Minister Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv.

The Franciscan Friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province are praying for everyone involved in this morning’s tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. We remember the victims and their families, may God grant them comfort and peace. We pray for the brave first responders who put their own lives at risk in the recovery effort, and we pray for strength for the government officials who are tasked with leading the Baltimore community in the aftermath of this horrifying event. During this Holy Week let us be united in prayer with the people of Baltimore.

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine director meets with Holy Father

Melissa Miscevic Bramble, director of Operations at the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine and Historic Site greets Pope Francis at the Vatican.

During the March 7-8 International Conference Women in the Church: Builders of Humanity held in Rome, our very own Melissa Miscevic Bramble, director of Operations at the Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Shrine and Historic Site in Fonda N.Y., gave a presentation on Kateri! Melissa is doing fantastic ministry alongside the Shrine’s chaplain, Friar Joe Angelini, OFM Conv. It is great to see the 1938 dream of Thomas Grassmann continue to grow!

Melissa even got to meet Pope Francis, who sends his regards to all of Our Lady of the Angels Province. Take a look at her presentation, linked below. One point Melissa stressed was that, when Kateri faced opposition and difficulties in her life, she went deeper into her relationship with Jesus.

By Our Lady of the Angels Provincial Friar Michael Heine, OFM Conv.

+Gerald Seipp Embraced by Sister Death

Br. Gerald (“Gerry”) Seipp, OFM Conv., 80, a Franciscan Friar of Our Lady of the Angels Province, died peacefully on Monday, March 11, 2024, in Granby, Conn.

Born in Baltimore on Apr. 11, 1943, he was the younger son of Joseph and Anna Mary (nee Rezed) Seipp. After spending some time at Patterson High School, he withdrew to care for his ailing mother. After nine years working as manager of the Record Department at Two Guys’ Department Store on Belair Rd., Br. Gerry entered the Novitiate of the Conventual Franciscans in Ellicott City, Md., in 1973.

Br. Gerry made his first profession of vows on Aug. 15, 1974. He professed solemn vows on Aug. 15, 1977. Perhaps most remembered for his simplicity and love of trains, Br. Gerry gave more than 50 years of witness to the vocation of the religious brother in the Church.

Between 1977 and 1982, Br. Gerry ministered with the Militia of the Immaculate, based in Granby, Mass. His work there caught the attention of the minister general, who requested Br. Gerry be sent to Rome to assist with the Marian Apostolate of the Order. Instead, he moved to Boswell, Penn., where he served as a pastoral minister, laying some of the early groundwork for religious brothers’ involvement in parish life.

Between 1983 and 1996, Br. Gerry was assigned to Immaculate Heart of Mary in Baltimore. He again assisted in a parochial setting in Trenton from 1996 to 2000, before beginning a 16-year presence at the Shrine of Saint Anthony in Ellicott City. In 2016, Br. Gerry moved to Rensselaer N.Y. In 2019, he was assigned to Chicopee, Mass. With declining health, Br. Gerry moved to his final assignment at Our Lady of Angels Care Center in Enfield, Conn.

Visitation hours will be held Friday, March 15 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Our Lady of the Angels Care Center (1315 Enfield St., Enfield Conn.), with a Franciscan Wake Service at 4 p.m.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Monday, March 18, at 2:00 p.m., at the Shrine of Saint Anthony (12290 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City Md.), followed by burial in St. Stanislaus Cemetery, Baltimore. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Franciscan Education Fund (12300 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City MD 21042).