World Day for Consecrated Life 2020

February 2nd is the World Day for Consecrated Life. It will be celebrated in parish churches on the weekend of February 1-2, 2020 and is a great weekend to share our way of life and to invite all of the faithful to pray for vocations while encouraging those in discernment to consider a vocation to Consecrated Life with our Order. Through our ministries and vocation events, we friars will attempt to focus in on this topic at weekend Liturgies, in the classroom and at our other ministry sites. We share Vocation Stories, encourage visits our province YouTube channel and Facebook Page, as well as the North American Province’s collaborative Vocation Website, Novitiate Website, and Postulancy Facebook page.
Thank you all for helping to foster vocations to our way of life. We ask for your prayers for men who have begun application and those considering application, to the Order in July 2020. We pray that Our Lady of the Angels and St. Francis of Assisi will intercede for us, so that more men will be drawn to serve Jesus with us.

Heads Up!
In a few months, our province will be hosting another “Come and See Weekend” for those in discernmment, as well as other single, healthy Catholic men aged 18-40, who are looking to experience a weekend living and serving with our friars. Participants will meet at our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD) to visit with several friaries and ministries in the Maryland/DC area. This is a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the day to day life of a friar;  to see what it means to be a as Franciscan Friars Conventual. You must be registered to participate, so email our Vocations Office soon. We  do have a page on this site devoted entirely to Vocations. Take a moment to check it out and prayerfully consider adding our province to your discernment journey.

Meet Our Vocation Director

Friar Russell Governale, OFM Conv. was born in Brooklyn, NY. He began to discern Religious Life and Priesthood when he was a student in high school. He desired to do something with his life that would serve God and neighbor. Although he was good friends with the Diocesan priest at his school, he did not feel the call to Diocesan life, but rather too, Religious Life. He found some advertisements in his Catholic newspaper about different communities and contacted them for information. He was amazed by the literature that the Conventual Franciscans sent him and continued to communicate with them. After visiting the seminary and Novitiate he saw that there were many men who were his age who had joined. In 1976, he decided to join them after his high school graduation in 1978.

Congratulations Frei Jesus & Frei Ricardo!

First Profession of Simple {Temporary} Vows is a stage in the formation of a friar, when he chooses to live as a Franciscan Friar Conventual; professing the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.  Most often, these Simple Vows will be renewed at least once during a friar’s Post-Novitiate years of continuing study and formation. Solemn Vows are perpetual and therefore not professed until after the friar completes all stages of formation. If the friar discerns the priesthood, that formation will follow solemn profession.
The time between the temporary and perpetual vow profession is also often the formation period when friars reflect as to whether they wish to live as a friar priest or friar brother. Those choosing the path to priesthood will be affirmed as Acolyte and as Lector during this time frame, in preparation for the transitional diaconate step prior to the priesthood.

December 11, 2019: Two of our confreres from of our Immaculate Conception Custody (Brazil) – Frei Jesus Rodrigues do Amaral, OFM Conv. & Frei Ricardo Elvis Arruda Bezerra, OFM Conv. – renewed their vows and were instituted in the ministry of Lector. Many of their confreres were on hand to celebrate with them. Online Album

Frei Jesus Rodrigues do Amaral, OFM Conv. renews his vows at the hands of his Custódio Provincial, Frei Ronaldo Gomes da Silva, OFM Conv.

Frei Ricardo Elvis Arruda Bezzera, OFM Conv. renews his vows at the hands of his Custódio Provincial, Frei Ronaldo Gomes da Silva, OFM Conv.

Frei Ricardo and Frei Jesus receive a blessing from their Custódio Provincial

Frei Jesus receives his book of the Gospels from Frei Ronaldo, as he is installed as Lector

Frei Ricardo receives his book of the Gospels from Frei Ronaldo, as he is installed as Lector

Note on Minor Ministries: Prior to 1963 and the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), during the formation process on the road to the priesthood, men were affirmed to four Minor and three Major Ministries. Now there are two; Acolyte and Lector (Can. 230 §1 and §2) in preparation for the transitional diaconate step prior to the priesthood.  These are two stable “Ordinary” ministries, as opposed to  “Extraordinary” ministries of temporary designation afforded to those not in preparation for the priesthood

Read more on our Order’s Site

Vocation News

In this season of preparation for the Coming of the Messiah and the celebration of Christmas, the friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province are all so aware of the need to prepare ourselves for these feasts, as well as to help prepare those of our ministries. I am so aware of this as we pray for vocations and work to encourage others to share our way of life. Oh, how we need to prepare others to enjoy Franciscan life and service in the Church!
In November, our province hosted a “Come and See” weekend for six participants, at our Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD.  Many of our friars in the area assisted. Our student friars in formation shared their time & talent, and the hospitality of the friars who serve at the Shrine, and on the same Ellicott City Campus – at our Provincial House helped the participants to get a good sense of who we are and how we live. Although several participants expressed a desire for “more time,” we are hopeful that some of them may join our province.
Perhaps during this Advent, our greater community, including those served in our varied ministries, may make an ardent effort to encourage at least one man to consider life as a Franciscan Friar Conventual … maybe even contact our Vocation Office. Perhaps some college students who are home on Christmas break may be open to this invitation.
Thank you for all of your prayers and efforts to encourage our way of life. May the mysteries of Advent warm your hearts and the hearts of those we serve.

Russell Governale, OFM Conv.

How Will I Know

National Vocation Awareness Week

Photo from the July 21, 2016 Simple Profession Celebration, as our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. received the First Profession of our Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience from friar Franck Lino Sokpolie, OFM Conv., witnessed by Fr. Maurice Richard, OFM Conv. – Assistant Director of our Interprovincial Novitiate (Arroyo Grande, CA). As Simple Vows are Temporary, he renewed them July 1, 2019. Keep him and all of our friars in formation in your continued prayers.

National Vocation Awareness Week (NVAW) will be celebrated by the Catholic Church in the USA (as well as several Canadian Dioceses) during the week of November 3-9, 2019.  We friars of Our Lady of the Angels Province ask the faithful to include in your intentions, prayers for in increase in men being called to serve God as friar brothers and friar priests, as members of our Order of Franciscan Friars Conventual (OFM Conv.). May these men be inspired by Our Lord Jesus Christ, while benefiting from the support of our faith communities and their families, to respond generously to God’s gift of a VOCATION.
This annual week-long celebration promotes prayer, education, inspiration, example and aid to families supporting those in vocation discernment. This organized effort first began in 1976, when the USCCB designated the 28th Sunday of the year as National Vocation Awareness Week. This celebration was moved in 1997 to coincide with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, traditionally falling on January 13th or on the 1st Sunday following the Feast of the Epiphany. Since 2014, it has been celebrated the first full week of November, making this year: November 3-9, 2019.

O Father, You desire all of us to be happy.
Stir up the grace of a religious vocation in the hearts
of many men and women.
Grant to them the willingness and generosity
to give of themselves, their lives, their time and their talents
to the service of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord and
Savior, and to His Holy Church.
May more men and women go forth as priests, deacons,
brothers and sisters to bring the truths of our Catholic faith
to all others so that soon they, too, may know You better
and love You more…
and serving You, be truly happy.

News from the Novitiate

Our Lady of the Angels Province Novice, friar Christopher M. Fernández, OFM Conv. (lighter habit) is pictured here with the rest of his Novitiate Class and his Novice Director & friar of St. Bonaventure Province, Br. Joseph Wood, OFM Conv. (at right). St. Bonaventure Province also has a Novice in this class, friar Michael Hintze, OFM Conv., and Our Lady of Consolation Province has three friar Novices – friar Alex Gould, OFM Conv., friar Roberto Macias-Marin, OFM Conv. and friar Joshua Sherls, OFM Conv.

In our desire to offer the novices some local culture, St. Bonaventure Province friar – Br. Joseph Wood, OFM Conv. (Novitiate Director) and Our Lady of the Angles Province friar – Fr. Maurice Richard, OFM Conv. (Novitiate Assistant Director) annually lead a visit to the nearby homestead of the Dana family. The Dana Adobe,” located in the nearby town of Nipomo, CA was the original 1837 Mexican land grant offered to William Dana, a sea captain from Boston, and a Roman Catholic convert with 21 children. Our novitiate property in Arroyo Grande, CA is located within the 39,000 acre boundary of the former ranch. As the town of Nipomo continues to restore the house and grounds of this Cultural Center, we too have added our assistance in the creation of a pioneer kitchen garden, now known as “The Franciscan Garden.” Inspired by the recent encyclical, Laudato Si,” and the progress being made at the Little Portion Farm (Ellicott City, MD) our novices are also working beside professionals and volunteers in an appreciation of “caring for creation” through organic horticulture.

If you feel life as a Franciscan Friar Conventual may be a part of your vocation discernment journey, contact Our Lady of the Angels Province Vocation Director, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. at

Novitiate’s Facebook Page

Congratulations Friar Terence, friar Peter George and friar John Paul!

On Sunday October 20, 2019, the three Novices of our Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody (aka the Greyfriars of Great Britain/Ireland) Professed Simple Vows. Fr. Terence Bateman, OFM Conv. (back wall), friar Peter George Flynn, OFM Conv. (far left) and friar John Paul Banks, OFM Conv. (kneeling) made their vows into the hands of their Custos, the Very Rev. Ciprian Budău, OFM Conv., witnessed by Friar Gerard Mary Toman, OFM Conv. (standing with vows) and Friar Giles Zakowicz, OFM Conv. (Formation Director and a friar of Our Lady of the Angels Province – standing far right).

Vocation News

October 28, 2019 ~ Feast of Sts. Simon & Jude

May the Lord grant you His peace!
As we friars celebrate the Feast of the Apostles, Simon and Jude, we remember great gift that we have been given; our vocations and the call to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, as the Apostles and other Saints did. Last week, our newest Vocation Poster (above) showing the men who are continuing their Franciscan journeys, as they prepare for service as “apostles,” was published. Posters have now has been distibuted to our varied ministries.
On the weekend of November 8-10, 2019, we will be hosting our next “Come and See” weekend. Thanks be to God, six men are signed up to attend it. Please accompany us in prayer as these men come to see our way of life and continue to discern their evangelical and apostolic call.
Once again, thank you for your support and encouragement of vocations. I will be happy to be available to any of your ministries to speak about or present on Franciscan Life. Thanks for being wonderful followers—apostles — of the Lord.

Russell Governale, OFM Conv.
Vocations Director ~ Our Lady of the Angels Province

Note: Our Vocation Office has recently updated some of our vocation literature. If you are interested in printing these items with your parishes, schools, youth groups and young adult organizations, please feel free to share. If you want a copy of our Vocation Poster for your parish or school, or if you have any questions about discernment as a Franciscan Friar Conventual, please contact me at

All About Vocations 2019

Franciscan Friar Conventual Brochure

How Will I Know

Life of Francis

Come and See ~ November 8-10, 2019

In a few short months, our province will be holding our next “Come and See” weekend.
Prayerfully consider spending November 8-10, 2019 with our friars,
and get to know a little more about what it means to be a Franciscan Friar Conventual.

If any of our friars are serving in your are, please feel free to contact them to get more information on including our Order in your discernment journey. If available, they will set up an appointment or simply chat with you as soon as they are able. Visit our webiste’s “Locations Page” to see links to almost all of our province ministries. If we are not in ministry near you, for more information about the “Come and See” weekend or to be connected with a friar to talk about your discernment, please email our Vocation Director,
Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv.
at or call him at 718-510-5822.

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