On Monday, May 1, 2019 – the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker – Religious Brothers from the many Orders will celebrate their 3rd Annual Religious Brothers Day. Religious Brothers, including those from our own province, serve in varied Apostolates. Last year, in celebration of Religious Brothers Day, Our Lady of the Angels province friar, Br. Emmanuel Wenke, OFM Conv. presented a reflection to the students of Archbishop Curley to whom he serves as a Theology Instructor. (Listen Here) In addition, in 2018 several of our Friar Brothers presented individual written reflections. (Read Here)
Taken at the July 7, 2018 Ordination to the Deaconate Mass at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr (photo cred – Basilica)
It is with great joy that our friars will gather 11: 00 a.m., on Saturday, April 27, 2019
for the Ordination to the Presbyterate of our confrere, Friar Christopher Dudek, OFM Conv.,
by Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, of the Diocese of Springfield, MA, at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, in Chicopee, MA.
After 10 years of formation, study and ministry, which included several years of study in Rome, Friar Chris will celebrate the sacrament of Holy Orders with our province friars, family, friends and parishioners of the Basilica; his home parish. In addition, our province welcomes Friar Benedict Abugu, OFM Conv. of our Province’s Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody to be Ordained to the Priesthood along with Friar Chris. Friar Benedict was Ordained to the Diaconate in 2017and has been serving as a Deacon in Liverpool, England.
Since Friar Chris’ July 7, 2018 Ordination to the Deaconate (click on the photo above for more from that day), he has been serving the people of Baltimore, Maryland. As Deacon for the Baltimore Pastorate of St. Casimir Church & St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, he has had the opportunity to serve the faithful of two Archdiocese of Baltimore Pastorates, which include three more parishes, all served by seven of our friars. Once the 2018-2019 school year began, Friar Chris added to that ministry, his service as Campus Minister and Instructor of Theology & Modern Language, at our Archbishop Curley High School. There he lives with five more friars; four of whom also serve at the high school and one serves as the Vicar for Religious for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Read More about Friar Chris.
In the Fall of 2018, our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD) added a Young Adults Community program. Throughout the year, this community of friars & pilgrims host spiritual and social events, as well as bring awareness of the shrine and its facilities to the greater area Young Adult Ministry programs of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington DC and their neighboring diocese.
Recently, our young adult friars and our friars in formation, led by the shrine’s Young Adult Community Animator – friar Franck Sokpolie, OFM Conv., along with the Director of the Shrine – Fr. Eric de la Pena, OFM Conv., hosted a social night with night prayers. The group gathered in the Shrine’s Glass Room for games, snack and socializing and then ended the night with night prayers in the Shrine’s Chapel.
The Next upcoming event is an Ecumenical Taizé prayer service April 17, 2019, the Wednesday of Holy Week. Open to everyone, come share an evening service of prayer, song, and contemplation by candlelight, from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m.
Franciscan Friars Conventual Responding to Real Needs –
Helping to Turn Strangers into Neighbors
On February 21, 2017, Pope Francis in an address to the VI International Forum: Migration and Peace, felt compelled to address the nature of contemporary migratory movements, which increases challenges presented to the political community, civil society and to the Church, and which amplifies the urgency for a coordinated and effective response to these challenges. Our shared response, according to our Holy Father Francis, “may be articulated by four verbs: to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate.” Have you ever wondered what it is like living in a world, city, or local neighborhood, where your very presence arouses contempt, suspicion, prejudice or common indecency? Where judgements are made of you based on the tone of your skin, the first language you speak or the accent present in your words? Where you as the stranger are literally untrusted, despised or rejected? Where your description begins with a negative – illegal? Where the term friend, neighbor, brother or sister are unspoken?
Sometimes we forget that the words we choose to identify another person do make a difference in whether they meet with our approval, are treated with respect and dignity or vilified and turned away.
Ever given a second thought, to what is to be in hand to enter your child’s school, pick-up a pharmacy prescription, enter a hospital, sit in a library or present when you use a credit card?
Ever question, why we do what we do to others who like ourselves are merely looking for opportunity and means to provide for themselves and those they love and care for?
Most of us perhaps fail to ponder and take for granted that when a person, be they an officer of the law, pharmacist, teacher, sports coach or cashier, ask for a picture identification we readily show a driver’s license, passport or BJ’s / Costco ID which has a picture, address and baseline information stating who we are and where we live. It is not so easy for everyone. Essentially, it is the reality of tens of thousands reaching into the millions now living within our country’s borders, cities, villages, towns and rural areas. They are the souls we greet in the market, on the streets, in our churches, work places and gatherings. They are the anawim of God, loved and cherished by Jesus, and named by him as our brothers and sisters.
As part of small but growing effort, the Blessed Sacrament Faith Community and the Franciscan Friars Conventual together with the local Burlington Police Chief, law enforcement officers, and a dedicated group of volunteers representing various religious traditions and families came together two years ago – May 2015 – hoping to make a meaningful dent into a lived problem. Namely, “How to help turn strangers into neighbors”. The result of our coming together was the formation of the Faith ID Card Task Force of Alamance County.
With financial and moral support from the Conventual Friars of Our Lady of Angels and Our Lady of Consolation Provinces and the approval of Bishop Burbidge, then Bishop of the Diocese of Raleigh, we setup a specialized FAITH ID CARD PROGRAM linked to an expanding program here in North Carolina known as the FaithAction Network.
So What Is A Faith ID Card Program? An ID card is just a piece of plastic until a person gives it a face and story, and our community gives the card value. We believe each person in our community, regardless of race, culture, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration or socio-economic status has inherent dignity and worth, and is deserving of a valid form of identification. At this particularly divisive time in state and national politics on issues of immigration and diversity, community ID programs bring greater dignity, access and hope to our newest neighbors, while building safer, more inclusive and united communities for all.
The Faith ID Card Program is a connected group of faith communities, nonprofits, and grassroots movements that recognize the urgency of valid ID cards for members of our community who may have limited access to government issued forms of identification, and the importance of creating a unified model and vetting process that community partners (law enforcement, health centers, schools, businesses, and other city agencies) can trust and use to better identify, serve, and protect all residents in cities across North Carolina and the United States.
The Blessed Sacrament Faith ID Card Program is part of the FaithAction ID Network. We are proud to say we are the first franchise so to speak. We call ourselves In the past two years the network has experienced tremendous growth and community ID programs now exist in Guilford, Alamance, Forsyth, Randolph, Orange, and Mecklenburg counties, and may soon be expanding to Wake, Moore, Montgomery, and other counties throughout North Carolina and there is a satellite sponsored by Catholic Charities in Cincinnati, Ohio. Network members agree to utilize the same community ID model to ensure the integrity and further the growth of new and existing programs. Shared hallmarks of FaithAction ID network programs include:
Ensuring each program has a strong home base that can effectively communicate and coordinate a community ID drive with staff and volunteers
Utilizing the same policies, procedures, and vetting process to receive an ID card
Ensuring partnership with local law enforcement and other community partners who formally agree to support the program and attend ID drives
Utilizing the 4 stage ID drive model in a large, safe space (welcome, orientation, document check, photo/computer intake)
Facilitating dialogue throughout the ID drive between ID participants and law enforcement and other community partners with the goal of building greater understanding, trust and cooperation
Providing the same or similar look as other network programs on the front of the card, and signifying you are a part of the FaithAction ID network on the back
Printing and distributing hundreds of ID cards within two weeks of each drive, and securing the personal information of all participants
Participating in monthly calls to share experiences and best practices with other network programs
*There may be some flexibility and unique characteristics of each program, depending on the needs of each community. *All participants must attend a mandatory orientation at an ID drive, and provide proof of photo identification (passport, foreign national ID card, driver’s license, matricula consular) and proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, current rental agreement, medical record) in order to receive an ID card from a FaithAction ID Network member.
Finally, network members believe it is crucial we continue to work for a driver’s license for all residents at the state level, as well as lasting immigration reform at the federal level. In the meantime, we believe community ID programs represent a very important step forward in creating safer, more inclusive, and united communities for all – a much needed example of positive collaboration at this divided time in our nation’s history.
In closing let me say, Thank You, to our Conventual Franciscan Provinces’ leadership and members for helping make this program possible. To date, the Faith ID Card Program here in Burlington, NC, has distributed over 5000 Faith ID Cards. Without your financial and fraternal support, the effort might never have gotten off the ground. The challenge now is to keep moving forward towards the realization of its mission and vision, a place where strangers become neighbors.
An article entitled, “Community ID Program Builds trust between migrants and police,” by Maria Benevento, appeared in the April 5, 2019 online edition of the National Catholic Reporter. To read the full article, click on the following link: ID Card Program
Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv. (President of Archbishop Curley High School) presented the Cornerstone Awards. Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. (Vicar Provincial for Our Lady of the Angels Province) was the main celebrant and homilist. The Mass was served by our friar deacon, Friar Christopher Dudek, OFM Conv. (Campus Minister, Theology & Modern Language Instructor at Archbishop Curley, as well as Deacon for St. Casimir Church & St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, Baltimore)Last year, our Baltimore, MD high school ministry, Archbishop Curley High School, launch its first Cornerstone Day, as a day honoring all those of the “Curley Family” since the placing of the school’s cornerstone on April 17, 1962. Each year, a day in April will be set aside to recognize and honor individuals and groups who have promoted the mission of Archbishop Curley High School.
Our friars have been serving at Curley since the beginning stages of its development in 1961. Last year, during the inaugural year for Cornerstone Day, Our Lady of the Angels Province Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. received the first Cornerstone Award, on behalf of all of the friar who have served through the years.
April 2, 2019: During the livestreamed Cornerstone Mass,
celebrated by Our Lady of the Angels Province Vicar Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv.,
this year’s honorees were saluted and awards were presented by
Curley’s President, Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv.
This year’s honorees: Mission Support Cornerstone: The Alumni Association
Scholarship Donors Cornerstone: Joe ’69 and Arleen Citro Dedicated Volunteers Cornerstone: Dave ’80 and Darlene Gerstmyer & Tim ’71 and Rita Everd
Unsung Alumnus Cornerstone: Dr. Dave Lumsden ’79
Long Serving Faculty and Staff Cornerstone: Richard “Coach” Patry
Co-Editor, Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. presents the two-volume Practical Commentary on the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, which was almost five years in the making, and will be available for purchase by the end of April 2019.
The Stations of the Cross are of Franciscan origin and are attributed to St. Leonard of Port Maurice, a saintly Franciscan Friar who preached on the sufferings of Christ. For those who cannot get to a church location but want to pray the Stations of the Cross, our pastoral ministry at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr’s website shares an online version featuring the finely sculpted and painted figures in each of the Stations of the Cross which are attractively set in large niches around the Basilica. These begin in the front of the church with the first through seventh stations on the right and the eighth through the fourteenth on the left side.
In English with Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. – Our Lady of the Angels Province JPIC Chairman
St. Philip Benizi Catholic Church (under the pastoral leadership of Our Lady of the Angels Province friars, Fr. John Zoziol, OFM Conv. – Pastor, Fr. Vincent Gluc, OFM Conv. – Parochial Vicar, Fr. Luis Palacios Rodriguez, OFM Conv. – Parochial Vicar and Fr. Martin Breski, OFM Conv. – in Residence) celebrated a Lenten Parish Mission on March 23-27, 2019 with the theme: “Racism: Moving through Resistance to Reconciliation.”
The Parish Mission was presented in English by Friar Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. (Our Province Chairman of JPIC – Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation) and in Spanish by Fray (Friar) Fabián Esteban Arrieta Botero, OFM Conv. (Vocation Director for the Franciscanos Conventuales Friars – Columbia – and Parochial Vicar for Immaculate Conception Parish in Filandia, Colombia). Friar Michael and Friar Fabián began the Mission by preaching during all of the weekend Masses, then preached during the Morning Masses, Monday-Wednesday, followed by Mission talks after each Mass. The 7:00 p.m. evening presentations were followed by a reception.
In Spanish by Fr. Fabián Esteban, OFM Conv. – Franciscan Friars Conventual of Columbia Vocation Director
Here is an update on the activity with our Vocation Office so far in 2019, and of the good work that our friars are doing to encourage vocations to the Franciscan Friars Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels Province. This a busy time with applicants getting in their documents, as they seek to make application for the next year’s postulant class.
At the end of January, Fr. Russell Governale, OFM Conv. – Vocation Director was invited to our province pastoral ministry in Winston-Salem, NC (Our Lady of Fatima Mission & Our Lady of Mercy Church, under the leadership of Fr. Carl Zdancewicz, OFM Conv. – Pastor & Fr. Joseph Angelini, OFM Conv. – Pastor Emeritus) to speak to the youth of the parish about vocations. It was a joint effort with Sr. Maria (Peaches) Dela Paz, OSF, of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, who is a novice and was serving at the parish at that time. It was encouraging to see how much the students knew about St. Francis and how attentive they were to our presentations.
In February, Friar Russell led a pilgrimage for students from our high school ministry of St. Francis High School (Athol Springs, NY) to Assisi and Rome. Fourteen men attended and their desire for God and to know St. Francis and St. Clare was truly palpable. It was a moving experience for the students, their chaperones, Friar Russell and Fr. Alvin Te, OFM, who also led the pilgrimage. (Our friars serving at the high school are Fr. Michael Sajda, OFM Conv. – President, Fr. Matthew Foley, OFM Conv. – Director of Campus Ministry & Instructor, and Fr. Maximilian Avila Pacheco, OFM Conv. – Instructor.)
In mid March, Friar Russell was able to be present for the Sophomore Retreats of our high school ministry of Archbishop Curley High School (Baltimore, MD), held at our Shrine of St. Anthony (Ellicott City, MD). Although those students are young, seeds of vocation are being planted. He looks forward to returning to St. Francis High School to attend their Sophomore retreat in April, where he is sure the young men there will also have vocational awareness presented to them. (Our friars serving at Archbishop Curley High School are Fr. Donald Grzymski, OFM Conv. – President, Br. Lawrence LaFlame, OFM Conv. – Instructor, Br. Nicholas Romeo, OFM Conv. – Instructor, Friar Chris Dudek, OFM Conv. – Campus Minster & Instructor, Br. Emmanuel Wenke, OFM Conv. – Instructor) (Our friars serving at the Shrine of St. Anthony include Fr. Ericson de la Pena, OFM Conv. – Director, Fr. Hilary Brzostowski, OFM Conv. – Shrine Associate, Br. Douglas McMillan, OFM Conv. – Shrine Assistance, Fr. Thomas Lavin, OFM Conv. – Chaplain at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School & Shrine Assistance, Fr. Angelo Geiger, OFM Conv. – Shrine Assistance, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. – JPIC Commission Chairman & Shrine Assistance and Fr. Emmanuel Oposika Acquaye, OFM Conv. – Shrine Assistance.)
Last week, Friar Russell was once again invited to our ministries served by our friars of St. Anthony of Padua Friary, in Durham, NC. There the friars are very present to promoting vocations to our way of life. He was able to meet with seven men from Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill while he was there. We pray that the witness of the friars and the Holy Spirit inspires them to continue discerning Religious Life. (Our friars of St. Anthony of Padua Friary are Fr. Brad Heckathorne, OFM Conv. – Guardian, Continuing Formation Commission & Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Duke Catholic Center, Fr. Bart Karwacki, OFM Conv. – Pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church, Fr. Bill Robinson, OFM Conv. – Parochial Vicar & Associate Campus Minister at Newman Catholic Student Center Parish ~UNC Chapel Hill, Fr. Michael Martin, OFM Conv. – Director of Campus Ministry at Duke Catholic Center, Fr. Nicholas Spano, OFM Conv. – Pastor & Campus Minister at Newman Catholic Student Center Parish ~UNC Chapel Hill.)
We pray that the spirit of St. Francis inspires others to follow Jesus, as Francis did. Please keep encouraging vocations.