Extraordinary Chapter ~ Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody

The Extraordinary Chapter of our Province’s Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody was held February 17-21, 2020 at our Franciscan Church of St. Anthony, in Liverpool. The Minister General of our Order, Most Reverend Fr. Carlos Trovarelli, OFM Conv. (pictured at left) opened and closed the Chapter, asking our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. to preside. Twenty-two friars participated, including the Minister General. The friars made time to pray in the nearby Allerton Cemetery at the graves in which many friars of the Custody and former Province are buried.

Video featuring Friar John of the Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody published by EWTN as a Day 1 aid the people of England to prayerfully prepare for the historic rededication of England as the Dowry of Mary, for 33 days.

Anniversary of the Birth of St. John Henry Newman

St. John Henry Newman was born on February 21, 1801. Our Lady of the Angels Province friar ~ Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, OFM Conv. prepared this brief Witness to be shared today:

Who knew? In 1969, +Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, OFM Conv. asked us Franciscan seminarians if we wanted to study the Anglican and Catholic Sermons of Fr. John Henry Newman. In 1973, he brought Fr. Adrian J. Boekraad, MHM, one of the first generation of a small but intensive group of careful scholars of Newman’s thought to teach us. In 1994, my research centering on Newman’s “Letter to Norfolk” (1874) in relation to Vatican II earned the doctorate from the Humanities Department at Syracuse University. In 2009, I met Notre Dame’s Cyril O’Regan and learned quickly what a devoted Newman scholar he is. In 2017, under Cyril’s recommendation and guidance, Notre Dame’s Theology Department awarded the doctorate for my research about Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner’s life and Franciscan thought which included an extensive Newmanian part. Fr. Peter confirmed that I represented the development of his life’s thought correctly. 50 years after Fr. Peter led us to love Newman, on October 13, 2019, in St. Peter’s Square, I joined a massive crowd of witnesses to Pope Francis as he canonized St. John Henry Newman (pictured at left). I was in tears of joy, gratitude, and prayer and this remains by the grace of God. With Cyril O’Regan I continue to research St. Newman’s life at Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life and the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure, Rome. Who knew? 

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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
Easter Sunday, 2019

Provincial Visit to the Diocese of Savannah

The annual fundraising “Deimel Legacy Ball” in Columbus, Georgia, is the social event of the year for the Catholics in the Columbus Deanery of the Diocese of Savannah. Hosted by the Bishop of Savannah, The Most Reverend Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv, this year’s celebration was held on February 1, 2020, and supported by the parishes of Columbus Deanery including: Christ the King, Holy Family, and three parishes served by our friars ~ Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Anne Church, and St. Benedict the Moor. Proceeds from the Deimel Legacy Ball support tuition assistance at St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School, the only Catholic PreK-12th Grade, college prep school serving the Southwestern portion of Georgia. Bishop Hartmayer, who is also a friar of our province. joined his confreres serving in Columbus, along with our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., for an evening of fun and fellowship. (more photos)

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Robert Schlageter, OFM Conv. serves as the friary Guardian and as Pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church, and in turn of St. Anne-Pacelli Catholic School. He is joined in pastoral ministry there by Fr. Paul Pantiru, OFM Conv. (a Romanian friar serving in our province) and Fr. Manny Vascocelos, OFM Conv. (who is also Campus Ministry Chaplain for Columbus State University, often featured in a reflection video series via our Companions of St. Anthony ministry). The school’s mascot is the “Vikings!” They gifted our friars with appropriate headgear! (pictured above: Friar James, Friar Manny, Friar Robert, Fr. Pablo Migone (Docese of Savannah Chancellor, Vocations Director & Assistant to Bishop Hartmayer), Friar Noel Danielewicz, OFM Conv. (Pastor of St. Benedict the Moor Parish), and Bishop Hartmayer. Not pictured in the group shot, but also serving in the Columbus area is Fr. Bob Benko, OFM Conv., who is the Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church and Vicar Forane of the Columbus Deanery (insert at right).

During his February visit to Savannah, our Minister Provincial also took the opportunity to tour diocesan center and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Bishop Hartmayer has been working with the Holy Name Province (OFM’s) to promote the Cause of the Georgia Martyrs. The OFM’s have been working toward this goal since the 1950s, and Bishop Hartmayer has been trying to expedite the process. He recently visited with Father Giovangiuseppe Califano, OFM, the Postulator of the Cause, who is overseeing the redaction of the final historical document which will be presented to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints next year.  Though greater awareness of and devotion to the five martyrs is needed in Georgia where they ministered to the indigenous population. When our friars moved to serve the faithful of the Columbus, GA area, they chose to name the new friary “Franciscan Martyrs Friary” in honor of Friar Pedro de Corpa and Companions, also known as the Georgia Martyrs.




News from our Friars in Brazil

On February 8, 2020, the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. in Brazil celebrated the simple profession of Friar Fernando PEREIRA DE ANDRADE JUNIOR. The ceremony took place at the São Francisco de Assis Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Aesthetic Rationality: Notes on an Affinity between Newman and Scotus”

Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner‘s groundbreaking originality in discovering commonalities between the thought of Bl. John Duns Scotus and St. John Henry Newman is the lead to an essay by Prof. William A. Frank from the University of Dallas which was published in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, December 24, 2019, edition. It is included in a collection of scholarly articles on both Duns Scotus and Newman. 

[William A. Frank, the University of Dallas, recognizes the original research of Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, OFM Conventual in the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, December 24, 2019.]

Philosophical work on the relation between the thought of John Henry Newman and John Duns Scotus is not commonplace in Scotus studies, nor in Newman studies, for that matter. There are in Newman’s vast corpus of books, notes, sermons, letters, novels, and poetry, some though very few, direct references to Duns Scotus and his thought. It is likely he had little acquaintance with the Subtle Doctor’s printed works; most of his familiarity seems to have come from secondary sources in the contemporary theology of his day.
Nonetheless there are found in Newman and Scotus a range of affinities in philosophical approaches and sensibilities that run deep in both thinkers. Many of these have been identified and discussed in a recent book entitled The Newman-Scotus Reader.[1] Contributions to the book that lean toward Scotus studies are Timothy Noone, Olivier Boulnois, Mary Beth Ingham, and Cyril O’Regan. Those who particularly represent the Newman side of the conversation are John T. Ford, Geoffrey Rowell, and Robert C. Christie. There are also two authors who give more or less equal voice to both Scotus and Newman in their contributions. Patricia Hutchison reflects on the potential in Scotus and Newman for the advancement of Catholic higher education in the twenty-first century. And Peter Damian Fehlner, with his remarkable capacity for integration, introduces teachings on Scotus, Bonaventure, and Newman, ranging widely over such topics as the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation, theological method, faith and reason, the natural and supernatural, metaphysics, anthropology and epistemology. The editor, Edward Ondrako, offers, from the perspective of Scotus and Newman, critiques of Hegel and Kant, as well as an insightful appreciation of Gerard Manley Hopkin’s poetry. As a whole, the book draws out a number of philosophically interesting commonalities in the thought of Scotus and Newman. I shall not attempt to trace any of the commonalities woven through the rich complex of ideas in Reader. Instead, I propose to discuss a feature common to Scotus and Newman that was not the focus of any direct attention in Ondrako’s Reader.

[1] The Newman-Scotus Reader: Contexts and Commonalities, ed. Edward J. Ondrako, OFM Conv (New Bedford MA: Academy of the Immaculate, 2015, rpt. 2019).


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
Easter Sunday, 2019

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+Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, OFM. Conv.

Revitalized Franciscan Soy Candle Ministry

Postulants’ Workshop

On January 27-31, 2020, Friar Jude Winkler conducted a workshop on the Letters of St. Paul for the postulants of the Conventual Franciscan Federation (CFF). The workshop was held at the St. Bonaventure Friary in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Serving while in Formation

The majority our friars in the Post Novitiate stage of formation (Simply Professed) live in community in the St. Bonaventure Friary, in Silver Spring, MD, while continuing their education at the Catholic University of America, in Washington DC. However, two of our Post Novitiate friars, friar Antonio Moualeu, OFM Conv. and friar Fabian Adderley, OFM Conv. live in community in the San Damiano Friary, in San Antonio Tx, in order to continue their studies. Friar Antonio is finishing his doctoral program in Engineering. Friar Fabian is a student at the University of the Incarnate Word, in San Antonio, TX.
Both friars continue to spend time serving in varied ministries; an integral part of their 3 stages of formation (Postulancy, Novitiate & Post Novitiate).
On the first weekend in February 2020 at a local parish, friar Fabian was able to convey the Blessing of Throats in anticipation of the Feast Day of St. Blaise (February 3rd). St. Blaise is known as the patron saint of throat ailments, physicians, veterinarians, wool combers, those in the wool industry, and as an intercessor against attacks of wild animals.
If you feel called to add an inquiry into life as a Franciscan Friar Conventual of our province to your discernment journey, or if you simply want more information, visit our Vocation Page.

March for Life 2020

In January of 1974, the first of the Annual March for Life walks on Washington DC began, to lobby Congressional leadership to find a legislative solution to the Supreme Court’s decision to make abortion legal – on demand – throughout the United States in the decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. Soon after realizing congressional protection of the unborn was not on the horizon, the decision was made to hold a March for Life every year until Roe v. Wade is overturned. The theme for this 47th March for Life was “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.”

The March for Life is an inspiring, peaceful. Vibrant, and joy-filled rally of women, men, young people, and children from all across the country. Every year, tens of thousands of pro-lifers converge on the National Mall and march on Capitol Hill on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling which legalized abortion in all 50 states. It’s the largest annual human rights demonstration in the world. But this is not just a protest… TOGETHER, WE GATHER TO CELEBRATE LIFE. We celebrate each and every life, from the moment of conception. We envision a world where every life is celebrated, valued, and protected.”

Every year, our friars join with the people they serve to March as representative of those who have no voice; honoring life from conception to natural death. This year our Minister Provincial, the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv. was able to join a few of our ministries’ groups present. There were many more in attendance along with the estimated 225,000 participants, so it was amazing he was able to find these in the crowds.

Fr. James marched among the nearly 600 students of The Catholic University of America (Washington DC) participated in the 2020 March for Life. All classes were canceled from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 2020 to allow students to participate in the annual event. Included in this group were our friars serving at CUA in Campus Ministry, as well as our Student Friars who are in study there. {CUA Campus Ministry: Fr. Jude DeAngelo, OFM Conv., Fr. Andrzej Brzezinski, OFM Conv., Fr. Louis Maximilian Smith, OFM Conv. and Fr. Albert Puliyadan, OFM Conv.}

Friar James caught up with the young men of our Archbishop Curley High School (Baltimore, MD). Bookending this photo are two of our five friars who serve the men of Curley – Br. Manny Wenke, OFM Conv. and Br. Nick Romeo, OFM Conv. Fr. Chris Dudek, OFM Conv. was taking the photo.

The friars, students, and faculty of St. Francis High School (Athol Springs, NY) were well represented. They were even joined by Fr. Rick Rokitka, OFM Conv., a former instructor and our province’s current Treasurer. He now also serves as Co-Director of our Post Novitiate Friary in Silver Spring, MD. The campus minister at SFHS led the group – Fr. Matthew Foley, OFM Conv. can be see here, just above and to the right of Friar James.

One of our postulants, Jonathan Garcia Zenteno is in studies at CUA. He joyfully joined with our groups to march.

Friar James also ran into newly elected Bishop of Syracuse – Most Reverend Douglas J. Lucia. Our province has eight friars serving in the Diocese of Syracuse (New York).

Many more ministries of our province were also represented there that day.

+Dom Elias James Manning, OFM Conv. Memorial Mass

The Our Lady of the Angels Province’s Memorial Mass for our native son, the friar-missionary-bishop +Dom Elias James Manning, OFM Conv., took place on Saturday, January 18, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., at his home parish of St. Michael the Archangel in Troy, NY. Many of his family members, old friends and friars braved the cold weather to remember this humble friar, whose entire ministry was spent serving the people of his beloved Brazil. Assistant General of our Order and a friar of our province, Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv. was on hand to represent the Minister General. Frei Michel da Cruz Alves dos Santos, OFM Conv. and Frei José Luiz Magalhães, OFM Conv. traveled from Paraíba do Sul and the Araruama communities of Rio de Janeiro to represent our confreres from our Immaculate Conception Custody. Included among the several friars from our province on hand were our Minister Provincial – the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., our Vicar Provincial – Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. Four diocesan clergy concelebrated.

Frei Michel (left) and Frei José Luiz (right) came from a hot Brazilian summer to a typical Albany winter. Although Friar José Luiz served in ministry in the USA many years ago, it was Friar Michel’s first experience with the snow!