October 12-17, 2021: The Conventual Franciscan Federation (CFF) gathered at the Mexican American Catholic College Center (MACC) in San Antonio, TX. Included at the meeting were several Our Lady of the Angels Province friars: our Minister Provincial – the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., our Province Delegation of St. Francis of Assisi (Canada) Provincial Delegate & Delegate to the M.I. – Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv., Assistant General CFF – Fr. Jude Winkler, OFM Conv., and our Province JPIC Province Commission Chairman & pastor in two of our PA pastoral ministries – Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. Curia’s Newspost
October 21, 2021: Mass and Reception in Chancellor’s Residence at Syracuse University, where Our Lady of the Angels province friar – Fr. Gerry Waterman, OFM Conv. serves as Campus Minister. Each year, Chancellor/President Kent Syverud and his wife Dr. Ruth Chen host this university community event.
October 24, 2021: Many friars, parishioners, Oblate Sisters of Providence, and family members gathered at our pastoral ministry of St. Casimir Church, in Baltimore, MD to celebrate Brother Ed Handy, OFM Conv., and his 2021 60th Jubilee of Profession of Vows.
Fr. James has a few more friar visits in the Carolina’s to close out the month before he heads over to visit with our Province Custody in Great Britain/Ireland – The Greyfriars of Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody.
“Rebuild My Church” by Friar Ed Ondrako, OFM Conv.: August 2nd, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula, was the publication date for Ed’s newest book which features two detailed chapters each on the life of the late Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, OFM Conv.; on Bonaventure; on Duns Scotus; on Newman, and on Fr. Peter’s theological vision and why it matters.
My name is Cyril O’Regan, Huisking Professor of Theology, here at the University of Notre Dame. It is my pleasure to introduce Fr. Edward Ondrako, who will shortly have the stage to himself, and to say a few words about his new book, which Fr. Ondrako will speak to more fully. Rebuild my Church is the reworking and expansion of a dissertation that Fr. Ed. Ondrako completed under my supervision at Notre Dame. Intentionally, it constitutes a homage to his teacher and mentor Fr. Peter Fehlner, or Fr. Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, which probably captures just about all the aspects of Fehlner’s writing and teaching on the Church, its substance, office, and mission. In particular, Rebuild my Church wishes on the basis of a diagnosis of the erosion, drift, and assimilation of the Church in and into a secular modernity, to propose with and after Fehlner the retrieval of the Franciscan School whose lynchpins in the medieval period are Bonaventure and Duns Scotus, are developed in the modern period by Franciscan scholastics, and outside a direct causal line echoed by Newman, who in turn is echoed by Benedict XVI, though in his case he has direct access to the Franciscan tradition in his deep study of Bonaventure that constitutes his Habilitation (1958). But in line with the Franciscan genius that Christianity is first a form of life and only secondarily a form of thought, again after Fehlner Fr. Ondrako wants to insist upon the pivotal importance of the witness, and especially the witness of Saint Maximillian Kolbe who died at Auschwitz.
Above when speaking of Fr. Ondrako’s relation to Fr. Fehlner I used two prepositions for the price of one, that is, “with” as well as “after.” Fr. Ondrako knows as well as anyone that one does not do honor to a teacher by rote repetition. Rather, you honor the teacher by carrying forward what was opened up but not fully articulated. To speak in the language of tradition as tradio, the gift that is handed on exceeds what the hander-on offered on and sets the one who is gifted a task of developing as well as elucidating what is intended in what has been said. This is precisely what is happening in this rich text. If Fehlner’s major contribution lies in his ressourcement of Franciscan sources and the prophetic claim of their relevance for the renewal of the modern age and in the rebuilding of the Church, perhaps Fr. Ondrako has the keener sense of the evacuation of doctrines and practices effected by secular modern age and the drift of the Church towards the secular that makes retrieval so necessary. Without challenging Fehlner as the ultimate source of Fr. Ondrako’s inspiration, it might be said that Ondrako has plumbed deeper into Newman and Benedict XVI, for him the two prophets of both lamentation and jubilation in the modern period. This is a serious and learned book, but I also dare to suggest itself a prophetic one.
Congratulations to Fr. Ed for producing such a treasure. Since his energy is indefatigable and his passion without bounds, I suspect that we will be repeating today’s event of celebration and appreciation any number of times in the future. Cyril O’Regan
Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology
University of Notre Dame College of Arts and Letters
Throughout the Month of November, we are all called to continue to remember all those who have gone before us. Our varied Province ministries hold special Masses, prayer services, memorials and other events to remember the faithful served by the ministries, as well those who have been served through them. Photos and articles from many of our ministries, will be shared on our Province Facebook Page throughout the month, starting with the November 1st celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints and the November 2nd Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls).
Two more uniquely Franciscan memorial days will also be celebrated in November. November 5th is the Commemoration of All the Deceased of the Seraphic Order – Franciscan All Souls Day, when we pray for all Franciscans who have died, our family, friends, and benefactors. On November 29th we end the month in celebration of the Commemoration of All Saints of the Seraphic Order– Franciscan All Saints Day. Join us in prayer, entrusting cares and concerns to God. “The souls of the just are in peace.” “The one who believes in the Son of God has life everlasting.”
Four friars of our province met Sister Death over this past year:
Friar Augustine Pilatowski, OFM Conv. ~ January 24, 2021
Friar Vincent Lachendro, OFM Conv. ~ March 27, 2021
Friar Kenneth Lucas, OFM Conv. ~ April 6, 2021
Friar Michael Taylor, OFM Conv. ~ August 29, 2021
Let us pray. Lord God, You are the glory of believers and the life of the just.
Your Son redeemed us by dying and rising to life again.
Since our departed brothers, sisters, relatives, friends and benefactors
of our Order believed in the mystery of our resurrection,
let them share the joys and blessings of the life to come.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
“Thank you to all who braved the rain to join us for Wine at the Shrine on Saturday! We were lucky to celebrate another successful year of partnership with The Franciscan Center of Baltimore and we thank all who continue to support our mission to bring farm fresh food to the table of those in need.
By the way, the season is far from over! We are still in need of volunteers as we continue to harvest food and prepare for next year. If you’d like to volunteer, please sign up on our website: www.littleportionfarm.org to be added to the email list.”
Our Province JPIC Commission Chairman & Director of Little Portion Farm, Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv. was on hand to help keep the day running smoothly. Friar Michael also serves as pastor for two of our PA pastoral ministries.
The rain did not keep the participants away. Over 600 guests enjoyed the day, as most of the artisan stalls and tasting areas were moved indoors.
Our ministries worked together to make the event a huge success. Br. Brian Newbigging, OFM Conv. works as Director of Franciscan Soy Candles. He created a few new fragrance options just for the event, and all proceeds from those sales went directly to Little Portion Farm.
More photos from the day can be found on our Province Facebook Page:
Friar Juan is currently working in El Paso, Texas, and is returning to the parish to say, “thank you for all the support and encouragement he’s received from the parishioners both the Spanish and English community.” Newly ordained to the priesthood on July 14, 2021, Fr. Juan will preside as the Principal Celebrant at the 8:30 a.m. (English) and 12:30 p.m. (Spanish) Masses of Thanksgiving. Our Lady of the Angels Province friar & pastor of our Columbus, GA ministry of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church ~ Fr. Bob Benko OFM Conv., a former pastor and close friend to Friar Juan, will serve as the homilist. Local NC friars will also concelebrate these Masses, including Fr. Briant Cullinane, OFM Conv., a spiritual advisor to Fr. Juan and former parochial vicar for the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, who will also return to concelebrate at the 8:30 a.m. Mass.
Congratulations to Friar Juan, his family and his confreres. A special “Thank You!” to the parishioners of Blessed Sacrament Church for supporting Fr. Juan on his journey to the Franciscan Friars Conventual and to the priesthood.
Article Posted on the Blessed Sacrament School, Burlington Facebook Page:
“We had two very special visitors at school today! Father Bob Benko OFM Conv. and Father Juan Zuniga Lopez, OFM Conv. stopped by to say hello. Father Bob is a former pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church. Father Juan is a former parishioner and employee of the church. They are both in town to celebrate Father Juan who recently became a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province of the Conventual Franciscan Friars (Mexico). Congratulations to Father Juan! On Sunday, Father Juan, Father Bob and Father Briant joined Blessed Sacrament Church for Mass to thank the parishioners for the support they’ve given to Father Juan.”
For more information on vocations for our
Franciscan Friars Conventual – Our Lady of the Angels Province USA,
contact our Province Vocation Director,
Br. Nick Romeo, OFM Conv. at email@example.com.
Wednesday September 27, 2021: Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Michael Martin, OFM Conv. (Director of Campus Ministry at Duke Catholic Center) served as emcee, welcoming Duke University leaders, alumni and students who joined our friars, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, and Diocesan officials for the Blessing of theFalcone-Arena House; the Newman Center at Duke University. Our Vicar Provincial, Fr. Michael Heine, OFM Conv. led the blessing and gave a reflection. Two more friars were on hand for the event: Fr. Jude Michael Krill, OFM Conv. (pastor – Holy Cross Catholic Church, Atlanta, GA) and Fr. Tim Kulbicki, OFM Conv. (pastor & campus minister – Newman Catholic Student Center Parish, UNC at Chapel Hill, NC). The FAH underwent a two-million-dollar expansion/renovation that has been completed through donor support.
To view photos of the completed project, click on this link: Photos.
Our Lady of the Angels Province friar ~ Fr. Louis Maximilian Smith, OFM Conv. leading the procession, Fr. Andrzej Brzezinski, OFM Conv. pictured at right. [Photo Cred: Daniel Taylor, a student studying at CUA]
On the evening of October 6, 2021, the 3rd Annual Marian Procession by Candlelight was held across the campus of The Catholic University of America (CUA), co-sponsored by the University’s Office of Campus Ministry (where four of our friars serve) and the University Council of the Knights of Columbus. About 150 students processed around the University Campus during the hour-long event, honoring Our Lady with song and an “International Rosary,” prayed in six different languages. Fr. Louis Maximilian Smith, OFM Conv. (Associate Chaplain for University Faculty and Staff) was the Master of Ceremonies for the event. Also participating were Fr. Andrzej Brzezinski, OFM Conv. (Associate Chaplain for Faith Development) and student friar – br. Joe Krondon, OFM Conv.
Our Lady of the Angles Province student friar ~ br. Joe Krondon, OFM Conv. joined his fellow CUA students in the procession. [Photo Cred: Patrick Ryan, University photographer at The Catholic University of America]
Our Province Franciscan Soy Candles ministry produced artisan candles, created originally by Br. Andre Picotte, OFM Conv. during the Christmas Season of 2012. Proceeds from this hobby turned ministry benefit our Province Franciscan Charity Fund. In 2020, Br. Andre had to step down, but still serves as a consultant. The day-to-day work is now located in the lower level of The Shrine of St. Anthony, under the direction of Br. Brian Newbigging, OFM Conv.
As a special promotion at Wine at the Shrine: FRANCISCAN SOY CANDLES’ sales at that event will benefit our Province’s Little Portion Farm Ministry. If you would like to donate to help support our Little Portion Farm, visit their Donation Page.
More information about FRANCISCAN SOY CANDLES:
More than 4,000 candles sold to date
Offering 48 different fragrances or fragrance free
Hundreds of different label options including custom labels for special occasions
Shipping anywhere in the USA included for $24.95 each with personal note included if desired
Franciscan Soy Candles are always available for in person purchase or special order in our Gift Shop, at The Shrine of St. Anthony (12290 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042).
Rebuild My Church: Inspiration and Content by Fr. Edward J. Ondrako, O.F.M.Conv. Published 2 August 2021 ISBN 978-1-943901-18-0
Origin and Tribute. With an eye on modernity, this volume critically engages the scholarly life’s work of an extraordinarily faithful follower of St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, O.F.M.Conv. (1931-2018). In 2012, the theology department at the University of Notre Dame encouraged me to research all of Fehlner’s writings. In 2017, I defended my conclusions before C O’Regan (advisor), J Cavadini and L Cunningham, the doctoral committee. Fr. Fehlner read the original chapters: ”You have represented the development of my entire life’s thought correctly.”
The first edition of RMC, the fruit of four more years of Fehlner’s engagement of the history of Christianity and irreplaceability of Vatican II, amplifies his fertile thought and makes it fully accessible to the scholar and avid reader. His original insight into commonalities in the works of St. Bonaventure (d. 1274), Bl. John Duns Scotus (d. 1308), and, the surprise of surprises, St. John Henry Newman (d. 1890), are an anchor for Newman – Scotus research.
Emanation. Scholars, my publisher and chats with Fehlner’s acquaintances prompted a longer preface and introduction. I include the Protestant Reformation as revolution and resulting changes in the cultural atmosphere that are not unlike the cultural polarization of the twenty-first century. Fehlner weaves continuity of principles from Bonaventure to Duns Scotus, Vatican II and the Franciscan Marian principle. I engage C Taylor’s two-band theory of modernity to weigh losses and gains in the rotating of the axis of the world that constructs a “new world.”
John Duns Scotus – St. John Henry Newman. Commonalities weave throughout ten chapters. More biographical data on Fehlner and Newman clarify his connecting of these University of Oxford’s theologians. Fehlner addresses many misreads of Scotistic thought to make his case. Fehlner’s eye is always on what has a significant bearing on the future of Catholic theology. I add readings of Newman that threaten to undermine good theology.
Content of Ten Chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 are a portrait of Fehlner’s life. Ch 1 navigates the twilight of modernity; ch 2 is his middle voice. Chapters 3 and 4 explain his appropriation of Bonaventure; ch 4 on the Trinity and the Franciscan School today. Chapters 5 and 6 clarify key concepts of Duns Scotus; ch 6, Duns Scotus’ Marian principle. Chapter 7 narrates the original discovery of the relationship of Duns Scotus to John Henry Newman. Chapter 8 engages modernity with Newman’s Christology and Mariology. I add chapter 9 as Fehlner’s theological response to the event in the life of St. Francis: “Rebuild My Church.” His thought offers an escape from the Hegelian web, the necessity of engaging Heidegger’s anti-Catholicism, and the doubleness of the gift of modernity. I add chapter 10 on why Fehlner matters, why his theology is prophetic, apocalyptic and aesthetic, his retrieval of the all but disabled Scotistic tradition, diagnoses of forgetting that is sanctioned by the Holy Spirit, remembering deeply and broadly, his new “eyes” on Duns Scotus’ and Newman’s system of truths.
Comparing with Judge Ken Starr. Fehlner and I engaged in heart-to-heart conversations about critical engagement with our post-Christian culture. The temporization of Church authorities in the face of the secular invasion and inviting ideas into the Church communities without the competence of leaders to guide them Christianly, engender collective complicity in creating a post-Christian culture. I compare Fehlner’s faith context to that of Judge Ken Starr, who shines a bright spotlight on the autonomy principle at the heart of religious liberty in America. An extra layer of constitutional protection exists for all faith communities. Faith and non-faith contexts have many external reasons that contribute to a post-religious and a post-Christian culture.
Application. “God has sent the Spirit of his Son, into our hearts”; “You are no longer a slave, but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (Gal 4, 6, 7). Starr analyzes the erosion of religious freedom; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; and freedom of assembly as a retreat from our nation’s commitment. Fehlner, a Scotist, aligns with St. Maximilian Kolbe. Fehlner’s Theologian of Auschwitz lays out the reasons why Kolbe is a Scotist. Rebuild My Church is a companion volume. Proving why Kolbe is a theologian was Fehlner’s life’s work.
Inspiration. In his Testament, Francis of Assisi said: “The Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would simply pray and speak in this way: We adore you, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches throughout the world, and we bless You, for through Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.” As Francis prayed before the crucifix, he took literally a message from Christ to “rebuild the Church.” He gathered rocks, mortar and funds to rebuild three small stone Churches that still exist. Our Lady of the Angels, the Little Portion or Portiuncula, became his favorite. There he founded the Order of Friars Minor, the Order of Poor Clares, received a papal blessing that visitors in perpetuity could receive a plenary indulgence, and died nearby on 3 October 1226. He passed over into God in a transport of contemplation and invites every spiritual person into a passing over and transport of soul.
A World Bled of Mystery. Without a sense of the invisible and mystery, it is impossible to understand sacraments as hardly reduced to rituals. For troubled times, St. Francis’ faith in priests is restorative. They must live according to the manner of the holy Roman Church, the holy mysteries of the Most Holy Body and Blood which they receive and which they alone minister to others. Theologians minister the most holy divine words of life. Fr. Fehlner’s Franciscan spirit and life aligns with Judge Starr’s analysis of religious liberty under assault and the entire constitutional order of democratic debate under challenge and “cancel culture.” I found the way Fehlner presents Kolbe’s Scotistic method aligns too with De Lubac’s recovery of the Joachimite problem Bonaventure dealt with: the subtle uncoupling of Spirit and Christ, i.e., the failure to believe that the Spirit does not function to critique but to support the institutional Church and distribute its gifts.
Book Talk at The Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore October 2021; firstname.lastname@example.org
 E. J. Ondrako, Rebuild My Church: Peter Damian Fehlner’s Appropriation and Development of the Ecclesiology and Mariology of Vatican II (Hobe Sound, FL: Lectio Publishing, LLC, 2021). www.lectiopublishing.com.
 E. J. Ondrako, The Newman-Scotus Reader (New Bedford, MA; Academy of the Immaculate, 2016, canonization issue, 2019), ch 7, 239-389. See p. 244 to compare Bonaventure, Duns Scotus and Newman. See p. 331 in RMC.
 C. Taylor, A Secular Age (2007). C. O’Regan finds Taylor, a Catholic, clear about what has come and what is gone.
 “Remember catholicity” fits Balthasar’s life works. See C. O’Regan, “Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Beauty of Forgetting,” in Church Life Journal, McGrath Institute for Church Life, U. of Notre Dame (24 August 2020).
 Ken Starr, Religious Liberty in Crisis (New York: Encounter Books, 2021), 169-170. To Starr, the unforgiveable offenses in modern thinking: “racist, sexist, anti-gay” are indictments even from books that are well documented.
 C. O’Regan’s expanse of historical-systematic theological thought interlocks with Fehlner’s Franciscan breadth.
 P. D. Fehlner, Theologian of Auschwitz (Hobe Sound, FL: Lectio Publishing, LLC, 2020).
 St. Bonaventure, Itinerarium Mentis in Deum; The Journey of the Mind to God, chapter 7, 3.
 St. Francis of Assisi, Testament: “We should honor and respect all theologians and those who minister the most holy divine words as those who minister spirit and life to us” (Jn 6:64).
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
October 4, 2021