Postulants’ Tour of the Province – 2020 (Continued)

Our Order’s Postulancy location for the four provinces serving North America is in Chicago, IL, in the St. Bonaventure Friary of the St. Bonaventure Province. Two of our Postulants of Our Lady of the Angels Province, Mr. Michael Boes and Mr. Edgar Varela live in community in the Chicago Postulancy, along with three more Postulants from other provinces. In addition, our third Postulant, Mr. Jonathan Zenteno, is in studies at The Catholic University of America while living in community in our Post Novitiate (Silver Spring, MD) in the St. Bonaventure Friary. Each year each Postulant of every North American Province, gathers with the Postulants of his own province to take time away from the Postulancy, and visit his own individual Province ministries, friaries and friars. Our three Postulants have been documenting this year’s partial tour on the Postulancy’s Facebook Page; sharing photos and verbiage about their visits. So far they have enjoyed time with our friars serving in the Chicopee, MA area and in the Syracuse, NY area (check out their Facebook page for more info on those visits). They have now moved onto visits with our friars of our Province Delegation of St. Francis of Assisi, in Canada. The first stop on this leg of their Tour is with our friars serving in the Ottawa, ON area. They will next move onto the last leg of their journey; visiting with our friars in the Toronto, ON area.

On the Ottawa leg of the postulants’ tour of our province ministries, they were welcomed at our pastoral ministry of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish by the friars of St. André Bessette Friary, and hosted by the pastoral and finance councils for a festive dinner. Besides visiting there and to our other pastoral ministry in the Ottawa area – St. Ignatius Martyr Church, our Postulants were joined by Fr. Jobe Abbass, OFM Conv. (Guardian of St. André Bessette Friary – Provincial Delegate – Delegate to the M.I.) as they traveled on pilgrimage to Kahnawake, Québec to pray at the tomb of St. Kateri Tekakwitha (below) and onto Montréal to visit the Shrine and Basilica of St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal to pray at the tomb of its founder, St. André Bessette.

Michael, Edgar, Fr. Jobe and Jonathan are pictured in front of the first chapel of St. Joseph’s Oratory, built 1904 by Brother Abundius, CSC (a confrère of Brother André). Due to its diminutive structure, it was aptly called an oratory; a small wayside shrine. The room where Brother André lived after being appointed caretaker of the Oratory is found above the chapel and has remained the way he left it.

Memorial Mass for +Bishop Elias

+Bishop Elias James Manning, OFM Conv., 81-year-old Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Valenca (Rio De Janeiro, Brazil), passed away on October 13, 2019. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at his home parish, St. Michael the Archangel Church, 175 Williams Road, Troy, NY, on Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. All are welcome.

+Bishop Emeritus Elias James Manning OFM Conv. of Valenca, Brazil in 2016, at a meeting in Rio De Janeiro celebrating the 70th anniversary of Franciscan Friars Conventual presence in Latin America.

Born on April 14, 1938, in Troy, NY, the son of James and Agnes (Fennelly) Manning, he was baptized James John. Educated at the La Salle Institute, Troy, NY, he cherished his status as a La Salle alumnus, for his lifetime. When he entered the Franciscan Friars Conventual, he took the religious name Friar Elias. As a missionary bishop in Brazil, he became affectionately known as “Dom Elias.”
From 1956 to 1958, Friar Elias studied at the minor seminary of St. Francis of Assisi in Staten Island, New York. In 1958, he entered novitiate and received the Franciscan habit and his new name.  From 1959 to 1962, he studied philosophy and theology at St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary in Rensselaer, New York, and continued his theological studies in the Order’s missions of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, arriving there on November 6, 1962. From 1963 to 1965, he studied theology at the archdiocesan seminary of San Giuseppe in Rio. In 1965, he received the diaconate by the imposition of the hands of Dom Jaime de Barros Camara and was ordained a priest on October 30, 1965 in the chapel of St. Francis on Staten Island, New York, by Archbishop Francisco E. Hyland.
Friar Elias easily adjusted to life in Brazil, quickly enculturating and learning the Portuguese language, while engaging in the pastoral work of the Church and Order. Within the Franciscan Mission of the Custody of the Immaculate Conception of Rio de Janeiro, he exercised the role of parish priest and guardian for several years; always bearing witness to the Kingdom of God by a notably simple and discreet Franciscan way of life. Friar Elias served as parochial vicar and parish priest in Santa Rita di Cassia, Pontalina (GO), in the diocese of Itumbiara; and as parochial vicar and parish priest at the Parish of San Francesco d’Assisi in Rio Comprido (RJ). From 1976 to 1979 he was Provincial Custos of the Immaculate Conception Custody of Rio de Janeiro. In 1986 he was transferred to Arauama (RJ) as parish priest.
In 1990 he was appointed sixth bishop of the Diocese of Valença, adopting the motto: “You are the highest good.” His ordination and episcopal inauguration took place on May 13, 1990. Dom Elias’ episcopal ministry in the Diocese of Valença focused on the role of the laity, and their commitment and participation in in the Church’s evangelization activities. Dom Elias strove to implement and satisfy the expectations of the Second Vatican Council, as a humble protagonist in Brazil’s Missionary Church. During his tenure as Bishop, Dom Elias inspired the faithful by his humble Franciscan lifestyle. He refused to live in the Bishop’s palace, opting instead for a small apartment in a housing complex occupied by the lay faithful.
Dom Elias retired as Bishop of Valença in 2012. After his retirement Dom Elias continued to live in his modest apartment, and he maintained an active ministerial life in the Brazilian Church. He remained closely affiliated with his religious family, the Franciscan Friars Conventual, and with the parishioners of St. Michael Parish in Troy, who supported him throughout the fifty-seven years of his Franciscan missionary labors among the poor in Brazil.
Suffering a stroke just after celebrating Mass on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4, 2019, Dom Elias passed away a few days later. His death was universally mourned throughout Brazil. Dom Elias’ Requiem took place immediately following his death, and he was interred in the Bishops’ crypt of the Cathedral in Valença.
Dom Elias was predeceased by his parents, and his sister Joan Manning Plunkett. He is survived by his brother Lawrence Manning, his sister-in-law Susan Manning, and several nieces and nephews. Memorial Donations for the Franciscan missions in Brazil can be sent to: The Franciscan Friars Conventual, 12300 Folly Quarter Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042.

Postulants’ Tour of the Province – 2020 (Part One)

Our Lady of the Angels Province Postulants: Edgar, Michael and Jonathan during the first week of their Province Tour, pictured at our pastoral ministry of St. Paul Catholic Church, in Kensington, CT

Our Order’s Postulancy location for the four provinces serving North America is in Chicago, IL, in the St. Bonaventure Friary of the St. Bonaventure Province. The current Director of the Postulancy, Fr. Brad Milunski, OFM Conv., is a friar of our province and the Assistant Director is Fr. Paul Schneider, OFM Conv. of the St. Bonaventure Province. Two of our Postulants of Our Lady of the Angels Province, Mr. Michael Boes and Mr. Edgar Varela live in community in the Chicago Postulancy, along with three more Postulants from other provinces. In addition, our third Postulant, Mr. Jonathan Zenteno, is in studies at The Catholic University of America while living in community in our Post Novitiate (Silver Spring, MD) in the St. Bonaventure Friary of our Province, under the Co-Directors – Fr. Paul Schloemer, OFM Conv. of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation and Fr. Nicholas Rokitka, OFM Conv. of our province.

It is important for each of the Postulants of every North American Province to take time away from the Postulancy, visiting his own individual Province ministries, friaries and friars. Each year, after Christmas break, the friars in formation for our province spend several weeks enjoying the fraternity of visits with our friars and our varied ministries. Our three Postulants have been documenting this year’s partial tour on the Postulancy’s Facebook Page, where they will share photos and verbiage about their visit to the Chicopee, Syracuse, Ottawa and Toronto areas of our Province. Here are a few shots from the first stop of the tour with Michael, Edgar and Jonathan:

Our Postulants spent a few days in the Chicopee/Holyoke, MA & Kensington, CT area. Durein that time, they were given a tour of the Elms College caRe vaN 2.0 (pictured above). Developed by Friar Michael Duffy, OFM Conv., DNP, APRN-BC, as the Capstone of his DNP, the caRe vaN a mobile health care unit serving the area’s homeless and underserved, while allowing clinical experience for pre-licensure students of the Elms College School of Nursing. (For more information or to make a donation to this effort, please email Brother Duffy, at
Friar Frank Grimaldi, OFM Conv. took our Postulants to Our Lady of the Angels Care Center where the Felician Sisters care for our five of our elderly friars, and to two of our pastoral ministries in the area ~ St. Anthony of Padua Parish, in Chicopee and Our Lady of the Cross Parish, in Holyoke (at left) . Friar Joe Bayne, OFM Conv. even took them to see the Bright Nights Christmas Lights. Friar Vincent Vivian, OFM Conv. welcomed them to our St. Hyacinth Friary (Chicopee), where they met several of our nine senior friars in residence. They enjoyed the Vigil Mass at our pastoral ministry at the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, celebrated by Friar Paul Miskiewicz, OFM Conv. The Basilica’s Deacon Joseph Peters invited Michael, Edgar and Jonathan to join one of the “Take and Eat Sandwich Ministry” to help make sandwiches and distribute them to our less fortunate brothers and sisters in Chicopee, MA. Our friars of St. Paul Friary in Kensingtons, CT (serving the St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Kensington & St. John Catholic Church, in Cromwell) invited our friars from the local areas for the Epiphany party where we had a great time of fraternity (below).

After celebrated Mass for Chicopee’s new Mayor, John Vieau (sworn in that day), they mayor’s family & council members, first responders and an array of area faithful, Friar Joe Bayne, OFM Conv. gave our Postulants a ride to Syracuse, NY where began the next part of our tour. They were joyfully received by Friar Edward Falsey, OFM Conv., guardian of our St. Francis Friary (Syracuse, NY), and Friar Richard Riccioli, OFM Conv., pastor of Assumption Parish.
Be sure to follow the rest of their adventures, as they continue to visit our various ministries in Syracuse -NY, Ottawa-ON and Toronto-ON.

Note: Each of the formation stages for our friars are spent in community with other friars from all over North America. The Novitiate is located in California, in the St. Francis of Assisi Friary of the St. Joseph Cupertino Province. The current Formation Team there includes the Director, Br. Joseph Wood, OFM Conv., a member of the St. Bonaventure Province, and the Associate Director, Fr. Maurice Richárd, OFM Conv. Each province also has individual friars serving in ministries, as well as governance over friars of several Delegations and Custodies, in different parts of the world. In North America, each of the four provinces primarily minister to individual local jurisdictions. The friars of our province serve primarily along the East Coast, from Ottawa, Ontario to Boynton Beach, Florida. St. Joseph Cupertino Province primarily serves the Western Coast of the USA. St. Bonaventure Province primarily serves the Midwestern USA. The Province of Our Lady of Consolation primarily serves the rest of the USA.

Welcome Back Franciscan Soy Candle Ministry!

Re-established this past year, Franciscan Soy Candles is a unique ministry producing artisan candles. Created originally by Br. Andre Picotte, OFM Conv. during the Christmas Season 2012, this hobby turned ministry served to be a great source of income benefiting our Aging and Infirmed Friars, all while making great gifts and filling your home with lovely fragrances. This past year, Br. Andre had to step down from the ministry, but he still serves as a consultant and advisor. The day to day work and creation of Franciscan Soy Candles was taken over by Br. Brian Newbigging, OFM Conv. serving as Director and Fr. Francis Lombardo, OFM Conv. serving as Assistant Director. Now based in Hamburg, NY, you can call to place an order with them at 518-496-4805 or email them at

Kraków’s Provincial Visit to the USA

December 6 – 12, 2019: The Prowincjał (Minister Provincial) of our Order’s largest Province – Kraków, Poland’s St. Anthony of Padua and B. James of Strepa Province (Prowincja św. Antoniego i bł. Jakuba Strzemię w Polsce), the Very Reverend Fr. Marian Gołąb, OFM Conv. visited Our Lady of Angels Province, accompanied by his Ekonom Prowincji (Provincial Economist) Fr. Bronisław Staworowski, OFM Conv. and the Kraków delegate for the USA (Coordinator of Kraków Friars in USA ) Fr. Piotr Sarnicki, OFM Conv.  While staying at the Provincialate in Ellicott City, they were taken by Fr. James to a meeting in Washington DC with the Polish Ambassador, His Excellency Piotr Wilczek.  They also celebrated Mass in for the Polish Congregation of the Sisters Servants of Mary Immaculate of the American Province, at the Provincial House for the Congregation, in Catonsville, MD (pictured above with Friar Marian, Friar James and Friar Piotr).  Afterwards they traveled to our pastoral ministry of St. Adalbert Roman Catholic Church (Elmhurst, NY), where they met with all the Kraków Province friars presently working in ministries of our province: Fr. Tomasz Ryba, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar – RCC of Most Holy Trinity / St. Mary, Brooklyn, NY), Fr. Mieczysław Wilk, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar – Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr), Fr. Stanisław Czerwonka, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar – St. Adalbert RCC, Elmhurst, NY), Fr. Jacek Leszczyński, OFM Conv. (Pastor – St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Chicopee, MA & Mass Assistance at Our Lady of the Cross Parish, Holyoke, MA), Fr. Piotr Tymko, OFM Conv. (Parochial Vicar – St. Paul Catholic Church, Kensington, CT) and Fr. Andrzej Brzeziński, OFM Conv. (Associate Chaplain for Faith Development in The Catholic University of America Campus Ministry Office, Washington DC).

Canonization of St. John Henry Newman

Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Fr. Edward Ondrako, OFM Conv. attended the canonization of St. John Henry Newman in Rome on October 13, 2019. Friar Ed, a lifetime devotee to our new saint, most enthusiastically endorses a close reading of the December 19, 2019 online article, in the Catholic Herald – “Melissa Villalobos: My encounter with ‘the world we do not see‘” – a reflection on what actually happened and prayers of gratitude.  It is a narrative of the miracle that Melissa Villalobos reported to the Vatican that led to his canonization.

Homeless Memorial Service

On the evening of December 18, 2019, our friars participated in the Homeless Memorial Service at Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry (170 Pendexter Avenue, Chicopee, MA 01013), as part of the National Homeless Persons Memorial Day. This ANNUAL event is held on, or near, the longest night of the year (This year on December 21st). It affords a moment for all to remember those who have died in the past year – on the streets, as a result of life on the streets – secondary to homelessness. The event is usually scheduled to take place in the parking lot, but due to weather concerns (ice, temperature) this year’s event was held in the soup kitchen’s dining room. This year four deceased were specifically remembered at the memorial: Founder of the Soup Kitchen – +Lorraine Houle (1927-2018), as well as some of the visitors/patients of the caRe vaN – +Ricky, +Chris and +Sandy. The losses of +Ricky and +Chris were the results of the heroine epidemic, and loss of +Sandy was from respiratory arrest.

caRe vaN is a ministry founded by Our Lady of the Angels Province friar, Br. Michael Duffy, OFM Conv., who serves the on the kitchen’s Board of Directors as Vice President, while also serving as  Associate Dean, Director of Undergrad Program, for the Elms College School of Nursing, in addition to his assignment for our province as a Friary Guardian & Regent of Studies. Nursing Students from Elms College of Nursing were among the volunteers there to help serve a home-cooked meal (at right, with Br. Duffy).
The Nursing Students also serve the caRe vaN alongside Br. Duffy.

Another Our Lady of the Angels Province friar serves the Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry ministry, in the day to day operations. Fr. Nicholas Spano, OFM Conv. serves as Operations Manager (visible working in the kitchen in the news video link).

Also visible in the news video link is Fr. Michael Lasky, OFM Conv., our province JPIC (Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation) Chairman, presented a reflection on the great reversals, including these thoughts:
At Christmas the reversal is that God becomes a human, one like us.
At Easter the great reversal is that Jesus rises from the dead with the promise that we will become one like God in the Resurrection.
Therefore Christmas points to Easter.
As we gather tonight for a Christmas meal, we also gather to remember +Lorraine, +Chris, +Sandy, and +Ricky, and all of the homeless who died this past year, who have now experienced the great reversal of Easter resurrection.
In our gathering for to celebrate these great reversals of God’s love for us, we also experience small reversals:
-We’ve come out of the cold into the warmth of a soup kitchen dining room
-With the meal our empty stomachs become full
-With our conversation our loneliness is transformed into friendship
As Christmas approaches, let us all consider a small change, a small reversal that we can make in our own personal lives. Just a little something that points to the love of God found in the great reversals of Christmas and Easter.”

Pictured at above is Fr. Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv. (Pastor/Rector of the Basilica of St. Stanislaus, Bishop & Martyr, & Assistant Fire Chaplain for the Chicopee Fire Department). The Basilica’s Sandwich Ministry sponsored to the event, along with Elms College School of Nursing (Elms College President Harry Dumey pictured at center above).

Read More:

WWLP News online story
Western Mass News online story

Consecration to the Immaculate

On the third Sunday of Advent, the M.I. Initiative was welcomed at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish (Vanier/Ottawa, Ontario). The parish is adjacent to Friar Jobe’s home, where he serves as Guardian, as well as the Provincial Delegate for our Canadian Delegation of St. Francis of Assisi. In St. André Bessette Friary, Friar Jobe resides with several confreres from other countries who serve in the Ottawa, ON area: Fr. Dominic Lim, OFM Conv. (a friar from the Philippines who serves as Pastor of Assumption), Fr. Saviour Karamvelil, OFM Conv. (a friar from India who serves as Pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Church, Ottawa), and Fr. Varghese (Lijo) Puthenpurackal, OFM Conv. (a friar from India who serves as Catholic Chaplain at Queensway Careton Hospital, in Napean, ON).
On Gaudete Sunday, Isaiah foretells that even the desert shall rejoice and blossom, that the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it as well as the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. In the context of the coming of the Lord, could these titles not be attributed also to the Immaculate Mother of God? At the four Masses (3 English and 1 Tagalog), the parishioners joyfully received the message of consecration to Mary. Friar Dominic greatly assisted with his own personal witness of Mary’s place in his life.

Friar Jobe (back left of center) and Friar Dominic (back far left) with a sampling of the Filipino parishioners who attended the Sunday noon Mass, in Tagalog