Last week, the Wisconsin-based province announced that Fr. James Gannon, OFM, will serve as provincial minister until the end of the term of Fr. John Puodziunas, OFM, who took a new position with the Order of Friars Minor.
“The Franciscan friars of the ABVM Province said farewell to our Provincial Minister, Fr. John Puodziunas, OFM, who has been called to serve as treasurer of the worldwide Order at our headquarters in Rome,” read a Sept. 7 announcement on Assumption Province’s Facebook page. “The vacancy in our provincial leadership, according to statute, is filled by the Provincial Council.”
Fr. Jim had been serving as provincial vicar for the past four years. His office will be filled by Provincial Councilor Fr. Ed Tulcek, OFM, according to the Facebook announcement. A decision will be made soon regarding the open position on the council.
The Facebook post said, “As we join in thanking Fr. Jim and Fr. Ed for their willingness to serve the brotherhood in these new offices, so also do we pray that the Lord will guide them and strengthen them in the next years ahead!” Fr. John had been elected provincial minster in May 2011.
According to an announcement in the August 2015 issue of Assumption’s newsletter News Briefs, Fr. John’s life had “become one of mixed emotions. As his ﬁrst ofﬁcial day ‘at the ofﬁce’ nears, John ﬁnds himself excited by the challenges he will address. The afﬁrmation of the Minister General and General Deﬁnitorium is tempered by the reality of saying goodbye to his family and the Province. Decisions have an impact, and such is John’s experience.”
Fr. Jim, a native of Philadelphia, had served as director of the Franciscan Mission Office of Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee for eight years. He is a graduate of DeSales University in Allentownn, Pa. Fr. Jim, who entered the Order in 1981 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1987, joined Stritch in 2006. During his time at the university, he also served as the campus priest and as a spiritual advisor to faculty, staff and students participating in the Franciscan Pilgrimage program. According to an announcement in Stritch University’s magazine, Fr. Jim “plans to continue to celebrate Mass on campus and support University Ministry as he is able.”
The more than 75-year-old Assumption Province, one of seven OFM communities in the United States, has roughly 110 members who serve mainly in the Midwest. Information about the province’s members and ministries can be found on Assumption’s website.
Last month, the Order announced that a member of the Immaculate Conception Province had been appointed to the OFM communications office.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “Holy Name Now Eighth Largest Province in Franciscan Order” — Aug. 19, 2015, HNP Today
- “Reconfiguration Talks Continue in North America” — June 24, 2015, HNP Today
- “Provinces Choose Leaders” — July 9, 2014, HNP Today