Brazilian Missionary Officiates at Confirmations

HNP Communications Friar News

NEW YORK — Bishop Capistran Heim, OFM, of Itaituba, Brazil, continued the Sullivan County, N.Y., custom of Franciscan missionary bishops being part of the annual confirmations for young people of the Province’s four churches in the rural area, roughly 70 miles from New York City.

While he was in the United States this spring, Capistran officiated on June 12 at confirmations at Holy Cross Church in Callicoon, N.Y., for the parishes of Holy Cross and St. Mary, Obernburg, N.Y., and on June 13 at St. Francis Xavier Church in Narrowsburg, N.Y., for the parishes of St. Francis Xavier and St. Anthony, Yulan, N.Y.

The tradition of missionary bishops coming to Sullivan County began with Most Rev. Thomas Manning, OFM, of Bolivia, and continued with Most Rev. John Burke, OFM, of Brazil, said Ignatius Smith, OFM, pastor of Holy Cross Church.

“The community members always feel honored by a visit from the bishop,” Ignatius said.

Capistran, who has served the Church in Brazil since 1964, also officiated at confirmations in New York City. On May 29, he conferred the sacrament of confirmation on 37 seventh- and eighth-graders of St. Stephen of Hungary School on East 82nd Street, and on a group from the parish’s faith formation program. The group included five young adults from the parish, said staff member Jayne Porcelli. “This was the first group from our parish faith formation program,” she added.

cap-bOn May 30, Capistran confirmed two members of St. Francis of Assisi Parish on West 31st Street, John and Timothy Erbach, and on May 31, he confirmed a group of Korean parishioners.

Capistran, who celebrated his 75th birthday earlier this year, comes to the United States every year for confirmations. While in this country, he raises money for his diocese.

His ministry in Brazil was featured in the spring 2009 issue of The Anthonian, the magazine of St. Anthony’s Guild.