The following updates summarize news from the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, comprised of provinces and custodies from Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, and the United States. Follow the ESC on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information throughout the month.
► The two Canadian OFM provinces – St. Joseph in Eastern Canada and Christ the King in Western Canada – are planning a Chapter of Union from Oct. 21 to 25 at Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert, Alberta. The launch of the new Canadian province – which will include a public celebration – will take place in the evening on Oct. 22 at St. Albert Church. The General Minister, Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, will be present.
► Three friars were ordained as transitional deacons on March 10 at St. Peter’s in the Loop Church in Chicago: Casey Cole, OFM, and Brothers Dat Hoang, OFM, and Edward Tverdek, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province. Bishop Fernand Cheri III, OFM, of New Orleans, a member of Sacred Heart Province, served as principal celebrant.
► When the city of Detroit’s factories began to close, so too did some of its churches and shrines – including St. Joseph Chapel and The Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Pontiac, Mich. The 2.5-acre property was abandoned and crumbling when Fr. Alex Kratz, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, heard it was vacant. A co-founder and spiritual director of Terra Sancta Pilgrimages, Fr. Alex was looking for a new home for his ministry and a place that was already beloved for pilgrims was appealing. St. Joseph’s had also hosted a Third Order fraternity in its past, and its founding pastor, Fr. Bernard Jarzembowski, was healed by St. Anthony as a child. Terra Sancta Pilgrimages raised $150,000 in three months to purchase the property, and today it is a center of Franciscan and Marian spiritual renewal. The rest of its story can be found in NewsNotes, St. John the Baptist Province’s newsletter.
► One year ago, the authorities in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M., condemned the 100-year-old church of St. Anthony, which had become a danger because of a failing roof. A new building was constructed within a few short months and on Oct. 15, 2017, the community celebrated its dedication with a Mass. A description of the moving ceremony was included in the March 2018 issue of Padre’s Trail, Our Lady of Guadalupe Province’s newsletter.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.
- “Order Update: Holy Land Basilica Closes to Protest New Tax in Jerusalem” – March 7, 2018, HNP Today
- “ESC Update: St. Louis Hosts General Minister for Lecture on Pope, St. Francis” – Feb. 21, 2018, HNP Today
- “Three Friars Ordained Deacons” – March 13, 2018, HNP Today
- “Fr. Fernand J. Cheri, OFM, New Bishop” – Jan. 12, 2015 OFM website