ESC Leaders Meet in Texas

HNP Communications Franciscan World


GALVESTON, Texas — The provincial ministers and custodes of the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor held their annual spring meeting from April 4 to 8 at St. Patrick Church, part of Holy Family Parish, a ministry of St. John the Baptist Province.

During the meeting, members listened to two presentations from representatives of the General Administration. Fr. John Puodziunas, OFM, the Order’s general treasurer and former provincial minister of Assumption BVM Province, reported on the Order’s financial situation. He described the new system of checks and balances that has been instituted, as well as the debt management plan developed by the International Commission for Economic Affairs and approved by the General Council in March.

In another session, Fr. Aidan McGrath, OFM, the Order’s general secretary, led a workshop titled “Canonical Input Regarding Suspensions, Dismissals and Dispensations.”

The friar-leaders also met with:

  • Tyler Curtis, operations manager, and Fr. Teofil Czarniak, OFM, executive director, of the General Secretariat for the Franciscan Missions in Waterford, Wis.
  • Russ Testa, president of the ESC Commission on Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, as well as Br. Mark Schroeder, OFM, JPIC coordinator for St. Barbara and Our Lady of Guadalupe provinces

During the meeting, the provincial ministers and custodes each met separately in their respective sub-conferences to discuss matters relevant to their regions. The U.S. sub-conference discussed the following:

  • Ongoing conversation about the reconfiguration of the seven U.S. provinces. In particular, they reviewed the results of the fall meetings to discuss the four models proposed by the Franciscan Interprovincial Team.
  • The approval of a National Common Admissions Policy, the result of a collaborative effort among the formation personnel of all seven provinces
  • The approval of Michael Blastic, OFM, to the novitiate team

The U.S. friars also discussed the selection of a new novice master, but are seeking the input of the novitiate team before making this decision.

A detailed report on the English-speaking Conference meeting in Galveston is available on

Editor’s note: The participants at the recent meeting, as shown left to right in the above photo, were: General Secretary Aidan McGrath, OFM; David Gaa, OFM, of St. Barbara Province; ESC executive secretary Thomas Washburn, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province (USA); Patrick Lonsdale, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Custody, Great Britain; Algirdas Malakauskas, OFM, of St. Casimir Province; Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province; General Definitor Caoimhin O’Laoide, OFM, ESC vice president Kevin Mullen, OFM; Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province; Richard Stanley Grech, OFM, of St. Paul Province; Marc Le Goanvec, OFM, of St. Joseph Province; Robert Mokry, OFM, of Christ the King Province; Paul Smith, OFM, of Holy Spirit Province; ESC president Hugh McKenna, OFM, of Ireland; Primo Piscitello, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, USA; James Gannon, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province; and William Spencer, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province.       

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