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, Malta, and Lithuania, and the United States. Follow the ESC on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information throughout the month.
► Immaculate Conception Province welcomed six men into its postulancy program during evening prayer on Sept. 17 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manhattan. The fraternal gathering included local area friars, the formation team, as well as friars of the province stationed in Canada, Italy, El Salvador and Nicaragua. Provincial Minister Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, presided and preached, welcoming the men into the fraternity for their first year of formal discernment of life with the Friars Minor. The postulancy program is housed at Immaculate Conception Friary in Boston’s North End. In August, the interprovincial postulancy program at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., welcomed 16 postulants from five provinces.
► Last month, on Aug. 14, four novices were received into the new interprovincial novitiate in Killarney, Ireland. The following day, the feast of the Assumption, a solemn opening of the new novitiate was held. The friary, which was previously the novitiate of the Irish Franciscans, is now also home to the novices from Ireland, Great Britain, Germany, and Holland. The friars are commemorating 150 years in Killarney this year.
► On Sept. 16, Br. Scott Slattum, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, professed solemn vows at St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix. Br. Scott is the nephew of Br. Jeff Macnab, OFM, director of novices. “I have fallen in love with Christ, and I have fallen in love with my brothers,” Br. Scott said in an interview with the Catholic Sun.
► Earlier this month, the provincial ministers of the U.S. Franciscan provinces released a statement speaking out against President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. They also joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in advocating for the passage of the bi-partisan “Dream Act of 2017,” H.R. 3440 and S. 1615.
► This summer, 13 Canadian Franciscans made “a historical and transformative” pilgrimage along the St. Lawrence River from Montreal to Percé (Perce Rock) and back. Led by Fr. Guylain Prince, OFM, the young friars – four of whom have not yet made their solemn vows – delved into the Order’s history in Canada while camping and hiking, and spending time together in prayer and fellowship. An account of their journey, as well as the Franciscans’ history in Canada, is included on ESCOFM.org.
► The Lithuanian Franciscans organized “an extraordinary expedition” to Siberia last month. From Aug. 13 to 25, a group of 12 people – including Provincial Minister Fr. Algirdas Malakauskis – traveled to the tundra where thousands of Lithuanians were exiled and imprisoned during the Soviet regime. The purpose of the journey was to honor and memorialize Fr. Augustinas Dirvele, OFM, who was repressed by the Soviets after the occupation of Lithuania. He was arrested on July 12, 1940, while trying to cross the USSR-Germany border and was sentenced to eight years of imprisonment and work in the Kosju Gulag (Pechora region). He consoled and encouraged his fellow prisoners, hearing confessions and celebrating Mass. The nature of his death is unknown. The group from Lithuania decided to build a cross in an old prisoners’ cemetery to remember him. After building the cross, the group celebrated Mass and prayed for all the victims of the Soviet regime and for all the people of Russia.
► On Sept. 11, the Province of the Immaculate Conception and Provincial Minister Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, were awarded the Order of Santo Hermano Pedro by the Associacion Obras Sociales del Santo Hermano Pedro (Association of Social Works of Santo Hermano Pedro). This award acknowledges the long-time support and collaboration of IC Province and the Association and the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Central America. The award ceremony took place at IC province’s curia chapel in New York City.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.
- “Franciscans Object to President’s DACA Plans” – Sept. 13, 2017, HNP Today
- “ESC Update: Province of Ireland Elects New Leadership” – July 18, 2017, HNP Today