ESC Update: Province of Ireland Elects New Leadership

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

Provincial Minister Fr. Aidan McGrath, at right, with members of the Province of Ireland (Photo courtesy of

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.

► The friars of the Province of Ireland elected Fr. Aidan McGrath, OFM, as their new provincial minister. Fr. Aidan was serving as General Secretary of the Order, a role he had occupied for the last eight years. Also elected at the June 25 to 30 chapter were Fr. Joseph Condren, OFM, as provincial vicar, and Fr. Padraig Breheny, OFM, Fr. David Collins, OFM, Br. Niall O’Connell, OFM, and Br. Stephen O’Kane, OFM, as provincial councilors.  Other provinces held chapters in the spring.  Replacing Fr. Aiden as the Order’s secretary will be Fr. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM, who was elected on July 17.

► Crux recently featured the story of Fr. Flavian Mucci, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, who has ministered in El Salvador for the past 50 years. “In those five decades, he’s built what amounts to an empire of social and public services called the Agape Association of El Salvador,” reads the article. “Known in the country simple as ‘Agape,’ the Greek word for ‘love,’ it includes clinics, a soup kitchen, a home for the elderly, a nascent university and other educational centers for children and adults, as well as a restaurant (named after his mother), a hotel, and TV and radio stations.” Fr. Flavian, a native of Boston, remarked that “It was easy for me to understand (the poor) more than any other priest because I was poor.”

► Earlier this month, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land hosted two groups of young people from different faith traditions ­– the Mormon Utah Valley Children’s Choir, and Buddhist day-campers from the U.S. Zen Institute in Maryland. The monastery also hosted its annual Holy Land Festival on July 15, during which Jews, Muslims and Christians gather to showcase the culture, food, crafts and real-life issues facing those who live in the Holy Land. “The Franciscan mission is about sharing the Gospel as Francis experienced it,” wrote Fr. Gregory Friedman, OFM, who works at the monastery. “He lived and preached a message of inclusion, of welcome, of universal kinship with all of creation, and especially with all people. I’d like to think that’s what our monastery here in Washington can be for visitors who seek peace and a space with God – however they understand God.”

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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