ESC Update: Provinces Elect New Administrations

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

The friars of St. John the Baptist, based in Cincinnati, elected new leadership for their province. (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.

► In Cincinnati, the friars of St. John the Baptist Province elected a new leadership team during their provincial chapter, held from May 22 to 26. Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM, was elected provincial minister, Fr. William Farris, OFM, was elected provincial vicar, and Br. John Barker, OFM, Br. Vince Delorenzo, OFM, Fr. Robert Bruno, OFM, and Fr. Page Polk, OFM, were elected provincial councilors.

► St. John the Baptist Province also celebrated the priestly ordination of Fr. Colin King, OFM, alongside John Aherne, OFM, who became a transitional deacon, on June 10. Fr. Colin will be serving as a missionary in the Diocese of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

► In Mesilla Park, N.M., the friars of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province gathered for their Provincial Chapter from May 29 to June 2. Provincial Minister Fr. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM,  and Provincial Vicar Fr. Charlie Martinez, OFM, welcomed new provincial councilors Fr. Dale Jamison, OFM, Br. Efrén Quintero, OFM, Fr. Patrick Schafer, OFM, and Fr. Gerry Steinmetz, OFM.

► In Racine, Wis., the members of the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary elected a new leadership team during their provincial chapter from June 4 to 8. Provincial Minister Fr. James Gannon, OFM, and Provincial Vicar Fr. Joachim Studwell, OFM, welcomed new provincial councilors Fr. John Cella, OFM, Fr. Ed Tlucek, OFM, Br. Craig Wilking, OFM, and Fr. Jerome Wolbert, OFM.

Sacred Heart Province, headquartered in St. Louis, is holding its Provincial Chapter this week. Fr. Thomas Nairn, OFM, was elected provincial minister and Fr. John Eaton, OFM, was elected provincial vicar. The new Provincial Councilors include Fr. Jerry Bleem, OFM, Fr. Bill Burton, OFM, Br. Doug Collins, OFM, Fr. Duc Pham, OFM, and Fr. Dennis Shafer, OFM.

► In response to President Donald Trump’s decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Accord, the Franciscan friars of the English-speaking Conference joined their voices with those of other Catholic leaders to decry Trump’s decision. “Catholic teaching insists that climate change is a grave moral issue that threatens our commitments: to protect human life, health, dignity, and security; to exercise a preferential options for the poor; to promote the common good of which the climate is part; to live in solidarity with future generations; to realize peace; and to care for God’s good gift of creation,” wrote the leaders. “We, the members of the Catholic Climate Covenant, believe there is no justification for this decision and we implore President Trump to reconsider this path. We will continue to raise our voices against climate policies that harm the planet and people while we will advocate for policies that respond to ‘both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ (‘Laudato Si’,’ no. 49).” The complete statement, published on June 2 and signed by Kevin Mullen, OFM, president of the ESC can be viewed here.

► Franciscan friars in Lithuania participated in the annual “Run for Hope” in Klaipedia, which benefits the St. Francis Oncology Center located there. Among the thousands of runners were Fr. Algirdas Malakauskis, OFM, provincial minister of St. Casimir Province, and Fr. Michel Laloux, OFM, provincial minister of Blessed John Dun Scotus Province in France and Belgium, each of whom ran 13 miles, and Fr. Evaldas Darulis, OFM, pastor of St. Francis Parish in Vilnius, who ran the entire marathon. The Lithuanian friars started the event 10 years ago to express solidarity with people who are living with cancer and to support the St. Francis Oncology Center. The center, founded by St. Casimir Province, provides information about diseases and their treatments, therapy, counseling, and community to cancer patients. The services are provided free of charge.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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