ESC Update: St. Barbara Friars Show Solidarity for Migrants, Other News

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

David Buer, a St. Barbara Province friar, extends his hand to a man across the border wall. (Photo courtesy of St. Barbara Province)

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.

► Three St. Barbara Province friars and two Capuchins showed support for their migrant brothers and sisters earlier this month by participating in the School of Americas Watch Border Encuentro, an annual gathering of organizations and movements that strive to expose, denounce and end U.S. militarization, oppressive U.S. policies, and other forms of state violence in the Americas. The friars participated in a vigil outside of Eloy Detention Center, a private prison that houses ICE migrant detainees in Tuscon, Ariz., and visited the border, where they remembered 147 migrants who died in the Arizona-Sonora desert in 2017.

► The Franciscan friars in Valletta, Malta, have decided to convert their friary into the country’s second soup kitchen. Approximately 80 people will be offered a free meal three times a week, and the friars may add a laundry facility and public restrooms in the future. Construction on the 430-year-old building is expected to be completed in six months to a year.

► Two time capsules that were kept in the cornerstones of the former Immaculate Conception Seminary in Troy, N.Y., were opened recently. The cornerstones date from the original building, which was constructed in 1941 and served as Immaculate Conception Province’s novitiate for many years, and the 1960 addition, which was part of the province’s College of Philosophy. Hudson Valley Community College razed the seminary to construct new residences, and the capsules were given to the Rensselaer County Historical Society for inspection. The 1941 capsule contained a block of waterlogged papers, which appear to be property deeds. The 1960 box contained a variety of items, including a relic of the veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary; several small pewter statuettes of the Virgin Mary, the Infant of Prague, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Anthony of Padua; a copy of the Aug. 12, 1960 edition of The Evangelist, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Albany, N.Y.; a copy of the Aug. 16, 1960 edition of The Troy Record; a photo of the seminary; a postcard of the seminary; a penny; Latin and English documents about the cornerstone; and three provincial documents – the 1960 Tabula, the 1957 Catalogue of the Province, and the most recent issue of The Provincial Chronicle.

►  The friars of Immaculate Conception Province recently celebrated the centennial of the dedication of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Derry, N.H. A solemn Mass was celebrated on Nov. 11. Presiding was Bishop John McCormack, bishop emeritus of the Diocese of Manchester, N.H. Concelebrants included pastor Fr. Philip Pacheco, OFM, former pastor Fr. Joseph Lorenzo, OFM, former deacon and associate pastor Fr. Thomas Washburn, OFM, and Fr. John Bucchino, OFM, Fr. Pierre Baker, OFM, and Fr. Thomas Frink, SJ. Assisting as deacon was Joseph Dion. Immaculate Conception Province is also preparing to rededicate the newly-renovated St. Leonard’s Church in Boston’s North End. The Dec. 17 Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., of Boston. The church closed on Jan. 1, 2017 as construction began.

►  The crypt in the basement of St. Francis Seraph Friary in Cincinnati has become one of the most anticipated stops on Queen City Underground Tours’ adventures to historic churches. The crypt, which once doubled as a storage room for the friary, has attracted more than 50,000 visitors to the premises. “It’s great PR for the province, the parish, the ministries, and Franciscan Media,” said guardian Br. Tim Sucher, OFM. Portions of proceeds from the tour also go to the parish and the school.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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