NEW YORK — Three friars presented the Province’s Francis Medal to five people in New Jersey and western New York this summer.
The medal, established by former Provincial Minster John Felice, OFM, in 1998, is awarded to people who, through their generosity of spirit, service and support, have given witness to the values and ideals of St. Francis.
Friend to Ministers of the Word
Kevin Cronin, OFM, of Ministry of the Word (MOW), based in Butler, N.J., awarded Titos and Peggy Vrachimus with the medal on Aug. 30 in Butler.
The Vrachimuses, the parents of two sons in college, are natives of Cyprus, and lived next to the MOW friars for 13 years. Although members of the Greek Orthodox Church in Wyckoff, the Vrachimuses were been good neighbors to the friary, Kevin said.
“Tito has been an excellent neighbor,” said Kevin, often watching the friary and looking out for the friars. “He was trusted with a key, and would often change light bulbs on timer-switches when needed, and help with other repairs around the house,” said Kevin, who reently moved to Butler form Ho-ho-kus, N.J. He would water the lawn when the friars were away on long missions, feed the parakeets, and host dinners and barbeques for the friars.
Tito manages a store and Peggy teaches third grade.
St. Bonaventure University Friary, Allegany, N.Y.
Xavier Seubert, OFM, guardian of the St. Bonaventure University friary, presented the medal to Eleanor English and Joseph Tedesco on Aug. 28.
“Ellie and Joe both retired on Aug. 31,” said Xavier. “Cumulatively, they have been at the university for almost 100 years and have always promoted the Franciscan mission of the school.”
St. Patrick Friary, Buffalo, N.Y.
Michael Oberst, OFM, gave a Francis Medal to Gloria Decker on Sept. 2. He said: “Gloria has worked for Cephas as our assistant director for the last six years, three years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, and then three years at minimal pay. She deeply integrated her presence, service and spirituality into the life of the friars and the spirituality of Francis, regularly joining us for Eucharist and office, and assisting other friars in their ministry when possible. She is leaving us to continue her journey of faith.”
When the medal was announced by John Felice, OFM, in 1998, he said, “In awarding this medal, the Province seeks to honor ordinary men and women who have given extraordinary service for and with the friar of the Holy Name Province,”