Honoring Juniper Capece

Francis Di Spigno, OFM Friar News

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Mass started as usual … without Juniper!

It’s not uncommon for Juniper Capece, OFM, to arrive in the middle (or the end) of the gathering song for Mass, Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer. This Mass, however, was a bit different. It was in his honor. 

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, as presider at the Mass, respectfully waited for “Junie” to arrive. When he did, Juniper entered the chapel of Holy Name College to a rousing round of applause from his brothers.

In his homily, John named the long list of communities in which Juniper has lived during his 56 years as a professed friar. John said that during those years “Juniper helped us to look good in the beautifully tailored habit of our Franciscan Order.” At the end of Mass, John bestowed theBlessing of St. Francis upon Juniper.

We continued our celebration in honor of Juniper’s retirement as Provincial habit maker as we made our way to the “rec” room for some appetizers and finally to a specially prepared, and personally requested, dinner: spaghetti and meatballs.

Along with John, Michael Johnson, OFM, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and Fr. Jean Marie Kabango-Lenge, OFM, from St. Camillus Friary, Vincent Cushing, OFM, and Russel Murray, OFM, from nearby Gemelli House andEdward Flanagan, OFM, who lives at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C., joined the Holy Name College community to honor and recognize the many years of Juniper’s service to the Province.

David Schlatter, OFM, “saluted” Juniper by recognizing the fact that, although he no longer makes habits, he is making rosary beads that are “now in the hands of countless marines, sailors, and solders, as well as their mothers, fathers and family members who come to the National Naval Medical Center.” Mario Gomez, OFM, and Paul Keenan, OFM, as well as Edward, Russel Murray, OFM, and Ronald Stark, OFM, also shared in some of the countless ways Juniper has touched their lives and those of many others throughout the years.

Juniper concluded the evening with a warm heartfelt thank you for all the brothers who throughout the years have “welcomed him and made him part of the brotherhood.” 

Juniper, “per cent’ anni!”

— Fr. Francis, the Province’s director of post-novitiate formation and guardian of Holy Name College, was among the friars who shared stories about how Br. Juniper has touched their lives.