The following descriptions summarize news from the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, comprising provinces and custodies from Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, and the United States. Follow the ESC on Facebook for up-to-date information throughout the month. The October ESC round-up featured the diaconate ordination of Br. Sam Nasada, OFM, the return to the diocese by Immaculate Conception Province of a parish in Massachusetts, and the visit by two friars to Casa Migrante 72 in Tenosique, Mexico.
► On Nov. 17, friars Dat Hoang, OFM, and Edward Tverdek, OFM, members of Sacred Heart Province, were ordained to the priesthood at St. Peter’s Church in the Loop, Chicago. The ordaining bishop was the Most Reverend Albert Rojas. Fr. Dat currently ministers at St. Anthony of Padua Church in St. Louis and also assists at nearby Resurrection Parish, while Fr. Ed will continue to minister at St. Peter’s.
► Members of the ESC Secretaries of Formation met in Italy from Oct. 29 to Nov. 4. Their stay included visits to historic sites in Rome and Assisi. Their meetings included reports on the postulant, novitiate and post-novitiate programs within the conference and discussions about the need for mentoring of younger friars, as well as the importance of balancing ministry with fraternity and the need for future formators. A newsletter, available by clicking here, provides details and photos. It was produced by Fr. Gregory Plata, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province, one of the eight participants.
► In the Southwest, a dozen friars of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province joined the Poor Clares of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Roswell, N.M., for the annual Eucharistic Day in late October. On Nov. 13, Fr. Paul Juniet, OFM, and Provincial Minister Fr. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, concelebrated the Eucharist with Cardinal Raymond Burke to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the Poor Clares in Roswell. The cardinal was a guest of the sisters. A photo provided by Fr. Jack shows him with Cardinal Burke.
► St. Barbara Province has been keeping friars around the country updated about the wildfire near Malibu, Calif. According to news posted on the Serra Retreat Facebook page, friars had been expected to return to the retreat center on Nov. 14. The Facebook’s Thanksgiving post, which shared the gratitude of the friars, said, “We are very thankful this year for many things but especially recently for the wonderful firefighters and first responders who helped protect Serra Retreat in the Woosley fire. We are thankful for your prayers and support. We are blessed because of you!”
► Earlier this month, Assumption BVM Province announced that the building that houses the Franciscan Missions office in Waterford, Wis., has been named a friary within the Province and will use the name St. Joseph Friary. The executive director of the missions office, Fr. Andy Brophy, OFM, was appointed by General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, as guardian of the friary. The Province Press newsletter also welcomed Fr. Bernardo Moya Montero, OFM, a native of Mexico, to the missions where he will serve as coordinator of both mission appeals and mission projects.
► On Nov. 25, the friars of St. John the Baptist Province opened A Franciscan Christmas in historic Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio. Visitors will be able to spend quality meditative reflection and view the animals at the live nativity in the courtyard of St. Francis Seraph Church. The display is open Sunday through Tuesday until Jan. 1, 2019. Also this month, SJB News Notes, the newsletter of the Ohio-based province, featured a Nov. 4 parachute jump by an 86-year-old friar at Middletown Regional Airport in Ohio. Photos and a feature article by Toni Cashnelli titled “Geronimo: He’s ready to make the leap of a lifetime” show the adventure of Fr. Tom Spier, OFM.
► Franciscan Media and St. Anthony Messenger Press – both affiliated with St. John the Baptist Province – as well as numerous other Franciscan efforts to proclaim the Gospel over the last 140 years through print, film, radio, television, video, cable TV and the Internet, are featured in the recently published Voice of Empathy: A History of Franciscan Media in the United States by Raymond Haberski, Jr. The book can be purchased through the bookstore page of the American Academy of Franciscan History website.
► In Ireland, celebrations were held recently to mark 750 years of continuous Franciscan presence and service in Multyfarnham, County Westmeath. One of the celebrations, on Oct. 3, used the Transitus liturgy in remembrance of the death of St Francis of Assisi. “It was a wonderful ecumenical occasion with the homily being preached by Rev. Alastair Graham, rector of Mullingar Union and Canon of Kildare and Trim Cathedrals,” according to a description on the Franciscans Ireland Facebook page. “Guests that evening included students from Wilson’s Hospital School and their chaplain, Emma Rothwell.”
► Reflections by several friars have been posted this month on the USFranciscans Facebook page. They are Jim McIntosh, OFM, whose piece is titled “Dignity for Los Desconocidos,” and Fr. Michael Surufka, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province, who wrote “It Is Right and Just.”
► In western Canada, the Franciscans have been in the news in the town of Cochrane, Alberta, approximately 20 miles northwest of Calgary. On Nov. 19, the Cochrane Times announced the unification of the two Canadian OFM provinces, which became official on Oct. 22. On Nov. 22, in an article titled “Franciscan friars celebrate 70 years in Cochrane,” the Cochrane Eagle described the Nov. 15 anniversary celebration at Mount St. Francis Retreat.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “Malibu Friars Safe” – Nov. 14, 2018, HNP Today
- “Canadian Provinces Unify During Historic Chapter” – Oct. 30, 2018, HNP Today
- “Franciscan Missions Office Launches New Website” – March 1, 2017, HNP Today
- St. Clare and Her Sisters page of HNP.org website
- “St. Anthony Messenger Press Changes Name”– Nov. 23, 2011, HNP Today