The following report of the fall meeting of the provincials of the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor is reprinted from the ESC’s fall newsletter with edits for style.
NEW YORK — The provincial ministers and custodes of the English-speaking Conference held their annual fall meeting from Oct. 12 to 16 at the Provincial Curia of Immaculate Conception Province.
The meeting was marked by welcomes and farewells. Conference members welcomed General Definitor Fr. Caoimhin O’Laoide, OFM, to his first ESC meeting since being elected at the General Chapter. They also welcomed the newly-elected provincial minister of Assumption BVM Province, Fr. James Gannon, OFM. Jim was elected to complete the term of former provincial minister Fr. John Puodziunas, OFM, who was recently named Economo General of the Order.
The fall meeting also marked the final meeting of several provincial ministers who are completing terms of office: Fr. John Hardin, OFM (St. Barbara), Fr. Astijus Kungys, OFM (St. Casimir) and Fr. Dennis Vavrek, OFM (Christ the King).
During the meeting, the provincial ministers of the United States and the provincial ministers of Canada each met separately in their respective sub-conferences to discuss matters relevant to their regions. The Canadian members discussed their recently completed Chapter of Mats that took place Sept. 20 to 23 as part of their ongoing conversation about reconfiguration.
The U.S. sub-conference met to discuss:
- The ongoing conversation about reconfiguration of the seven U.S. provinces. The ministers met with the Franciscan Interprovincial Team who is also located in New York City.
- Jim McIntosh, OFM, who was recently hired as the U.S. Digital Media Coordinator. The provincials spoke with him about his work with the U.S. Franciscan website and social media strategy. They also received a demonstration of the new app for smartphones that has been created and will be released in the months ahead.
- The common admissions policy being discussed by formation personnel. A final draft is expected to be ready for consideration at the spring 2016 meeting.
In addition to those mentioned above, friars who attended the meeting included Provincial Minister Fr. Richard Grech, OFM (St. Paul, Malta), Provincial Minister Fr. Marc Le Goanvec, OFM (St. Joseph, Canada), Custos Fr. Patrick Lonsdale, OFM (Immaculate Conception, Great Britain), Provincial Minister and ESC Conference President Fr. Hugh McKenna, OFM (Ireland), Provincial Minister and ESC Conference Vice-president Kevin Mullen, OFM (Holy Name), Provincial Minister Fr. Primo Piscitello, OFM (Immaculate Conception, USA), Provincial Minister Fr. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM (Our Lady of Guadalupe), Provincial Minister Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM (St. John the Baptist), and Provincial Minister Fr. William Spencer, OFM (Sacred Heart).
Despite the full conference sessions, members had the chance to:
- Discuss and evaluate the General Chapter in May
- Discuss the annual accountability reports from the various secretariats, commissions and committees of the conference
- Meet with Kim Smolik, executive director of Franciscan Mission Service, who updated the group on the work of FMS
As with each meeting, the ministers and custodes also found time for recreation. The group attended a performance of “The King and I” on Broadway, and many found some free time for visits to the September 11th Memorial and Museum as well as many of the museums and sites that the city has to offer.
Editor’s note: Other news from the English-speaking Conference includes the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Franciscan friars in Canada, the beginning of a series about the missions run by Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, and a special blessing of the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo in California. Updates from the ESC are gathered, written and distributed by Fr. Thomas Washburn, OFM, the conference’s executive secretary.