With passion and conviction, Eric Carpine, OFM, says very convincingly that he loves parish ministry. But in the same breath – in the latest installment of the video series, Aging with Grace, produced by HNP’s Sick, Aged and Retired Directorate – Eric apparently may love retirement even more!
“Most of my life as a friar, I have spent in pastoral ministry in parishes in the South, and [in New York City] at 31st Street (St. Francis of Assisi) and on 82nd Street at St. Stephen of Hungary – all parishes that I loved,” says Eric in the opening of his narrative, A Moment With… Eric Carpine, in the SAR Directorate’s May 2023 release https://youtu.be/8f3f1qxerRU of its monthly video series.
“I loved parish ministry, but I also love being retired. First of all, we are very well taken care of (at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, where he lives),” continues Eric with an approving nod. “We have a lovely guardian (Vincent Laviano, OFM), who is very thoughtful – and when you’re sick, he knows just how to take care of you. He is really wonderful and very brilliant in his administration of this house. Most [friars] like to come to Florida.”
The SAR Directorate series highlights elder friars in 2-to-5-minute videos sharing their wisdom and personal stories and experiences about Franciscan life, vocation, ministry, and retirement. Matthew Pravetz, OFM, chair of the SAR Directorate, is producer of the video series, with Joe Juracek, OFM, serving as videographer, and Kevin McGoff, OFM, serving as editor.
In the video, Eric says the decision to retire was a challenging one. “When I decided to retire, it was not an easy decision. But I thought – if I could just keep moving and doing something every day that’s good for my soul and for others, I am doing well,” explains Eric, who goes on to say that he visits the Allegany Franciscan Sisters retirement house twice a week to celebrate Mass for them, and a local assisted living facility on weekends to celebrate Mass for the residents.
Of that particular retirement ministry, he exclaims, “Finally, I am [getting to minister] to my peers!”
Of course, he had sage advice for friars nearing retirement. “All I can say is this: have a plan, make sure you follow through on it, and take good care of yourself – and the blessings of God are always with us.”
He closes his thoughts with a pensive reflection: “This is my final assignment – I think. And (when the time comes) I am glad to make the big trip to the beyond!”
In his pastoral ministry, Eric felt blessed to administer the sacrament of reconciliation. In an interview on the occasion of his golden jubilee as a professed friar, he called it “one of the greatest gifts of my religious life.” In an article in the Province newsletter, Eric had said, “[Reconciliation] is a very beautiful human encounter that brings real life change… It’s a joy and privilege to hear confession. People come to you for healing and compassion. No one who comes seeking forgiveness leaves without it.”
Eric also spoke in the article about his love of parish ministry that he mentions in the video. Celebrating Mass in the morning, transitioning to hours of hearing confessions, and then working the reception desk in the late afternoon at St. Francis on 31st Street was a perfect day for him.
While in New York City, Eric graduated from Hunter College with a master’s degree in social work, making him a licensed clinical social worker. His degree was immediately put into action when he was assigned director of St. Francis Counseling Center in Providence, R.I., which offered psychotherapy to clients and connected families with food assistance, affordable housing and other social services. It was work – like his current retirement ministry – that touched his heart.