The following descriptions summarize news from the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, comprising of 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.
►Br. Sam Nasada, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, was ordained to the diaconate on Oct. 20 at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he will serve. A video of the liturgy is posted on The Casa’s YouTube channel.
►Two friars from Our Lady of Guadalupe Province – Fr. Jorge Hernandez, OFM, and Fr. Gerry Steinmetz, OFM – visited Casa Migrante 72 (La 72) in Tenosique, Mexico, from Sept. 5 to 17. During their brief stay, they encountered more than 350 migrants, mostly from Honduras. Many of the men, women and children (often unaccompanied teenagers) had walked for three days before arriving at La 72 with blisters on their feet. “We heard many stories of why people are migrating to Mexico and hopefully to the United States of America to find asylum and protection from violence and death,” said Fr. Gerry. “It was a deeply emotional experience and Franciscan ministry connection.”
►Earlier this month, the friars of Immaculate Conception Province returned care of St. Margaret/St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Buzzards Bay, Mass., to the Diocese of Fall River. The Franciscans had served the parish since 1988. Thomas Washburn, OFM, who had served as pastor, has been assigned as rector of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fall River, Mass., and administrator of Good Shepherd and St. Stanislaus parishes, effective Oct. 31. Thomas served as executive secretary of the English-speaking Conference from 2004 until 2017.
►Nearly 250 years ago, a Franciscan friar traveling with the first Spanish expedition to pass through Alta California was inspired to name a river “El Rio de los Angeles de la Porciuncula.” Twelve years later, a small band of settlers from Mexico would found El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora de Los Angeles de la Porciuncula, a village that would eventually become the City of Los Angeles. The Angelus recently explored the connection between L.A. and the little Portiuncula church in Assisi.
►A friar who hiked the Appalachian Trail has written a book about his experience. Fr. Joe Nelson, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province chronicled his adventures exploring 700 miles of the trail and connecting them to the Franciscan charism in “The Appalachian Trail: A Franciscan’s Spiritual Journey.” He hopes that the book will “help people learn something about Franciscan spirituality and how it ties in with their life and nature. I hope they get a picture of what it’s like to hike the trail and what my life was like.”
►In honor of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, Fr. Larry Gosselin, OFM, of St. Barbara Province visited the Santa Barbara, Calif., Zoo to bless the animals. Gibbons, elephants, snow leopards and lions alike benefited from the benediction. Farther east, 800 furry residents of Cincinnati’s SPCA were blessed by Fr. Bill Farris, OFM, and Br. Tim Lamb, OFM, who added an additional prayer that “they find loving humans who will care for them.”
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.
- “St. Barbara Province Celebrates Solemn Profession, Other ESC News” – Sept. 19, 2018, HNP Today
- “General Visitor Visits Migrant Shelter in Mexico” – Aug. 1, 2017, HNP Today
- Franciscan World section of HNP.org