Western Canada Province Elects New Leadership

Maria Hayes Franciscan World


Councilors Kevin Lynch, OFM, Paul Smith,OFM, and Manoj Xalxo, OFM, Provincial Vicar Pierre Ducharme, OFM, Provincial Minister Robert Mokry,OFM, and Councilor Daniel Gurnick, OFM. (Photo courtesy of the English-speaking Conference)

The following is a monthly compilation of news from the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, comprising provinces from Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta and the United States.

COCHRANE, Alberta, Canada — During their Provincial Chapter, held Feb. 15 to 19 at Mount St. Francis Retreat Center, the friars of Christ the King Province of Western Canada elected new leadership.

Fr. Robert Mokry, OFM, was elected provincial minister of the community. He previously served as provincial, according to a report on the English-Speaking Conference website, and for the last seven years has been a missionary in Morocco. Fr. Robert succeeded Fr. Dennis Vavrek, OFM, who completed nine years as provincial minister.

Elected as provincial vicar was Fr. Pierre Ducharme, OFM, and as members of the Provincial Council, friars Kevin Lynch, OFM, Daniel Gurnick, OFM, Paul Smith, OFM, and Manoj Xalxo, OFM.

Earlier this month, the provincial ministers of Christ the King Province, St. Joseph Province in Eastern Canada, and the Ontario Foundation of the Immaculate Conception Province (USA) released a letter updating the friars about the process of restructuring the OFM presence in Canada.

“Over the next few months, the steering committee will continue to examine how revitalization of the OFM presence in Canada could be achieved through the creation of a union among the existing entities,” wrote the provincials. “A discussion will be prepared to support consultations with the friars during the upcoming months. The steering committee will also examine the juridical and canonical documents for each of the entities involved in the restructuring process, and consult with the professionals who have the required legal and canonical expertise. Consultations will also be undertaken with other religious communities that have undergone a restructuring of their organizations so as to garner lessons learned from their respective experiences.”

The provincials strongly encouraged each friar to engage in the process and reiterated that the primary motivation for restructuring the OFM presence in Canada is to “revitalize the life and mission of the Friars Minor and to renew our core values what are at the ‘heart of the living out of the Gospel life by each and every friar, each and every fraternity, each and every entity’” (“Reflections by Friar Michael Perry, OFM,” Chapter of Mats, Sept. 22, 2015).

Other news from the ESC includes:

  • The introduction of a “Lenten Daily Good Deed” on the “friar” app
  • The commitment of gifts totaling nearly $70,000 to St. Bonaventure University’s Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, directed by Michael Calabria, OFM
  • News about 150 students from Padua Franciscan High School, staffed by St. John the Baptist Province, who were recognized by the city of Cleveland after they used a free day to help seniors in their neighborhood
  • The introduction of #FriarFriday, a series of reflections by Franciscan friars in the United States during Lent in the Year of Mercy

Information about the English-speaking Conference can be found on its website and Facebook page.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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