Provincial Update - July / August 2017
St. Francis Xavier Church, New Milford, CT
Church of St. Francis Xavier, New Milford, Connecticut

Dear Brothers,

     "Greetings in the Lord, and Peace!"
     As this July/August Update "goes to press," sadly we have recently experienced several losses: the loss of two of our brother Franciscans, Fr. Norbert DeAmato and Fr. Louis Pintye, and also the loss of our parish ministry at St. Francis Xavier Church in New Milford, CT.   Although we never know the day or the hour that our heavenly Father will call us home, the passing of both brothers Norbert and Louie was not totally unexpected.  At ninety-five, our brother Norbert was fairly advanced in years; and by contrast, our brother Louie was only sixty-two years of age, but for years now has dealt with some difficult and life-threatening health issues.

The interior of St. Francis Xavier decorated for Christmas during Fr. Mario's pastorate.

       The loss of our parish ministry at St. Francis Xavier in New Milford was more of a surprise to all involved, most especially to our brothers Joseph Lorenzo and Courtland Campbell who were the parochial staff.  The Archdiocese of Hartford is presently engaged (like so many other dioceses) in a 'pastoral plan' that has included a review of the viability of their parishes.  The surprise followed the fact that in May Fr. Joseph was informed that St. Francis was doing extremely well and that it would continue to exist as a 'free-standing parish.'  Suddenly that decision was reversed!  It was decided by the Archdiocese that St. Francis Xavier Church would be merged with the Church of Our Lady of the Lakes.  Since St. Francis Xavier would be "the" parish with Our Lady of the Lakes being a "mission" parish, the Archdiocese asked us to assign a pastoral associate to Fr. Joseph to assist in the ministry.  Although several attempts were made to reach out to the friars of our Province, there was no one either able or willing to take on parish ministry with Fr. Joseph.  Do to our inability to assign an assistant to Fr. Joseph, the Archdiocese assigned a new pastor and associate pastor from among their own clergy.  

     On Sunday, July 16th, after twenty years of our ministering to the people of New Milford, Fr. Joseph and Bro. Courtland extended their gratitude to the community at  a 'Farewell Liturgy;' and on Monday, July 17th, the Archdiocese resumed responsibility for the parish with Fr. Gerald Dziedzic as pastor, and Fr. Chacko Kumplam as pastoral associate.
     In a letter as printed in Fr. Joseph's final bulletin, the Most Reverend Leonard P. Blair, Archbishop of Hartford, wrote, "For the past twenty years, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Conception Province have served the Parish of Saint Francis Xavier in New Milford.  I am very grateful not only for their pastoral ministry but also for their example and witness of religious life.  I am confident that parishioners have benefited spiritually from the presence of the Franciscans among you." 

     In his weekly bulletin column, "The View From My Window," Fr. Joseph wrote: "A little over a year ago, I had to say goodbye to my former parish, St. Anthony of Padua, in Manhattan after serving 12 years as pastor.  I would have never thought that after only one year I would again be saying goodbye to another parish.  Certainly, I cannot compare the feelings I have leaving a place that was my home and ministry for twelve years to the short year that I have served here.  Yet, I can confidently say that my life has been greatly enriched by my presence at St. Frances Xavier and by all of you . . .  I would also like to thank in a special way Brother Courtland for his constant assistance with ministry and for his friendship and guidance. . . . I thank you for all your expressions of support over the past few weeks.  I have seen your writing on the parish Facebook page, the tears in your eyes, your words of encouragement.  I am aware of so many who have appreciated my teaching homilies, reading the 'View from My Window' in the bulletin, or being able finally to hear the Mass readings and prayers due to my booming voice.  I know many of our parishioners called the Archdiocese or wrote letters to the Archbishop.  Please know that your sentiments are also mine and your tears have mingled with my own.  I joked that I was just getting 'like' you . . . but I have 'loved' you from the beginning.  And I wish that I could only have continued to walk with you so as to get to know you even better." 

     Loss comes to us in many different ways and truly this is a significant loss to us all.  I would like to publicly say 'Thank You' to all our friars who have ministered at St. Francis Xavier over the past twenty years, beginning with Fr. Mario Julian who took on the daunting challenge as the first pastor.  My gratitude, brothers, to you all and I pray that our Lord will bless you in kind for your years of selfless ministry, "thirty, sixty and a hundred fold."


                                                                                                               Fr. Robert M. Campagna, OFM
                                                                                                                          Provincial Minister
     This is not the reason you want to be 'in the news'; but some time after midnight on June 26th, the four outdoor statues that tell the story of the three shepherd children who were seers of the Blessed Mother under her title of Our Lady of Fatima were vandalized outside the Shrine Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Manhattan.  According to the pastor, Father Mario Julian, OFM, the surveillance video shows the vandal, an adult male, in action.  "It was the violent nature that was so tough to absorb," Fr. Mario said.  "He was walking by, he literally jumped over the fence, went over, picked up the statues and tossed them violently against the Blessed Mother statue.  He flung them so hard that they hit the statue and they landed face down on the cement pavement."  Damage to the statues includes broken hands on the statue of the Blessed Mother and the three children in addition to chips sustained.  Fr. Mario Julian, pastor of the church, when interviewed by the police and then the media, estimated the damages to be approximately $15,000.00 dollars.  Sadly, this is not the first time that the statues in the church garden have been vandalized.  
Rob Nelson from ABC covering the story for Channel 7 NEWS.

     For all the friars who had connections to our former IMMACULATE CONCEPTION SEMINARY COLLEGE in Troy, New York, the 'Fatima grouping' will be familiar.  The statues were located at the lower entrance of the seminary property.  When the seminary was closed in 1978, Fr. Felician Napoli, OFM, then pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, had the statues moved to New York City and placed in the church garden.

     There was extensive coverage of the incident in the papers, the radio (1010 WINS), and on television. As stated, this isn't the type of news with which you want to be profiled.              

      "Congratulations!" Fr. Aidan McGrath, OFM
Elected Provincial Minister of the Province of Ireland
      On June 27, 2017, the Province of Ireland elected Fr. Aidan McGrath, OFM as their Provincial Minister.  Most of our friars had the recent pleasure of meeting Fr. Aidan early in June. Fr. Aidan visited the various regions of our Province to conduct a lecture on the nature of mercy and pardon as we were directed to continue sharing following our Holy Father's 'Year of Mercy' and the final document of the General Chapter in 2015.  At the time of Fr. Aidan's presentation, he was the Secretary General of the Order.  
     We extend our 'Congratulations' and prayerful support in his ministry to the brothers of his Province and to the Order.
"Congratulations!" Fr. Flavian Mucci, OFM
Marks Fifty Years of Ministry in Central America

     We extend heartfelt 'Congratulations' to our brother, Fr. Flavian Mucci, OFM who recently marked his 'Fiftieth Anniversary' of ministry in El Salvador, Central America. It was fifty years ago this July that Fr. Flavian arrived in El Salvador "With one piece of luggage," and he stated, "much in the same way my Italian grandparents first arrived to the United States."  In the five decades that have passed since his arrival, Fr. Falvian has built what amounts to a network of social services called the 'Agape Association of El Salvador.' These  include a clinic, a soup kitchen, a home for the elderly, educational and religious centers for children and adults, as well as a restaurant (named after his mother, Laura), a hotel, and TV and radio stations.  Fr. Robert had the opportunity during his recent visitation to the Central American missions to extend his 'Congratulations' to Fr. Flavian personally.

Provincial Minister and Madeline Bonnici
Visit Friars in Central America Missions
      During the last week of July, Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, Provincial Minister, along with Madeline Bonnici, OFM, Executive Director of Franciscan Mission Associates, traveled to Central America to visit the friars ministering in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.  

While in Guatemala, they made their usual visit to the hospital in Antiqua of Hermano Pedro (pictured above) where miracles are performed especially through the assistance of 'Doctors Without Borders' for children with severe birth defects.  They also paid visits to the Instituto San Francisco in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Valley of the Angels in Guatemala; Immaculate Conception Church & School in Ataco, El Salvador.

Valley of the Angels, Guatemala
Friars pictured (left to right) Fr. Rafael Fernandez, Fr. Michael Della Penna, Fr. Robert Campagna, Madeline Bonnici, OFM, and Fr. Nery Aguirre

Fr. Robert Campagna, with some of the children who attend the school at
Inglesia Inmaculada Concepcion, Ataco, El Salvador.
Six US Provinces move toward the formation of one Province

    The OFM provincial ministers of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Holy Name, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart, Saint Barbara and Saint John the Baptist provinces gathered with their provincial councils at Mount Alvernia Retreat Center in Wappingers Falls, NY from August 21-25, 2017 to further the discernment of renewal and revitalization of the life and ministry of their friars. They released the following statement at 12 noon on August 23rd.

     On August 23, 2017, the Provincial Ministers and their Provincial Councils voted unanimously to place before their provinces for a vote at extraordinary chapters in May 2018 a resolution that the General Minister and Definitorium of the Order of Friars Minor approve a formal process to reconfigure their six existing provinces into one new province
Changes to the 'New' Directory!
     The ink is barely dry on the 'new' Provincial Directory that was recently mailed to all the friars, and already there are changes to be made.  Please note the following:

1) On the 'Index Page #21'
    William Graham's email should now read:
2) On page 11 and 'Index Page #22' - Fr. Louis Pintye, OFM - remove (deceased)
3) On page 15 and 'Index Page #20 - Fr. Norbert DeAmato, OFM - remove (deceased)
4) On page 8 - General Curia - please add: Fr. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM - Secretary General
5) On page 8 - General Curia - please add: Fr. Ivan Sesar, OFM - Procurator General
6) On page 8 - General Curia - please delete: Fr. Lorant Orosz, OFM (Definitor and                      Procurator) No new Definitor listed on OFM website
7) On page 16 - Saint Francis Centre for Religious Studies -  please move the postulants to            page 10 - Immaculate Conception, Boston.  Please delete Mr. Delete William Huang              from the list of postulants (will not be entering at this time) and from the index on page          21
8) On page 16 please Mobile number for Fr. Charles Gingerich, OFM - (978) 590-6592
Prayers Requested

Infirm Friars: 
  • Friar Robert Artman
  • Friar Francis de Sales Paolo
  • Friar Mark Brown
  • Friar Flavian Mucci
  • Friar Clement Procopio
For our Friars in 'Skilled Nursing Facilities':
  • Friar Philip Adamo
  • Friar Lucius Annese
  • Friar Louis De Tommaso
  • Friar Francis Hanudel
  • Friar Lawrence Stumpo
Infirm Family and Friends: 
  • Joseph Almagno (brother of Friar Romano Almagno)
  • Astra Fernandes (mother of Friar Conrad Fernandes)
  • Guillermo Ruiz (father of Friar Orlando Ruiz)
  • Gloria Salinas (mother of Friar Octavio Salinas)
  • Marie Caprio Sicuso (sister of Friar Robert Caprio)
  • Sheila Washburn (mother of Friar Thomas Washburn)
  • Matilde & Joseph Zammit (parents of Friar Jimmy Zammit)
Recently Deceased Friars:

Fr. Norbert  (Joseph) DeAmato, OFM -

January 3, 1922 - July 29, 2017

     Fr. Norbert De Amato, OFM, age 95, passed into eternal life in the early hours of Saturday, July 29th, while a resident at the Don Orione Nursing Home in East Boston, Massachusetts.  At the time of his passing he was affiliated with the community of St. Christopher Friary in the North End of Boston.

     Fr. Norbert was received into the Order on August 14, 1941; made his Solemn Profession of Vows on August 15, 1945, and was ordained to the priesthood on February 21, 1948. 

     A wake and mass of Christian Burial were conducted at Sacred Heart Church, in the North End of Boston on August 1st and 2nd, with interment at St. Francis Cemetery in Andover, Massachusetts.  The Minister Provincial, Fr. Robert Campagna, was the celebrant and homilist at the funeral. 


Fr. Louis Michael Pintye, OFM 

February 16, 1955 - August 20, 2017

     Fr. Louis Pintye, OFM, age 62, passed into eternal life in the early hours of August 20th while a resident at the Camelot Arms Nursing Home, Youngstown, Ohio.  At the time of his passing he was affiliated with the community of Mount Alverna Friary - Shrine of Our Lady, Comforter of the Afflicted, Youngstown, Ohio. 

     Originally a member of the Hungarian Custody of St. John Capistran, Fr. Louis was received into the Order on June 23, 1984; made his Solemn Profession of Vows on May 21, 1989, and was ordained to the priesthood on October 6, 1990.

     A wake and mass of Christian Burial were conducted at St. Anthony of Padua Church, New York City on August 23rd, with interment on Thursday, August 24th, at St. Nicholas Byzantine Hungarian Cemetery in Hamilton Township, New Jersey.  The Minister Provincial, Fr. Robert Campagna, was the celebrant for the funeral and Fr. Capistran Polgar was the homilist.



Recent Deceased Family Members: 

Debra DeCamillis, niece of Fr. Simeon Distefano, OFM, who passed into eternal life on

Saturday, June 24, 2017.  

Kelly Ledoux-Walsh, 21 years of age, niece of Fr. Michael Ledoux,

passed into eternal life on Monday, July 24th.


John Disterano, brother of Fr. Simeon Distefano, OFM, who passed into eternal at                       midnight, July 27, 2017


Please pray for all friars, families, friends and benefactors,

living and deceased. 
'Welcoming' Our New Postulants
Tau Ceremony
"If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and follow in My footsteps." (Mt.16:24)

'Tau Ceremony'  for the Reception of Postulants
Sunday, September 17th, the traditional day of the stigmata of St. Francis
St. Anthony of Padua Church, New York, N.Y. 
The service will begin at 4:00 p.m.
Being 'welcomed' to our fraternity:

Daniel Cavaleri
Louis Franciose
William Joseph Graham
Carl Green
Brian Dave Menezes
John Sidoti
     An informal reception will follow in the Church Hall.  So that we might plan appropriately, if you plan to attend, please contact Fr. Mario Julian, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church.
(212) 7772755 (Office) 
(518) 423-9415 (Cell)
  Upcoming Dates:
  • September 18th, 19th & 20th - Provincial Board Meeting at the Curia in Manhattan.
  • September 19th (evening) Annual FRANCISCAN MISSION ASSOCIATES BOARD MEETING, Mount Vernon, New York
  • September 25th - 29th - Fr. Algirdas Malakauskis OFM, Provincial Minister of the Province of St. Casmir, Vilnius, Lithuania, his Vicar and Provincial Board will be guests at the Curia. 
  • October 1st - Anniversary celebration with the Lithuanian Franciscans at Kennebunkport, Maine
  • October 9th - 13th - English Speaking Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico