Provincial Update - November 2017
Praise and bless my Lord, and give Him thanks 
and serve Him with great humility
Canticle of the Creatures, St. Francis of Assisi 1224
      Calvary Cemetery NY
Dear Brothers,
We often think of November as a transitional month- the weather changing, the beauty of fall colors giving way to the cold of winter.  It is also a time of remembrance.  We begin the month remembering our deceased loved ones, especially our families and friends.  It is also important that we remember our deceased friars, as we celebrate Masses at the  places where our friars are interred.  

November is also a time of giving thanks, as the celebration of Thanksgiving Day gives way to the holiday season. This year, we have much to be thankful for, and we take time to thank our God for all the blessings He has given us.  We are privileged to walk with each other as brothers, as Franciscans, living the gospel in the footsteps of St. Francis.  Let us give thanks for the gift of faith, and the blessings of fraternity.  

Happy Thanksgiving.  

    Friar Robert Campagna, OFM
  Provincial Minister


English Speaking Conference Meets with 
the General Minister and Definitorim
Every six years, the members of the General Definitorium meet with the various Conferences throughout the Order. From October 9-15, 2017, they met with the English Speaking Conference (ESC) of the Order. The meeting was hosted by the Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, beginning in Albuquerque, NM and concluding at St. Michael Mission on the Navajo Nation. Present were General Minister Michael Perry, OFM; Vicar General Julio Bunader, OFM; Definitor General Caoimhin O'Laoide, OFM (ESC), and other members of the General Definitorium.
Several special events were scheduled, including a gathering with Hispanic parishioners in Albuquerque, a visit to the Center for Action and Contemplation, and an encounter with the Pueblo and Navajo people of that area. These Native Americans welcomed the friars and expressed appreciation for the special blessings of their Catholic Faith and the long history of the friars with their own people. 

Minister General Asks for 
Forgiveness from Native Americans
One of the most moving experiences of the week-long gathering of the Conference took place  at the Laguna Pueblo. During his homily at the Mass, General Minister Michael A. Perry, OFM, asked for forgiveness from our Native American sisters and brothers for any harm caused by our presence among their peoples.
He said:
"In the same spirit in which St. Paul wrote his letter to the Christian pueblo in Philippi, I now bow down before you, the Laguna Pueblo, and ask that you find it within your hearts to forgive us Franciscans for the times when we have failed to show sincere respect for your rich spiritual and cultural heritage, and for the dignity of each and every member of your Pueblo. I beg your forgiveness and ask that you pray for our continued conversion of mind and heart, so that we might grow in our capacity to love as you have loved us."
The Minister General repeated this apology during a liturgy at St. Michael's Mission in the Navajo Nation.  The apology was graciously and tearfully accepted, and the generous offering of pardon that was expressed by the Native American leaders was a deeply emotional and spiritual experience.


Friar Tom Washburn,OFM completes his term as 
Executive Secretary of the English Speaking Conference.
A t the recent meeting of the ESC, our own brother Tom Washburn completed his ministry as Executive Secretary.  Tom thanked the provincials for the opportunity to serve the ESC:

"Over these 12 years, I have served through three Popes, two General Ministers, three English-speaking General Definitors, and for seven Conference presidents. I have traveled 296,959 miles to seven countries, to every Province and Custody of the Conference, most more than once. I have attended two General Chapters, one Extraordinary General Chapter, and have served under 46 Provincial Ministers and  Custodes of the Conference. But, the greatest honor has been to feel a deeper part of our global fraternity, to meet and gain so many brothers in so many places. Thank you for that opportunity."

Tom's tenure saw the creation of the Conference website and social media platforms; the creation of a communication strategy from the General Chapter for the English-speaking world, the development of an app for smartphones, as well as the beginning of reconfiguration processes in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain and Ireland.
Tom is currently pastor of St. Margaret Church in Buzzards Bay.
Friar Patrick McCloskey, OFM of the St. John the Baptist Province was elected to succeed Tom. 
Congratulations, Tom, for a job well done.  

T OTAL NUMBER OF FRIARS: 1,443 (11% of the Order)
Solemnly Professed: 1,336
Ordained: 999
Non-ordained: 337
Temporary Professed: 55
Novices: 16
Postulants: 36
Over 75: 529 (75% over the age of 60)
Aged 60-75: 526
Aged 40-60: 236
Aged under 40: 97 (25% under the age of 60)
Ordinations: 87
Professions: 109
(solemnly professed leaving the Order): 60 

800th Anniversary of the 
Franciscan Presence in the Holy Land
"You are ambassadors of the entire People of God"
Our Holy Father Pope Francis sent a letter to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the presence of the Franciscans in the Holy Land as guardians of the holy places.  Pope Francis praised the friars "for their vital contribution to life in the Holy Land, in particular, their work to accompany pilgrims from all over the world."  He also praised the Franciscans for their work with the local church, as well as their commitment to biblical and archaeological research.  This came as the Franciscans marked the anniversary from October 16 to 18.  General Minister Michael Perry, OFM, took part in the celebrations, with Custos Fr. Francesco Patton, OFM and many other friars and guests. 
When asked about future challenges that the Custody of the Holy Land will face in the future, the General Minister replied, 
"In order to understand the way in which the Franciscan custody's work will be carried on in the future, we must look at what they are doing today. The challenges of tomorrow are the same as the past. Today, the friars are accompanying pilgrims and Christians in the various countries in which they are present, promoting dialogue and being witnesses through their lives: a life that finds roots in God's message through the fathers and mothers in the history of salvation. The Custody has the challenge of involving every person in the search for God, but also that of human dignity, and of the dignity of the planet itself, about which Pope Francis speaks in the encyclical 'Laudato Si',' 'stealing' the words of St. Francis. This quest for harmony, like a spiritual dance, like a cosmic dance, is the future for all of us in the Holy Land."

Time Capsules From Former
Troy Seminary Cornerstones Opened
In its November 2nd, 2017 edition, the Albany Times Union published an interesting article containing information on the discovery and opening of two time capsules that were embedded in the cornerstones of the former Immaculate Conception Seminary, located on Vandenburgh Avenue in Troy.  The cornerstones dated from the original 1941 building, which served as the province's novitiate for many years, and the 1960 addition, which was part of the College of Philosophy.  When the building was razed by Hudson Valley Community College in preparation for the construction of new residences, these items were discovered and given to the Rensselaer County Historical Society. 
The article states that, wearing gloves to protect the contents from contamination, Kathy Sheeham, the registrar of the society as well as the historian for both the city of Troy, NY and Rensselaer County, removed the contents.  There was a block of waterlooged paper from the copper box from the 1941 construction, which appeared to be property deeds. 
The 1960 copper box contained the following items:  a relic of the veil of the Blessed Virgin Mary; several small statuettes (believed to be made of pewter) of the Virgin Mary, the Infant of Prague, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua; a copy of the Aug. 12, 1960 edition of The Evangelist (the official paper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany);  a copy of the Aug. 16, 1960 edition of The Troy Record; a photo of the seminary; a postcard of the seminary; a penny; Latin and English documents about the cornerstone; and three Franciscan provincial documents -- the 1960 Tabula, the 1957 Catalogue of the Province, and the most recent issue of The Provincial Chronicle.
The time capsules were discovered when the two cornerstones were removed from the seminary buildings to clear the site for the College Suites at Hudson Valley.  The 72 apartments with housing for 268 students opened in August. The property was sold in 1977 by our province to Hudson Valley Community College. 

Time Capsules being examined
Time Capsule

St. Anthony NYC Holds Homeless Outreach
The Joy J Initiative Homeless Outreach was held on Saturday morning, November 11.  This ministry gives assistance to the poor and the homeless living on the streets of Manhattan.  It was incorporated in 2014 with St. Anthony ' s being the second member parish, after Blessed Sacrament Church, also in Manhattan.  Today this ministry has extended to 22 chapters, in New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Missouri and internationally in Colombia, the Philippines, Italy, and Ecuador.  The Joy J initiative continues to grow.  Identified by their bright green comfort bags,  which may consist of the usual sandwich, bottle of water, snacks, and juices, they also provide such things as socks, scarves, toothpaste, s oap, hand sanitizer, and other things that would be most useful to those living on the street.  Gift cards are also sometimes included.  This has been a great experience for people young and old who participate in speaking to men and women who have, like Jesus, no place in which to lay their head.  Volunteers head out to such places as Port Authority Bus Terminal, Grand Central and Penn Stations, Washington Square Park, Times Square, and other places where the homeless population may be found.   This month ' s outreach included about 15 students from Fordham University. Friar Mario Julian, OFM, is the pastor of St. Anthony's.   


St. Paul Friary, Clearwater Beach, and Hurricane Irma
The year 2017 may be remembered for the series of tropical storms and hurricanes which caused mayhem in the Caribbean and southern United States.  One storm which affected Saint Paul Friary in Clearwater Beach was Hurricane Irma.  Hitting the Gulf Coast of Florida on September 10 and 11, Irma caused intense flooding and extensive damage.  Although it weakened in strength as it made its way up the Florida coast, it hit the Clearwater area with a tremendous amount of rainfall and with winds approaching 85 mph.  The friars at St. Paul's shared photos of some of the damage from the strong winds. Although the friary was not damaged, there was extensive damage to the grounds, and the friars were without electricity for about four days. Friars Juniper O'Connor (Guardian), Thomas Hollowood, and Stephen Galambos form the fraternity at St. Paul's.  Recently, two of their brothers, Mark Brown and Francis de Sales Paolo, passed on to their eternal reward.   Juniper also sent photos of the community with local Secular Franciscans celebrating the Transitus of St. Francis on October 3.  He would like to  extend  an invitation to the friars to "come on down" and spend some time at the friary in Clearwater.
Transitus (October 3)
Hurricane Irma Damage

                              Centennial of the Dedication of 
St. Thomas Aquinas Church, Derry NH
"Built with Living Stones" 
"Sunday, November 11, 1917, will long be remembered by the members of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Parish for on that day their fine new large church edifice was formally dedicated to the worship of God...the Solemn High Mass was celebrated before the Right Reverend A. George Albert Guertin, D.D., Bishop of the diocese and a score of priests from Manchester and other cities and towns...the large congregation was in perfect stillness as the Bishop recited the well known prayers of the church." 
(Chronological History of St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Community) 
One hundred years to the date of the dedication of St. Thomas Aquinas Church, the parish came together to celebrate this significant anniversary on Saturday, November 11th. The Solemn Mass of the anniversary of the dedication of the church was presided by Bishop John B. McCormack, the Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Manchester. The concelebrants were Fr. Philip Pacheco, OFM, Pastor; Fr. Joseph Lorenzo, OFM, former Pastor; Fr. Thomas Washburn, OFM, former deacon and associate pastor; Fr. John Bucchino, OFM; Fr. Pierre Baker; Fr. Thomas Frink, SJ; and assisting as deacon was Deacon Joseph Dion. 
Before the Solemn Mass, the Bishop presided over the blessing of the centennial brick memorial that was installed about a week or so before the centennial celebration. The bricks were purchased by parishioners in memory of loved ones both living and deceased. Also, some of the bricks were to commemorate certain occasions. During this brief ceremony, a time capsule was installed underneath the centennial logo that is in the center of the cross-shape memorial and the hope is that it will be reopened for the bicentennial. 
During his homily Bishop McCormack explained the rite of the dedication and blessing of a church and how it goes from darkness into light and that the parish is the center of a Catholic family's life. He also stated that a church is where one can cry, pray, and hope, a  place where one encounters the living God. 
The liturgy's music was accompanied by three choirs with most of the music being provided by the traditional and contemporary choirs of the parish and St. Thomas Aquinas School Choir singing the offertory hymn. 
Following the celebration, a gala was held at the Atkinson Country Club which was an evening full of much laughter, good food, drink, and dancing.
St. Thomas Aquinas Church

The Happy Pastor
Centennial Cake

Bishop John McCormack and Fr. Phil CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Postulants with Catskill Community
Postulants Visit Upstate New York Friaries
On November 6 and 7, the province's postulants, along with their director, Friar Ronald Gliatta, OFM, visited the friaries of the upstate New York region.  They began their visit at our retreat center in Wappingers Falls, then made their way to St. Anthony Friary in Catskill, and concluded their visit at St. Anthony's in Troy, New York.  They stayed overnight in Catskill and were treated to a wonderful dinner of Chinese food.  

St. Leonard's Church, North End, Being Rededicated
The rededication of the newly-renovated St. Leonard Church in Boston will take place on Sunday, December 17, at the 12:00 Noon Mass.  The main celebrant will be Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston. Friar Antonio Nardoianni, OFM, the Pastor, has extended an invitation to all the friars to attend and be part of this joyful celebration of one of the province's oldest ministries.  For friar-priests, please bring an alb if you wish to concelebrate.  

Beginning with this edition, I will be editing the Newsletter and any updates.  Please send me any articles, photos, or any other information for the Newsletter at my email below.  In these days when we are all so busy with our various ministries and projects, it is important that we stay in contact with each other.  Let us all share the great things that are happening around our province and in our order.  Blessings and peace.
Joe Lorenzo, OFM
St. Anthony Friary, Catskill NY
917-337-9833 (Cell)

Prayers Requested

 Infirm Friars: 
  • Friar Romano Almagno
  • Friar Robert Artman
  • Friar Flavian Mucci
  • Friar Clement Procopio
For our Friars in 'Skilled Nursing Facilities':
  • Friar Philip Adamo
  • Friar Lucius Annese
  • Friar Giles Barreda
  • Friar Francis Hanudel
  • Friar Lawrence Stumpo
Infirm Family and Friends: 
  • Joseph Almagno (brother of Friar Romano Almagno)
  • Richard A. Caprio (brother of Friar Robert Caprio)
  • 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:

Friar Louis Diego De Tommaso, OFM,
age 89, passed into eternal life on October 31.  Friar Louis was affiliated with Padua Friary in Manhattan, and in residence at Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home.  Friar Louis had served in many different ministries in the Province, including ministry in our missions in Central America, as a pastor, seminary rector, Pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church in Brooklyn, Provincial Treasurer, and Vicar Provincial.  He was the son of the late Louise Fucito and Ferinand De Tommaso, having been born in Jersey City, NJ.  He is survived by a niece and several nephews.  His wake was held at St. Anthony of Padua Church, New York, on Friday, November 3.  A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Anthony Church  on Saturday, November 4, with interment at Mt. Alvernia Friary Cemetery in Wappingers Falls, New York. 

Please remember in your prayers:
Friar Felix McGrath, OFM (Holy Name Province) who died November 13.
Friar Patrick Shea, OFM (Sacred Heart Province) who died September 29.
Lawrence Grech, brother of Friar Charles Grech, OFM, who died November 17.  Friar Charles is a member of the Province of Malta and a is assigned to the staff of St. Jane Frances De Chantal in North York, Ontario.
Winifred Ledoux, mother of Friar Michael Ledoux, OFM.
Blaise Fernandes, father of Friar Conrad Fernandes, OFM.