Provincial Update - June 2017

"If we don't extend mercy and pardon
to one another as brothers,
we lack the credibility to preach it to others!"
Fr. Aidan McGrath, OFM
Dear Brothers,

     "Greetings in the Lord, and Peace!"
      During the early part of this month, we were graced by the presence of
Friar Aidan McGrath, OFM, Secretary General of the Order, who managed to find time in his busy schedule to visit the Friars of our Province and share with us some thoughts on the nature of mercy and pardon, as we were directed to continue sharing following our Holy Father's 'Year of Mercy' and in the final document of the General Chapter in 2015. 

     Friar Aidan prefaced his presentation by claiming that the thoughts he was about to share would not be 'pastoral,' noting that he is a canon lawyer and hasn't spent a great deal of time in pastoral ministry: he has dealt more with papers and documents.  However, he went on to say:  "But in dealing with papers, one always has to remember that there is a person behind the papers."  His presentation proved to be very pastoral and spiritually nourishing.

     Speaking on the subject of  'mercy and pardon' at gatherings in Boston, Toronto and Catskill, New York, he began by noting the significance of the Holy Father's call for a 'Year of Mercy' following on the coattails of the 2015 General Chapter with its theme of 'Mercy and Pardon.' Perhaps just a coincidence, but the Holy Father's call seemed to affirm the path and direction our Order was walking.  And now, several years after the General Chapter and the conclusion of the 'Year of Mercy,' Friar Aidan reflected on the directives of that General Chapter and affirmed our Minister General's continued reminder to us that the "Mercy and pardon are not just for a holy year!"

     Using the final document from the General Chapter (which he noted was "short and to the point" at only twelve pages long), he referenced four images used in the document that were taken from sacred scripture:
- Jesus calming the storm
- The people of Israel in exile in Babylon
- Jesus' encounter with the blind man, Bartimaeus
- Abraham and Sarah at the point they heard the news they would have a child.
Each reference supports the conclusion that we are "Called to go forth with joy! Called to minister the mercy of God!"

     Friar Aidan's presentation was well attended at all three locations; the talk was well received; and the gathering and luncheon at each location were a wonderful opportunity to share fraternity.  Friar Aidan also provided the following links he alluded to during his talk for further reading:
"One of the deep secrets of life is that
all that is really worth the doing
                                     is what we do for others!"
                                                                             Lewis Carroll

     We extend our gratitude to our brother Aidan for all he's doing for the Order and for all he's done for us. 

Friar Robert Campagna, OFM
                                                                                                  Provincial Minister

     Record-breaking 101 degree temperatures that hit the greater New York area on Tuesday, June 13 didn't deter hundreds of devotees of St. Anthony of Padua from making their annual sojourn to our Mother House Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Manhattan or Our Lady of Peace Church in Brooklyn.  Packed churches at the various Masses celebrated throughout the day; 'Street Processions' conducted at both churches; a plethora of religious articles including holy oils, lilies and medals; and a choice selection of Italian foods that are synonymous with religious festivals were the norm of the day. 
Fr. Mario Julian, OFM, Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, addressing the congregation.                                                
The 'Devotees' continue to show their gratitude to St. Anthony with their donations pinned to the statue.


Fr. Orlando Ruiz, OFM, Administrator of Our Lady of Peace Church, blesses the 'Devotees' with the relic of Saint Anthony.

'Street Processions' were conducted throughout the parish neighborhoods in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Fr. Patrick Boyle, OFM, Provincial Vicar, with the mother of one of the 'youngest Devotees' of Saint Anthony.

"Congratulations," Fr. Orlando Ruiz, O.F.M.
Installed as the 23rd Pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church

     On Saturday, June 17th, Fr. Orlando Ruiz, O.F.M.  was installed as the 23rd Pastor
of Our Lady of Peace Church in the Brooklyn Diocese. Auxiliary Bishop
Neil E. Tiedemann, C.P.  celebrated a bi-lingual liturgy in English and Spanish, and conducted the Rite of Installation during the 4:30 Vigil Mass on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.  

Rev. Orlando Ruiz, O.F.M. pictured with Bishop Neil E. Tiedemann, C.P.

   The Church of Our Lady of Peace, was founded in 1899 for the Italian immigrants and initially was under the care of Rev. Assunto Faiticher, C.M., a member of Vincentians.  Since 1906, with the appointment of Rev. Atanasio Butelli, O.F.M. as pastor, the Church and parish community have been under the care of the Franciscan Friars of our Province.  Located in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, like so many other areas of New York, the area has witnessed significant changes in the social, ethnic and religious affiliations that  comprise the parish community and neighborhood.  Although there is still a strong, albeit elderly, Italian community, the parish community is now comprised of Spanish parishioners with roots in Mexico and Ecuador.  Gifted with the ability to speak Spanish, English and Italian, both Fr. Orlando and his Parochial Vicar, Fr. Joaquin Mejia, O.F.M. are well at home with the ever changing needs of this community.  
Rev. Orlando Ruiz, OFM, pictured with his mother, Mercedes Perlaez.

As the newly installed Pastor,
Rev. Orlando Ruiz, OFM, leads the congregation in the recitation of the Creed.

"Welcome," Pam Button!
     Many of our friars may
have already been introduced to Pam Button, the newest member of our Provincial Curia Staff, over the past several weeks as she tackled one of her first jobs of trying to sort out the insurance coverage for all the cars in our various  provincial units.  Talk about "baptism by fire!"   In addressing that task alone, Pam has probably already spoken to at least one friar at each of our provincial friaries; so initial introductions have already been made. Pam will also be well known to any of the friars who have had a connection with St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manhattan.  A life-long member of the neighborhood, Pam has been an active presence in our parish community at St. Anthony of Padua and our former parish school all her life.  From days gone by as a member of the PTA and various school groups while raising her son Alan (now married with children of his own) to her present role as Moderator of the Seniors' Club of St. Anthony's, Pam has always been involved.  Most of her adult life she worked for the  BOWNE company as executive assistant, and having recently retired, was looking for something to "keep myself busy."  Pam will be here part-time, usually on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  If you need to contact her directly, she can be reached by email:
or at Ext. 103 on the Curia land line (212) 674-4388
Pam is a most welcomed addition to our Provincial Curia Staff.  "Welcome, Pam!"
"Congratulations" to our Jubilarians!

We extend heartfelt "Congratulations" to three of our friars who marked significant anniversary dates during this month of June. 
  • Friar Louis Troiano, OFM marked his 60th Anniversary of Ordination on June 22nd
  • Friar Andre Cirino, OFM marked his 50th Anniversary of Ordination on June 10th
  • Friar Capistran Polgar, OFM marked his 50th Anniversary of Ordination on June 2nd


Friar Louis Troiano
Friar Capistran Polgar.
Friar Andre Cirino


Friar Tom Washburn, Executive Secretary for the English Speaking Conference, posted  a congratulatory note announcing the elections of two U.S. Provincials: 
  • Friar James G. Gannon, O.F.M. has been re-elected Provincial Minister of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province.
  • Friar Thomas Nairn, O.F.M. has been elected Provincial Minister of the Province of the Sacred Heart.
"Congratulations, Jim & Tom!"
Prayers Requested

Infirm Friars: 
  • Friar Robert Artman
  • Friar Flavian Mucci
  • Friar Louis Pintye
  • Friar Clement Procopio
For our Friars in 'Skilled Nursing Facilities':
  • Friar Philip Adamo
  • Friar Lucius Annese
  • Friar Norbert De Amato
  • 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

Mrs. Mary Bridget Grech, mother of Fr. Charles Grech, OFM, passed into eternal life on Thursday, May 31, 2017. At the time of her death, she was 75 years of age and residing in Malta.  All funeral rites and liturgies were conducted at St. Francis Church, Manrun, Malta.

Friar Charles is presently Parochial Vicar at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Church, North York, Ontario.


Mr. Blaise Fernandes, father of Fr. Conrad Fernandes, OFM, passed into eternal life on Tuesday, June 6, 2017.  At the time of his death, he was 68 years of age and residing in Toronto, Ontario.  All funeral rites and liturgies were conducted at St. Lawrence the Martyr Church. Scarborough, Ontario.  Friar Conrad is presently the Parochial Vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Toronto, Ontario.


Friar William (Joseph) Winkler, OFM, a member of the Custody of the Holy Land, Washington, D.C., passed into eternal life on Thursday, May 31, 2017.  At the time of his death, he was 87 years of age and residing at Centre Carroll Manor in Washington, D.C.  Friar William entered the Order a year after being ordained a priest (May 23, 1992) at the Cathedral of Knoxville, Tennessee, and was received into our novitiate (as a member of the Custody of the Holy) on August 15, 1993 at Mount Alvernia in Wappingers Falls, New York. He made his solemn profession of vows on June 3, 1997 in the hands of the Most Reverend Fr. Custos Giuseppe Nazzaro, OFM, in the Basilica of the Agony in Gethsemane; and for the next few years, his ministry was with the Custody of the Holy Land.  In 2000, he requested to transfer to our Province of the Immaculate Conception, and permission was given by the Provincial Minister, Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM; however, after a three-year period spent with the Province, he chose to remain in the Custody of the Holy Land.  Fr. William had 22 years of profession and 25 years of priesthood.

    Please pray for all friars, families, friends and benefactors,
living and deceased. 
Upcoming Dates:
'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.

Daniel Cavaleri
Louis Franciose
Carl Green
Bill Huang
Brian Dave Menezes
John Sidoti

  • September 18th & 19th - Provincial Board Meeting at the Curia in Manhattan.