Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception

Provincial Update August 2022

Enter through the Narrow Gate

You may be aware that on the various news networks on cable television there is currently a raging debate concerning the American work ethic. A question was asked: is the American work ethic dying and are people getting lazy? The debate about this went back and forth from blaming various issues such as Covid, corporate greed, low wages, high unemployment benefits to a lack of good paying jobs, decrease in workers’ benefits, and opportunities to work from home via the internet.

While arguments like these can go on and on, it could also challenge us to ask a similar question about religious practice, not only in our country but throughout the world. We know that there has been a precipitous decline in the number of people who attend church on a regular basis, and even those who identify as church members. This has had such side effects as a decline in religious and priestly vocations- something we are very aware of, decrease in church income and offerings, and even a decline in church support for the missions.


There are a lot of possible reasons for this, but one thing is certain- we are seeing, especially in the United States, a decline of religious practice, especially among Roman Catholics. There can be many societal factors for this. One possible problem can be a decline in the willingness of many people to make sacrifices. We enjoy far too much the conveniences of life. With everything at our beck and call, whether it be through the media, the internet, or just our home conveniences, we no longer know who our neighbors are, and we don’t see first hand the needs of others. 


We know that the heart of the gospel is our willingness to sacrifice. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many.” We try to teach our children a lesson that many have forgotten- the easy way is not the best way. This is a great lesson for us as friars. Through the years we may have picked up bad habits, cutting corners and not always giving the best example to those who will follow us. We know that St. Francis always did his best and gave his all, and so should it be with us.


September provides for us many chances to begin again. The end of the summer and the beginning of so many school and parochial programs give ample opportunity to strive to be more faithful to our commitment to the Gospel. As St. Francis reminds us to “begin again”, so too the words of Jesus resonate: "Enter through the narrow gate.”

Our temporarily professed friars studying in Rome have been spending the summer in various provincial friaries and ministries. It is always a good experience to get to know these brothers and work with them. The friars from the Convento are assigned:  

Padua Friary, NYC- Jack Sidoti

Ataco: Aldair Orantes Calderon, Kevin Gonzalez Vega

Agape: Luis Hernandez Reinosa, Oscar Valle Perez, Marco Gomez Garcia

Winsted: Matthew Mancino

St. Christopher Friary, Boston- Dagoberto Hernandez Lopez

St. Francis Centre, Caledon- Daniel Cavalieri

The brothers from Central America have had several opportunities to get together. both at Asociacion Agape in El Salvador and Valle de los Angeles in Guatemala. Valle also hosted Fr. Joseph Powell, O.F.M., Pastor of Saint Thomas Aquinas Church in Derry.

Friars Antonio Nardoianni and Dan Cavalieri in Canada. 

Friar Dan at St. Francis Centre, Caledon

Welcome to the USA-Friars Matthew Mancino, Jack Sidoti, Dan Cavalieri, Joe Lorenzo, Courtland Campbell, Alvin Te, and Bill Spencer at Arturo's. 

Friar Jack becoming a real New Yorker

Front row: Victor Treminio, Joseph Powell, Joaquin Mejia, Jack Hoak, Oscar Valle, incoming postulant Manuel Chavarria. Back row Mauricio Portillo, Jaime Avelar, Luis Hernandez, Marco Antonio Gomes. 

Valle de Los Angeles Fraternity

Friars Joe Powell and Joaquin Mejia

Brothers at Agape


From St. Christopher Friary, Boston. 


Bishop Maurus and Fr. Claude love the hot days of summer. Each of them spends long hours in the back patio area at St. Christopher’s. Inside the friary several our guys think 85 degrees is just a tad cool. Br. James, on the other hand, blasts the AC to try and get to a reasonable inside temperature of -6 F.  Although it’s warm, the friars at St. Christopher Friary are remaining active. Even one of our friendly seagull chicks decided it wanted to enjoy the heat and the brothers, so he hung around for a few days.


Br. Dagoberto Hernandez is part of the community this summer. Dago is greatly appreciated as he helps with transport, taking vital signs, and doing some of the odd jobs that living with some of our senior friars entail. To acclimate him to the culture, James brought him to a Red Sox game on his first weekend in Boston. He has also been able to visit the friars at Teresian House and visit Wappingers Falls and NYC assisting with the transport of friars’ belongings during this time of new assignments.


The annual “Christmas in July” celebration took place on July 28. It was moved from the traditional 25th as were waiting for Dago to arrive. Songs, games, and gifts were all part of the fun. We are not very good singers, but it never stops us from belting out a few carols.


The brothers were happy to host a gang of friars who happened to come together on the Feast of the Portiuncula. Our brothers Bruce Czapla, Josh Critchley, and Matthew Mancino from Winsted and John Bucchino from Manchester joined Br. Charlie Gingerich, and Fr. Federico Cinocca (Diocesan priest living at St. Leonard’s) for a great meal and lively conversation. 


Fr. Claude led us in prayer for the Feast of St. Clare. He graced us with a short reflection on Clare during Mass. The brevity of his words was both in conformity with St. Francis’ exhortation and much appreciated by the brothers. Another festive meal was enjoyed by all.


Guests galore visit our city houses. Here at St. Christopher’s we have had an archbishop, a priest from Milan, one of Bishop Maurus’ helpers from Honduras, Joe Powell and a parishioner from Derry, and a priest from the Archdiocese of Toronto. Of course, our two semi-residents Angelo Monti and Rick Martignetti both spent time with us. The rotation of guests kept both Maria, our cleaning person, and James Welch, our guest master, hopping. Seeing James hop is a really amusing!

Friars Dagoberto and Larry Stumpo at Teresian, Albany. 

Friars Dagoberto and Albin Fusco at Teresian, Albany.

Friars Dagoberto and Regis Gallo at Teresian, Albany. 


Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Dennis Arambasick - September 3rd - (74)

Thomas Hollowood -September 4th - (87)

Kevin Gabriel Gonzalez Vega- September 7 (31)

Daniel Cavalieri - September 10th - (34)

Eissa Lazzaro Aziz - September 11th - (56)

Claudio Moser - September 14th - (84)

Richard Martignetti - September 18th - (56)

Charles Trebino - September 26th - (73)

Damian Johnson - September 27th - (77)

Matthew Mancino- September 27 - (43)

Charles Soto - September 27th - (80)

Paul Guido - September 29th - (91)


Friar Romano S. Almagno, O.F.M., transferred from Mount Alvernia Friary, Wappingers Falls, NY to Padua Friary, New York City, effective September 1.

Friar Thomas Garone, O.F.M., transferred from St. Christopher Friary, Boston, to Mount Alvernia Friary, Wappingers Falls, NY, in residence, effective September 5. 

Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. Visits

St. Leonard's and Andover Poor Clares

August 11 was the feast of St. Clare. So, the following Saturday, I visited the Poor Clares in Andover to celebrate Mass with them. At the end of the Mass, they had the blessing of the bread. This tradition comes from a moment in the life of St. Clare when the pope asked her to bless the bread they were about to eat. As she did so, crosses appeared on it.

So, they have the custom where the abbess blesses the bread. But I think they cheated – I think the crosses were already on the bread before she blessed it!

Then, I had a nice lunch with the sisters.  A couple of sisters put on a skit with music and wore hats over their veils.

They were very entertaining!

As many know, I celebrated my first Mass in a Poor Clare convent in Ohio and have always been blessed to have a very close relationship with the various convents of Poor Clares in the places where I’ve been stationed. Here in the Archdiocese of Boston, we are blessed to have two convents. So, I was happy to be able to visit with the community in Andover and celebrate the feast day of their foundress with them.

Later that day, I met with Father Michael Della Penna, the pastor of St. Leonard’s Parish in the North End, his pastoral associate, Michael Bonnetti, and parishioners representing the societies of St. Anthony and St. Lucy.

The two societies recently acquired relics of their patron saints and came to the cathedral to have them blessed.

The relics are contained in beautiful Italian reliquaries, which are very much in the European style. In Europe, the reliquaries are often statues representing the saint whose relic they bear.

They gave me a photograph of one of their festivals in which you can see the statues of St. Anthony and St. Lucy being carried through the streets of the North End. (Of course, this year’s feasts of St. Anthony and St. Lucy will take place next week.)

The St. Anthony Society is a guild for men, and the St. Lucy Society is for women. They organize the feast day celebrations and have other social activities and works of mercy that they carry out. Both of these societies are over 100 years old, which is a great indication of how enduring popular religiosity is and how important it can be to help people live their faith and be part of a community.

On Monday, I joined the bishops of Region 1 for our annual retreat at the Franciscan Guesthouse in Kennebunkport, Maine. Our region includes the Archdiocese of Boston and its suffragan sees, and the Archdiocese of Hartford and its suffragan sees. In all, about a dozen bishops were able to join us.

Father Simeon Gallagher, OFM Cap. was our retreat master this year. He has given many missions and retreats in the New England area, and, of course, he was in the seminary with me. So, I was delighted he was able to come and lead our retreat for us.

Cardinal O'Malley visiting the Poor Clares at Andover. 

Poor Clare Monastery in Andover MA

Visiting St. Leonard's Church

Relics of St. Lucy and St. Anthony

Kennebunkport Retreat House

New England Bishops at the Franciscan Guesthouse




Fr. Rick Martignetti, O.F.M.

Father Rick Martignetti is a Franciscan priest in the Immaculate Conception Province of the Order of Friars Minor. In 2002, he was awarded a doctorate in Sacred Theology / Franciscan Spirituality from the Pontifical

University Antonianum in Rome. He has done years of preaching, teaching, campus ministry, spiritual direction, retreat ministry, formation work, youth events, and pilgrimage work. He is currently the Director of Campus Ministry at Ave Maria University in Florida. His book of meditations, Hidden Beauty: Reflections on Saint Bonaventure's Tree of Life was published in 2014 by Tau Publishing. You can enjoy his “Two Minute Homilies” and more by accessing his blog: or by going to his YouTube channel. 

This book, Perfect Love, was inspired by years of my walking with Saint Bonaventure and being anything but perfect, failing again and again as I tried to understand and follow his wise counsel. Even when I was working predominantly with the saint’s Tree of Life, this other spiritual text, On the Perfection of Life, was always close at hand with its eight simple steps to holiness that contained surprisingly profound challenges. I guess you could call it my second favorite Bonaventurian writing since I have used it often along with the Tree of Life in my own prayer, teaching, and in leading retreats. 

It has been said again and again that we Franciscans have a “story spirituality.” Our self-understanding, our identity, is tied directly to the stories that we hear, learn, and pass on, largely of Saint Francis, Saint Clare, and their first companions. Francis was a dramatic, imaginative man who, himself, liked to tell stories. Unlike other religious Orders or Societies throughout the centuries who had more systematic, well-organized founders, the Franciscan Order was started by an excitable little guy from Italy who fell in love with the Lord and became captivated by the story of the Gospel. Regulations, long sermons, and treatises were simply not his thing. Instead, more often than not, Francis of Assisi told stories that touched people, moved their hearts, and inspired them to live the Gospel. After his death, he himself became a story that his followers would tell and retell in order to encourage the hope that Gospel living is possible in every generation.

It is in this spirit that I share stories here from our Franciscan founders, from other modern authors, and some (certainly less inspiring) stories from my own life that I hope will help illustrate the points Saint Bonaventure is making as he invites us to set out on the road to perfect love. Please forgive me if some of my reflections seem self-indulgent, but I have been in enough faith-sharing groups over the years to firmly believe that personal stories (of failures as well as successes) can touch and even change the heart more than the greatest well-crafted treatise ever could.

Asociacion Agape Opens New Pharmacy

At the facilities of the Asociacion Agape de El Salvador there was held the inauguration of the Pharmacy Santa Clara of Assisi, a project born from the Franciscan vision and as part of the Clinicas Medicas- Agape El Salvador aiming to provide a complementary service to all the Salvadoran population and especially to the people of Sonsonate.

With the opening of the pharmacy, we continue the legacy of our founder Fray Flavián Mucci (RIP), who was always generating relief projects for the country's most vulnerable population.

The pharmacy has high quality medicines from prestigious national and international laboratories at affordable prices, and we appreciate your valuable support and trust. 

The new project integrates with the productive programs of the Agape Association of El Salvador, fulfilling the vision and institutional mission, with the purpose of continuing to support the sustainability of social programs. 

Santa Clara Pharmacy will be providing its services seven days a week, with 24 hours attention, offering self-service and strict security during visits.


For our friars in skilled nursing facilities

Friar Regis Gallo, OFM

Friar Albin Fusco, OFM

Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM

Friar Phillip Adamo, OFM

For the friars who have recently died

Friar Luis Baldonado, OFM (St. Barbara Province)

Friar Mateo Guerrero, OFM (St. Barbara Province)

Friar Eric Sampson, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)

Friar Raymond Camilleri, OFM (Brother of Bishop Robert Camilleri, OFM)

For the friars who are sick

Friar Stephen Galambos, OFM

Friar Ralph Paonessa, OFM

Friar Nery Aguirre, OFM

For our infirm family and friends:   

Dennis Russell (Brother-in-Law of Fr. Robert Campagna

Melissa McDonald (Niece of Fr. Robert Campagna)

Pray for all those infected and affected by the caronavirus. 

For all our friends and family who are ill.

For our recently deceased family and friends:

Regina Emerick (Sister of Fr. Jack Hoak, OFM)

Mary Greco (Sister of Fr. Claude Scrima, OFM)

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

living and deceased.

For medical personnel and first responders.

For those in our nursing homes and hospitals.



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Thank you
Province of the Immaculate Conception, New York NY
125 Thompson Street New York NY 10012

Please send any articles, news items, or photos to
Friar Joseph F Lorenzo, O.F.M.
Provincial Secretary/Communications Director
125 Thompson Street New York NY 10012
Cell: 917.337.9833
Office: 212.674.4388 Xt. 113