Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Provincial Update - August 2019
Our Proud Heritage

As Franciscans of the Province of the Immaculate Conception, we have a proud heritage. We know that our beloved province was founded as a missionary province. Father Panfilo and the early friars left their homes and all that was familiar to them to come to the shores of a new world to minister to the Irish and Italian immigrants who were desperately in need of the ministry of the Church. They settled in the poor neighborhoods of our large eastern cities- Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, as well as the rural places where immigrants had settled. There they established churches and schools, and did whatever was necessary to bring the faith of Jesus Christ to those most in need and those suffering from the ravages of deep prejudice. When the province was well settled we expanded that missionary zeal to other places- first to other parts of our country, to British Columbia in Canada, and then later, seventy-five years ago, to Central America. There our friars began this great mission to the people who found themselves in the same dire need as our own ancestors- seeking the help of the Church in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

At our recent Provincial Chapter, we celebrated seventy-five years of ministry and presence in those countries and on August 15, our province again celebrated the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of our Missionary Foundation in Central America at the Instituto San Francisco in Tegucigalpa. What an honor and privilege it was to be among our missionaries and to hear the words of praise and gratitude from Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, as we honored the many years of service and the great dedication of so many friars who served through these seventy-five years in Central America.

And, of course, in remembering all their accomplishments, we cannot forget the many benefactors who made- and continue to make all of this possible. We are especially grateful to Madeline Bonnici and all of the generous work of the Franciscan Mission Associates, to the Franciscan Missionary Union, the former St. Raphael Guild, and so many countless organizations and people who supported- and continue to support- our missions.

None of this could have ever taken place without the support, encouragement, and prayers of the friars of our province- our provincial administrations through the years, and all those who, through sacrifice, made this mission possible.

As friars of our province, we should be very proud of our accomplishments. With great hope and gratitude for the blessings of Almighty God, and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin under the title of the Immaculate Conception, may we continue to make great sacrifices for the sake of the kingdom.

Wishing you peace and blessings.
Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM
Provincial Minister
Profession of First Vows
With the completion of their novitiate year at San Damiano Friary in Assisi, Italy, you are cordially invited to witness the Profession of First Vows of our province's novices:

Friar Carl Francis Green, OFM
Friar Daniel Michael Cavalieri, OFM
Friar John Vincent Sidoti, OFM
On Saturday, September 7, 2019 At 5:00 PM
St. Anthony of Padua Church
Sullivan and West Houston Streets
New York NY 10012

An informal reception will follow immediately in the church hall. In order to prepare appropriately, if you plan to attend, please inform Friar Patrick Boyle, OFM, Provincial Vicar, at 212-674-4388 Extension 510 or 917-324-6661 (cell) or email Concelebrants are asked to bring their own alb and either the Province Vestment or a white stole.

Post-Novitiate Formation

From Friar Josh Critchley, OFM

Friar Josh tells us that he had the opportunity to attend a study session for younger friars to discuss research on the Earlier Rule of 1221 of the Friars Minor, presented by Dr. Jay Hammod of St. Louis University, and to plan for a wider friar gathering in the summer of 2021 to share insights from this foundational document for our Franciscan life today. This was held at St. Bonaventure University from July 10-12. In attendance were friars from the Friars Minor, Capuchins, and Conventuals. Josh has also been ministering at St. Peter's in Woodbridge. He tells us it is a very active church and will be working on a summer kids camp. The friars in Canada have been very welcoming and he is having a very good experience.
News from Canada
Friar Joe Powell shares with us some of the activities at St. Francis Centre in Caledon
The fields around the St. Francis Center are heavy green after the June rains. Wild turkeys prowl among the trees. The deer flies are back, but with their occasional annoying little nips we get endless sunshine and the whispers of millions upon millions of leaves. We rest in the serene palm of July, in this corner of Caledon.
People come regularly in the summer months. Groups from parishes in the GTA and beyond spend most Friday to Sunday weekends with us. Legion of Mary associations, Mindfulness Meditation groups, the Toronto Youth Group leaders, all have gotten in their days of quiet and refreshment and discussion and prayer. The chapel smells like incense and the dining hall like penne a ragù.
One new addition to the Center, standing in the chapel, is a relic repository – a sturdy wood case with a glass top – housing a collection of new relics recently donated to the place. A metal cross with St. Francis’ remains rests beneath the glass. Surrounding it are about a dozen small round reliquaries – a constellation of saintliness arranged on velvet -- with the likes of St. Stephen the protomartyr, St. Thomas Aquinas, Joachim and Anne, St. Paschal Baylon, St. Rita of Cascia and others of equally varied stripes and stories. The faded latin lettering marks each smudge of bone and wafer of cloth as a piece of the history, the living breathing ever-present history, which is the Communion of Saints.
It’s this new repository that stands as a reminder of the Center’s mission: to be a place of Communion. Every week the Spirit beckons women and men from all backgrounds to gather here with their communities. Like our new sturdy little case, these groups are packed with all types. Mothers and fathers, doctors and lawyers, sisters and priests, all coalesce in a mysterious crystallization of the Body of the Lord. In the quiet they rediscover their own center. In the space and hospitality generated by those who work here, people can come and allow the fruits of Communion to ripen just a little further in their lives. 
This ministry of Communion reaches even to the practical and earthy. Last year the Canadian Government offered grants to plant trees in a reforestation endeavor, and the Center was able to use a sizable plot of its own land for new saplings and seedlings. The project is documented on the wall outside the dining hall. It’s a modest presentation of something profound – that even the trees and fields rejoice and reap the bounty when we live communion; that the patient love embodied in a St. Francis or a St. Rita can dig deep into the earth to plant a seed. 
Summer will roll on. We’ll have our share of blistering afternoons, roaring thunderstorms, calm nights, clear mornings. The people will come. Tugged by the Spirit’s gentle insistence, they come seeking communion. The Center offers a place where we all can attempt to open ourselves to communion’s enticing challenge. And not only we, but the very woods would shake for joy if it could be found. 

Friar Conrad holds
Vocation Discernment Weekends

Friar Conrad Fernandes, OFM, Vocation Director for Canada, tells us that he has recently held two Vocation Discernment Weekends. One was held at St. Francis Centre in Caledon, and five prospects were in attendance. The other was held at St. Francis Church in Toronto, with one in attendance. Below are photos of the weekends. Five prospects are with Friar Pierre Farrugia, OFM, Friar Joseph Powell, OFM, and Friar Conrad. In the second photo, standing with the one prospect is Friar Conrad and Friar Jimmy Zammit, OFM.
Boston's North End Celebrates Father Claude Scrima, OFM
Friends and parishioners of Father Claude Scrima, of the North End’s St. Leonard Church, honored the much loved priest on June 29 by celebrating his 85th birthday. Ordained a Franciscan priest in 1961, he has been active in several ministries. After his early years teaching in high schools staffed by Franciscans and then in an Andover seminary, he moved to chaplaincy and parochial ministry. He has also dedicated part of his life to the Secular Franciscan Order helping to establish a provincial office at Andover while becoming an admired and acclaimed retreat master and preacher of missions in parishes within the Archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere.
Some years ago when the reserved priest told us about his life and works, Father Claude Scrima described the cultural conflicts between Irish and Italian residents of the North End of Boston and remarked about how family oriented the North End was when he was a boy growing up in the neighborhood. He began to feel a vocation to the priesthood when he was quite young and was moved to make the decision at the youthful age of 15 because of the strong influence he saw the church had on the community. Father Claude also spoke of the prevalence of secret societies formed during bygone times of bias against Italians, while also expressing his gratitude that times have changed and that the North End Italian community faces fewer hardships than when he was a boy.
Six US Provinces Meet for Chapter of Mats

Some four hundred Franciscan Friars from six of the USA OFM Provinces gathered from July 29 to August 2 at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center in Denver, Colorado, for a "Chapter of Mats" in preparation for the eventual unification of the six provinces into one province. The provinces voted in 2018 to move ahead with a process called "Revitalization and Restructuring of Franciscan life".
Since the friars were received and formed into one of the existing US provinces, this meeting provided the friars with the opportunity to get to know friars from other provinces, discuss ministry matters, and hear the stories — many real and some mythical — of the other provinces.
There are almost 1,000 friars in the six provinces, but many were unable to attend the chapter because of age, illness, or ministry commitments.
Many friars who were not able to attend the Chapter of Mats in Denver say they were there in spirit. Much work still needs to be done before the merger is complete. Below is a group photo of the participants.

From the Office of Ongoing Formation

Friar Rick Martignetti, OFM is the Provincial Director of Ongoing Formation

Are you a good listener…attentive even to the emotion and the cries of the heart behind the words that are being spoken? Or are you someone who is silently judging what’s being shared, eager to jump in and highjack the conversation instead of actually paying attention to the soul before you? According to a 1991 article by Sr. Melannie Svoboda, SND, attentive listening is one of the eight tools necessary to help individuals thrive in religious life. On August 7, Provincial Director of Ongoing Formation Rick Martignetti led the Friars at St. Christopher Friary in Boston through a day of recollection around the eight points or "talents” that Melanie upholds as essential to a healthy religious life. If you’d like Rick to send you notes from his presentation, or perhaps come in and lead a day of recollection for your fraternity, please contact him at or call his cell: 330-301-9733. 

2020 Interprovincial Retreat
“You will be my people, and I will be your God”
January 6-10, 2020 Holy Cross Retreat Center, Las Cruces, NM
January 27-31, 2020, San Pedro Retreat Center, Winter Park FL
Holy Cross Retreat Center and San Pedro Retreat Center
Friars from all OFM provinces welcome
Presented by Sr. Dianne Bergant, CSA

The retreat will trace the development of ancient Israel and then the followers of Jesus Christ into the People of God.  

Registration deadline is December 20.

For the Retreat Brochure, click below:


Province Celebrates Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of our Missions in Guatemala,
El Salvador, and Honduras

Solemn Mass and Reception celebrates our cherished heritage as a missionary province.
Many thanks to Friars Michael Della Penna and Victor Treminio for the information in this article .

In his newsletter message, Friar Robert Campagna, OFM, Minister Provincial, speaks of the great heritage of missionary activity on the part of the Province of the Immaculate Conception. The missionary activity in Central America began when Apostolic Nuncio to Honduras, Archbishop Frederico Lunardi got in touch with our province to see if friars were willing to take on mission work in Honduras.  Around World War II, relations with the Latin American nations and the Holy See began to ease, and many countries seemed more willing to permit religious orders to enter their countries and work among the people.  

The opportunity was there before us to rebuild the work of the early Franciscans, who were expelled in the 1870’s,  whose churches, friaries, and missions had almost been completely destroyed in the interim.  Friar Virgil Liucci, OFM, Minister Provincial, sent four friars under the leadership of Friar Thomas DeLuca, to begin mission work in Honduras.  On October 15, 1944, they embarked on their journey and arrived in Tegucigalpa a week later.  They studied Spanish and then departed for San Esteban in Olancho, which is considered the cradle of our missions.  In January, 1945, they were joined by three other friars.  A few years later, our mission extended to Guatemala and Honduras, and through the years, many friars found much happiness and fulfillment in the Foundation of Central America.  

On August 15th , the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the province celebrated the 75th anniversary of our foundation in Central America at the Instituto San Francisco in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. 

This great event was attended by our Minister Provincial Friar Robert Campagna, OFM; Friar Orlando Ruiz, OFM, member of the provincial council; and our missionary brothers. The Principal Celebrant of the Mass was Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, a first order affiliate of our Province, clad in his Franciscan habit. He was assisted by Bishop Roberto Camilleri, OFM,  Bishop of the Diocese of Comayagua and Bishop Joseph Bonello, OFM,  Bishop of the Diocese of Olancho. In addition, the Holy Eucharist was celebrated with the participation of all the students of the school, some parents and the staff of the institute. 

During the homily Cardinal Rodriguez recalled that 75 years ago the first missionaries arrived in Honduras with special permission from the government at that time, since missionary orders were not allowed to enter the country. 

The Cardinal said, “It's been 75 years since three humble friars arrived in Olancho, Friars Christopher Di Fiori, Gabriel Sparacino, and Gerard Caruso, accompanied by Friar Thomas DeLuca. The mission was to sow the word of God in Honduran lands, bringing the charism of St. Francis of Assisi to all people. After analyzing, the friars chose to diversify the apostolic mission and entered the field of education. Thus was born the Instituto San Francisco. Pastoral ministry and education are both truly necessary elements to respond to the demands of evangelization in Honduras.

Today we celebrate the life and faithfulness of so many Franciscan missionaries, all great men: some artists, some great teachers, professors, others were builders, sportsmen, great preachers, all of them admirable for their human qualities and spiritual gifts. More than with their words, with their lives and with their example, they have been heroic in their total surrender, sacrifice, and selflessness.

They did not know mediocrity, but their deep faith led them to give everything without reservation. The Franciscan Order's spirituality is a school of holiness, and what does it mean to be holy? It is giving without expecting anything in return, it is radiating love and kindness, just as the light of a lamp spreads.

We can only be grateful and acknowledge the continued, uninterrupted and never diminished effort of the Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception in our lands.”

After the homily Cardinal Rodriguez handed to Fr. Robert Campagna a scroll that expresses gratitude for the 75 years of service in Honduras.

After the Eucharistic celebration, we proceeded to the reception, where we enjoyed an excellent lunch in the company of our brother bishops and all the staff of Instituto. 

News from St. Christopher Friary
Spring has passed and we are in the heat of the summer at this writing, with temperatures reaching near 100 degrees Fahrenheit, just about warm enough for some of our friars to take off their jackets, at least outdoors.  But, cold friars, warm prayers, or something like that.

Prayer and activity have filled the last few months. The brothers hosted Fr. Jonathan LeFrange, OSB for their monthly day of recollection in April. Michael, James, and Aubert ventured out for a Bruins game. Boston won that night due to their presence. Maurus and Robert were able to take in A Bronx Tale at the Boston Opera House. 

Although John Bavaro remains in rehab at Marian Manor, he had a successful visit home to test his abilities. Robert, too, has been recuperating well after knee surgery and surpassing all of the goals set by his physical therapists and physicians. Already back to driving, we expect him to be playing football with Aubert by the fall.

St. Christopher has had many visitors in the past months. They were able to host Fr. Jonathan, as previously mentioned, as well as Frs. Karol, Mark, and Brian, priest of the dioceses of Bridgeport and Newark.  Jimmy Zammit had a visit with us and Rick Martignetti had his base camp at the friary for the summer as he moved from ministry to ministry and worked in a little vacation time.  Guy Vellardita was an overnight guest post chapter and Albin Fusco stayed with us three weeks as he enjoyed some leisure time. Later in the summer we will be hosting Fr. Alessandro Roti, OFM Conv. of the friary and Basilica of St. Anthony, Padua and his secretary as they escort the relics of St. Anthony for the feast in the North End.

As we welcome our guests, we also said good bye to Ronald Gliatta, as he left our fraternity for his new residence in Butler, NJ. Nature abhors a vacuum and so we are elated by the news from congressus that Damian Johnson is soon to join our fraternity.

The friary itself got a bit brighter with the help of a grant from our electric company. The company, Eversource, along with Global Energy, replaced all the lights and all the fixtures to make everything LED compatible. In addition, motion sensors were added in many areas to reduce the possibility of lights being left on. Thousands of dollars of work was done free of charge with the expectation that more money will be saved with reduced energy use. 

We celebrated Christmas in July on July 25 th  with lots of good cheer and carols that were a bit out of tune, but still fun.  Looking forward to cooler weather and lots more prayer, social interaction, discussion, and, of course great food in the months to come.

Friar Michael Perry, OFM,
Minister General,
injured in bicycle accident.
On Thursday, August 15, Friar Michael was riding his bike along the lakefront in Chicago while on vacation when he hit a hole which caused him to fall from his bike. In hitting the hard cement, Friar Michael broke part of his pelvic bone that holds in place the femur and controls leg movement.  He was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where the extent of his injuries were determined to warrant surgery, which was scheduled  on Monday, August 19. 
In a follow up, sent to all the provinces, Friar Michael wrote a letter to the friars explaining what happened.  He thanked the friars for their continued prayers and promised periodic updates on his condition.
On Monday, a communication was received from Friar Caoimhin O’Laoide, OFM, Definitor General for the English Speaking Conference.  It was reported that the surgery was a success, but extensive post-operative physical therapy and rehabilitation will be required over an extended period of time.   Friar Joe Rozansky, OFM, reported that the surgery was a success, but very complicated.  Friar Michael will not be able to put any weight on his leg for ninety days.  Let us resolve to pray for our Minister General, who will definitely be in need of our Masses and prayers during this long period of healing, recovery, and rehabilitation.
Saint Anthony Church NYC
Honors Deceased Firefighters
On August 18 the friars at St. Anthony Church joined with the Fire Department of the City of New York in a special annual Mass marking the anniversary of the deaths of two firefighters from the firehouse on Sixth Avenue, Engine Company 24, Ladder Company 5, Battalion 2. On August 18, 2007, the firefighters, Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino, perished in the fire at the Deutsche Bank building, one of the buildings severely damaged during the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center. The firefighters were trapped on the fourteenth floor.   Over one hundred others were injured in this tragic fire. This fire marked another sacrifice on the part of the Fire Department of the City of New York, and on the part of the firehouse on Sixth Avenue.  They joined the ranks of the eleven firefighters lost in the national tragedy of September 11, 2001, and three who died in the fire at 62 Watts Street on March 28, 1994.  The friars at St. Anthony’s have continued this tradition marking its close relationship with the fire department.  

September Birthdays 
Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Isaac Calicchio - September 2nd - (89)
Dennis Arambasick - September 3rd - (71)
Thomas Hollowood September 4th - (84)
Daniel Cavalieri - September 10th - (31)
Eissa Lazzaro Aziz - September 11th - (53)
Claudio Moser - September 14th - (81)
Richard Martignetti - September 18th - (53)
Frederick Mazzarella - September 23rd - (87)
Charles Trebino - September 26th - (70)
Damian Johnson - September 27th - (74)
Charles Soto - September 27th - (77)
Paul Guido - September 29th - (88)


Friar Finian McGinn, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar James Toal, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Edward Coughlin, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Eric Pilarcik, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Cyprian Berens, OFM (St. John Baptist Province)
Friar Marc LeGoanvec, OFM (Holy Spirit Province)
Friar Roy Rivas-Nuno, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Eugene Burnett, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Samuel Cabot, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Reginald Reddy, OFM (Holy Name Province)

Recently Deceased Family and Friends
Rosina Mancini
(Mother of Doctor Ottavio Nardone))
Josephine Micallef
(Sister-in-law of Friar Albert Micallef, OFM)

Let us pray for our infirm friars:
Friar Michael Perry, OFM (Minister General)
Friar Jim Villa, OFM
Friar John Bavaro, OFM
Fr. Simeon Distefano, OFM
Friar Thomas Hollowood, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
Friar Amedeo Nardone, OFM
Friar Armand Padula, OFM
Friar Flavian Mucci, OFM
Friar Claudio Moser, OFM

For our friars in skilled nursing and rehab facilities:
Friar John Bavaro, OFM
Friar Philip Adamo, OFM
Friar Giles Barreda, OFM
Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM
Fr. Clement Procopio, OFM

For our infirm family and friends:
Theodore L. Duguay (father of Mark Greenfield, IT technician for the NYC friaries)

Please pray for all our friars, family, benefactors, and friends.

Please print out a copy of this newsletter to share with those in your community who do not have email. We hope that every friar in our province will have access to the Newsletter and that a printed copy will be posted on your friary bulletin board.
Thank you
The Management
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 Curia
125 Thompson Street
New York NY 10012
Cell: 917.337.9833
Office: 212.674.4388 xt. 113