Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Provincial Update - May 2020
Making all Things New

Dear Brothers,

At the end of this month we will celebrate Pentecost.  I always loved the narrations of the early church that we find in Acts of the Apostles, when the apostles and disciples went out from the upper room and began preaching in the streets of Jerusalem.  They were so filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, that people thought they were drunk, filled with what they called “new wine.”  

The early church could serve as a great reminder of what is going on today in our church and in our world with the COVID-19 pandemic.  For the early apostles and disciples, Pentecost literally made all things new.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, their preaching spread from Jerusalem throughout the Roman Empire, to the known world, all the way up to today, 2,000 years later.  We are the legacy of their preaching and ministry.

 Certainly, all of us have had to re-examine how we live our lives, our priorities, and our day to day activities.   In other words, our challenge today is to “make all things new.”  Many of our ministries, especially parishes and retreat centers, have been closed to public services and liturgies.  Many of our friars have discovered new means of serving their people, primarily through the internet, live-streamed masses, and other things that we would ordinarily do face to face.  In addition, many challenges await us as we begin the slow process of re-opening our churches and ministries.  

The close living of our friaries may also have taxed our patience and tried our vision of what fraternity is all about.  But I think one thing is clear- our need to care for the most vulnerable in our society and in our order.  In our province this translates into how we treat our older friars, especially those most vulnerable to the pandemic.  We realize that with every friar we lose, we also lose a wealth of knowledge and lived experience of the Franciscan life.  How many of these men have influenced us in our own lives- whether through formation or sharing ministry with them.  How many times have we listened to their stories, their experiences, and their narrations of the lived experience of being Franciscan Friars.  

Although the pandemic has had a dramatic effect on some aspects of our lives and ministry, I can happily say that we have had relatively few friars come down with the virus.  Perhaps the years of training, discipline, and sacrifice have paid off as the friars as a whole have conformed to the medical and scientific, as well as governmental requirements of being quarantined, maintaining “safe social distance,” wearing masks in public, all in order to avoid spreading the virus.  For this we are truly grateful, especially as we see so many stories of other religious communities that have been ravaged by the virus.   We realize all too clearly that it only takes one act of carelessness to bring the virus into our communities.  

At this juncture, I can only say that we must continue to be careful and avoid any situation which will not only risk our own health, but the health of our brothers as well as those we who share our ministries.  We realize very fully that for many of us, due to age or health conditions, contracting the virus would be very serious, even life-threatening.  And although I am sure we are all growing impatient with staying home, especially with the warm weather of summer at our doorstep, it is even more important to take the precautions necessary to avoid this virus.   We have to resist the temptation of getting back to our former lives too quickly, of being too impatient, and also to realize that what we used to view as “normal” will never return.  So, be careful, go slowly, and place your trust in God.  

God bless you, brothers.  You continue to be in my personal prayers and always have a special remembrance at my Masses

With blessings and peace, 
Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM
Provincial Minister
A Message from our Novices
San Damiano, Assisi
Friars Luis and Oscar in the Assisi snow!
Dear brothers. Greetings of “Peace and Goodness” from Assisi, hoping all of you are doing well and safe during this difficult time that we are living.
It has been a couple of months since the last time we wrote. We began the quarantine here in Italy last March 9th, and for that reason many activities that were scheduled for the novitiate were cancelled. We were supposed to go to a mission for 10 days, from March 13 to 23, but unfortunately we couldn't go.
We don't have masses or prayer services (morning and evening prayer) with the people, just with our community. We have also celebrated Holy Week and Easter only among us friars, but we have united in prayers with all our brothers and sisters, especially for those who are suffering the most due to the pandemic. 
As you remember at the beginning of the novitiate we were four novices, but only two have remained- both from our province (Bros. Oscar and Luis). The last brother who left the novitiate was Raffaele from the Assisi Province on March 8th.
The winter season is over, we can see the trees, the flowers and the roses in the gardens that are starting to bloom. The grass is becoming greener and the days becoming longer, because of this we have started to do more work outside, which is a good thing because even though we can't go out of the friary, there is always something to be done that keeps us busy, but always keeping the balance between prayer and work.
Last April 29th we started to broadcast the evening prayer on Facebook. It is broadcast every day on the Facebook page “Santuario San Damiano – Assisi” at 7.00 pm local time. We invite you to join us in prayers.
May God bless you and give you peace.
Brs. Oscar and Luis
Vegetable garden planted by the vice master of novices,
Friar Antonio, with the help of the novices.
Prayer written by Friar Oscar Valle
during the monthly retreat.

Lord Jesus remain with us (Lk. 24, 13-35)
My Lord and my God, here I am before you,
my eyes become blind with the radiance of your light,
I can't see you with simple eyes.
My fatigue saddens me, and i can't do everything by my own.
accompany me in this path and stay with me till I will be in this world.
Guide me, make me understand what I need to follow in your footsteps.
Enlighten my heart with your word, open my ears, may I be able to listen you like you listen to me.
Reveal to me the mystery of your sweet love, your ardent force.
Make me recognize you in every time, in the small and big things. May I be able to praise you in the joy and in the difficulties of life I be able to praise you even more.
Allow me that I never seek to make my will but wish to make me always do your will.
(Above) Convento celebrates St. Paschal Baylon

From the Convento San Francesco
Post-Novitiate Program
Dear Brothers,

         Pace e bene! This month, because there isn't much new to report here, I want to share with you all a personal reflection on the quarantine that we are living.
         As you all know, the past couple of months have been very difficult for everyone with the development and spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. Here in Italy, the European epicenter, it has been an experience that we will surely never forget. This pandemic forced us to make changes in all aspects of our daily lives, namely: the way we learn at school, how often we can go out for a walk, and how we interact with those we encounter on the streets. I can say that personally I had an extremely hard time accepting the new rules put into place by the government. But even with all these changes to our normal routine, there is one positive aspect that came out of this situation for me, and I think everyone here: we got to know one another even more than before the pandemic.
         As I write this reflection, I am thinking about one of our weekly recreation nights held about a month ago, when it was Dan Cavalieri's turn to organize the evening. That particular week, we played a game that we learned of when we were studying Italian 2 years ago at ProLingua. The game is simply called “get to know one another”. It is set up like a board game, where each space contained a question for one player to ask to the other. The questions were simple, such as: “what is your favorite food”, “describe your best friend”, and “talk about your family”. The questions were simple, yes, but it offered us a great opportunity to learn something about one another that we might not have known if we hadn't played this game. Afterwards, Dan asked the group to name one thing positive that came out of this quarantine. Some guys spoke about a growth in patience toward one another, the beauty of celebrating the Paschal Triduum together in the intimate setting of our chapel, and the gratefulness to be “locked in” together with a community and not alone.
         I may not have expressed it outwardly at the time, but as I reflect on it now, I realize how appreciative I am for the gift of the fraternity that God gave me. I am grateful that, in the midst of all the chaos this pandemic has caused, to be living with a group of people who accept me as I am (even with all my defects) and that they are willing to walk alongside me in my faith journey. In short, I believe that the quarantine we had to endure helped us renew our sense of brotherhood.
         Now, it seems there is “light at the end of the tunnel” here in Rome. On May 4 th , Italy began to enter into its “phase 2” of reopening, which went into full effect on May 18 th . We can now go out for walks; stores and museums are reopening; restaurants are open for takeout; and we can (finally) get a haircut at the barbershop.
         There is talk about going back to “normal”, but will it ever be the “normal” we knew before? I don't think so – in fact I hope this is not the case. This quarantine, as rough as it was, has been an extraordinary blessing in many aspects, a blessing that we can never let go of. I have often been told that down the road, we will always remember our “COVID days” and  who  we spent them with. I hope that when we do remember these tough times, we remember also the rich fruit that it produced for us.

         I pray that you are all well! Please continue to pray for us as prepare for our exams which start at the beginning of June. We are praying for all of you and for an end to the crisis in America, Canada, and all the world.

         Peace to you all,
         Br. Jack Sidoti
Pancetta and eggs anyone?

From the Interprovincial Post Novitiate Program, Chicago

Friar Josh Critchley renews temporary vows
On the eve of the friary's patronal feast of St. Joseph the Worker, fourteen temporary professed friars renewed their temporary vows at the interprovincial temporary professed program in Chicago. The pandemic kept the scheduled provincial minister from attending so Leslie Hoppe, O.F.M., a former minister of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary Province and recently named professor emeritus of Catholic Theological Union received the vows as the delegate of the provincial ministers.
Those who renewed vows are:
(fourth row) John Neuffer, O.F.M., Holy Name Province;  Raphael Ozoude, O.F.M., St. John the Baptist Province; Ian Grant, O.F.M., HNP; Steven Kuehn, O.F.M., HNP
(third row) Jason Damon, O.F.M., HNP; James La Grutta, O.F.M., HNP; Joshua Critchley, O.F.M., Immaculate Conception Province
(second row) Steven Young, O.F.M., HNP; Aaron Richardson, O.F.M., HNP; Jim Bernard, O.F.M., HNP; Matt Ryan, O.F.M., SJB
(first row) Luis Manuel Rosado, O.F.M., HNP; Carlos Portillo Carlos Meléndez, O.F.M., HNP; Richard Phillip, O.F.M., HNP

Friar Josh is also in this great ad below.

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

Andre Cirino - June 6th - 80
Pierre John Farrugia - June 8th - 47
Luis Hernandez - 34
John-Michael Pinto - June 9th - 64
Clement Procopio - June 1th - 101
Thomas Garone - June 15th - 76
Antonio Nardoianni - June 16th - 71
James Welch II - June 19th - 61
Simeon Distefano - June 20th - 84
Michael Travaglione - June 30th - 82

Saint Christopher Friary
Celebrates the Ambrosian Rite

On May 1, the Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker, the friars of St. Christopher Friary were treated to the celebration of the Eucharist in the Ambrosian Rite. Rev. Federico Cinocca, a doctoral student at Boston College who is in residence at St. Leonard’s Friary and hails from Milan,  celebrated the liturgy for the community. Fr. Cinocca wrote an introduction to the celebration, 

The Ambrosian Rite, also called the Milanese Rite, is a Catholic Western liturgical rite. The rite is named after Saint Ambrose, a bishop of Milan in the fourth century. The Ambrosian Rite, which differs from the Roman Rite, is used by some five million Catholics in the greater part of the Archdiocese of Milan, Italy (excluding, notably, the areas of Monza, Treviglio, Trezzo sull'Adda and a few other parishes which were linked to the Roman emperor, when Milan was the capital of the Roman Empire), in some parishes of the Diocese of Como, Bergamo, Novara, Lodi and in about fifty parishes of the Diocese of Lugano, in the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland.
Although the distinctive Ambrosian Rite has risked suppression at various points in its history, it survived and was reformed after the Second Vatican Council, partly because Pope Paul VI belonged to the Ambrosian Rite, having previously been Archbishop of Milan. In the 20th century, it also gained prominence and prestige from the attentions of two other scholarly Archbishops of Milan: Achille Ratti, later Pope Pius XI, and the Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, both of whom had been involved in studies and publications on the rite before their respective appointments.


Individuals across the United States are signing a new pledge to take personal responsibility for protecting others as cities and states reopen despite widespread concerns about how to do so safely and responsibly during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pledge functions to help people pause and think about how they will act in the context of our states and cities starting to reopen and what that means for themselves and the larger community,” stated Johnny Zokovitch, Executive Director of  Pax Christi USA   which designed and is promoting the pledge. “It also articulates the desire of the vast majority of the public to demonstrate consideration for how our actions affect others, how we are taking personal responsibility to protect friends and strangers, and how we are prioritizing the common good, including making personal sacrifices.”
Early signers of the pledge include Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (ret.) of the Archdiocese of Detroit; Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Bishop John Stowe, OFM Conv., Bishop-President of Pax Christi USA; Ronaldo Cruz, former executive director of the USCCB Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs; and theologian and author Megan McKenna.
People taking the pledge commit to following “the advice of healthcare workers and scientists,” listening to “the voices and expertise of those most vulnerable,” advocating with “those working in conditions that jeopardize their safety,” and supporting “elected leaders who honor their responsibility for our communities by seeking ways to bring us together” during the pandemic.
“It may seem strange that this basic message has to be articulated, but people are telling us that it does,” stated Vicki Vernon Lott, Ph.D., a member of Pax Christi USA’s National Council. “The pledge is an assertion that people can use to stand against that other narrative which seeks to blame and castigate others, trafficks in racism, threatens violence, foments fear, and only considers self-interest.”
The pledge and resources for promoting it can be found at . A list of signers and testimonies as to why people are signing can be found on the site.
The Pandemic that is threatening our communities is an opportunity for us to rediscover ourselves as Humanity
These are opportune times to approach the Face of Christ in the needy, the unprotected, those who have no material security and live in an almost haphazard manner. This experience should make our BEING JPIC sensitive. Although it is healthy and prudent to take shelter in our homes, we should remember that our dedication to God is in spite of any reality and condition, we are called to live the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the same Gospel that can also be read in the Gospel of Creation.
Prayer and Action: one of the main characteristics of Franciscan thought. Our prayer and action must be on the margins, sharing the realities of our peoples during this pandemic that has directly affected the economy and health. Let us think of the elderly man who lacks food, the father of a family who has been sent home without a decent salary, those who are sick because of COVID-19 and those suffering directly from this pandemic: let us listen to the cry of the poor.
Contemplating the Gospel of Creation and listening to the reality of our peoples, we cannot remain insensitive and indifferent in the face of a reality that overwhelms us and highlights the fragility of our globalizing systems.
I share with you my experience of service, in our specific situation. I am part of a fraternity situated in the northeast of Mexico, the city of Monclova, Coahuila, a population of at least 231,107 inhabitants according to the population census of 2015. Unfortunately, COVID-19 was quickly unleashed on the community due to an oversight in the city’s main clinic. It began not with the inhabitants but with the medical staff of the clinic, giving rise to a rapid and alarming infection. To date, there are 239 cases and 24 deaths in the population, figures that are considered high for the number of people we have.
Due to this reality, many companies have stopped working, and have sent their workers home with a reduced salary that is difficult to survive with, and the city’s economy is in crisis.
In response to this economic and health crisis, we have implemented two initiatives: The delivery of food packages and the production of masks:
Working as a team with the Social Ministry of the Vicariate of Our Lady of Guadalupe of the Diocese of Saltillo, where I am an advisor, we took on the task of beginning the delivery of food to the most vulnerable people. To date, about 1,500 food packages have been delivered throughout the population, especially to the elderly, single mothers, the unemployed and other vulnerable people. When we delivered these food packages, there were not many cases; I would like to share with you two that were very significant:
Single, unemployed mother: she did not know how she was going to feed her children; she did not know where to turn if her neighbours were in similar situations. She put herself in God’s hands, asking Him for help, and even while in prayer, we arrived. Of course, she welcomed us with tears in her eyes and a look full of hope. She said: God has never left me; I will never leave God.
Elderly person: we could not meet him, because when we arrived at his house, we were told that the man had gone out to work, without fear of risk, because he depends on his work: if he does not work, he does not eat. He lived in a very humble house, so we left the food package at his home. Later, we heard of the man’s gratitude and his surprise at seeing the food on the table in his house.
The workshop for making masks. One of the prevention measures that the Government of the State of Coahuila has put in place is the use of masks in public, with a tendency to fine those who do not use them. To date, we have delivered around 500 masks made of resistant and inexpensive material free of charge, as a support to families.
This apostolate has borne fruits of sensitivity in the communities, closeness to the most vulnerable. We try to listen to the cry of the poor. There have been countless hands that have joined this project of fraternity, uniting mind, heart and strength in favour of our brothers and sisters suffering the loneliness of their financial situation.
Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord because until now we have done little or nothing.
May God be your reward.
Peace and Good.
Br. Juan Antonio Orozco Alvarado, OFM
JPIC Coordinator of the St. Mary of Guadalupe Conference
Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean

Friar Marco Tasca, OFM Conv, Former Minister General of the Friars Minor Conventual, appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of
Genoa, Italy
Letter of the Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry, in the name of the General Definitory and the Friars of the Order, to Br. Marco Tasca, OFM Conv.

Dear Br Marco,
May the Lord give you peace!
In the name of the General Definitory and of the whole Order of Friars Minor, I give thanks to the Most High, Almighty, Good Lord that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, chose you, dear Brother Marco, to serve Holy Mother Church as Bishop in the Archdiocese of Genoa, successor of the Apostles, witness of the Risen Lord and servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world.
On this happy occasion, I wish to express to you personally, dear Brother Marco, my deepest gratitude for the precious gift of your friendship and collaboration which, in seeking to do God’s will, we shared during the time of your Generalate. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gracious and far-sighted fraternal approach that you made me a part of, and that enabled us to work as true brothers for the good of the Order and the Church.
I assure you of my remembrance in prayer to the God of Mercies that your episcopal ministry will be fruitful and rich in graces for you, for the Franciscan Family, and for the People of God who are now entrusted to you.
May the Good Lord bless you and give you joyful fidelity, renewed every day by the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Br Michael A. Perry, OFM
Minister General

Prayer Requests

Friar Bart Wolf, OFM (Our Lady of Guadalupe Province)
Friar Barry Brunsman, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Joachim Swarick, OFM (Assumption Province)
Friar Warren Rouse, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Pierre Bisaillon, OFM (Holy Spirit Province, Canada)
Friar Gerald Dolan, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Mark Bednar, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Herb Rempe, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Frederick Mazzarella, OFM (Immaculate Conception Province)
Friar Anthony Lavorin, OFM (St. Barbara Province)

Recently Deceased Family and Friends
Barbara Leonard Lamb (Sister of Friar Columban Leonard)
Anna Marcella D'Ostilio (Longtime employee of St. Francis Centre, Caledon)
Clementine Casey (Sister of Fr. Frederick Mazzarella)
Rita D'Alessio ( Niece of Fr. Louis Troiano)
Brother of Friar Aziz Eissa (Died in Egypt)

Let us pray for our infirm friars:
Friar James Goode
Friar Vincent Ciaravino, OFM
Friar Aubert Picardi, OFM
Friar Jim Villa, OFM
Friar John Bavaro, OFM
Friar Isaac Calicchio, OFM

For our Infirm Family and Friends
William Mazzarella (Nephew of Fr. Frederick Mazzarella)
Maria Elena Middleton (Niece of Fr. Louis Troiano- 17 years old)
For all infected and affected by the virus.

For our friars in skilled nursing and rehab facilities:
Friar Isaac Calicchio, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
Friar John Bavaro, OFM
Friar Philip Adamo, OFM
Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM
Friar Clement Procopio, OFM

Please pray for all friars, families, friends, and benefactors,
living and deceased.
For all those affected in any way by the coronavirus.
For medical personnel and first responders.
For those in our nursing homes and hospitals.
For families separated from their loved ones due to quarantine.
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