Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Provincial Update - January 2019
New Opportunities

Have you noticed that, even though we are in the depths of winter, the days are getting longer? Yes, ever since right before Christmas, we've been adding more daylight as the hope of spring draws near.

January is a time of growth and transition. This is why we associate January with New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of a new calendar year affords us many opportunities to look at our lives, take stock of our past, and see how we can become better people, more dedicated Christians, holier Catholics, and more faithful to our Franciscan calling.  This can also take place at other times in our lives- such as a birthday or anniversary, the beginning of Lent, or a new pastoral assignment. 

During this month, we can see three events which can challenge us and help us to grow in our faith.  The first was on January 14, the English Speaking Conference Day of Prayer to End Racism.  I think in our country  we find some deep rooted prejudice in regard to race.  Since America is a “melting pot”, where people from all over the world find refuge and security, it is always good to examine any deep seated prejudices we may have.  We know that this is a great debate in our country today especially in regards to immigration.  Perhaps much of the difficulty we have with immigration stems from our attitudes toward people of other races and cultures.

The second is the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children, which is on January 22.  The General Instruction of the Roman Missal designates this to be observed as a day of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.  We are asked to observe this day with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. There are also other events to observe, such as the January 18 March for Life in Washington, or any of the many events scheduled through local dioceses.  

The third is the Week of Christian Unity, which is January 18-25.  Our Minister General, Fr. Michael Perry, in his message on Christian Unity, wrote, “My dear brother friars, and all sisters, brothers and friends of our Franciscan family, throughout this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity may the justice of the Gospel be our pursuit, and may the grace that animates its pursuit heal us of our of own sins and draw us into ever deeper and stronger bonds of communion with all who call upon the name of the Lord, that His prayer may be fulfilled in us for the sake of the life of the world for which He died and rose again: ‘As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth. I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’ "(Jn17:18-21)

We should also recognize that our call to foster interreligious dialogue goes beyond other Christians. On January 7th, 2019, during an address on multilateral diplomacy given to members of the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, Pope Francis referred to the 1219 meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan as a model for interreligious dialogue.  Pope Francis stated:
“Even though over the centuries many quarrels and dissensions have arisen between Christians and Muslims, in different areas of the Middle East they have long lived together in peace. In the near future, I will have occasion to visit two predominantly Muslim countries, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates. These represent two important opportunities to advance interreligious dialogue and mutual understanding between the followers of both religions, in this year that marks the eight-hundredth anniversary of the historic meeting between Saint Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kāmil.”
The words of our Holy Father as well as our Minister General should inspire us to seek peace and unity with all people in the world, especially people of faith.

God love you and bless you always. 
Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM
Provincial Minister

January 2019

Update from Post Novitiate

We heard from Friar Joshua Critchley, OFM, who tells us he is now in his last semester at Saint Xavier University. He will graduate this coming May 11th on the campus, and invites any of the friars who would like to come out to Chicago for the graduation to let him know and he will arrange accommodations. Joshua will be getting his BA in philosophy. and he is now working hard on his thesis.
He writes, "Life in Chicago is good. I recently attended the March for Life in Chicago on Sunday January 13th. There were thousands of people there to speak up for life from the womb to the tomb! I attended with the Pro-Life Group on campus along with two other brothers in the community (Brs. John Boissy and James LaGrutta). For ministry right now I am working at a soup kitchen called the Marquardt Center feeding the homeless who come in. It is a great place that in addition to food also gives the people an opportunity to have a shower in addition to other services they might need. I look forward to what the semester holds."
Let's continue to remember Josh in our prayers, for a successful completion of this phase of his studies and, most of all, for perseverance.
March for Life in Chicago, January 13


We received this update on the Postulancy Program in Caledon, Ontario, from Friar Pierre Farrugia, OFM.  

Dear brothers, 

Regards Brothers! We in Caledon hope all of you had an amazing and wonderful Christmas with your loved ones. We do not have any pertinent updates as such, in that the postulants had some great family time back at their homes, Dmitry in Pennsylvania and Hawkins in Richmondhill which is just about an hour away from us here, for their Christmas break. They’re already back in full swing and excited about their coming months.
Allow me to just take the opportunity to thank Fr. Peter Furgiuele O.F.M. for his excellent service to the Postulancy Program, his companionship and support, and we wish him all the best in his new ministry at St Jane Frances in Toronto. He will be missed here by all of us. As well, we are blessed to have received Fr. Joseph Powell O.F.M., who was recently stationed at St Peter’s in Woodbridge where he will also be truly missed by both the fraternity there and the parish at large. He now resumes Fr Peter’s former work here and I can tell you brothers, that both these men have been an amazing part of this program and both have thus far had a wonderful influence on our postulants.
As we keep each other in prayer, we look forward to seeing you in the coming months (June) and may the Lord continue to give you his peace. Fraternally,
Fr Pierre Farrugia O.F.M.
Christmas Around the Province
Our Lady of Peace
Provincial Curia
Provincial Curia
Our Lady of Peace
St. Thomas Derry
St. Thomas Derry
St. Anthony NYC
St. Anthony NYC

News from
Valley of the Angels
An Interview with Misty Menis-Kyler
Submitted by Friar Michael Della Penna, OFM
Misty Menis-Kyler recently completed a two-year mission at Valley of the Angels through the Franciscan Mission Service. She gave this interview on her way to the airport as she returned back to the US. Misty’s participation in volunteer experiences and service trips during college deepened her desire to live among and serve impoverished communities. She spent two years teaching at St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana, with Cap Corps Midwest, a Franciscan volunteer program. In alignment with her Franciscan spirit, Misty’s path led her to overseas mission to accompany those who are marginalized, uncared for, and forgotten. Originally from Rochester, Indiana, Misty studied pastoral leadership at Marian University.

Looking back at your two years of being a missionary at Valley, what would you have done differently?
I would not have waited so long to really branch out and connect with people. It took me a year to really find myself and to find where I belong in Valley and really figure out what I felt I was called to do here. I was very much shy and scared and I let that kind of overtake me for another six months or so for sure. By my second year I was able to find people who I could connect with and really help me grow as a person. I began to grow in my confidence and my Spanish and in my teaching ability.
What advice would you give a missionary who is just beginning?
I would say to definitely be open. It can be really easy to kind of close yourself off when you come to a new country and you don’t know the language and you don’t know anybody. Maybe you’ve never even been to the country before; it can be easy to kind of just stay within yourself, so to be open to 1) meeting new people, 2) to learning a new language and 3) to gaining new skills. Even if you never thought you’d ever do something like teaching or you don’t feel like you’re qualified to do something, just be open to the possibility of getting those new skills.
Describe if you could, what impacted you the most or what you learned from the children.
For me, something I learned from the kids was how to love. I know that sounds a little vague but for me, they taught me how to love so deeply.....that all you really have to give to give His love is to give more love, if that makes sense because that’s what the kids gave to me. Coming to know the situations that they come from, the backgrounds of where they come from impacted me greatly. When you first see them you would never realize they came from such impoverished backgrounds. The smiles on their faces and the amount of love that they give nonstop, no matter the dark situations that they did come from, the fact that they don’t forget how to love and that they still desire to love and obviously they desire that same love in return. Just witnessing it and being a part of that really helped me grow and learn how to love, not only others but myself. But I think for me that was one of the biggest things I learned from the kids was how to love myself with all my flaws, with all my scars, from all my past experiences as well as seeing these kids and what they’ve gone through and how they still persevere, showed me that I could do it too and I actually started to learn how to love myself.
Tell me something about the Franciscan charism and how your understanding and experience of it has grown.
I’ve never actually done mission where it was mission of presence so that in and of itself was something new. I discovered in it an amazing ability to connect with people just by simply being present; not coming to change anything or to leave them with something but just being present. To witness their stories, their lives, their joys, their triumphs, trials and just being a part of their life. Being a missioner opened my eyes to so many different things. A lot of times people perceive missionaries as people who come and make a change, to lead others but in fact it’s so much more. When you open yourself up to the possibility of just being present and allowing them to show you what they need and also allowing them to kind of take the leadership role. That was the point of our mission; it was to be present so that they could take the leadership roles, so that when we do leave, they don’t rely on us so much everything collapses or just ends. It’s just us being present to them and helping to lead them; like holding your hand through the process.
What comes to mind when I ask you the question what do you think you’ll miss the most? 
The kids
Can you maybe say something about your faith and how your relationship with Jesus was affected; how it changed.
I think for me my faith did take a kind of a toll when I first got here. I am did feel alone and isolated. My faith in and of itself has never really been questioned but I definitely struggled. My faith in God is always there, always present. It was more so my relationship, like a father I and daughter, that got really estranged for a while, especially in the second year with different things that were happening but definitely now that I’ve really found myself, I’m coming into who I am, I find that my relationship is starting to bloom again. It’s a very slowly developing relationship that I’m getting again with him but definitely growing.
And so what is in your future?
Right now I am going to the states and I will be returning at the end of January to Guatemala to continue working with students and a poor community, teaching English and a couple of others subjects. I hopefully will stay active with valley by volunteering in different programs and so staying connected with the kids so yeah right now that’s my Plan for the future
What would you say is your most deeply satisfying or fulfilling moment of your experience in the last two years as you step onto this plane?
The first thing that actually comes to mind is more of a selfish thing, it’s the amount of growth that I’ve experienced, the amount of confidence that I have come into, the ability to now feel like I can do and accomplish a lot of things. This is for me right now the most fulfilling.

Holy Name Province to Close Ringwood Retirement Friary in North Jersey

From Jocelyn Thomas ( Communications Director for Holy Name Province. 
RINGWOOD, N.J. – Jan. 8, 2019 – Holy Name Friary, the skilled nursing care facility owned and operated by Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, will be closing. The process of relocating the Ringwood facility’s residents to other skilled nursing homes, and helping place its employees in jobs at other locations, is already underway. 
Although an exact date of closure has yet to be determined, the Province said that all services at the 29-bed facility would cease by the end of this spring. Holy Name Friary has been serving elder and infirm Franciscan friars since 1990 on the 7.5-acre property located at 2 Morris Road in Ringwood. 
Holy Name Province has retained Trinity Health, one of the largest, multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the country, to assist in designing and implementing an exit plan that involves placing the 23 senior and infirm Franciscan friars – who are currently receiving elder and health care at the Ringwood facility – in private nursing homes in the New Jersey-New York region. 
As part of the transition plan, Trinity Health will also sponsor a job fair and work closely with employees – among them nurses, physical therapists, dieticians and maintenance personnel, most of whom live in the surrounding area – to make every effort in identifying employment opportunities and helping to place them in positions at other skilled nursing care facilities. 
The decision to close the Ringwood facility is the culmination of an 18-month study by a task force to evaluate the province’s existing services and all possible future options for the care of elder and infirm friars. The Holy Name friars voted on and approved the new skilled nursing and health care model at the 2017 Chapter. 
Friar Kevin Mullen, OFM, Provincial Minister of the Holy Name Provinces, stated, “Based on financial forecasts and the recommendations and conclusions of independent consultants, it was crystal clear that it is no longer economically feasible for Holy Name Province to own and operate its own skilled nursing facility for a number of reasons – but primarily because the gap between the Medicaid reimbursement rate and the actual cost of treatment and care has widened dramatically, and will continue to do so. As painful as it is, the only viable option is to close the friary and provide the most cost-effective option that respects the values of our religious life and takes good care of our brothers. Part of being a Franciscan is being an itinerant, and that includes even our friars in need of care. No single place is considered permanent – and in that spirit, our elder and infirm brothers will be on the move.” 
Currently, one member of our Province, Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM, resides at the Ringwood Friary.  

News from


Farewell, Friar Pierre On January 8, the Friars of the Toronto region gathered to say farewell to Fr. Pierre Van Nguyen, who is returning to his home Province of Vietnam after serving at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish in Toronto for over twelve years. Friar Pierre has had a thriving ministry to the Vietnamese at the parish, and accompanied them as they grew from a small group to a large and dynamic congregation integrally and actively involved at St. Jane Frances. As announced in last month's newsletter, Friar Peter Huang has taken over this role and the Vietnamese community has welcomed him with as much love as they showed to Friar Pierre.
St. Francis Seminary: The faith behind the lights.
Written by Gail Ralston
Andover Center for History and Culture
December 13, 2018
Some readers may be fortunate enough to remember the glorious lights and decorations at the old St. Francis Seminary on River Road. The Seminary was a high school for boys interested in the priesthood, and the brothers began their Christmas tradition before 1934 with single candles in the window as a sign of unity.
Noting the thousands who visited the Seminary in just one year at Christmastime, it may be said this indeed brought folks together.
In 1998, Fr. John Bavaro, then director and superior at the Franciscan Center, shared his memories of the hard work undertaken by the Brothers while he himself was a Seminary student. He told how all the bulbs from the previous year had to be cleaned….one by one. Students would dip the lights in a solvent to remove the previous year’s paint and grime and then dip them all again in different colored dyes. The bulbs were then tested to make sure all were in working order.
“It was an assembly line, but it was a fun thing,” Fr. Bavaro related. “Most of the kids would be involved in either cleaning or painting bulbs and the seniors would be outside the windows hanging the bulbs.”
This process, begun three months leading up to the display, was shared by the Fathers and Cleric Theologians of the Seminary during their personal extracurricular time. At its height the count of bulbs hovered around 200,000 individual lights.
While groups worked on the bulbs, others worked in the Seminary chapel to erect a Christmas manger in a faithful reproduction of Bethlehem and the Nativity.
This work, the Brothers would tell you, was in accordance with the spirit of their founder, St. Francis, and a tradition that began in the year 1223.
On that Christmas night, in the little Italian town of Greccio, the Little Poor Man of Assisi recreated the scene of the very first Christmas using live animals and – for the people – the shepherds of the surrounding countryside.
One account described the hope of the Brothers’ efforts in recreating this scene:
“The visitor may stand before the crib in the decorated chapel and see before him, in miniature, the peacefully sleeping hills of Judea and the stable of Bethlehem, scene of the miracle of the Incarnation. A small waterfall comes tumbling down to turn a miniature water wheel, adding an enchanting air of reality to the effect.”
Outside, the thousands of bulbs were hung on the European lindens which ran along either side of the Seminary buildings. Shrubbery was adorned with streamers of lights. Each porch glowed with trees sprayed in white or blue, along with green, red, and blue bulbs.
For the Brothers, all of the lights led to the focus of the display – an illuminated cross and two brilliant stars atop the building, “announcing the Christmas message of the Prince of Peace.”
An amplifying system broadcast renditions by organ and chimes of many time-hallowed Christmas carols and hymns.
St. Christopher Friary News
St. Christopher Friary Christmas Photo
Bishop Maurus Muldoon, OFM, leads a discussion on comprehensive approaches to immigration as a response to the news and in anticipation of the Week of Prayer for National Migration Week (January 6-12)
Address Changes

Rev. Clement Procopio, O.F.M.
An Oak Grove Manor​
2801 Oak Grove Road​
Walnut Creek, CA  94598
Rev. Charles Soto, O.F.M.
1936 Park Manor Blvd.​
P.O. Box 15728​
Pittsburgh, PA 15244-1001

CORRECTED: Address for Friar James Goode, OFM:
Kittay House, The New Jewish Home
2550 Webb Avenue, #7X
Bronx NY 10468-3986

From the Province's Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC)
We received this from Friar Courtland Campbell, OFM, Province JPIC Director.

US Province Lay Brothers Vocation Interest Group Statement
We believe that renewing the lay brothers vocation can contribute to the broader renewal of OFM life in the United States. We believe deeply in our vocation as lay brothers, but are concerned that in order to thrive, this vocation needs new initiatives to nurture it. In this letter we wish to share our hopes and concerns, and propose to you some concrete actions to undertake as part of our restructuring and revitalization process.

The lay brothers’ vocation suffers from poor public visibility and a general lack of understanding. This problem is acute in both our church and society.  Therefore, we request that you present this issue to the province communication directors, and ask them to undertake an initiative to highlight the lay brothers’ vocation more broadly, using specific examples . This initiative would develop materials that could be used across the provinces to communicate the diversity of Franciscan life, for multiple purposes, including promoting vocations. 

We are concerned that brothers may be leaving the order at disproportionately higher rate than priests. Existing evidence demonstrates that this is the case in the international order.  Therefore, we request that the provinces share and review the data about lay brothers and ordained brothers leaving the order and publicize this with all the friars in the US. Having accurate data will increase the likelihood that we can make good decisions about our future. 

We believe that greater collaboration between our provinces offers the opportunity to re-imagine formation for lay brothers. Historically, the lay brothers were numerous, concentrated in our large institutions, and provided mentoring and informal formation to new brothers. With fewer of us stretched even further, the formation of lay brothers merits reconsideration. Formed by our Rule, we understand the vocation of the lay brothers to pray and to work, in the broadest understanding of work, from manual labor, diverse forms of service, lay ministry to professions. These were key themes at our international lay brother convocation in 2015, and the current restructuring and revitalization process provides an opportunity to move this from conversation into action. We see this re-imagination of lay brother formation as encompassing the entire arc from initial discernment into life after solemn profession. In the period of initial formation, we recommend the prime question be re-framed from “do you want to become a priest?” to “how do you want to live as a Friar minor?” This latter question opens up a broader set of options for discerning the kind of work and preaching appropriate to the individual’s calling. Through greater inter-provincial collaboration, more diverse kinds of education, training, and formation programs could be provided – more than our individual provinces currently offer. The  ratio formationis provides valuable guidance, but it may be worth considering how this might be supplemented to better support the lay brothers.  Therefore, we request that you present this issue to formators and ask them to imagine what a more robust formation for lay brothers might include. 

We believe that the lay brothers’ vocation has distinct elements that need to be nurtured through ongoing formation and with focused provincial leadership. As we look at our current and future ministerial commitments, we seek vibrant options for lay brothers. Sadly, some lay brothers have described difficulties in finding a pathway, post-initial formation, toward work, ministry, and belonging. In our shared planning for the future, we do not want considerations of where lay brothers can live, work, and contribute to be an afterthought, but rather, thoughtfully included at the beginning of and throughout the planning process.  Therefore, we request that you incorporate a specific consideration of the lay brothers’ contributions to our fraternal life and ministry in the restructuring and revitalization planning process. 

We believe that a more structured approach to facilitating lay brothers mentoring lay brothers would strengthen this vocation. Education and formal training is important, but personal accompaniment is even more important for perseverance. In the past, older brothers mentored new brothers, and this helped new members navigate their way through the storms and stresses of religious life. This was generally done informally and spontaneously, brother-to-brother, but as we are now fewer in number and more geographically diffuse, this process appears to be less common. We do not propose some kind of required mentoring or reporting. Instead, we imagine training to help men seek out mentors and learn how to receive mentoring, to help them develop relationships of intimacy and trust to guide them in their ongoing vocational discernment. This practice could be helpfully woven into post-novitiate formation as a program, but in the hope that each man would develop tools to seek out personal mentors, and grow as responsible moral agents of their own ongoing formation.  Therefore, we request that you convene some friars, including some formators, to develop a plan to animate more mentoring.  This may be of value to all the friars. 

We understand very well that opportunities in interprovincial collaboration require resources, and therefore offer ourselves to collaborate with you in pursuing these initiatives. As you consider these suggestions and requests, please let us know what we, as a group and as individuals, might be able to do to move them forward. Thank you for your service as our provincials. 

Peace and all good!

Andrew Brophy (Assumption) +    David Buer (Santa Barbara)
George Camacho (Holy Name) + Courtland Campbell (Immaculate Conception)
Angelo Cardinalli (Santa Barbara) + Thomas Carroll (Sacred Heart)
Robert Frazzetta (Holy Name) + Mark Gehret (St. John the Baptist)
John Gutierrez (Santa Barbara) + Joseph Kotula (Holy Name)
James Lockman (Santa Barbara) + Brian Maloney (St. John the Baptist)
Richard McFeely (Holy Name) + Bruce Michalek (Our Lady of Guadalupe)
Daniel Murray (Holy Name) + Paul O’Keeffe (Holy Name)
Eric Pilarcik (Santa Barbara) + Phillip Robinette (St. John the Baptist)
Mark Schroeder (Santa Barbara) + Charles Trebino (Immaculate Conception)
Bob Valentine (Santa Barbara) + Keith Warner (Santa Barbara)
Walter Liss (Holy Name)
Christians in the Holy Land becoming an Endangered Species

WASHINGTON — Some Christians would consider it a blessing to live in the land where Jesus Christ was born and lived. But for some Christians who live with the daily reality and not the romanticism of the land where the faith originated, living as a religious minority in a place of conflict — often tied to religion — it is considered more of a “misfortune,” said Franciscan Father Francesco Patton, the head of the Holy Land Franciscans, also known as the custos, during a Nov. 7 event in Washington.
One of the roles of the Franciscan friars who tend to the dwindling flock of Christians there is to remind the “living stones,” as they often refer to Christians of the Holy Land, that theirs is a “special vocation,” he said. “We have to insist that it is not a misfortune. It is a vocation and it is a special vocation strictly linked to the vocation of St. Ignatius (of Antioch). It is a martyrdom to be a Christian in the Middle East,” said Father Patton, an Italian Franciscan based in Jerusalem, who navigates with his soft-spoken manner the religious and political waters that come with life in the volatile area. Part of Father Patton’s role as custos, a title similar to a provincial or superior, is to take the experience of Christians in the Middle East beyond the region’s borders and to speak of the good and the not-so-great about modern-day life in the land of Jesus’ birth, life and ministry, and nearby places where Christianity began to spread to others parts of the world.
From early to mid-November, he attended fundraising and other events at Washington’s Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, where part of the monastery’s role is to host programs aimed at educating others about the Middle East and the cultural and religious traditions of the region. “It’s a very, very difficult area. It’s an area where the (Franciscan) friars for 801 years have tried to do bridge-building between cultures, bridge-building between religions, bridges that bring people together in Islam, Christianity and Judaism, to do the things that will be the foundation for any kind of peace settlement that comes to that area,” said Franciscan Father Larry Dunham, the Washington monastery’s guardian, or superior, speaking to a group of donors gathered for the custos’ visit in November.
“Any peace agreement, if it’s not built upon bridge-building efforts like the Franciscans are doing,” he continued, “it’s not going to work. … Bridge building between cultures and religions is what we (the Franciscans) have been about for 801 years and that’s the work I’m inspired by and am proud of.”
It is work that stretches back to St. Francis, the founder of the Franciscans, and his now famous meeting in Egypt with Sultan Malik al Kamil in 1219. St. Francis left Italy to meet with the sultan in Damietta, Egypt, during the Fifth Crusade and that meeting produced a dialogue about interfaith conflict, war and the search for peace.
Following in the footsteps of St. Francis, the Franciscan custos advocates internationally for peace among the inhabitants of the Holy Land, regardless of religion. In 2017, he was one of several religious leaders who welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump to Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the holiest sites in Christianity.
He later joined other religious leaders from Jerusalem to send Trump a letter expressing concerns about Washington’s involvement with Israel, which resulted in relocating the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that produced violence and added fuel to an already tense situation. To counter some of those long-running and increasing tensions, the Holy Land Franciscans offer programs to help Christians and other underserved communities with education, housing and peace-building projects such as a music school called the Magnificat Institute, where Christian, Jewish and Muslim student musicians from Jerusalem perform together. Such projects, said Father Patton, are “laboratories of peace.” Beyond the Holy Land, Father Patton also oversees the work of friars in places like Jordan and Syria, where Franciscans not only have remained to serve the spiritual needs of Christians in a time of war, in places such as Damascus, Aleppo and Lattakiah, but now have a project to help children and other youth who have experienced war overcome psychological trauma, Father Patton said.
The Franciscans’ pastoral work in the war zone also includes helping Christians find employment and open up economic opportunities to stave off the Christian exodus from their ancestral lands. “The pastoral work is to help other Christians understand how important it is for them and the rest of the population to have a Christian presence continue in all the countries of the Middle East,” he said. Before the recent conflict broke out in 2001, Syria had more than 2.2 million Christians living there, but today they number less than 1 million. Christian pilgrims would visit locales such as the Memorial of St. Paul, the place where he converted to Christianity, and the house were Ananias baptized him. Both places are in or near Damascus, Syria, and are under the care of the Holy Land Franciscans there.
But the biggest challenge remains planting the seeds of reconciliation. One friar told Father Patton that it is “easier to rebuild a house than to rebuild coexistence,” particularly after a person has had a family member die during war, and “it is easier to hate others than to forgive.” “But without reconciliation and without forgiveness, it is impossible to have a future,” said Father Patton.
The work of the Franciscans in the Holy Land has not gone unnoticed and “the good news is the number of young people asking to give their lives as a Franciscan in the Holy Land” has increased in the last three years, Father Patton said.
The efforts, however, can only be maintained with funding from places such as the United States, where benefactors such as those who gathered for the custos’ visit in Washington donate to maintain their projects.
“I am a Franciscan, so ours is the begging order. We (don’t) ask the poor, we ask the rich” for money, Father Patton said to laughter from those in the room.
But a big form of help that Christians outside can provide to those who remain in the troubled lands is moral support, Father Patton told Catholic News Service.
“The Christian presence is a minority … we are the little flock,” as Jesus used to say, Father Patton said. “When you are the little flock, often you feel that you are not so safe. The majority is, of course, more safe than the minority.”
The struggle for Christians in the Holy Land is great, but “we offer our weakness, our openness, our contributions” and try to be the leaven in a troubled area, Father Patton said. Christians outside of the Holy Land can show support by making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, by donating to projects there, but also by advocating for them, particularly in places like Washington, where international policy is crafted.
  Article by Rhina Guidos, Dec. 16, Catholic News Service .
February Birthdays
Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Philip Adamo - February 2nd - 89
Brennan Egan - February 3rd - 80
Ciro Iodice - February 4th - 76
Giacomo LaSelva - February 6th - 48
Ronald L. Gliatta - February 7th - 69
James Wells - February 8th - 63
Orlando Ruiz - February 20th - 44
Michael Della Penna - February 21st - 52
Robert Caprio - February 25th - 85
Christopher Gaffrey - February 27th - 41

Fr. Fabian Grifone, O.F.M. (1925-2018)

Friar Fabian Grifone, OFM, age 93, passed into eternal life on Friday evening, December 21, 2018, while a patient at Beth Israel Hospital, New York City.  At the time of his passing Friar Fabian was a member of the community of Padua Friary.   He was born Nicholas in Toronto, Ontario, the son of the late Giovanna (Caravaggio) and Nicholas Grifone.  He never knew his father, who died several months prior to his birth.  He was the youngest of nine children, and was predeceased by his four brothers and four sisters.  He is survived by sixteen nieces and nephews.
Friar Fabian was received on July 14, 1946, and made his Temporary Profession of Vows on July 1, 1947. He professed Solemn Vows on July 15, 1950.  Following his ordination to the priesthood on June 20, 1954, he served the Church and Province in various assignments with his first assignment as a missionary in Sonsonate, El Salvador, Central America.  Several assignments as a pastoral associate followed, with ministry at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in East Boston;  Our Lady Help of Christians in Pittsburgh;  Immaculate Conception Church in Toronto;  Our Lady of Peace in Brooklyn; and St. Mary of the Angels in Toronto.
He is very much remembered as Director of Franciscan Tours for many years, and in 1992 he became pastor of Most Precious Blood, where he spent 23 years.  
Friar Fabian was waked at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Manhattan on Monday, January 7, and his funeral Mass was celebrated on January 8, also at St. Anthony’s.  Friar Robert Campagna, OFM, Provincial Minister, was the main celebrant and homilist.  Friar Fabian was entombed at the cemetery at Mount Alvernia, Wappingers Falls.  May he rest in peace.  
Prayer Requests

Friar Fabian Grifone, OFM (Immaculate Conception Province)
Friar Fred Radke, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Method Wilson, OFM ( Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Elias Galves, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Carl Graczyk, OFM (Assumption Province)
Father John Reiss (Former member of the province)
Friar Bede Fitzpatrick, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Jeremiah McGinley, OFM (Holy Name Province)

Recently Deceased Family and Friends
P. David Dobbs, former friar and member of our province.
Noora Green, mother of our novice, Friar Carl Green, OFM
Eric Mejia , brother of Friar Joaquin Mejia, OFM

Let us pray for our infirm friars:
Friar Francis Walter, OFM
Friar Thomas Hollowood, OFM
Friar Albin Fusco, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
Friar Amedeo Nardone, OFM
Friar Armand Padula, OFM
Friar Primo Piscitello, OFM
Friar Flavian Mucci, OFM
Friar Claudio Moser, OFM
Friar Charles Soto, OFM

For our friars in skilled nursing and rehabfacilities:
Friar Philip Adamo, OFM
Friar Giles Barreda, OFM
Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
Fr. Clement Procopio, OFM

For our infirm family and friends:
Maria Tagani (daughter of St. Francis Centre staff member)

Please pray for all friars, families, friends, and benefactors,
living and deceased.
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.
St. Anthony Friary
24 Harrison Street/ PO Box 487
Catskill NY 12414
Cell: 917.337.9833
Office: 518.943.3451 xt. 314


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