Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception

Provincial Update October 2022

Dear Brothers,

The month of October is known for many things.  For us as Franciscans, it is a time of renewal, as we mark the passing of our Holy Father Saint Francis to eternal life.  The celebration of both the Transitus and the Feast of St. Francis is always an opportunity to come together in fraternity as we mark our common brotherhood.  October also has some other special events in the liturgical calendar.  We have Respect Life Sunday, when we remember our call as Christians (and hopefully too as human beings) to respect all life, especially human life from conception to natural death.  This too hearkens to our own Franciscan

values, as we recall the great love that St. Francis had for all of creation.  A reading of the Canticle of the Creatures is a good practice to remind us of this.  We know that St. Francis was not just a lover of animals, but even more so, one who not just respected but reverenced all life as a cherished gift from God.  We know that many of the issues we have to confront today remind us of our Franciscan vocation. 

This month also brings us World Mission Sunday.  In 1926 Pope Pius XI instituted Mission Sunday for the whole Church on October 1927. This day is celebrated in all the local Churches as the feast of catholicity and universal solidarity so Christians the world over will recognize their common responsibility with regard to the evangelization of the world. Pope Francis’ message for World Mission Sunday this year reflects on the theme: “You shall be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8). He reminds us that, “every Christian is called to be a missionary and witness to Christ. And the Church, the community of Christ’s disciples, has no other mission than that of bringing the Gospel to the entire world by bearing witness to Christ. To evangelize is the very identity of the Church.”

World Mission Sunday is also a reminder of our province’s activities in bringing the Gospel to the whole world.  We should be very proud of our involvement in the missionary activity of the church, whether it be worldwide or in our own province through our presence in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.   We not only have a long history of involvement in these countries, but wonderful ministries, such as Agape, Valle de los Angeles, the Instituto San Francisco, and a host of other missions. We can truly be proud of those friars who left all that was comfortable in life to make great sacrifices for the spread of the Gospel.   Of course, we are also very proud of the Franciscan Mission Associates in Mount Vernon, and the wonderful work that is being done in supporting our missions, both provincial and world-wide.   It should be mentioned that during his recent visit to our province, our Minister General Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, O.F.M. visited FMA and was very impressed (and somewhat surprised) by the size and success of the operation. 

Yes, October is definitely a “Franciscan” month, with many activities and themes calling to mind the eight hundred years of the history of our Franciscan Order. 

All of this, of course, does not mean that we can rest on our laurels and bask in the great labor of so many friars and lay people, past and present.  It means a new resolve to commit ourselves to Franciscan values and continue to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people.  

Wishing you blessings and peace!

Three Postulants Admitted to Formation Program

The celebration of the Transitus of St. Francis was also the occasion of the Tau ceremony, when two of the three new postulants for our province were admitted to the provincial formation program.

The service was held at Our Lady of Peace Church, Brooklyn, New York, where the postulancy will be held.  Jose Manuel Mejia Veliz and Luis Alejandro Solano Castillo received the Tau cross at the hands of Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, Minister Provincial, assisted by Fr. Orlando Ruiz, OFM, Postulancy Director as well as Vocation Director for the province.  The third postulant Manuel Alejandro Chavarria Blanco was due to arrive on October 4. He was received into the program. 

Fr. Alvin Te, OFM did the Transitus narration and Fr. Romano Almagno, OFM shared a reflection on the meaning of the Transitus, reminding the congregation of the words of Fr. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM, our Minister General, who addressed the NYC area friars a few days earlier.  

As the new postulants received the Tau Cross, Fr. Octavio Salinas, OFM and Br. John-Michael Pinto, OFM, members of the formation team, joined them at the altar.  

The attending friars were joined by the Franciscan Sisters from Our Lady of Peace, as well as several others in the friary with a very nice buffet dinner.  

Convento Friars Return to Rome

A new year of academic formation begins in our beloved formation house in Rome. We have returned from our summer vacation and assignment full of joy and in good spirits to do our best in our formation journey. We thank God, the friars of the province and our formators. We began the summer break with a few weeks of vacation with our families, followed by our summer assignment for two months in different friaries of our Province. We all saw that each of the different assignments helped us grow respectively as to what it means to be a Franciscan in today’s world with the various needs that surround us. We shared pleasant time in fraternity and also served our brothers in several of the friaries. We learned more about the reality of our Province, and through our experiences we learned how the gospel comes to life, in its simplicity, which helps us grow in humility and faith.

This year we are twelve brothers in formation. The two new brothers who finished their year of novitiate and are now part of our fraternity are Fr Gabriel Rojas (Nicaragua) and Fr Kevin Hernandez (Guatamala), and we ask everyone's prayers so that God guides their path.

Our celebration calendar began with the birthday of Fr Matthew Mancino and Fr Kevin González' Onomastico, a moment in which the entire fraternity celebrated with laughter and a delicious lunch with its respective dessert, prepared by our dear Daniela, the best cook of all. Then we celebrated Fr Kevin Hernandez's birthday, his first experience of how we celebrate birthdays in this house of formation.

For the Transitus, on the evening of October 3rd, we were invited to the General Curia to pray First Vespers with the entire community. On October 4th, we celebrated the Solemn Mass in the General Curia, a moment that brought together the entire Franciscan Family where together we celebrated Our Seraphic Father, Francis.

On October 10th, we celebrated the Onomastico of our brother Fr Daniel Cavalieri, and we thanked God for the gift of his life and his vocation.

All full of joy, commitment and encouragement to continue growing and responding to this invitation to follow in the footsteps of Christ, we pray for the entire province and humbly ask everyone's prayers in return. 

Peace and good brothers.



Below: Some photos from summer assignments.


Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Oscar Valle Perez - November 6th-31

Ronald Bolfeta- November 7th- 73

Rafael Fernandez- November 10th- 68


Fr. Paul Rotondi has moved to Mary Manning Walsh Home, New York City from Padua Friary.  His new address is:  Mary Manning Walsh Home, 1339 York Avenue, New York NY 10021.  Room No. 1114


Friar Stephen Laszlo

Galambos, O.F.M.


September 9, 2022

Our brother, Friar Stephen Laszlo Galambos, O.F.M. passed to eternal life on Friday afternoon, September 9, 2022, while in hospice care. He was 82 years old at the time of his passing, and was a memebr of the Saint Christopher Friary fraternity in Boston. 

He was born in Hungary on March 29, 1940. His family emigrated to the United States in 1956. He entered the formation program of the Custody of St. Stephen King (Hungarian) in 1989 and made his novitiate with our province at St. Anthony Friary in Catskill, being received on September 4, 1990, and making his first profession of vows on August 5, 1991.  In January of 1993 he joined our province after the St. Stephen King Custody was suppressed by the order. He was ordained a priest on September 14, 1996 and served in several ministries as parochial vicar.  The funeral arrangements were as follows: Viewing and Funeral Mass was held on Tuesday, September 13 at 5:00 PM at St. Christopher Friary Chapel. Burial was held on Wednesday, September 14 at 10:00 AM at St. Francis Cemetery in Andover, Massachusetts.  

May he rest in peace. 

Fraternitas Reports on the Visit of

Br. Massimo Fusarelli,OFM, Minister General to the United States and our Province


Posted at October 2, 2022 in Minister GeneralNews

From 25 to 29 September, Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, accompanied by Br Jimmy Zammit, Definitor General, arrived in New York after visiting the Holy Spirit Province in Canada. Here they had the opportunity to visit the Provinces of Holy Name and Immaculate Conception, and their visit was received with great anticipation and celebration by the friars.

Br Massimo Fusarelli and Br Jimmy, in their visit to the two provinces in the United States, met with the Franciscan Mission Associates organis

ation. There were many opportunities for questions and answers and discussions with the friars and postulants of the Province.

“I also met the friars of the Herzegovinian Province who serve the Croatian community in New York. I met with two fraternities of the Holy Name Province, particularly the friars who serve in the Curia and the fraternity of St Francis in Manhattan. For the Province of the Immaculate Conception, I met the fraternity of St Anthony with other friars and postulants from Brooklyn, the Curia, the missionary centre, and the Siena fraternity in the suburbs of New York”. These are the words of Br Massimo Fusarelli on the outline of his visit.

What is the Franciscan presence in the United States today? 

“It remains a presence that has been able to accept the challenges of a great change: from the great numbers, the great houses and works of the past to a much smaller and simpler presence,” Br Massimo continues. “The friars have been able to embrace this, accept it and guarantee in the presences that remain, especially in Canada and in the small signs of Franciscan life, which are significant. The challenge of living in a secularised society has been accepted without recriminations and is also lived with an awareness of giving witness to the Gospel and Franciscan life. The difficulties seem to me to be sustained by this greater acceptance. The dialogue on these issues with the friars has been very open”.

Encouraging words from Br Robert Campagna, Minister of the Immaculate Conception Province: “Br Massimo made a great effort to meet and speak with all the friars and postulants present and spoke enthusiastically about our friars in formation in Italy and how much he appreciated their presence. Br Massimo also spoke of our ministry as a jewel, of the importance of the Custody of the Holy


What is the future of the Franciscan presence in the United States?

This is Br Massimo’s response: “In New York, I met with some fraternities and two Provincial Definitories to discuss the current path of the Order, the prospects of the Franciscan presence in the United States for the future, in particular the path towards the new Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe which will include six of the current Provinces, and the continuing inculturation of the life of the friars minor in the mentality of this great country. Here too, the friars seem to be inserted in their context and eager for the future in the name of the Gospel. In all these meetings, I also had the opportunity to share something of my personal story and journey and how I am living out my service to the Order, and thus how I also see the possibilities, the hardships, and the vitality present among us. I have also received from the friars very true, beautiful traits of personal and fraternal journeys. On every continent, the charism of St Francis takes on different peoples’ colours, faces, and languages, which testifies to its ongoing vitality”.

Saint Leonard's Church, Boston, begins preparations for 150th anniversary celebration in 2023

We are about to kick off a massive extravaganza throughout 2023, and so are personally inviting all the friars to share in the fun.  Join us as we mark our sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary of faithful service to millions of Italian immigrants who came to this country seeking a better life.  St Leonards is Boston’s first Italian Church that was built by Italian Immigrants, and the second oldest National Italian Parish after St. Anthony of Padua in New York City.  We will be hosting an unprecedented 14 months of festivities that begins on January 8th with Cardinal Sean O’Malley who will preside at a special 12:00 mass, followed by refreshments and a surprise dedication.  The theme of the anniversary celebration is to “Build the Future by Honoring the Past” since we want to not only acknowledge the incredible pastoral service that the Friars provided in the past but also to raise money to insure our future presence and ministry.  It is an opportunity to not only show gratitude for all the ways the Friars have gifted the North End through educating thousands of students at St Anthony School and Christopher Columbus High School as well as ministering to so many throughout the Archdiocese of Boston, but also to help cultivate the faith of upcoming new generations of future Catholics.   

St Leonard’s Church with its rich, beautiful, and lush Peace Garden has been a proud staple of the community from its inception and is located right in the heart of the North End.  Opening its doors in 1873, the gorgeous Romanesque Church was named after the newly canonized Saint Leonard from Port Maurice (June 29th 1867) who St. Alphonse Liguori called “the greatest missionary of the 18th century”. It was St Leonard who singlehandedly popularized the Stations of the Cross devotion that adorns almost every Christian Church in the world. In fact, by the time of his death in 1751, he had installed over six hundred Stations of the Cross all over Italy. The whole centerpiece of the celebration therefore will revolve around the fourteen stations of the cross which capture the pivotal moments of the last hours of Christ during his passion.  In resurrecting the original tradition of the Italian immigrants who prayed the Way of the Cross on the last Sunday of every month at 3:00, we will be inviting each of the members of the North End Feast Societies (St Anthony, St Joseph, Madonna Della Cava, Madonna Del Soccorso, St Lucy etc) to lead us in prayer as we learn to walk more closely with Christ and be transformed by the cross.  This special celebration will commence with a social after the 12:00 mass from 1:00-2:00, followed by a Holy hour of Adoration from 2:00-3:00, and culminate in meditating on the Way of the Cross led by a different Society. 

In addition, at the close of every Sunday mass, we will be inviting a different family to have the honor of hosting the Sesquicentennial cross each week and inviting others into their home to venerate the cross together and so enter into the passion of Christ in a personal way.  We are also planning a number of liturgies to mark the anniversary of different sacraments received at St Leonard’s: gathering together all of those who celebrated their wedding at St Leonard’s to join us in a renewal of vows ceremony as well as all those who were baptized there.  Other highlights include burying a time capsule, a Gala Celebration and Dinner Dance, as well as many educational and spiritual workshops and other cultural events to invite everyone to participate in this monumental 150th anniversary celebration.  And of course, don’t miss St Leonard’s feast day November 26th.  

The illustrious history of the Franciscans goes as far back as the very beginning of America itself, as it was the early Franciscan missionaries who were the first to join Christopher Columbus in his second voyage to the Americas in 1493. In fact, it was none other than one of our very own Franciscan priests, who in 1778, presided over the very first Catholic mass in Boston!  This took place discreetly in a burial crypt below King’s Chapel, (an Anglican church) at the funeral of a French naval officer, the Chevalier de Saint-Sauveur, 90 years before the first public Catholic Mass was allowed to be celebrated in Boston on November 1, 1788.  At the time of its foundation in 1873, the congregation of St. Leonard's numbered roughly between 1,200 and 1,500 and was largely composed of immigrants from the Abruzzi, Genoa, and Naples regions (Marchione), in addition to another 2,000 Italian Catholics from other areas of the archdiocese. Migration from the south of Italy saw a dramatic increase over the following decade, and by 1890, there were about 20,000 Italians in Boston alone, the majority originating from the Southern provinces and island of Sicily. 

I would like to invite any of our friars to submit testimonies, stories or pictures from their experience of the Parish as well as ask if any of you would be willing to send in a meditation on any or all of the stations of the Way of the Cross to enhance our celebration. We look forward to seeing you in the North End. 


Thank you to Jessica Dello Russo for providing the historical facts for this article

Some Random Pics of our Brothers north and south!

The Great Agape Family congratulates the students of the Colegio San Francisco de Asís - Agape El Salvador for the excellent presentation of the San Francisco de Assis Theater Play.. #WeAreAllAgape

Two "Cool" Dudes from our northern neighbor:  Fr. Charles Grech and Fr. Josh Critchley at St. Peter's in Woodbridge, Ontario.  

For our friars in skilled nursing facilities

Friar Regis Gallo, OFM

Friar Albin Fusco, OFM

Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM

Friar Phillip Adamo, OFM

Friar Paul Rotondi, OFM

Fr. Ralph Paonessa, OFM

For the friars who have recently died

Friar Stephen Galambos,OFM (Immaculate Conception Province)

Friar Michael Joyce,OFM (Holy Name Province)

Friar James Hoffman, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)

Friar Vince Elsen, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)

Friar Vincent Callahan, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)

For the friars who are sick

Friar Paul Rotondi, 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:

Evelia Marinero (Sister of Fr. Rafael Fernandez, OFM)

George Mucci (Brother of Fr. Flavian Mucci, OFM)

Luz Elvira Pelaez (Aunt of Fr. Orlando Ruiz, 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.



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
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