Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Provincial Update - July 2021
Dear Brothers,
Certainly, I think you will agree, that the month of July has been an exciting one- and it’s not by any means over yet.  If you’ve been following our daily updates on the activities of the General Chapter in Rome, it will be exciting to see what the future holds for us as Friars Minor- both on the general level as well as provincial.  

I would first like to offer my congratulations to our new Minister General, Massimo Fusarelli, former
Provincial of the Roman province, as well as former General Secretary for Formation and Studies.  I have, by the way, communicated this to him personally.  I would also like to offer my congratulations to the entire new administration of the Order.  We remember that the word “administration” has as its root “minister.”  They are both leaders and servants.  Special congratulations are in order to Jimmy Zammit, who, as you know, is technically a member of the St. Paul Province of Malta, but has for many years been part of our province.  Our province has a very special relationship with the St. Paul Province, and we are indeed not only grateful to the many friars (and bishops) who have been an important part of our own province, laboring in so many different areas, such as our missions in Central America and in Canada, but also to the General Chapter for this honor that both provinces share- having a General Definitor chosen from our midst.  I am also thankful for those whose ministry to the order at large is now completed, especially Michael Perry, for his many years of service, as well as Caoimhin O'Laoide, completing his term as Definitor General.

I would be remiss if I didn’t offer my thanks to Antonio Riccio, who represented the province at the General Chapter.  I can’t think of anyone else in our province who is more equipped to represent us, given his background in service to the province and the order, than Antonio.  I would also like to thank Joe Lorenzo, Provincial Secretary and Communications Director, for his daily briefings on the activities of the General Chapter and keeping us all informed.    

As you know, the former General Definitorium has appointed Bill Spencer,  former Provincial of the Sacred Heart Province, to be our Visitator General for next year’s chapter.  Bill is well known to many friars in our province, and we offer our congratulations and support, and thank him for accepting this ministry. Bill has penned a brief autobiography in today’s newsletter, and I am sure his presence among us will be a blessing.  

As I said earlier, July is proving to be a busy and exciting month, and we should all remember that on July 31, Josh Critchley will be professing his Solemn Vows at St. Joseph Church in Winsted, Connecticut.  Early congratulations, Josh, and best wishes as you take this important step in your vocation as a Franciscan.

One final “business” note.  Take some time off during this summer, especially with the severe heat that is enveloping our country, especially here in the northeast.  Be sure to limit your activities as much as possible on those hot days.  Find a nice cool spot by a pool, at the seashore, or in front of a fan or air conditioner.  Take special time out for prayer and spiritual reading.  This is a time to feed our souls.  

Also, again I implore you- please take all precautions with the Covid-19 virus.  Please get vaccinated.  It is disturbing to hear of some friars who are refusing to be vaccinated.  Listen to science.  The news says that 99.5 percent of Covid related hospitalizations and deaths are from the unvaccinated.  You are risking not only your own health, but those of your brothers.  I ask the guardians and local ministers to make sure that each friar of their fraternity be vaccinated.  If you are planning to attend province-wide activities, such as the provincial chapter, or are engaged in active ministry, vaccination is a must.  Don’t listen to rumors and false narratives.  Vaccines will not cause great side-affects, and will protect all of us from infection.  So whether it is for personal or political reasons, fear of needles, fear of the unknown, or any delusions of a zombie apocalypse, get real and get vaccinated.  As you know, many of our brothers are elderly and fragile.  If not for yourself, do it for them. The Final Message from the General Chapter, issued just days ago, reminds us that hundreds of friars are counted among the over four million people who have died from Covid, and even during the chapter, there were more friars who succumbed to this virus.

I wish all our brothers and peaceful and safe summer.  Let it be a source of growth, spiritual, psychological, and physical for all of us.

News from the Convento San Francesco, Rome
Post Novitiate Program
Rome Community with Friar Alvin Te and newly-arrived postulants.
Dearest brothers, we hope this little update from each of our guys finds you all keeping well and fighting the good fight. 
All of us are well here thank-God, and the guys are off for their summer vacation/assignment. We thought you might be interested in hearing from them and seeing them with their families. 
The first will be from Luis who alone is still in Italy (Benevento) working on the habits for the four postulants soon to be novices. I’ve left the bigger article for this month to him, while the rest of the guys are sending you a paragraph greeting so as to keep in touch.
I myself head back to Caledon on July 31 and all of us will be returning on September 24/25. 
It has been a great year and the brothers have done really well so we would like to thank you for your prayers and support for this formation house. 
Our Guardian, Antonio Riccio is at the General Chapter at the moment and I’m glad he too will be able to have some down time before I head to Canada. 
Other than that brothers, we wish you all the best and many blessings throughout your summer, hoping you and your loved ones continue being safe and at peace. 
Pierre Farrugia ofm

From Br Luis Hernandez
Dear brothers:
A fraternal greeting of peace and goodness to all of you.
We have arrived at summer time and along with this season we have also arrived at the end of the school year and all of us are happy and thankful for this. Our brother Marco Gomez has finished his first year of theology, while Bros. Jack Sidoti and Daniel Cavalieri have completed their two years of philosophy and Bros. Daniel Luna, Oscar Valle and myself have finished our first year of philosophy.
After finishing the exams session we had a two-day retreat as preparation for our renewal of vows. The retreat was guided by Br. Cesare Vaiani the General Secretary for Formation and Studies, who spoke to us about the three vows and the challenges that we can face to live them in our daily lives.
On June 22nd we welcomed Alberto Molina and Gabriel Rojas who were in Guatemala and then on June 25 Kevin Hernandez also arrived who was also in Guatemala. They moved to Rome to continue studying italian before going to Assisi for their novitiate year.
We also had the blessing of being at the diaconate ordination of Bros. Vincenzo Romano and Francesco Falco from the province of Benevento. They stayed with us while finishing their theological studies at the Antonianum. The ordination took place on June 28 at the basilica Madonna delle Grazie.
On the evening of June 29 during the solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul we renewed our vows in the hands of Father Antonio Riccio who was delegated by our provincial minister. We were accompanied by our Friar Alvin Te. We commend ourselves to your prayers as we have renewed our vows for one more year and continue our formation and discernment process.
On the first days of July, Bros. Jack, Marco and the two Daniels departed for their respective countries to spend some time with their families and then they will be moving to their summer assignments in different places of the province. Bro Oscar and myself, while waiting for our appointment to renew our residency permit, were sent to Benevento to help out the friars during the feast of the Madonna delle Grazie that took place on July 2nd. It was a beautiful experience in which we were witnesses of the faith and devotion of the people of Benevento who came to this basilica to ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Madonna delle Grazie.
We wish all of you a great summer and may the Lord give you his peace!!!
Bro. Luis Hernandez

From Jack Sidoti: 
Hello, Brothers!
This summer, I am assigned to St Thomas Aquinas Parish in Derry, NH, with Fr. Joe Powell, Fr. Chris Gaffrey, and Br. Damian Johnson. I arrived here on July 2nd and have spent the first couple of weeks settling in and getting to know the parish community. One thing that really struck me at first was how active this parish is! There are so many different ministries happening here and I look forward to getting involved with some of them. Peace to you all!
Br. Jack Sidoti

From Oscar Valle:
Dear brothers, with great joy I share with you that I have arrived in my country and for pandemic issues I am doing a quarantine even though I have already done the swab and it is negative. The pandemic these days in Nicaragua is a little strong but controlled. I have seen my family and thank-God they are alright while still waiting for these last days of pandemic to end. Many greetings to everyone and I leave you a photo of my family who greet you and thank you for everything you do as brothers for me.

From Daniel Cavalieri: 
Dear brothers,
May the Lord give you peace! Many greeting from Philly, PA! As I am writing to you all I am approaching the end of my vacation time which I have spent here in Philadelphia with family. It has been refreshing just to be with my loved ones and also see friends. Following these 15 days, I will be transitioning to my summer assignment at St Christopher's friary in Boston which I am looking forward to. I wish you all a good summer and of course good health and peace! Please continue to pray for me! 
Br. Dan Cavalieri 

From Daniel Luna:
Peace and good to all! I greet you from my home in the Dominican Republic. These days with my family have been truly comforting, to meet again and to share the joy of being together again. I have lived these days as a blessing that God gives me, to be with my family and friends as I prepare to head to my summer assignment in Guatamala. Keep me in prayer. Thanks and have a great Summer!
Bro Daniel R. Luna 

From Marco Gomez:
Brothers, a fraternal greeting of peace and good from Honduras. After several hours of travel, I arrived in El Salvador, where the friars of the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe received me very kindly in the convent of Planes de Renderos. The next day, I finally got to my city. Thank God it was a good ride. Now I am happily spending time with my family. Thanks to God and the help of family and friends, I was able to get vaccinated. I continue to enjoy the days that I have left in these lands and I prepare with joy for the summer mission in Ataco, El Salvador. God bless you.
Br. Marco Gomez
Postulants from left to right: Gabriel, Alberto, and Kevin.
Friar Jack with Friars Damian and Joe at St. Thomas in Derry
Friar Oscar Valle with his family
Friar Daniel Cavalieri with his mom and local priest Fr. Javier
Friar Daniel Luna visits with his family.
Friar Marco with family

News From Our Novices at San Damiano, Assisi
Dear brothers, May the Lord give you peace.
We would like to share with you, some  our experiences during the past months.
At the end of the past month, we were in retreat (five days) at the hermitage “Sacro Specco” that according to the Franciscan sources was known as the hermitage of St. Urban. It was a time to have contact with God in nature just as Saint Francis did and the very same place where he had many mystical experiences. It was a   time to deeply ponder all this journey of the novitiate as we make our way towards the first vows.
At the beginning of June, we went to the valley of Rieti. We celebrated mass at the Cathedral of Rieti with the Bishop of that diocese and General Minister Michael Perry. Then, we went to Fonte Colombo where, we celebrated the anniversary of the first rule (regula non-bullata); As a beautiful sign all friars renewed their vows before the General Minister. Afterwards, we shared a very special moment as we were invited to pray for over our (former) General Minister and for the next chapter.
In addition, we made a trip to Loreto. We celebrated mass in the crypt of the basilica, which is called the chapel of the crucifix. Afterwards we went inside the holy house of Mary.  The house was very simple and gave off a feeling of peace and holiness.  Pope benedict XVI has said of the house: “…it has just three walls because it is open to everyone.”  
We continued our journey in the afternoon with a visit to Sirolo on the Adriatic coast.  The town rose high above the sea and the view was amazing.  We ate some delicious gelato!  On the way back to San Damiano, we stopped at a Cistercian abbey called Fiastra.  It was founded by St Bernard of Clairvaux in 1190.
We constantly remember you in prayer and take great comfort in your prayers for us.  Thank you for accompanying us spiritually from afar.  
Novices and local friars at Santo Specco
Friar Bill Spencer, O.F.M. Appointed Visitator General for our Province

Former Provincial of Sacred Heart Province
Dear Friars,
The Minister General and his Definitorium have notified me that I have been elected as the Visitator General for your Province of the Immaculate Conception. Your Province's leadership thought you might like to know a little about me as I prepare to join you in the preparations for June, 2022's Provincial Chapter. I'm sure they're right, and i'm happy to offer this introduction. Hopefully, it will give you some sense of who I am until we have a chance to meet.
I was born in 1947 in a small town in rural Northeastern Louisiana. My mother and her family were lifelong Catholics. My father had been raised a Baptist and converted to Catholicism around the time of his marriage to my mother. My father was the first "blood Spencer" to become Catholic in his side of our family in 500 years. I'm the first to be born and raised Catholic in the same amount of time. The rest of my family is still Protestant in various denominations. I suspect many, if not most, of you will come from more urban areas and from families with much more Catholic history. My hometown was one tenth of one percent Catholic when I was growing up, and I always envied Catholics who had a different experience. It will be nice to hear what life was like for you. As you can imagine, both of my parents are deceased; but I do have two brothers and a sister in my family.
The Franciscans have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My parish in childhood was staffed by friars from Sacred Heart Province. Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help taught me in elementary school. I'm a "lifer." I went to my Province's High School Seminary where I joined the "Third Order." Most of the rest of my formation and education was at seminaries and in formation programs sponsored by Sacred Heart Province. I entered the novitiate of the "First Order" in 1967, received an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Quincy University (Our Lady of Angels Franciscan Seminary) in 1970, made Solemn Vows in 1971, studied at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, received my Master of Divinity degree there and was ordained a priest in 1974. I have subsequently completed a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, but do not have the necessary certification to work professionally in that capacity.
Parochial Ministry, Campus Ministry and Fraternal Service are the three primary areas of ministry which I have offered as a Franciscan and a priest. Twenty Seven of those 47 years have been spent either as an Associate Pastor or Pastor. I consider myself especially blessed that a number of those years were spent in the Black Community or included service to the Black Community. I was a Campus Minister at Hales Franciscan High School and Quincy University for a total of six years, and in Fraternal Service for Sacred Heart Province as Vocation Director and Provincial Minister for twelve years. I've been a Vicar and Guardian several times and was elected to our Provincial Council three times. A sabbatical "along the way" and one at the end of my ministry as Provincial account for what I've done with the rest of my 47 years in ongoing formation.
I realize that knowing the "details" of someone's life isn't the same as knowing the person who is living that life, but it's a beginning. We'll soon have opportunities to meet and get to know each other better. I look forward to it. I trust that you'll help me be of service to you and to your Province.
Peace and everything good,
Bill Spencer, O.F.M.
August Birthdays 
Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Romano Almagno - August 5 (82)
James Villa - August 6 (78)
Maurus Muldoon - August 8 (83)
Jimmy Zammit - August 11 66)
Victor Treminio- August 17 (32)
Regis Gallo - August 19 (89)
Charles Gingerich - August 24 (73)
Albert Micallef - August 24 (71)
Michael D'Cruz - August 26 (91)
Aubert Marie Picardi - August 30 (91)

Br. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM
Elected Minister General

On Tuesday, 13 July 2021, at
Collegio Internationale San Lorenzo da Brindisi (Rome),
His Eminence, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz
Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life,
who was appointed by His Holiness Pope Francis
to serve as Cardinal Delegate
at the OFM General Chapter 2021,
announced with joy that
is elected as the new OFM Minister General for 2021- 2027
Born in Rome on March 30, 1963, he received the Franciscan habit on July 28, 1982 and professed first vows on July 30, 1983. He professed solemn vows on January 8, 1989 and was ordained a priest on September 30, 1989.
After theology studies at the Antonianum in Rome, he obtained a Licentiate in Patristic Studies at the Augustinianum in Rome. He was Provincial Definitor, Animator of the pastoral care of vocations and then of ongoing formation; several times Guardian; General Secretary of Formation and Studies from 2003 to 2009; General Visitor for the Province of Naples and then for the unification process of the Provinces of Northern Italy; he served as guardian and pastor of S. Francesco a Ripa in Rome, and in charge of the project to welcome the poor. He was elected Provincial Minister of the Roman Province on July 2, 2020.
May the Holy Spirit guard and guide Br. Massimo in the service of the brothers of the Order and of the whole Church.
Newly-Elected General Leadership

Br. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM, Minister General
Province of St. Bonaventure, Rome

Br. Isauro Ulises Covili Linfati, OFM, Vicar General
Province of the Holy Spirit, Chili

Br. Victor Luis Quematcha, OFM, Definitor General/Africa-Middle East
Custody of St. Francis of Assisi, Guinea Bissau

Br. John Wong, OFM, Definitor General/Asia-Oceania
Custody of Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei

Br. Jimmy Zammit, OFM, Definitor General/English
Province of St. Paul the Apostle in Malta

Br. Albert Schmucki, OFM, Definitor General/Europe
Custody of Switzerland

Br. Cesare Vaiani , OFM, Definitor General/Europe
Provincia Sant’Antonio dei Frati Minori – Nord Italia

Br. Konrad Grzegorz Cholewa, OFM, Definitor General/Europe
Provincia dell’Immacolata Concezione della Beata Vergine Maria a Cracovia

Br. Joaquin Echeverry, OFM, Definitor General/Latin America
Prov. Santa. Fidei - Colombia

Br. César Külkamp, OFM, Definitor General/Latin America
Immac. Conc. B.M.V. Prov.- Brazil
Friar Jimmy Zammit


General Definitor

Jimmy was born in Toronto, Canada in 1955, was received into the Order in 1973, made his first profession of vows in 1974, solemn profession in 1978, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1981. 

He attended Immaculate Conception Seminary in Troy, NY,  and studied at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, MA, while living at Bonaventure House, before returning to his home province to complete his theology studies.

Besides assignments in parochial and retreat ministries in his own Province of St. Paul (Malta), Jimmy served as Pastor of Immaculate Conception and St. Francis of Assisi Churches in Toronto, Ontario; parochial vicar at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish, also in Toronto (his most recent assignment); Director of Post-Novitiate Formation at the Convento San Francesco in Rome; and lived at St. Bonaventure Friary in Brighton, Massachusetts from 1991-1992 while completing graduate studies at Boston College.  Jimmy served the province as Provincial Definitor and was President of the St. Francis Foundation in Toronto. He also was Economo General of the Order in Rome, and Visitator General Assistant to the Custody of the Holy Land.

We congratulate Jimmy on his election as Definitor General and wish him well.  He will be in our prayers.  



Summer Time and the Livins Easy...

At least that is how the song goes. Summer at St. Christopher has been filled with visitors, a departure of a brother and a few social activities. The friars of St. Christopher hosted the funeral of our brother Clement Procopio. The chapel was nearly filled with friars and family. The friars of the house attended as well as Br. Gabriel Aceto and Fr. Richard Martignetti, who are staying at the friary, and Br. Charles Gingerich and Fr. Michael DellaPenna from St. Leonard's. The family came to the refectory after the Mass of Christian Burial and enjoyed a light collation and some social interaction with the brothers. The brothers and family then traveled to the cemetery (See photo) to lay Fr. Clement to rest. 

Our annual harbor cruise returned after a Covid interruption. Claude, Robert, James, Aubert, and Michael joined in on this nautical adventure. A ninety minute cruise (See photo of Aubert and James) gave a narrated tour of the harbor, the islands, and the historic events that took place on land and sea. Despite our attempts, we were not able to throw Aubert overboard! Claude was ready to go from bow to stern with his head gear, either that or he was practicing his Sherlock Holmes routine.

Fr. Antonio Nardoiani, Mary Volpe (soon to be OFM affiliate), Rick Martignetti, Guy Vellardita, Gabriel Aceto, as well as a couple of Jesuits have all been recent visitors. Having them around really adds to the vibrancy of conversation round the table. For those of us who live at St. Christopher's it gives a new audience for old stories. Some of the visitors enjoyed a photo op in the driveway patio (See photo).

The rooftop garden continues to provide produce for the table at the friary. Greens, peas, herbs, and strawberries are the first to arrive, but beans, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, and, of course, tomatoes are on the way. There is always hope for a watermelon, but we have only produced ping pong ball sized fruits so far. Figs and peaches seem to be the most sought after. Patience!

We have not made it to the ball park yet, but plans are underway to make it to Fenway and/or Worcester very soon. Christmas in July is almost upon us. Although the guys are supposed to hang stocking, we have only sweaty socks so far. Hoping all the friars a great summer full of "re creation."
Fraternal Life Is Alive and Well
Andre Cirino, OFM

On Thursday, 10 July, I took a flight to Boston for the first time in 18 months. Since 1984 when I began working with Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs, I found myself almost constantly on a flight for pilgrimages or retreats. But this flight was different. I was not flying for any ministerial reason; I was simply going to spend the day with one of the brothers. Michael Della Penna picked me up at Logan airport at 8 AM and we drove leisurely up the coastline where we stopped for a simple breakfast and catching-up conversation. We continued sharing as we walked along the ocean, stopping only for a lunch at a fish restaurant where our conversation continued to flow while I consumed a plate of fried clams (which I cannot find anywhere in New York).

After lunch, I asked Michael if it were possible to stop in the North End to greet the friars in St. Christopher Friary and visit St. Leonard’s. When we arrived in the parking lot behind the friary, we were greeted and warmly welcomed by a smiling Aubert Picardi. Going into the friary, we met Bob Caprio in the kitchen and had a blessed time of conversation with him. We caught up a bit, and I asked Bob if I could see the stained-glass windows from our former St. Francis Seminary chapel that are now installed in St. Christopher Friary. They brought back some good memories, they look beautiful, and I’m so very happy that they have been preserved by being displayed again in one of our friaries. Exiting the friary to go to St. Leonard’s, we encountered a joyful Claude Scrima now sitting with Aubert and shared some good moments with him as well.

I had not been in St. Leonard’s Church for decades. I was delighted to view the marvelous renovation of the entire church, the work of our brother Antonio Nardoianni—great job Antonio!
I felt so peaceful in the church as it had so many overtones to my home parish, Our Lady of Peace in Brooklyn. Meeting the warm office staff, and then two congenial brothers in the parish bookstore rounded out my visit. After viewing the impressive Peace Garden, it made me very happy to watch parishioners greet or hug their pastor as we walked the streets of the North End.

My return flight at 5:30 PM did not leave until 9:30 PM, but my heart was both proud and full—proud because of the good work that still continues to unfold in the North End, and full of the gift of fraternitas given us by St. Francis that thrives in Immaculate Conception Province.

Friar Maximillian Joseph Hottle, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Michael Luke Ubben OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Peter Verheggan, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Clement Procopio, OFM (Immaculate Conception Province)
Friar Cormac Nagle, OFM (Holy Spirit Province-Australia)

Recently Deceased Family and Friends
Louie De Benedetto (Province Affiliate from East Boston)
Dr. Francis Mazzaglia (Former seminarian and founder of the Italian Alliance)
Fr. Peter Guerin, O.S.B. (St. Anselm Abbey,Manchester NH)
Fr. John Connelly (Former Professor at St. John's Seminary)
Tina Giardiello (Province Affiliate from St. Leonard's)

Let us pray for our infirm friars:
Friar Alexis Anania, OFM
Friar Dennis Wheatley, OFM

For our Infirm Family and Friends

For our friars in skilled nursing and rehab facilities:
Friar James Goode, OFM
Friar Albin Fusco, OFM
Friar Isaac Calicchio, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
Friar Philip Adamo, OFM
Friar Lawrence Stumpo, 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.
Miscellaneous Photos
Above: fantastic photo of St. Joseph's, Winsted, during an electrical storm.

Below: The Brooklyn Community visits Wappingers Falls
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 Curia
125 Thompson Street
New York NY 10012
Cell: 917.337.9833
Office: 212.674.4388 Xt. 113