Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Provincial Update - October 2021
Dear Brothers,

As the month of October winds down, I always hold my breath a little bit when Halloween comes around.  I do this particularly because of the New York City Halloween Parade and Pageant, which begins only two blocks away on Spring Street and Sixth Avenue.  Before the pandemic, over 60,000 people marched in the parade, and, with two million spectators lining the streets, it is considered the largest parade of its kind in the world!
However, to call this event a parade in the same way we might think of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the Columbus Day Parade is a bit of a misnomer.  I would think it’s more of a march.  After all, there aren’t the usual floats, or dancing displays, or marching bands.  It is, by and large, a rabble of marchers, dressed in all kinds of costumes (some of these obviously, don’t merit the term costume).    Don’t get me wrong- there are some tremendous spectacles in this parade- costumes that would give any Broadway show competition: giant puppets of skeletons and all sorts of monsters and lots of music and dancing.  There are also many people whose only attempt at a costume is some face paint or devil’s horns worn on the head.    By and large, many of the costumes are downright ugly, with little or no attempt to be anything spectacular or beautiful or, for that matter, scary.

One of the amusing things I witness every year, are people dressed as religious and clergy.  There are a ton of nuns (many of them men, and even more of them with beards).  There were some friars, or at least attempts at looking like friars. I was sorry I didn’t wear my habit, just to show them what a Franciscan really looks like.  To my great amusement, there were several people dressed as the pope.  I guess Pope Francis is making the papacy popular again, even if it's a Halloween costume.

There were a lot of people dressed as zombies and vampires.  I guess with all the television shows about this subject, it’s no wonder that a lot of people chose those as
their costumes.  

Although the origins of the Halloween celebrations in our country are steeped in local traditions and folklore, we cannot forget that Halloween means "All Hallows Eve", that is, the evening of All "Hallows" or All Saints Day. Thus, it has deeply religious and Christian overtones. It can be a day when we dress up as saints- after all, we dress up like St. Francis every day. But the deeper, theological meaning, is something we should not miss: that all the evil forces in the world, all the temptations and wiles of the devil, cannot defeat us, cannot bring us down. I once heard it explained that Halloween is a "mocking" of these forces, but we should not take them lightly. You might remember the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel that we used to say (and in some places, continue to say) after Mass at the foot of the altar: "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen."

As Christians we understand that the death and resurrection of Christ has brought us out of fear of the darkness into the light.  Thus, the ghouls and goblins and vampires and zombies of Halloween give way to the glorious feast of All Saints.  And we know that, because of our redemption, they can have no power over us.
Brooklyn Postulants Receive
TAU Cross at Transitus

On Saturday, October 3, 2021, at the New York Regional Transitus, held at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua, Darwin Joel Perez and Kevin Leonel Flores Godoy were initiated into the Postulancy of our Formation Program by Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, Provincial Minister by placing around their necks the Tau cross. Fr. Robert welcomed the two new postulants and entrusted them to the Postulancy Team, Friars Orlando Ruiz, Director, and Friars Octavio Salinas and John-Michael Pinto. The formation team will prepare the postulants for their entrance into the novitiate. Welcome, brothers. A gaudeamus was held in the recreation room of Padua Friary.
Pictured above: Friars Orlando and John-Michael, Postulant Darwin, Friar Robert, Postulant Kevin, and Friar Octavio.
Fr. Provincial and Kevin
Fr. Provincial and Darwin
Post-Novitiate Program
News From the Convento

After a pleasant season of vacations and pastoral work, the fraternity arrived at the formation house in Rome, Convento San Francesco, with great enthusiasm and joy to continue this new year of formation. In this new period, the new temporary professed joined the fraternity, with dynamism, with all the desire to learn, as well as the flexibility and openness that this new period of formation involves especially adapting and knowing everything related to the dynamics of the friary.
Laughter and fraternal moments fill the our communal times with a spirit of joy and unity, where we all take time to begin this process of getting to know each other.
We have begun, after a first week of instructions and advice regarding the responsibilities of life within the fraternity from our Guardian and our Formator, with great enthusiasm and commitment, always endowing our vocation and our desire to serve the Church and our Province with a greater sense of gratitude and fidelity to this call of God.
Given this good start to the new year of formation, the joy did not have to wait until the celebration of the feast of our Father Saint Francis, but rather, even within the preparations themselves for this great feast we found joy as brothers where our chapel was appropriately decorated so as to make this special day a true solemnity. We were also invited to the General Curia to help with the Transitus Liturgy, a reason for happiness for the entire fraternity, where each one collaborated with enthusiasm and joy in their assigned task. 
We were present at Morning prayer with the community that resides in the General Curia and later at Mass for the celebration of the Feast of our Seraphic Father Saint Francis, where we were invited not to forget the sense of service and dedication to the church and to our brothers, always remembering the importance of renouncing ourselves to act in freedom and be available to all the brothers without exception.
But the celebration did not end there, we were invited to dinner with the community of sisters, the Little Servants of Jesus, to share a delicious pizza made by the new temporary professed under the supervision of some of the sisters who shared the secret of the technique with us. Stretching out the dough and putting it all together was a wonderful and simple moment of lighthearted leisure with our precious sisters who congratulated us on the “good job” and told us we are now prepared to make the pizza on our own next time! The Dinner was full of expressions of affection, stories and many moments of laughter and pleasant sharing in fraternity.
A day later, we began our academical year, with all the courage and desire to continue increasing our knowledge for what lays ahead. On October 11, we celebrated the Feast of Saint Daniel and His Companions as this is the onomástico for Fra Daniel Cavalieri ofm, on whose behalf we indulged in a delicious lunch and a delicious cake… thank-you Daniel! We thank God for the life and vocation of our brother, and also our other Br Daniel Luna who, as we were given the choice to celebrate as a fraternity either our birthday or our feast day, chose the former… but we still included him in the mix. Congratulations to both Daniels.
Our prayer and gratitude goes out to the entire Province, as we entrust ourselves to the prayers of all and you all know brothers, you can count on our prayers as well. We thank you all for the wonderful support we’ve received. (Thanks also to St Christopher’s fraternity for the wonderful gesture of sending us some Halloween goodies!) Peace and good to each one of the friars of our beloved province.  

Fra Dagoberto
Kevin Gabriel (left) who hails from Nicaragua, celebrates his namesake Feast today, St Gabriel the Archangel, and Matthew who is from Upstate New York, celebrates his 42nd bday (Sept 28). Both of them are two of the four new student friars who join the six others from last year. Please pray for all our beloved friars in formation and their formators. And may all our Angels, whom we thank for their guidance, protection and fidelity to God and his service put in a good word for us with Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raffael, God’s special ministers when it comes to Salvation History and the life of the Church.
Br. Marco makes all the wonderful cards and door designs whenever there's a feast or birthday. Thank you to our brother. Below: Br. Daniel's feast day and Halloween candies from St. Christopher Friary in Boston.
Newly Professed making pizza

St. Christopher Friary, Boston
Bishop Maurus and Fr. Claude divest after Mass celebrated by Archbishop Paul Russell. The archbishop, who is the outgoing nuncio to Turkey, stayed at St. Christopher recently. He is awaiting his new assignment from Rome. Archbishop Russell is a longtime friend of Fr. Robert Caprio. They both served together at St. Joseph Parish, Wakefield. Robert helped out on weekends for many years, and the archbishop served the parish as deacon.

Photos below: Feast of St. Francis at St. Christopher's.
November Birthdays
Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Oscar Valle Perez - November 6th-30
Ronald Bolfeta- November 7th- 72
Rafael Fernandez- November 10th- 67
James Goode- November 18th- 79
Conrad Fernandes- November 22- 37

From the Provincial Office of
Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

Friar Courtland Campbell, OFM, Provincial Director

Message from the General Chapter, challenges for JPIC 

Laudato Si', Fratelli Tutti, Integral Ecology, Refugees, Migrants, Climate Crisis, Widespread Violence, Political Instability, Digital Continent. 

The General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor ended on Sunday, July 18. After 15 days of work that allowed us to look at the Order and the signs of the times, to pray, discern and make decisions to embrace the future in fraternity and minority.

While we await the final document, we would like to share with you some of the statements in the final message that are more specifically related to the promotion and living of the values of JPIC as Friars Minor in the Church and in the World. 
Above all, it fills us with hope to recognize that the themes addressed in the final message are present in the work that the JPIC offices have been developing in the Order and in collaboration, in some regions, with the Franciscan Family. The guidelines of the Plenary Council of the Order, held in Nairobi in 2018, were accepted by the International JPIC Council held in Jerusalem in 2019 and projects and initiatives have been implemented to put them into practice: Laudato Si' Revolution - Franciscan Network for Migrants - JPIC Media - We Are All Brothers, Serata Laudato Si'. 

The following are the statements that we wish to highlight in order to continue to deepen our work of animation, promotion and living the Franciscan values of JPIC: 

30. Another invitation we recognize the Spirit offering us is the work of justice, peace, and integrity of creation. Returning to the essential magisterium of Pope Francis in Laudato si’ and Fratelli tutti, we are challenged to put into action projects that promote integral ecology, which must always recognize the interconnected ‘cry of the earth and cry of the poor’ (Laudato si’ 49). In this moment of climate crisis, where the poor will suffer first and most dramatically, we are committed to being leaders in the Church and world to advocate on behalf of all the voiceless, the human and nonhuman alike. 

31. We are witnessing how we ourselves are destroying our planet. This is an invitation for us to care not only for our own human future, but also for the future of ‘our common home’ (Laudato si’). We are invited to a new lifestyle shaped by concrete actions. This is one way today that we can liveout our vow of evangelical poverty. We are also increasingly aware that environmental catastrophes and devastation, added to widespread political unrest and violence, has contributed to a scandalous rise in refugees and migrants fleeing their homelands in search of safety and freedom. We know the Holy Spirit is inviting us to a greater commitment in care for and accompaniment of our refugee and migrant sisters and brothers. 
Part of what it means to respond to the invitation to mission and evangelization today is to enter into what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI called ‘the digital continent’ (‘Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI for the 43rd World Communications Day,’ 24 May 2009). We know as well as anybody else that most people spend a significant part of their time on the Internet, using various social media platforms, and engaging with new forms of technology. While there are certainly dangers present online, part of the invitation to evangelize in the digital age is to be present on this ‘digital continent’ to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ by our words and deeds. It is an indispensible tool for vocation promotion, social organizing, ministerial outreach, and nearly everything else we do as friars minor in the modern world. 

33. All of these developments in technology and shifts in society show us that more training is needed in areas previously unconsidered by the Order. Regarding social media and digital technology, we see an opportunity for establishing guides to assist our brothers and others in navigating the tumultuous ‘digital continent’ as ‘missionary disciples.’ In terms of the shifting social realities, we know we must work to incorporate better intercultural training and praxis into our programs of initial and ongoing formation. The invitation to mission and evangelization is important, but so too is the appropriate preparation we need as lesser brothers to be effective messengers of the Gospel. In announcing the Gospel, we invite our sisters and brothers into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and with one another. It is an invitation to ‘come and see’ what the Lord has in store for those who respond to this call. 

Guidelines and Decisions 
27. The JPIC Office should connect, develop, and support projects on integral ecology, paying particular attention to formation on JPIC issues in the different contexts of the Order (Guideline).

28. The Minister General and his Definitory, in collaboration with the JPIC Office and GSME, must continue to implement the Franciscan Network of the Mediterranean and the Latin American Franciscan Network for Migrants, and will continue to encourage and accompany similar projects and processes in favor of migrants in Africa, Asia and in all the Order’s border areas.
New York Regional

Friars Celebrate

Transitus and Feast of

St. Francis

On October 3 and 4, the friars of the New York City region gathered to celebrate the Transitus and the Feast of St. Francis. Joining together for the celebrations were the friars from Padua Friary, St. Anthony Friary, the Provincial Curia, and the friars, postulants, and sisters from Our Lady of Peace in Brooklyn.

The Transitus was celebrated at St. Anthony Church, and also included the "Tau Ceremony", initiating the two Brooklyn postulants into the province's formation program. Fr. Provincial presided at the Transitus. Fr. Joe Lorenzo, Provincial Secretary and Communications Director, gave the homily. Joe reminded the friars of the celebration of the Transitus on October 3, 2007, when 75 friars of our province, after concluding an historic provincial chapter in Assisi, were guests of honor at the Transitus celebration at the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the very place where St. Francis died.   There we joined almost 800 friars in procession, and thousands of pilgrims from all over Italy and Europe, who had come to Assisi to celebrate the Poverello- the Little Poor Man. Joe also emphasized that, despite the downsizing of the province and order, the closing of friaries and ministries, and our aging population, we have been blessed, not only by an abundance of vocations, but also because we have a Church that is becoming more and more Franciscan. Through the ministry and efforts of Pope Francis, who has given a definite "Franciscan" tone to the papacy and the church at large, and through his encyclicals "Fratelli Tutti" and "Laudato Si", our Holy Father is taking our church in a direction that would be most pleasing to St. Francis of Assisi.

Immediately following the Transitus, the friars assembled in the common room in the Padua Penthouse for a delicious gathering with pizza, wings, rice balls, and other food. You could tell from the gathering that the brothers thoroughly enjoyed being together.

On October 4, the friars again gathered, this time at Padua Friary Chapel, for Evening Prayer, and then had a delicious meal in the dining room, consisting of appetizers, ravioli, veal cutlet parmigiana, delicious pastries, and all the trimmings. This was prepared by the Padua Friary chef, Franklin Edwards.

Everyone enjoyed the time together after the fears of the pandemic kept us apart for so long.
Transitus and Tau Ceremony
Transitus and Tau Ceremony
Transitus Festivities at Padua
Evening Prayer at Padua
Dinner to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis

Our Lady of Peace in Brookyln Marks Feast of Saint Padre Pio with Healing Mass with
Bishop Joseph Bonello, O.F.M.
On the Feast Day of Saint Padre Pio, Our Lady of Peace Parish held a healing Mass. Bishop Joseph Bonello, O.F.M. was the principal celebrant, with Frs. Orlando Ruiz and Octavio Salinas concelebrating. The Mass was celebrated to call the community together for healing after so
so much suffering from the pandemic. Besides Mass, the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was celebrated, as well as veneration of the relic of St. Pio and Lourdes water.

With the recent transfer of Friar Regis Gallo to Teresian House in Albany, our friar presence at the home is now four friars. They posed for photos and send their greetings to the provincial fraternity.
Friar Larry Stumpo, OFM
Friar Isaac Calicchio, OFM
Friar Regis Gallo, OFM
Friar Albin Fusco, OFM, visited by Friar James Welsh
Friar Flavian

Mucci, O.F.M.,

Passes into

Eternal Life
September 25, 2021
Fr. Flavian Mucci, O.F.M., long-time missionary in Central America, passed into eternal life due to the COVID-19 Virus. He was 86 years old. Fr. Flavian was born in Boston, Massachusetts on March 1, 1935, made his first profession of vows in 1955, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1963.

On July 9, 1967, Fr. Flavian arrived in Sonsonate, El Salvador, to begin what would be 54 years of ministry. He founded the Asociacion Agape of El Salvador, which grew from a small soup kitchen into one of the largest social and public services in that country, currently providing fifty-four social and religious programs.  Agape includes clinics, a home for the elderly, educational centers, a restaurant, hotel, and television and radio stations.  Through natural disasters and gang violence, Fr. Flavian remained steadfast in serving the poor of El Salvador.  

According to the Sanitary Protocol of El Salvador, the body of Fr. Flavian was taken to the Sonsonate Cathedral, and paused for a few moments at the main gate, and then taken to his grave in the gardens of the Agape grounds, in front of the house where he lived for many years. 

To commemorate his passing, the nation of El Salvador declared three days of national mourning and nine days of remembrance in honor of Fr. Flavian. All flags were to be flown at half-staffed and special services and Masses were celebrated to honor the memory of Fr. Flavian.

The following was written about him in Catholic News Service three years ago:

Through war, natural disasters, and now the rampant gang violence that plagues the country, Father Flavian has remained steadfast to his vision to serve the poor of El Salvador. As others abandoned the country because of the impending conflict, Father Flavian began feeding the poor in a rural soup kitchen in 1978, and as the country found itself in the middle of war in the mid- 1980s, he built the Agape headquarters on the rural outskirts of the city of Sonsonate in the western part of El Salvador. 
"When I want something, I get it done," said Father Flavian. Though he's retired from his post as head of Agape, he keeps an office on the Sonsonate campus where he sees visitors wanting to know about his life's work. It all began in 1977 when he hosted the homeless for Christmas dinner at the parish where he was serving. 
"That day I learned the true meaning of happiness," Father Flavian told the International Labor Organization in 2009, when it honored him with the Social Entrepreneurship Award. "Not that I was not happy before, but this was a different type of happiness, one more profound and meaningful. It was a happiness based on giving." 
What began with a soup kitchen expanded into more than 50 programs that medically treat, train, educate, feed or employ hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans who have at one point or another used Agape's services, now in 24 locations throughout the country. 
When Father Flavian arrived in El Salvador on July 9, 1967, as a 32-year-old friar, there was no war, but there was rampant poverty. 
"It was easy for me to understand (the poor) more than any other priest because I was poor," said Father Flavian.
Though his father had once made a good living as a mason in Boston, he became ill, died and the family went into poverty. A group of religious sisters and the Knights of Columbus helped his mother with education for the children and other necessities such as shoes, but they couldn't save his dreams of becoming a baseball player. 
During his formation, he recalls, when seminarians were told to go home and give away all their possessions, he had nothing to give away, "not even five cents," so instead he spent the day learning to drive and got his driver's license the same day. When he arrived in El Salvador, he said he clearly understood when mothers asked for help to send their children to school because of what his mother had gone through. He knew what it meant to be hungry, what it meant to have no money. 
He asked to forgo vacations, other than occasional ones to visit family in the U.S., because the "poor can't even take one vacation" he said. Instead, he devoted that time to building what has become one of the biggest employers in El Salvador and a spiritually based empire of sorts. 

Friar Thomas Garone, OFM, from Guardian and Retreat Director, Mount Alvernia Friary, Wappingers Falls, NY, to St. Christopher Friary, Boston, effective December 6, 2021.

Friar Dennis Arambasick, OFM, assigned as temporary Guardian and Retreat Director, Wappingers Falls, NY. Effective December 6, 2021.

Friar Joshua Critchley, OFM. His ordination to the transitional diaconate is scheduled for Saturday, December 18, 2021 at St. Anthony of Padua Church, New York City, at the 5:00 PM Mass. Ordaining bishop will be Most Rev. James Massa, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Rector of St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie.

Friar Ronald Gliatta, OFM received final approval from the Provincial Definitorium of the Holy Name Province for admission into that province.


On Saturday, October 24, the Joy J Initiative Homeless Outreach resumed their regular schedule with another outreach to the homeless and needy in Manhattan. These volunteers will go north, south, east, and west in order to encounter Jesus in the downtrodden and forgotten. A great experience can be had by speaking to these men and women who have, like Jesus, no place in which to lay their heads. This ministry began eight years ago and brings both comfort bags and human comfort to our brothers and sisters living on the streets.
Friar Raymond Mann, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Elrich Sampson OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Flavian Mucci, OFM (Immaculate Conception Province)
Friar Thomas Eisenmenger, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Vianney Justin, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Neri Greskoviak, OFM (St. John Baptist Province)
Friar Nevin John Ford, OFM (St. Barbara Province)

Recently Deceased Family and Friends
Leo J. Gaffrey (Uncle of Friar Christopher Gaffrey, OFM)
Bishop John McCormack, D.D. (Former Bishop of Manchester and
beloved friend to our province.)

Let us pray for our infirm friars:
Friar Joseph LaGressa, OFM
Friar Guy Vellardita, OFM
Friar Aubert Picardi, OFM
Friar Vincent dePaul Ciaravino, OFM
Friar Dennis Wheatley, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
For our Infirm Family and Friends

For our friars in skilled nursing and rehab facilities:
Friar Regis Gallo, OFM
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.
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