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

I think that one of the big challenges for the church today is how do we get people back to church?  With the problems caused by the Covid pandemic, and threats of it increasing, how do we recover our dwindling church population, and how do we get our people back into the pews?

We know that attending Sunday Mass is something that can be habit forming.  Although there are church laws requiring Catholics to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, the rescinding of these laws during the pandemic have left many people reluctant to return to church.  
I am sure there are a variety of excuses that people use for not going to church.  Some time ago, I came across this little item called “No Excuse Sunday” which I thought was both interesting and humorous.  Here it is:

To make it possible for everyone to attend church next Sunday, we are going to have a special "No Excuse Sunday."
+Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, "Sunday is my only day to sleep."
+We will have steel helmets for those who say, "the roof will cave in if I ever come to church."
+Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold and fans for those who think the church is too hot.
+We will have hearing aids for those who think the priest speaks too softly and cotton for those who think he preaches too loudly.
+Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.
+Some relatives will be in attendance for those who like to go visiting on Sunday.
+There will be T.V. dinners for those who can't go to church and cook dinner also.
+One section will be devoted to trees and grass for those who only like to see God in nature.
+Finally, the sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who have never seen the church without them.

News from the Post-Novitiate Friars

Friars Jack and Daniel at Friar Josh Critchley's Solemn Profession presenting him with Papal Blessing from the Friars in Rome.
Dear Brothers,
Pax et Bonum! Since last month I have had the chance to settle into my summer assignment at St Christopher Friary in the North End. The brotherly hospitality of the guys here has been really great- I feel right at home! I have also received a warm welcome from the parish community at St. Leonard's where I have been helping out on the weekends. My main task however, is to put my nursing skills to use and help take care of the retired guys anyway I can. Also, I help out with house duties as they arise. Being in the North End has a nostalgic feel for me and is sort of a "homecoming" because it was here that my Franciscan vocation began. I am really enjoying my summer here to say the least and participated in some of the house events like going to the ballgame at Fenway Park and also sitting outside in the parking lot with a few friars to just "be present". I was also asked to help out at Mass with Don Federico, in residence at St Leondards, which was televised on Catholic TV. I look forward to finishing out my summer here with the fraternity which for me has been the highlight. Stay cool and please be safe!
Br Dan Cavalieri

Dear Brothers,
The last month has been full of great experiences as I get a taste of parish life. Some of the things I’m involved in are: bringing communion to nursing home residents, serving at Mass, leading Morning Prayer with the parishioners on Fridays, and giving a reflection at Mass on Fridays in place of the homily.
In addition to working in the parish, I also have some time to relax and visit with family and friends.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Br. Basil Franciose, OSB, at St. Anselm’s Abbey in Manchester. Some of you might remember him as Louis Franciose, who was a Postulant with me back in 2017 before joining the Benedictines and taking a religious name. It was great catching up with him after four years!
I was also blessed to be visited by my Dad and stepmother, who took me on a day trip to Kittery, York, and Ogunquit, Maine.
That’s about it for now. I hope you are all well!
Jack Sidoti

Paz y bien hermanos! Saludos desde Valle de los Ángeles, he llegado a mi destino de asignación de verano el 18 de Julio, la primera impresión cuando veía desde la ventana del avión fue de sorpresa ante la belleza de Guatemala, era cómo ver un jardín ante mi! Luego llegué a Valle y verdaderamente debo decir que la impresión fue igualmente de sorpresa y Alegría, los hermanos de la fraternidad ( Fray Joaquin y Fray Neri) me han acogido como verdaderos hermanos. En estos días que llevo aquí en Valle de los ángeles, he visto la gran labor que se realiza, el compromiso con que se trabaja y la variedad de ministerios en que he estado ayudando ( en el área espiritual con las Hermanas Franciscanas de la Inmaculada Concepción y los Frailes, en el acompañamiento a los niños, en la Panadería y ayudando en lo que se necesite) estoy muy feliz y doy gracias a Dios por este don de servicio! Bendiciones a todos!  

Peace and good brothers! Greetings from Valle de los Angeles. I arrived at my summer assignment destination on July 18. The first impression when I saw it from the airplane window was of surprise at the beauty of Guatemala, it was like seeing a garden before me! Then I arrived in Valle and I must truly say that the impression was equally of surprise and joy. The brothers of the fraternity (Fray Joaquin and Fray Neri) have welcomed me as true brothers. In these days that I have been here in Valle de los Angeles, I have seen the great work that is done, the commitment with which it is worked and the variety of ministries in which I have been helping (in the spiritual area with the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and the friars, in accompanying the children, in the bakery and helping in whatever is needed) I am very happy and I thank God for this gift of service! Blessings to all!
Daniel Luna

Friar Jack is on summer assignment in Derry NH. Seen here with the Derry Knights of Columbus marking the inaugural Feast of Bl. Michael McGivney, founder of the K of C.
Friar Dan is on summer assignment at St. Christopher's in the North End. With Friar Claude Scrima doing "Sidewalk Ministry."
Friars Daniel and Oscar on summer assignment
with Friar Jack Hoak at Agape
The postulants and I had a very blessed day yesterday. We must have driven close to 900 kms total as our trip included Rome to Benevento to San Giovanni Rotondo and back to Rome, with a pit stop in Pescara. I’m going to share a few videos and photos with you all, among which you’ll see S. Padre Pio’s confessional where he spent hours upon hours extending God’s mercy to the faithful with an ability from above to remind people about sins they were overlooking, so as to totally allow God’s grace to liberate that particular individual. We prayed for all of you while there, especially for those who asked us to intercede with Padre Pio so that he could in turn intercede for them. Before that however, we were in Benevento where the three postulants were fitted for their new habits which they will receive officially in what we call an investiture, in San Damiano, Assisi no less. Fr. Rosario who mentors Luis, one of the students who will begin his second year of Philosophy this coming September, on how to make habits, stole the show with his holy humour, fraternal love, and pious admonition regarding his names sake, the Rosary. I hope you enjoy these, and continue to pray for the gifts God has sent his Church in these young men who wish to devote their entire lives to serving God and his people. If you have my questions regarding any photo or video… ask away. As always, may the Almighty continue to shine his radiance upon you and your loved ones.
Friar Pierre Farrugia, OFM, Formation Director (From his Facebook entry)

News From Our Novices at San Damiano, Assisi
Novices Approved for First Profession
Our four novices are completing their novitiate at Santuario di San Damiano in Assisi. Along with the novices from the Seraphic Province of St. Francis of Assisi of Umbria and Sardinia, Friars Dagoberto Hernandez Lopez, Kevin Gabriel Gonzales Vega, Matthew John Mancino, and Nelson Aldair Orantes Calderon will profess their first vows on August 28. Let us remember them in our prayers as they take this next step in their formation as Friars Minor.

News from St. Christopher Friary, Boston
It has been a busy summer at St. Christopher. Fr. Rick Martignetti left us, having spent the summer at St. Christopher as his home base of operations for many summer activities. Rick gave a talk to the friars to celebrate the Year of St. Joseph. His message was excellent and well received by the friars.  

Dan Cavalieri arrived to spend his summer assignment with us. Dan has certainly brought the mean age of the community down significantly.  During his time here Dan, who is a registered nurse, will be overseeing the regular health care of the guys, monitoring of meds, vital signs, and follow up orders from doctors. He has already offered reflections, one for St Leonard’s parish for the Feast of the Portiuncula and one for the friars at St. Christopher on his own desire to be a friar. Claude and Dan also did a “test run” on a simple presence/evangelization/social interaction activity by sitting, in habits, in the parking lot, just talking to people. The first experience was overwhelmingly positive. We hope to encourage other members of the house to join in the experience. 

Our social activities remain plentiful. Four the guys went to the Red Sox game, which they won due to their presence (see photo). Six of the guys went to the movies together. No photos of this motley crew, but everyone had a good time and ate lots of popcorn. The new theater seating makes the experience much easier for the guys. We treated ourselves to a meal at Legal Seafood to cap off the cook’s days off. 

The Feast of St. Clare coincided with the vacation of all the staff. Dan, James, and Michael staffed the kitchen for the feast day meal. Josh and Bruce from St. Joseph’s joined us, as did Charlie Falla, OFS; Giovanni, a friend of Fr. Federico (Archdiocese of Milan); and our regulars Charlie and Federico. Dan and James made enough lasagna, sausage, and meatballs for a division of the army. The feast day was truly fraternal and festive.  Our older friars can be very hospitable and entertaining. This was certainly the case on the Feast of St. Clare.

As the summer winds down and Covid ticks up we may be looking forward to more indoor activities. Robert keeps winning at Scrabble so we cannot encourage that event.  Our September house chapter will feature a review of the friars’ missionary activities in Central America
Red Sox win at Fenway Park!
Visit from the Winsted Friars
Feast Day Meal
Sidewalk Ministry
September Birthdays 
Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Isaac Calicchio - September 2nd - (91)
Dennis Arambasick - September 3rd - (73)
Thomas Hollowood -September 4th - (86)
Jimmy Marchante- September 4 - (35)
Daniel Cavalieri - September 10th - (33)
Eissa Lazzaro Aziz - September 11th - (55)
Claudio Moser - September 14th - (83)
Richard Martignetti - September 18th - (55)
Charles Trebino - September 26th - (72)
Damian Johnson - September 27th - (76)
Matthew Mancino- September 27 - (42)
Charles Soto - September 27th - (79)
Paul Guido - September 29th - (90)

On Sunday, August 15, 2021, the Province handed over the keys of St. Anthony Friary, Catskill, New York to the Sisters of Life, who have entered into a long-term lease of the property.  At a Solemn Mass celebrated in the friary chapel, Fr. Paul Guido, administrator, turned over the keys of St. Anthony Friary to Mother Agnes, the superior general of the Sisters of Life. Mother Agnes, in turn, gave the keys to Sr. Brigid, the new superior of St. Anthony Convent. The liturgy for the Solemnity of the Assumption of the BVM was celebrated in a packed chapel. More than thirty sisters joined another sixty plus congregants for the joyous celebration. Following the Mass the community, friars, and sisters had a coffee hour in the friary/convent hall. It was a bittersweet event, with many of the people lamenting the friars leaving after more than a century of presence. Still, the joyous voices of the sister filled the community with hope.  

The property which sits in the Village of Catskill, New York, borders the Hudson River. The province purchased the property in 1908 which was the location of the Prospect Park Hotel. The hotel had fallen on hard times, after being one of the most prominent of the Catskill area hotels, accommodating up to 400 people at a time. After using the hotel building as a seminary, a second building was constructed. The current building is the third on the site. St. Anthony's served for many years as the province's formation house, and was for a long time the provincial novitiate. Most recently, it served as one of the province's retirement houses. Several local parishes were staffed from the friary which the province no longer has, including Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Hudson, Sacred Heart in Palenville, and St. Mary Church in Cementon. The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany also had a convent and nursing home next to the property. With the departure of the friars from Catskill, this concludes a long history of Franciscan presence in the area. The friary is on a beautiful location: the Hudson River is to the east, and a beautiful view of the Catskill Mountains (with the traditional "Rip Van Winkle" sleeping in the mountains contour). The Rip Van Winkle Bridge, which cross the Hudson River, is just about one mile north of the property.

The sentiments of the local community were best summed up by Mr. Matthew Luvera, music minister at St. Anthony’s:  Today we said goodbye to our Franciscan Friars that lived at St. Anthony’s and always prayed for the Catskill community for over 100 years. The Sisters of Life moved in this morning and there were over 40 Sisters that came for their first Mass. I provided music for them and the angelic voices were heavenly. There were times that I stopped singing just to listen to them. I did the Mass of the Angels that my cousin Michael always liked and the Kyrie and Gloria were amazing. It’s something I will never forget. I felt like I was playing for the Vatican. After the keys were handed over, we entrusted the friary to the Blessed Mother with this song, a song the Franciscans always sang, a song that Michael taught me, Salve Regina.
For over 100 years, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Conception Province have lived at St. Anthony Friary. It’s been one of the spiritual homes to my family for generations and many of the priests and brothers have been friends of my family. This Sunday, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother into Heaven, marks the end of this era. The Sisters of Life, a new order of religious nuns, moves into the building and comes to help those in need throughout our community. Mass this Sunday will be at 9 am where the exchange of keys will take place. My prayer is that the Sisters will continue to have Mass in the Chapel and may we pray for their ministry, as I know they will be praying for our community. I’ve met the new superior, Sister Bridget, and several of the other nuns that will be moving to Catskill and they’re looking forward to being here. May we entrust the care of the Friary to the Blessed Mother.
Catskill Mountain View from St. Anthony's
Can you see Rip Van Winkle sleeping?
Friar Joshua Critchley

Professes Solemn Vows

at St. Joseph Church

Winsted, CT
On Saturday, July 31, Friar Joshua Critchley OFM professed his Solemn Vows at St. Joseph Church in Winsted, Connecticut.  Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, Minister Provincial, received Josh’s vows.
Fr. Robert was assisted by Friars Patrick Boyle, OFM, Provincial Vicar, Richard Martignetti, OFM, and several concelebrants.  Fr. Bruce Czapla, OFM, Pastor of St. Joseph’s, was the Master of Ceremonies.  
Many family and friends attended the liturgy, including a large group of friars from other provinces who knew Josh through his formation studies in Chicago.  The parish hosted a dinner in the parish hall.   Friars Dan Cavalieri and Jack Sidoti did the readings, and music was provided by the parish choir.  In his homily, Fr. Robert spoke of this historical moment taking place in this town of Winsted, Connecticut, where the friars have been present for 159 years.  In 1862, Fr. Leo Rizzo of Saracena, Calabria, begin his 35 years of ministry, a ministry of compassion which still resonates in the town to this day.  Fr. Leo was called the “Lion of Winsted”, and with the Solemn Profession of Josh, we continue that legacy.  Fr. Robert spoke of the profession of vows as not just a commitment to the order, but a deepening of Josh’s relationship with God.  He reminded Josh that he was called from the very beginning to walk in the footsteps of St. Francis and was chosen for this sacred moment happening today.  The challenge of the evangelical counsels is to choose Christ every single day.   Fr. Robert challenged Joshua to take on a new vision of our Franciscan life, a renewed sense and spirit of openness to the future, and to take the vows with a completely open and alert mind and heart.  Never stop listening to the voice that first called you and chose you. 
A festive dinner was held on the parish hall immediately following the Mass.  Congratulations and best wishes, Josh.  Many blessings to you.  

A note from Friar Josh:
My profession of Solemn Vows was Saturday, July 31st in Winsted. It was a picture perfect day. I truly feel so blessed to be a member of this community of brothers in the Lord! There were around 30 friars present from various provinces and around 30 of my family members were there as well, as well as many friends from over the years, plus parishioners of St. Joseph Church in Winsted. This was special as it is my home parish. I am so grateful for the provincial, Fr. Robert for coming down and to all the brothers who traveled distances to be there for me and with me. Your love is always felt and appreciated. We had a lovely dinner reception afterwards as well, homemade by one of the parishioners. Of particular note: I got a beautiful Apostolic Blessing for my profession as a gift from the formation community in Rome. Thank you again brothers for everything throughout the course of my time in initial formation; I look forward to continuing to walk this life with you! God bless!
Friar Joseph LaGressa Marks Fiftieth Anniversary of Solemn Profession

At a celebration prepared by Catskill friends, about 120 family members, friars and friends — from Staten Island, New York City, Albany, Catskill, Boston, and the Hudson Valley — as well as the local Poor Clares, gathered at Mt. Alvernia Retreat House in Wappingers Falls, NY on Saturday, August 14th, to celebrate Friar Joseph La Gressa’s 50th  Anniversary of Solemn Profession.

The Noonday Mass and homily was offered by Friar Joseph Lorenzo, Secretary of the Province, Joe’s novitiate classmate, with whom Joe had closely worked at both St. Anthony, New York City, and Catskill. They have known each other since 1964!  Friars Thomas Garone and Romano Almagno, the principal concelebrants, were joined by other concelebrants.  Music was provided by Matt Luvera, music minister of St. Anthony Friary in Catskill, where Joe was stationed for a number of years.  

In his homily, Friar Joseph Lorenzo spoke of the consecrated life as a call to holiness in which we strive for sanctity and to be an example for others.  While our ministry is important to us, it must grow out of the living of the Rule of St. Francis and our vows.  While many times religious are identified by their ministry, such as a pastor, a teacher, a retreat minister, we should instead seek to be remembered by our faithfulness to the gospel.   
In his remarks at the end of Mass, Br. Joe thanked all for their presence on this important day.  He shared the wonderful memories he had of serving in different places, and of the presence of so many family and friends.  He mentioned that he had received special congratulations from two celebrities that he knew from his days in Boston: Donny and Mark Wahlberg, whose special name for him was “Brother Love.”  
Following the Mass, a festive luncheon was served in the Retreat House.

Friars in attendance were Romano Almagno, Dennis Arambasick, Courtland Campbell, Michael Corcione, Thomas Garone, Paul Guido, Kenneth Himes of Holy Name Province on the theology faculty at Boston College), Thomas Hollowood and Armand Padula.

Friar Giacomo La Selva, OFM, from "in residence" to Associate Pastor of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Parish, North York, effective August 31.

Friar Jimmy Zammit, OFM, from Associate Pastor of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Parish, North York, released from service to the Province on his election as Definitor General, Rome.

Friar Alvin Te, OFM, released by the Minister General from his service to the Order as Communications Director, August 15, 2021. Assignment to the Province pending.
Friar Alexis Anania, OFM

Passes into
eternal life

Saturday, July 24,

in Youngstown, Ohio
Our brother,  Fr. Alexis Anania, O.F.M. passed to his eternal reward on Saturdiay, July 24, 2021, at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Youngstown, Ohio. Alexis had been hospitalized due to a heart attack, and was in rehab when he was suddenly transferred back to the hospital where he died. 
Fr. Alexis just turned 90 in May. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in East Liberty. He entered the minor seminary at age 15, and upon completing the province’s formation program, was ordained a priest in 1958. His assignments included Christopher Columbus High School in Boston, Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Pittsburgh, Serra High School in McKeesport, (where he taught for thirty-five years), and Pastor of St. Pamphilus Church for twenty years. In 2018, when the parish was merged with other local churches, he retired to Mt. Alverna Friary and Retreat Center, in Youngstown, Ohio. 
Funeral Services were held at Mount Alvernia Friary Chapel, Wappingers Falls, New York.  Viewing was held on Thursday, July 29 at 7:00 PM, followed by a Vigil Service at 7:30 PM.  The Mass of Christian Burial was held on Friday, July 30 at 10:00 AM.  Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, Provincial Minister, was the main celebrant, and Fr. Dennis Arambasick, OFM preached at the Mass.  Interment immediately followed in the Provincial Mausoleum at Wappingers Falls.  

Friar Nevin John Ford, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar John Ulrich, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Sean Gildea, OFM (Province of Ireland)
Friar Bernard Jones, OFM (Province of Ireland)
Friar Alexis Anania,OFM (Immaculate Conception Province)
Friar Maximillian Joseph Hottle, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Michael Luke Ubben OFM (Sacred Heart Province)

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 Dennis Wheatley, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
For our Infirm Family and Friends
Jill Donofrio (Family friend of Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM)

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.
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