Volume 4 ~ Issue 12; Release: July 15, 2019
  • Chapter Recap
  • Archival Slideshow
  • Chapter Photos
  • Migrant Care Packages
  • First Professions
Highlights from the St. Barbara Province Chapter
by Peter Boegel, OFM & Charles Talley, OFM
Some 110 friars met at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona for the triennial Provincial Chapter, June 23-28. Included among the attendees were formation students as well as 10 visiting friars—two from each of the five other provinces involved in the R + R (Revitalization + Restructuring) process.

Called to order by Chapter President and Provincial Minister David Gaa , the week-long event dealt with both internal and external affairs, culminating in the election of the six members of the Province Definitorium. All six friars currently serving on the Definitorium were re-elected for an additional three-year term:  Friars John Gutierrez, Daniel Lackie, Garrett Galvin, Joe Schwab, Anthony Garibaldi, and Bill Minkel.

After listening to engaging reports from members of the Provincial Administration, friars moved on to consider and vote upon a number of agenda items established by the Province Chapter Agenda Assembly and vetted at regional councils prior to Chapter itself.

Providing a Safe Environment in all our Ministries. Friars voted unanimously to adopt the following resolution: “We, the friars of the Saint Barbara Province, meeting in Chapter 2019, resolve to uphold and maintain our commitment to providing a safe environment in all our ministries. In order to prevent the tragedy of child sexual abuse or of professional sexual misconduct and to care for those who have been offended, we pledge to follow and abide by the Provincial Policies and Procedures set out in our new Province booklet, MAINTAINING TRUST AND ETHICAL CONDUCT.” (This booklet replaces all prior policies and procedures in these matters.)

Contemplative Fraternity in Mission.  Friars discussed and then voted on two items. The first was a Chapter decision: "We, the friars of the Province of Saint Barbara, commit ourselves to deepening our relationship with our triune God by nurturing prayer in every part of our lives." The second item was a recommendation to the Provincial Administration to "...implement appropriate action to help us fulfill this decision, for example, that it appoint a small ad hoc committee or oversee the creation of a Contemplative Fraternity in Mission action plan.” Each item passed with an overwhelming majority.

Migrants and Refugees . Friars struggled with the challenges and complexities of these connected issues then passed a set of recommendations: (1) "We, the friars of the Province of St. Barbara, commit to develop a plan in each of our fraternities and/or ministries to minister to migrants and/or refugees in our area." and (2), "We … recommend that the Province JPIC committee serve as a resource and animator to help us carry out our commitment to minister to migrants and/or refugees in our area."

Care of Our Common Home.  With the papal encyclical Laudato Si’  as both backdrop and inspiration (the “most Franciscan of all papal documents”, as one friar termed it), friars worked to craft a proposal intended to “stimulate action among friars and move things forward-- an opportunity and an obligation” The resulting “request that the administration appoint a small ad hoc committee to guide the implementation of … actions plans” was subsequently adopted.
In addition to the “business of business” friars participated in a wealth of activities during the week, including a Mass at St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix to honor the legacy of friar presence in the area. Most Rev. Eduardo A. Nevares, Auxiliary Bishop of Phoenix, presided.

The venue for the week’s event was the FRC’s new Community Life Center (CLC), a 12,000 square foot facility completed just in time for the Chapter proceedings. The CLC stands adjacent to another recently completed facility at the Franciscan Renewal Center, the strikingly contemporary Our Lady of the Angels Conventual Church.

Photo: Peter Jordan

Our longtime friend and photographer, Peter Jordan, was on hand to document the week at Chapter 2019. We've gone through the hundreds of photos and created a video montage to share with the community.

Photo: Peter Jordan

Brother Eric Pilarcik and Brittany Bratcher in the Province Archives put together a wonderful slideshow of historical St. Barbara Province photos. This presentation was projected in the FRC's Community Life Center during Chapter and provided a nice touch to the event. We've posted the slideshow online to share everyone.
By David Buer, OFM

At Chapter, while we were all making the Migrant Packs, I did get a bit teary eyed. Having made migrant packs over the many years, it was emotional for me, to have the friars of our province (and the visiting friars from the other provinces) making Migrant Packs.

The gallon zip lock bags we put together were definitely First Class. We made about 200 of these packs and we split them about 50/50, with half going to Topawa/Covered Wells, on the Tohono O'odahm reservation and the other half going to migrants we encounter in the borderlands from Agua Prieta/Douglas to Ajo.

The Sunday after Chapter, Br. Juan Turcios, ofm (HN Prov.) and I went to visit the several families who were next in line, to make their asylum claim. The way the system works in Agua Prieta is this: Migrants arrive in Agua Prieta and they sign up for overnight hospitality at the C. A. M. E. shelter, that has a capacity of 60-80 migrants. Their names are entered into a list and they stay at C.A.M.E. until their name gets to the top of the list--then they camp out in tents right along the border wall. They may remain there for a day or two or three, until the U. S. authorities call them to cross over into the U. S. to make their asylum claim.

So we have gone several times to give out 15-18 migrant packs to the families circulating through the tents. Later this month, we'll take Migrant Packs to the San Pedro migrant shelter run by the Catholic Church in Sonoyta, Sonora. That shelter has a capacity of about 35. And the remaining Migrant Packs we'll put in the Samaritan Storage Shed in Tucson to be used by other volunteers making water runs in the desert area south of Tucson. Thank you dear friars!

Photos: Peter Jordan
by Br. Jim McIntosh, OFM

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Ten men professed their first vows as Franciscan Friars at Old Mission Santa Barbara on July 2.

The vows ceremony was attended by a number of friars, including Capuchin and Conventual Franciscan friars and novices who journeyed from their nearby novitiates to witness the ceremony, along with members of the parish church at the Mission.

Friars from four U.S. provinces professed their vows to live St. Francis of Assisi's Rule of the Order of Friars Minor. Those friars were:

Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Provincial Minister Fr. James Gannon, OFM , received the vows of Br. Andrew Aldrich, OFM , 28, from Mishawaka, Indiana. Friars Kevin Schroeder, OFM, and Gregory Plata, OFM , witnessed his vows. Assumption Province is based in Franklin, Wisconsin.

For Holy Name Province, based in New York City, Provincial Vicar Fr. Larry Hayes, OFM, accepted the vows of:
  • Br. Ian Grant, OFM, 35, from North Brunswick, New Jersey.
  • Br. John Neufffer, OFM, 35, of Durham, North Carolina.
  • Br. Richard Phillip, OFM, 42, from Camden, New Jersey.
  • Br. Carlos Portillo, OFM, 34, of San Vicente, El Salvador.
  • Br. Steven Young, OFM, 31, from Canton, Massachusetts.
Friars Walter Liss, OFM , the national OFM postulant director, and Hugh Macsherry, OFM , witnessed their vows.

Provincial Minister Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM , of the St. John the Baptist Province, of Cincinnati, Ohio, heard the vows of:
  • Br. Matthew Ryan, OFM, 48, of Covington, Kentucky.
  • Br. Raphael Ozoude, OFM, 24, from Lagos, Nigeria.
Friars Timothy Lamb, OFM, and Carl Langenderfer, OFM , witnessed the vows.

Finally, Fr. David Gaa, OFM , provincial minister of the St. Barbara Province, based in Oakland, California, accepted the vows of:
  • Br. Andrew Dinegar, OFM, 53, from New York City.
  • Br. Salvador Mejia, OFM, 49, of Acambaro, Mexico.
Friars Arturo Noyes, OFM, and Larry Gosselin, OFM , were the witnesses.

After each student friar made his vows, he was presented a new cord for his habit. Instead of the simple cord with no knots worn by the novices, the newly-professed friar was dressed with a cord that had the three knots representing the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

The ten men then signed the official register of their respective province. Also, signing were the provincial minister and the witnesses from the province.

After all ten had made their profession of vows, the new brothers received the congratulations of the provincial ministers, the novitiate formation team, and then from all the assembled friars, including the Conventual and Capuchin novices who had shared many novitiate experiences with the newly-professed.

Unlike the Order of Friars Minor, the Conventual and Capuchin novices do not make their first profession of vows together, but will instead each return to his home province to make his vows there.

Following the vows ceremony, a lively reception was held in the novitiate dining room for everyone attending.

The newly-professed friars will now journey to spend time in their home provinces before starting studies in the fall either at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago or at the Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego.

The novitiate is the second step of Franciscan formation. During the first year of formation as a postulant, the man lives, prays, and ministers with friars, but — although associated with the order — he is not yet a friar. The second step is when a man is received as a novice. For a year-and-a-day, he studies the rule and constitutions he will vow to live, develops his spirituality and knowledge of the order. At the end of the novitiate year, the man vows to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience for one year. Since these vows expire after one year, they are referred to as “simple vows.”

At the end of each year, if both the man and the province are in agreement, the vows are renewed, again for a period of one year. After the normal four years in simple vows, again with everyone in agreement, the friar makes “solemn vows,” that is, he vows to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience for the remainder of his life.

St. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan order in 1209. There are 13,000 friars serving around the world, among whom over 1,000 minister in the United States.    

Photo: Jim McIntosh, OFM

Brother Eric Pilarcik, OFM died on July 2, 2019.
Brother Eric was 52 years old, 12 years professed.


The Vigil service will be on Friday July 19, 2019 at 7 PM in the Serra Chapel at Old Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna St., Santa Barbara, CA 93105


The Mass of the Resurrection will be on Saturday July 20, 2019 at 10:30 AM at Old Mission Santa Barbara
2201 Laguna St., Santa Barbara, CA 93105

Please keep Brother Eric and his family in your prayers in this time of loss.

Photo: Peter Jordan
Henri Djojo - July 13
Paul Botenhagen - July 16
Tom West - July 17
Gary Swirczynski - July 17
Michael Doherty - July 18
Richard Juzix - July 24
Alfonso Ponchie - Vasquez July 25
Joseph Schwab - July 26
Robert Valentine - July 26
John Summers - July 27
Michael Blackburn - July 29
Edward Sarrazin - July 29
John Gibbons - July 12
Henri Djojo - July 13
Keith Warner - July 22
James Seiffert - July 25
Joachim Grant - July 26

Interprovincial Chapter of Mats
July 29 - August 2 ~ Denver, CO

First Reception of Novices
August 1 ~ Chapter of Mats, Denver

Definitorium Meeting
August 2-4 ~ Denver, CO

James Seiffert's Solemn Vows
August 31 ~ Old Mission San Luis Rey
Definitorium Meeting
September 23-27 ~ Old Mission San Luis Rey, CA
OFM.FYI, the bi-weekly newsletter of the Franciscan Friars Province of Saint Barbara, is published on the 15th of each month.
Relevant submissions of texts, photos, etc., are welcome at any time 
and will be placed in the next appropriate issue
 Send submissions to: jledbetter@sbofm.org