Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Provincial Update - November/December 2020

The First Nativity Scene:  Saint Francis of Assisi in Greccio, Italy
by St. Bonaventure

Three years before he died, St. Francis decided to celebrate the memory of the birth of the Child Jesus at Greccio, with the greatest possible solemnity.  He asked and obtained the permission of the pope for the ceremony, so that he could not be accused of being an innovator, and then he had a crib prepared, with hay, an ox, and an ass.   The friars were all invited, and the people came in crowds.  The forest re-echoed with their voices and the night was lit up with a multitude  of bright lights, while the beautiful music of God's praises added to the solemnity.  The saint stood before the crib and his heart overflowed with tender compassion; he was bathed in tears but overcome with joy.  The Mass was sung, and Francis, who was a deacon, sang the Gospel.  Then he preached to the people about the birth of the poor King, whom he called the Babe of Bethlehem, in his tender love.
A knight called John from Greccio, a pious and truthful man who had abandoned his profession in the world for love of Christ, and was a great friend of St. Francis, claimed that he saw a beautiful child asleep in the crib, and that St. Francis took it in his arms and seemed to wake it up.  The integrity of this witness and the miracles which afterwards took place, as well as the truth indicated by the vision itself, all go to prove its reality.  The example which Francis put before the world was calculated to rouse the hearts of those who were weak in faith, and the hay from the crib, which was kept by the people, afterwards cured sick animals and drove off various pestilences. Thus God wished to give glory to his servant Francis and prove the efficacy of his prayer by clear signs.


I am sure we all have to admit that this Christmas was a feast unlike any other.  For many of us, it meant half empty churches, the absence of family celebrations, a very quiet and restrained feast, without the usual traditions and fanfare.  Many of us had to forego the traditional feasts with family and friends, social gatherings and parties, and an abandonment of the traditions which make Christmas such a wonderful time of the year.  Even the immediate future doesn’t promise any change- New Year’s Eve parties have been cancelled and many of us have had to celebrate these feasts with a few of our brothers, or even alone.

Our usual packed parish churches fell victim to the pandemic’s precautions, and many church activities, such as Christmas parties, Lessons and Carols, and creche blessings had to be either cancelled or done online.  This certainly has been a Christmas we will long remember, as much as we would prefer to forget.

This is what St. Francis said of the Greccio experience: "This is the real Christmas," Francis said, "the feast of the poverty of God who made himself into nothing, taking the nature of a slave; of God who places himself to serve at table; of God who hides himself from the intelligent and the wise and reveals himself to the small, the simple and the poor; of the 'Son of man who didn't come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many.'"

Yes, Christmas is the feast of the poverty of God, as well as our own poverty.  In being denied so many things that are important to us this Christmas, hopefully we have been able to embrace the true spirituality of the feast- that God strips himself of all the trappings of divinity to become one of us, and in becoming one of us- shares in our poverty and our diminishment.  

Brothers, let us take advantage of this time of poverty to truly be one with the nature of Emmanuel.

News from the Convento San Francesco, Rome
Post Novitiate Program

Brothers “Peace and Goodness” to all of you from Rome. We already finished our first month of classes at the Antonianum University, for some of us we are still having resential lessons, but for others they have to do the lessons on line due to the pandemic that is affecting all Italy again.
Basically, right now we are focused on our studies, for me personally it has been an experience very exciting to come back to a classroom after some years of leaving studies, but I am enjoying it very much; even though most of our time is spent in our studies, we also take the time to share fraternity, and I would like to share with you some of those moments:
On the evening of October 31, we had a small Halloween party. We got together in our TV room and watched the movie, of course with popcorn and sodas.
On November the second on a sunny day we had a barbecue on our terrace to celebrate the feast of All Saints. It was cooked by our brother Carl. Then the same week we celebrated Br. Oscar’s birthday; we had a lunch and of course the cake. That day we had the visit of two of our novices who came from Assisi for one day to get their “permesso di soggiorno” (residency permit).
Every Thursday evening we have our fraternal time in which we sing or play UNO and also, we have some traditional foods from a different country.
It feels like the time is flying we are just a week away to celebrate the feast of Christ the king and with this finish the liturgical year. May God bless all of you and happy Thanksgiving Day in advance!!!
Br. Luis Hernandez

Christmas Message of the Ministers General of the Franciscan Families


To the Franciscan Family:
Sisters and Brothers All.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Is 9:1) 
Hope is bold! 
Dear sisters and brothers of the entire Franciscan Family,
May the Lord give you peace! 
The language of Christmas is full of music and light. When Thomas of Celano recounts the story of Christmas at Greccio, he writes, “The night is lit up like day, delighting both man and beast. The people arrive, ecstatic at this new mystery of new joy. The forest amplifies the cries and the boulders echo back the joyful crowd. The brothers sing, giving God due praise, and the whole night abounds with jubilation.” (1Cel 30) 
We already perceive the Light from on high, and so now we, the representatives of the great international Franciscan Family, wish to use the language of music to reflect on the beautiful resonances we find in the Encyclical, Fratelli tutti. 
1. Musical notation
1.1. A new musical score
Advent is almost over, and Christmas is already upon us! Only a few days separate us from the end of the year 2020, but already we can say that it has been a very particular year. Over the last few months, it seems that we have experienced as much as we normally would in a decade. Because of issues such as the virus, political changes, protests in so many countries, tensions, wars, intolerance, environmental issues, chaotic streams of information, our experience is that the world has become darker and, as a result of factors that include assorted lockdowns, also more closed [see Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti (FT), Chapter one: Dark Clouds over a Closed World, nos. 9-55]. It is precisely at this moment in history that Pope Francis has given us his Encyclical, Fratelli tutti. In it, he shares his desire that we have the courage to dream, to aspire to be a united human family, to a global embrace between sisters and brothers, “children of the same earth which is our common home”. (FT 8).
The Pope introduces Fratelli tutti with a specific reference to the fraternal love that was lived and fostered by friar Francis — love for those both near and far. Yes, indeed, love for the Lord’s creatures, but firstly love for “those of his own flesh” (FT 2), in particular for the poor and the marginalised. The Holy Father also recalls the profound significance of friar Francis’ historic and humble visit to Sultan Malik-al-Kamil in Egypt. The Poor Man of Assisi met the Sultan as a brother, as a person who has a “heart which knew no bounds and transcended differences of origin, nationality, colour or religion” (FT 3). Pope Francis maintains that St. Francis himself had the gift of communicating God’s love and is “a father to all, inspiring the vision of a fraternal society” — this was the Holy Father’s principal motivation in writing the new Encyclical (FT 4).
All the more reason, then, should it motivate us as members of the Franciscan Family! We want to say more .... Last October 3rd, we the Ministers General of the Franciscan Family were present at the Tomb of St. Francis in Assisi, while Pope Francis celebrated Mass and signed his encyclical! 
We were able to greet the Holy Father on behalf of all of you. On this opportunity given to us by Providence, we want to take up a special invitation addressed to the whole Family, and firstly to us Ministers. It is the invitation to take Fratelli tutti and its insights seriously, to see it as a gift and an undertaking given to us by the Pope in the year 2020, to appreciate it as coming from St. Francis through Pope Francis, like a new musical score to be learned, practiced, and performed as part of the great composition of history. 
1.2. Different musical notes combine in a chord called Hope
Pope Francis is a realist and has no qualms about naming things. In his analysis of the situation in which today’s world finds itself (FT 9-55), he speaks of the “dark clouds, which should not be ignored” (FT 54). But he does not leave it at that. What response does he propose to the sufferings faced by humanity? Hope! And what does he mean? “Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfilment, a desire to achieve great things, things that fill our heart and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love... Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile” (FT 55). 
But where does one find hope? Perhaps the instinctive answer is that one must find it in God — and that is absolutely true. The source of hope and joy is God and his Gospel. Pope Francis already reminded us of this in Evangelii Gaudium, when he stressed that true joy arises from the bond between God and the human person, between the Christian and Jesus Christ (Evangelii Gaudium 1-8). This is the first note of the musical chord of hope – the discovery that we are God’s children of God and also his friends. 
This realization is the basis of every act of solidarity, and of all social friendship, because if we really are children of the same Father, then this means that everyone around us is a sister or brother, and no one is indifferent to their brother or sister. Fratelli tutti reminds us of something very important; hope is not something one acquires by oneself or by living alone, independently of others. No, hope is built up together, in the rediscovery of our sisters and brothers. This, then, is 
The second note of the chord — the realization that one is not isolated, that others exist, that we are all interconnected and necessary and that “no one is saved alone” (FT 54).
And because we live on this planet and at this specific time in history, our hope also is concerned with our dwelling place, the earth. Pope Francis, in Laudato si’ (LS), after acknowledging that “our common home is falling into serious disrepair,” invites us to have hope, because “hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems.” (LS n. 61). The third note of hope, therefore, has the taste of fresh water, the fragrance of the clean air of unspoilt forests, and the sound of the tropical forest filled with the song of thousands of birds. And this note completes the chord of hope — if the chord were truncated, if it were missing any one of the three notes, it would sound incomplete. 
2. In concert
2.1. The first beats – relationship and encounter
Laudato si’ asks what we want our world to be in the future, what sort of planet do we
want? Fratelli tutti questions us about what we want for our relationships in the future. The insights of Fratelli tutti invite us to discover and nurture hope for a world in which “everything is open” (cf. FT chap. III: Envisaging and Engendering an Open World nos. 87-127), and certainly they also pose questions about our identity, mission, and consequently, our Formation. Transferring these questions to the context of the Franciscan Family, we could ask ourselves the following. As Franciscans, what future Franciscan world do we wish to hand on to those who will come after us? What will its values, lifestyle, and thought look like? Crucially, what kind of relationships do we want within our Franciscan world? And, finally, do we want this Franciscan world of ours to be accessible and open to all? Laudato si’ declared that the world is a network of relationships (remember that “relationship” is one of the central categories in Franciscanism), where everything is connected (cf. LS n.
117). Fratelli tutti says that this network of relationships is unfortunately deteriorating, that isolation is a threat. But the encyclical also proposes a remedy, reiterating that hope is to be found in the culture of encounter (cf. FT 30). 
5. How to generate the culture of encounter? Pope Francis recalls that “change is impossible without motivation and a process of education” (LS 15) and that guidelines for this purpose can be drawn from the “treasure of Christian spiritual experience” (LS n. 15) — and, we might add, from the Franciscan experience too. This means that our various programmes of Formation and Studies (both our ratio formationis and ratio studiorum) need to specifically and clearly integrate the Pope’s convictions in regard to human, social, and ‘environmental’ Formation. We need to ask ourselves how our Formation programmes can respond to the question of how this culture of encounter can be fostered. Because closeness is what saves, saving not just humanity but also the earth, our home. 
2.2. The introductory beats – paying attention and dialogue 
Commenting on the parable of the Good Samaritan, Pope Francis reminded us that “we are caught up with our needs” (FT 65) and that consequently we risk being just like the priest and the Levite, indifferent to the man “assaulted by thieves and lying injured on the wayside” (FT 63). Perhaps, in order to assess whether we pay attention to others, we could ask ourselves whether the “sight of a person who is suffering disturbs us .... makes us uneasy, since we have no time to waste on other people’s problems.” (FT 65). One of the best things we could wish for in ourselves (and not just at Christmas) is to have more courage and really “look to the example of the Good Samaritan” (FT 66), “rediscovering our vocation as citizens of our respective nations of the entire world, builders of a new social bond” (FT 66). In fact, “any other decision would make us either one of the robbers or one of those who walked by without showing compassion for the sufferings of the man on the roadside.” (FT 67). While we wish for this, another question arises — how can we be even more creative and not surrender to “the creation of a society of exclusion”, but instead be “men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others” (FT 67)? How can we be more attentive to others? How can we be even bolder in being close to the least of all? (cf. FT 233-235) 
When Pope Francis speaks about the source of inspiration for his Encyclical Laudato si’, he 
mentions “the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew” (LS 7) in addition to Saint Francis. 
Now, in writing about the source of inspiration for Fratelli tutti, the Great Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb is  given acknowledgement (cf. FT 29). In this way, this Pope Francis offers a concrete and relevant example of the dialogue that Christians, without renouncing their own identity (cf. FT 3), are called to seek “among all people of good will” (FT 6). As Franciscan brothers and sisters, we are already involved in this dialogue in different places and ways; but perhaps we can ask ourselves how to increase opportunities for dialogue and encounters with all, and especially with those who do not share our faith but may often live and work alongside us. 
St. Francis left some practical suggestions; we could begin from his greeting, “May the Lord give you peace!”(cf. Testament 23) In order to greet someone in this way, one must first “see” them, and then the greeting becomes an overture for dialogue! Let us remember, however, that St. Francis’ greeting is addressed to all — in the same measure, and with the same courtesy towards all! (cf. also FT 222-224) There are no exceptions, because Francis recognised everyone as sister or brother and knew that in God’s heart there are no second-class children! 
2.3. In the school of music 
Pope Francis has given us a new musical score to learn. The piece may seem to be complicated, but we know that all pieces seem complicated at first. Note after note, beat after beat, we slowly work towards being able to give a good performance. This new piece speaks of the dream of an open world, of a world where encounters are what matter most, where new lifestyles, new ways of seeing and thinking are possible. We too are responsible for the performance of this piece. Therefore, it is necessary for us to come up with internal processes (within the Order, e.g., in Formation) and external processes (in regard to our service to the world), so that these same processes can allow us to be shaped by the music concealed in the score, Fratelli tutti. 
So where can we learn the notes of this new piece of music? Christmastime comes to our aid and invites us to attend the best music school. In fact, St. Francis attests that Christmas is the best time to practice: “On that day the Lord sent His mercy and at night His song” (OfP Part 5, 5). An encounter takes place in Bethlehem — God Himself contributes to the culture of encounter and draws near by becoming one of us. God establishes a dialogue that is wordless at first, expressed only by the exchange of a gaze. How wondrous it is that for the first time since the creation of the world, Mary of Nazareth looks into the eyes of God! On the feast of Christmas, God shows us His face, because “No one can experience the true beauty of life without relating to others, without having real faces to love.” (FT 87). Jesus, more than anyone, teaches us how to live a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, capable of rejoicing deeply without being obsessed with consumption. 
This is the source of our identity, here is where we learn what it means to encounter those who are far from us and are totally different. Our Formation begins here, in the contemplation of the face of Jesus Christ, wrapped in swaddling clothes, kissed by Mary of Nazareth and embraced by Joseph. It is on this child’s face that we can read that God is love (1Jn 4:16), the Love that knows nothing except total self-giving and, aware of our need for salvation, has come to meet us. The “Most Holy Child [who] has been given to us and has been born for us on the way and placed in a manger because he did not have a place in the inn” (cf. OfP Part 5, 5) is the Word through which the Father renews dialogue with the whole of humanity. The Word became flesh and came to dwell among us (Jn 1:14) in order to enter into dialogue with humanity. 
This is the source of our hope! It is here, where God is and, at the same time, where our brothers and sisters are — it is in Him who came and dwelt among us. 
We too, the Minsters General of the Franciscan Family, wish to contribute to writing the new score, featuring the chord of hope, relationship & encounter, and attention & dialogue. We do this in God’s school, which is embodied in the “Babe of Bethlehem” (cf. 1Cel 30), and we begin on the note of a joint Christmas greeting. On this very special Christmas, all of us in unison wish you to boldly desire, always and everywhere, in every circumstance, with everyone, with all our sisters and brothers, to hear the song of the angels who proclaim: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among [all!] people with whom He is pleased (cf. Lk 2:14). 
Assisi, December 25th 2020 

Deborah Lockwood OSF President IFC-TOR 
Tibor Kauser OFS Minister General 
Michael Anthony Perry OFM Minister General 
Roberto Genuin OFM Cap Minister General 
Carlos Alberto Trovarelli OFM Conv 
Minister General Chair (in rotation) of the Conference of the Franciscan Family 
Amando Trujillo Cano TOR Minister General

December/January Birthdays
Take time to wish our friars a Happy Birthday!

Paul Rotondi- December 3, 1930
Peter Furgiuele- December 3, 1053
Armand Padula- December 4, 1930
Louis Troiano- December 10, 1930
Patrick Boyle- December 15, 1952
Vit Fiala- December 16, 1957
Daniel Morey- December 25, 1941
Albin Fusco- December 28, 1929

Vincent Ciaravino- January 2, 1941
Robert Campagna- January 2, 1947
Bruce Czapla- January 8, 1951
Daniel Luna- January 9, 1999
Joseph Lorenzo- January 25, 1950
Dominic Poirier- January 28, 1943

General Definitory approves
two for First Order Affiliation

Antoinette DeVico and Mary Volpe
approved after request from the Province.

The Provincial Definitorium at its meeting of  August 17, 2020, unanimously approved requesting that Antoinette DeVico, currently Coordinator of the Medical Office of our province,  and Mary Volpe, Director of St. Francis Centre for Religious Studies in Caledon, Ontario, to be affiliated into the First Order.  

Antoinette DeVico is a woman with a “Franciscan heart” having been associated with the friars for decades from her earliest years as a parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Mount Vernon, New York.  She breathes and lives the spirit of St. Francis. 

She began her health care ministry for our province  in 1990 under the tutelage of Sr. Julia Quinn (d. 2003) where she developed the skill to walk through the maze of local, state and federal medical regulations as well as both government and private insurance agencies.  She made it her goal to assume the task of being familiar and dealing with the medical records and medical claims of each friar of the Province. She gives an insightful and critical examination of all medical policies and procedures. 

The friars consider Ms. DeVico  “one of them” because of her committed care and love for the friars, especially those at Siena Friary where her medical office is located. She sees herself as a member of the Siena Friary Fraternity, occasionally preparing meals for special occasions, participating in the beautification of the friary grounds, making appointments for the material upkeep of the friary

Mary Volpe  is now closing in on four decades of service to the friars of the Province of the Immaculate Conception.  While she began as a teacher and then Vice-Principal of our high school in the Archdiocese of Toronto, Canada, James Cardinal McGuigan High school, it quickly became evident that her love of both St. Francis and the Franciscan Friars was her motivating factor

When the Province showed interest in opening a retreat centre in the Toronto area, it was Mary who helped negotiate the financial deal with the Ontario courts, ultimately saving the Province hundreds of thousands of dollars.  At the request of Cardinal Ambrozic, the Toronto Catholic District School Board approved Mary to the position of the Director of the facility, allowing her to work jointly for the Province while maintaining seniority with the school board. 

She acted  on behalf of the Province as site manager for the million dollar construction renovation project, assuring that money and personnel always served the best interests of the friars.  Her background in Religious Education facilitated her ability to complete the curriculum necessary to open such a facility. 
As we approach the 25th Anniversary of the St. Francis Centre, Mary’s dedication must be recognized.  She maintained her position well after her retirement in 2012.  From this point, almost nine years, she has not received any salary at all- not from the school board nor the Province. And yet, nothing has changed.  She is still at work seven days a week, most nights, well beyond business hours as this type of operation requires.  Her dedication is admirable.  

During the COVID-19 shutdown, Mary has had to remain on the property.  She has had to be the caretaker, maintenance person, the one to watch over everything.  And as such, she has once again moved from her home to live during this time on the property.  She has not lived at her own home since March in order to maintain the safety of this Provincial property.

Mary has also been instrumental in our work in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  Besides her many trips to the missions, Mary has raised awareness of our work in Central America, raising funds and donations at the retreat centre.  

As Mary approaches forty years of work with the friars, her life of service has become her vocation.  This affiliation recognizes her commitment to our Franciscan values and will be met with the utmost humility in true Franciscan form. 

For both Antoinette DeVico and Mary Volpe, their incorporation into the Order of Friars Minor is not seen as a “reward” for what they do, but rather as an acknowledgement of what they already are- true Franciscans.

A celebration will be planned at a future date.  Congratulations and welcome, Antoinette and Mary.  

Friar Michael D'Cruz and Family set Guinness Record
Friar Michael D'Cruz and his siblings have won the Guiness World Record for the highest combined age of a family of brothers and sisters. The twelve siblings have a combined age totaling 1,402 years and 315 days. As reported by CTV news, Joyce Desouza, 91, and her siblings, which include nine sisters and three brothers, say the award is one of the greatest highlights of their lives.
“It feels really wonderful,” Desouza told “We’re very proud of the fact that we’re still alive. That’s the greatest part.”
Desouza’s siblings range in age from 97 to 75 years old and were all born in Karachi, Pakistan. Over the years the family has spread out across Canada, the United States and Switzerland. 
Though they do not live in the same place the family still tries to see each other at least three times a year on major holidays. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to their usual family gatherings. 
Desousa’s maiden name -- the one that she shares with the rest of her siblings -- is D’Cruz. The family is described as being very spiritual and united. 
In an effort to connect with each other over the pandemic, the D’Cruz family says they have daily zoom chats where they pray the rosary. 
According to Desouza’s son Errol, the process to qualify for the world record started about three months ago when a cousin in Baltimore, Maryland read about another family who was close to taking the title. That was until the D’Cruz family realized that their combined age was higher.
After submitting their identification, which included birth certificates and citizenship cards, the records management team was able to review and verify the documentation to grant the family the Guinness World Record for highest combined age.
The company is considered to be the primary international authority on the cataloguing and verification of world records. Congratulations Friar Michael and your sisters and brothers.

ESC Prepares for 2021 General Chapter
by Pat McCloskey, OFM
On October 12 and 13, ministers and custodes held a two-hour Zoom call each day, mostly to discuss the July 3-18 general chapter to be held at the Collegio Internazionale San Lorenzo da Brindisi on the outskirts of Rome.
Most of the time was spent discussing possible candidates for general minister. The general chapter’s secretary had asked the Order’s 16 conferences to send him two names and a curriculum vitae by April 30, 2021. Each conference is to designate two candidates for general definitor and draw up a curriculum vitae for each.
At the end of the first day’s discussion, President Jim Gannon (ABVM) asked Aidan McGrath (Ireland and former secretary general of the Order), Algirdas Malakauskas (Lithuania) and Caoimhin O Laoide (general definitor) to draw up a wide list of candidates.  These three did their work that day and presented 19 names before the second day’s Zoom meeting.
The discussion on October 13 then included more information about each of those and expanded into key qualities needed for general minister in 2021 and what the general chapter should ask from the new general council. The same three friars were asked to narrow down their first list. They did so after the call and by the end of that day had sent a list of five that might be proposed.
That shorter list will be discussed at the ESC’s next Zoom meeting (January 4), which will also include the start of discussions about candidates for general definitor. Ministers agreed to consult their respective councils to surface such names.
Other business included changing its April 19-23 meeting to four hours of Zoom calls on April 19-20, preliminary discussions about an in-person meeting in Rome just before the general chapter, as well as a review of the accountability reports from ESC secretariats, commissions and committees.  
The annual financial report and the pro-rated assessments for 2021 were approved. The ministers had previously confirmed Pat McCloskey as executive secretary through October 20
Friar Charles Gingerich OFM, from St. Joseph Friary, Buzzards Bay, to St. Leonard Parish, Boston.

St. Joseph Friary, Buzzards Bay, is now closed.

Friar Joshua Critchley, OFM, from St. Joseph Friary, Chicago (Interprovincial Post-Novitiate Program) to St. John Paul the Great Friary, Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Florida, effective January 4, 2021.

St. Anthony Friary, Catskill, NY. A long-term lease is being negotiated with the Sisters for Life to take over the friary and property sometime late next summer.

New Address
Griesmeyer and Associates
900 Walt Whitman Road, Suite 300
Melville NY 11747-2215
Phone: 631-824-6278




Latin Patriarch of

Vatican City, Oct 24, 2020 / 04:06 am MT (CNA).- Pope Francis named Italian Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa as the new Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Saturday.
Pizzaballa has served as apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem since 2016, while the office of Latin Patriarch has remained vacant. 
The Oct. 24 appointment ends a four-year wait for the estimated 293,000 Latin Catholics in Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, and Cyprus for a new patriarch. 
Pizzaballa, a 55-year-old Franciscan friar, has lived in the Holy Land since 1990. The former Franciscan Custos of the Holy Land succeeds Jordanian-born Patriarch Emeritus Fouad Twal, who led the patriarchate from 2008 to 2016.
When Pizzaballa was appointed apostolic administrator, the Latin Patriarchate was on the verge of bankruptcy from debts amounting to more than $100 million.
In an interview with EWTN News in Rome on Wednesday, Pizzaballa said: “They have been four difficult years. I had a very clear mandate: first to put order in the administration.”
He reorganized the patriarchate’s financial management, put in place new internal and external controls, and created more transparency.
He was able to pay the debt with help from international donations, by cutting expenses, and with some property sales in Nazareth.
As apostolic administrator, Pizzaballa oversaw the patriarchate together with the Italian-born auxiliary Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, whose resignation, for the reason of age, was accepted by Pope Francis in August.
Pizzaballa -- who speaks Italian, Hebrew, and English -- told EWTN News that he was also given the task of improving the pastoral situation in the Holy Land, including creating more unity among the priests and the different Christian communities in Jordan, Israel, Palestine, and Cyprus.
He wanted to show “what we have in common,” he said. “And to create understanding, trust, among the different communities in the same diocese.”
“In the beginning, it was very difficult. But once we have been transparent, I felt that all the community was very supportive and so we could overcome all our problems and turn the page finally,” he said.
Pizzaballa was born in Cologno al Serio, Bergamo, Italy, on April 21, 1965. He joined the Franciscans in 1984, making his solemn profession in 1989. He was ordained to the priesthood on September 15, 1990. A month later, he moved to the Holy Land, studying biblical theology at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem.
He served as Vicar of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem for the pastoral care of Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel. He oversaw the publication of the Roman Missal in Hebrew in 1995.
He was Custos of the Holy Land -- the major superior of the Friars Minor in the Middle East -- from 2004 to 2016. He was appointed apostolic administrator sede vacante of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem on June 24, 2016.
One of Pizzaballa’s most pressing challenges as Latin Patriarch will be to help Latin Catholics in the Holy Land to weather the coronavirus crisis, which has had a severe economic impact on the community.
The Latin Patriarchate welcomed the news of Pizzaballa’s appointment.
“With feelings of joy and gratitude, the family of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem, Amman, Nazareth, and Cyprus, in particular the bishops, patriarchal vicars, priests, deacons, seminarians, religious men and women, consecrated men and women, the People of God in all the parishes as well as the workers in the diocesan institutions, congratulates the new Patriarch wishing His Beatitude success in carrying out his exceptional responsibilities, especially in these unusual circumstances,” the patriarchate said in an Oct. 24 statement.
“May His Beatitude be granted good health and divine blessing to continue serving our Local Church, while promoting peace, justice, and reconciliation.”
Scenes from Around the Province
St. Thomas Aquinas, Derry
St. Thomas Aquinas fund raising for our formation program.
St. Anthony NYC
St. Thomas Aquinas, Derry
Valley of the Angels Community
Larry Stumpo
John Pinto and Sisters for Life
St. Christophers remembers the deceased.
St. John Paul the Great Friary at Ave Maria University
St. John Paul Friary
Our Lady of Peace, Brooklyn
Snowfall in Brooklyn
Convento S. Francesco
Convento Chapel
Prayer Requests

Friar Albert Manheim, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Andres Felix Rivero, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Roderick Crispo, OFM (Immaculate Conception Province)
Friar Andres Felix Rivero, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Bishop Capistran Heim, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Conrad Harkins, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Joseph Zermeno, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Valerian Vaverchak, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Richard Duffy, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)

Recently Deceased Family and Friends
Alexa Chaney (Former Business Manager of St. Pamphilus)
Maria Elena Middleton (Niece of Fr. Louis Troiano-18 years old)

Let us pray for our infirm friars:
Friar Joseph Lorenzo, OFM
Friar Amedeo Nardone, OFM
Friar Albin Fusco, OFM

For our Infirm Family and Friends
Marie Caprio Sicuso (Sister of Friar Robert Caprio)

For all infected and affected by the virus.

For our friars in skilled nursing and rehab facilities:
Friar Amedeo Nardone, OFM
Friar Albin Fusco, OFM
Friar Isaac Calicchio, OFM
Friar Daniel Morey, OFM
Friar John Bavaro, OFM
Friar Philip Adamo, OFM
Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM
Friar Clement Procopio, OFM

Please pray for all friars, families, friends, and benefactors,
living and deceased.
For all those affected in any way by the coronavirus.
For medical personnel and first responders.
For those in our nursing homes and hospitals.
For families separated from their loved ones due to quarantine.
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
The Management
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