Franciscan Friars
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Provincial Update - March 2018
"It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured. He was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins."
 Isaiah 53
As we come to the last days of March, and enter into the Solemn Celebration of the Sacred Triduum, I would like to reflect for a moment on the importance of the cross for us as Catholics and, in particular, as Franciscans. Certainly, we recognize how important the cross was to our Holy Father St. Francis. We see the cross reflected in his entire life and manifested in a special way in the Sacred Stigmata- the marks of Jesus which he bore on his body. Certainly, everywhere throughout Christianity, we see the image of Christ on the cross. The crucifix is the one universal sign of Christian belief that is totally recognizable- that through the death of Jesus on the cross, we are saved, our sins forgiven.  

Some crucifixes portray Jesus in a suffering state- with an emphasis on his broken body, his bloody wounds. Others show the risen Jesus- Jesus as King and Lord ruling in triumph and victory from the wooden throne that is his cross.

The Prophet Isaiah gives us true insight into the cause of Jesus’ death: “It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured. He was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins.”

No matter how brutal were the beatings that Jesus endured on Good Friday, no matter how terrible the tortures, they were nothing compared to the torture of our sins.  Jesus was scourged with a whip, but he was also scourged with our selfishness and our unwillingness to forgive. Jesus was crowned with thorns, but also placed on his head was a cruel crown fashioned by our worship of false gods of power, sex, and money.
Jesus walked through the streets of Jerusalem, but he also walked through our own streets, laden with poverty, crime, and all forms of abuse. Jesus was fastened to a cross with nails, but he was also fastened with nails of suspicion, and prejudice, with division between peoples, races, and nations. Jesus was pierced with the lance of a Roman soldier, but he was also pierced with the lance of our modern-day armaments, weapons of mass destruction that kill the innocent children in our schools.

As we enter into Holy Week, let us all focus our minds and lives on those things which we can do to make this world a better place, and make the cross a sign, not of destruction and death- but of true Easter victory.

On behalf of all the friars of our Province, as well as our provincial staff, I would like to wish all of you a very blessed and holy Easter.

Blessings and peace.
Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM
Provincial Minister
Meeting of the International Council for
Formation and Studies (CIFS)
March 11-16, 2018, Rome
The CIFS held its second meeting of the sexennium (2015-2021) at the OFM General Curia, from March 11th to 16th. Fourteen Secretaries for Formation and Studies were present, with all the Conferences of Provincial Ministers of the Order being represented. Our own Friar Ronald Gliatta, OFM was present as Secretary for Formation of the English Speaking Conference of the Order. 
The agenda included periods of listening as well as discussion and planning sessions. The first part focused on listening to the members of the CIFS. Each Secretary was asked to give a presentation on Formation in his Conference, with special emphasis on Ongoing Formation, the training of Guardians, and the Pastoral Care of Vocations.
The following days the group did some more listening, during meetings with the Minister General and Definitory, with the Secretariat for Missions and Evangelization, the Justice and Peace Office, and the Director of the Collegium Sancti Bonaventurae – International Center for Franciscan Studies. and Research based at St. Isidore’s College, Rome.
In addition to listening, the CIFS also devoted time to the discussion and planning of major Formation activities for the second part of the sexennium (2015-2021). The Council evaluated the six continental Congresses on Formation that have been taking place since 2017 and which will continue until 2019 (in accordance with decision 3 of the last General Chapter). These Congresses deal with the theme of accompaniment in the context of Ongoing Formation, with particular attention being given to the training of Guardians and the link between Ongoing Formation and Vocations Promotion.
Draft Statutes for the Secretariat for Formation and Studies were examined, corrected and approved. The previous Statutes dated back to 1985 and required revision.
The budget of the Secretariat of Formation and Studies was presented, and in a meeting with the General Treasurer the relationship between finances and Formation was explored.
Finally, an Executive Committee was elected, made up of three CIFS members to whom the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies can turn for advice on a regular basis. Friar Ronald Gliatta OFM was elected to this committee.
Li turgy with the Minister General
Participants in the CIFS, Rome

Did you know that the number of millennial joining religious life- becoming priests, brothers, sisters, and nuns, has increased over the past years. Slightly. Last year, 524 men and women formally entered religious congregations or monasteries- and half of them were under 25. The Catholic Church is also working hard to bring young people into the fold at a moment when the institution's influence in America is waning. Check out this 8 minute Youtube video produced by NBC Left field on vocations, featuring Friar Richard Goodin, OFM, Vocation Director for the St. John Baptist Province, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Postulants Lenten Retreat at
St. Joseph Abbey, Spencer MA
Dear brothers,
To prepare ourselves to celebrate Easter, Fr. Ron and Fr. Bruce brought us to St. Joseph's Trappist Monastery for a Lenten retreat. The retreat lasted four days and focused on the atmosphere of Cistercian life, which is quiet contemplation.
Each day we participated in morning prayer and mass with the monks, followed by breakfast. Later in the morning, we attended a conference given by Fr. Dominic (the Prior of the Abbey) after which we had one on one time with him for spiritual guidance and confession. Following lunch at noon, there was ample time for prayer, solitude, and reflection. We had the opportunity to explore the serene grounds and visit the gift shop. In the evening, we attended vespers with the monks, followed by a silent dinner in the retreat house. To conclude the day, we participated in compline in the church.
The conferences conducted by Fr . Dominic consisted of three parts which was very beneficial to us. The first conference focused on the presence of God in the “here and now” where we learned that God's presence is hidden in the present moment itself. The second day focused on the desire to live in God's presence through contemplation. This means surrendering to the “stillness” that is prayer instead of trying to “craft” the perfect prayer. Finally on the third day, the conference focused on how our thoughts become distractions and keep us away from God in the present moment. Fr. Dominic gave us the analogy of the bee in the phone booth. The bee represents distractions, and he went on to say that “we can't get rid of distractions, or even flee from them, but our relationship to them can change. That's how it is if we find ourselves sharing a phone booth with a bee... We best not provoke it; we cannot simply ignore it; but we can react differently to it - by just letting it be.” He added, “if we let our deepest desire return to what draws it, we will gradually find that we spend less time in the ‘phone booth.’”
Overall, the retreat was an eye opening experience into the lives of contemplative monks that enriched our spiritual life and helped to bring us closer to our Lord. We believe this experience will be beneficial to us as we continue in our formation journey.

Have a blessed Lent and a joyful Easter! Peace & Good,
The Postulants: Brian, Carl, Daniel & Jack

Photos from Vocation Discernment Weekend-
St. Francis Centre, Ontario, March 15-18
Franciscans Together in Mission (FMU)

Friar Jim Goode, OFM, Provincial FMU Director, announced the Franciscans Together in Mission for FMU 2018 campaign, which runs from February 2 through December 8, 2018. This year’s theme is “All Life is Sacred.” The campaign seeks support for our Franciscan Missionary-Evangelization Call through our prayers, compassionate offerings, and donations. 
Blessed John Duns Scotus
Library Event
Saturday, April 14, 2018
1:00 PM

"Why Did St. Francis Succeed?"

Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF

What factors in civic and church circles
created the stage upon which 
St. Francis shared his message with the world?  
The Blessed John Duns Scotus Library, located at our Provincial Curia, 125 Thompson Street, New York City, will be presenting “Why Did St. Francis of Assisi Succeed?” Sr. Margaret Carney is a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. She is President Emerita of St. Bonaventure University and has lectured widely on Franciscan history and spirituality. Her own research concentrates on early Franciscan lay penitents and Franciscan women. She has served in various positions within the Franciscan academic world and also seeks opportunities to open the riches of Franciscan legacy with today's seekers after a life of spiritual depth and social concern. Last year she received the Monika Hellwig Award of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for her contributions to Catholic intellectual life.  
All are welcome. If you plan to attend, we ask that you RSVP 
 Siobhan O’Dwyer, OFS:  
 Friar Roberto Siguere,OFM Receives Award
Recently, Father Roberto received a special award from the from the municipality of San Lucas Sacatepéquez where he was stationed for four years 1984-1987. The plaque, presented by the mayor and his council, included a plaque dedicated to him which proclaims that he has been declared an “ambassador of peace.” Underneath the inscription reads “For his great work of evangelization and for his ceaseless work for the reconstruction of our parish church for the benefit of our people” This refers especially to his instrumental work after the earthquake of 1976. In attendance among the many people of the town were his family and various board members of Valley Of The Angels including Rita Castillo, Aida Palarea and Anna Maria Sanchez along with our Franciscan sisters from Valley Of The Angels, Sor Idalia and Sor Maylan.
Friar Robert with Award
Friar Roberto at Ceremony
Report of the English Speaking Conference to the Members of the Plenary Council of the Order

With 15 entities, 11 in the U.S. and Canada, and 4 in Europe (Ireland, Lithuania, Malta & the U.K.), the ESC is the only conference organized by language and not geography. This report speaks of broad trends in the 6 ESC countries, noting distinct realities in some of them.
  A. Changes in Society – Accelerating social change, for worse and better, frames our cultural reality. Like Francis of Assisi in his time, we are in the midst of enormous cultural, demographic, economic, political, technological and religious changes. These changes are often manipulated by ever more powerful groups of “majores” overpowering “minores” who include women, people of color, immigrants, and many simply labeled “other.” Social values once foundational to our sense of identity and community are slipping away, if not being deliberately eroded. Some social norms are growing more enlightened; e.g., the gender-determined worth of human beings is being replaced by greater gender equality; while other norms are capriciously manipulated by means of mass communication previously unimagined and with unforeseeable results. Altogether, these dynamics create a sense that society’s institutions and structures are straining to hold us together. Responses range from fear and suspicion to narcissistic individualism by some, while others of good will rededicate themselves to work for a more inclusive, socially just and sustainable society.
Immigration and Cultural Diversity – Our societies grapple with increasing cultural diversity, largely driven by immigration from the Global South. Generally, older, more conservative groups resist growing cultural diversity from fear of change or the loss of social dominance, while younger, urban social groups support this change. Approximately 60 million people in the US are immigrants (almost 20% of the population), of whom 10 million have no official documents allowing them to be in the country. Powerful, entrenched forces actively seek to undermine the human rights of all immigrants spreading fear among them with a set of nativist, racist initiatives using deportation to break apart families and foster fear among communities of color, and especially among the young. Canada has the largest proportion of immigrants in the G-8 economic group, well above that of the US, with Asians forming the largest group of current immigrants to Canada. Canadians generally see immigration as necessary and beneficial, though with concern for the strain on the infrastructure of cities such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Canada and Australia are the Western nations most receptive to immigration. The official bilingualism (English and French) of Canada, the presence of the predominantly French-speaking province of Québec, and of aboriginal Canadians all across the country contribute to a Canadian identity which embraces cultural and linguistic diversity. The European approach to the immigration crisis will surely be dealt with by other Conferences, but here we note that one of the core issues behind Brexit is that of control of borders and immigration — the impact of the departure of the U.K. from the E.U. is sure to be profound. 
Social and Economic Inequalities – Profound changes in the economy and in the nature of work itself have quickly generated enormous wealth for a few and accelerated economic and social inequalities. Computer-driven technologies replace factory jobs. Few people actually “make things.” A “knowledge economy” essentially excludes those with little education. Barred from full participation in the economy, they are consigned to low-wage service sector jobs where a single wage-earner cannot support a family. Youth entering the economy face great uncertainty with diminished economic expectations. Their parents’ generation saw an acceleration of socio-economic inequality, when a small number of elites (such as those in the government-favored financial industry) became much richer, while the middle class was shrinking, and continues to shrink. The poor appear structurally trapped in this economy, for while the US government since the 1930s was presumed to have an important role in fostering economic opportunity and social equality, currently powerful political voices undermine support for those government efforts. In the US and Britain such voices manipulate the sense of loss many feel from their experience of economic and social changes into nativist, xenophobic solutions such as proposals for walling out immigrants and the Brexit process. In Canada, abundant natural resources and technological innovation are fueling impressive economic growth. Canadians, in common with the people of the other ESC nations, face challenges from tensions between the very affluent and those who have less, as well as concern for the environmental dangers from economic development.
Gender Issues – Traditional assumptions about family, gender identity and sexuality are being questioned and rejected. A broad consensus is emerging of the need to respect the autonomy, agency and authenticity of individuals to foster fidelity and commitment to family. Questions about traditional understandings of masculinity and what it means to be a man are leading to diverse responses, with some men embracing gender equality while others aggressively assert male privilege. Women are claiming full human, social and legal equality. Over the past year, many credible accusations of powerful men harassing and assaulting vulnerable women have been amplified by social media into a real public awareness. Many younger women will not accept gender-based harassment nor obstacles to their careers and personal lives, but that view is not universally held, even among women.
Faith and Religion – Our societies are embracing secularism, with some curious exceptions. In some areas, an aggressive and ideological secularism seeks to exclude all expressions of faith and religion from the public sphere, leading to a bellicose and twisted counter-attack from fundamentalist religious groups. In the US White Evangelicals overwhelmingly support Donald Trump to the point of purposefully ignoring policies and actions clearly contrary to the Gospel. In Canada, Ireland (and to a lesser extent, Malta), the historically extremely influential voice of the Church is being progressively silenced. Influential groups and politicians overtly resist reference to religion in legislation or public policies. Others cynically manipulate fundamentalist beliefs to foster unjust laws to exclude some from societal participation, especially concerning issues relating to life, death and sexuality. Due to a constitutional understanding of the separation of Church and State in the US, secularism takes on a different dynamic as religion is seen as a “private” matter allowing great claims of religious adherence in the face of public secularism. Lithuania is in a unique position, with the Church having a critical role in the building of a Post-Communist, Post-Soviet society. In the context of profound cultural change, the role of religion in society is disputed. Many continue in their faith. Others reject the search for God as an impossible task. Some assert a simplistic, fundamentalist understanding of God that legitimates individual success without reference to society at large. Still others thirst for spirituality or an “experience of the Holy” independent of organized religion. Thus, in the context of broadly held distrust of institutions, especially religious institutions, traditional expressions of faith (devotions, Mass) give way to a search for meaning in work, and in experiences of prayer, beauty, or humanitarian service.
Science and Technology – Advances in science and technology produce contradictory effects. Ubiquitous digital information technology makes information readily available to everyone, but produces enhanced alienation, individualism and fear. Technology permeates our lives to our very fingertips, leading many to an unquestioning faith in technology to solve all human problems. But at the same time, increased knowledge brings an awareness that our relationship with nature has grown disordered and must be transformed. Unprecedented fires, storms and rising seas gain public attention, making climate change denialism untenable and increasing public awareness that our current path of technological development is unjust and not sustainable. Many agree that we need a different kind of economy, rooted in respect for the earth and its limits. But in the US, an influential group of people and corporations aggressively protecting their own economic interests fight against policies to protect the environment and climate.
B. Changes in the Church – Pope Francis is enthusiastically embraced by many as an agent of renewal in the Church who has restored its credibility. But the Church is also hobbled in its mission by intolerance of diverse theological views, the abdication of evangelization, prophetic preaching and pastoral care of youth.
Church in the Public Sphere – The social forces outlined above contribute to a decreased sense of the value of the institutional Church and distrust of its ability to address meaningful responses to the human condition of its members, others, or society at large. The institutional Church is deemed outdated, irrelevant, or sometimes hypocritical in its actions and failures to act. Scandals in Church leadership, secularism and other factors over the past generation have greatly reduced the social status of the Church and partly decreased family support for and the number of religious and priestly vocations.
Cultural Diversity – The US Catholic Church is experiencing “full pews and empty pulpits.” Those in the pews are increasingly immigrants, while the number of priests and religious continue a decades-long decline, resulting in a dearth of native vocations. Bishops in North America and parts of Europe increasingly recruit priests from other countries, some of whom appear poorly trained to lead Congregations whose language and culture they do not share. 
Political Positioning – Pope Francis appears to have broad lay support for his agenda for the Church, but only modest public support from US bishops. US bishops’ meetings address the concerns of prior popes, with little discussion of Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si, and Amoris Letitia. While many bishops express little interest in promoting an integral approach to human, spiritual, social and ecological development, many lay faithful desire to “be church” with personal responsibility for faith formation and small faith communities, integrated with accompanying those on the margins and promoting justice.
Youth – Due to numerous factors over the last 50 years, the Church throughout the area of the ESC has failed to sufficiently support catechesis and religious formation for young people, leading to a substantial departure of young adults from the Church and dramatically reducing the number who would consider a religious vocation.
C. How Friars Address These Changes – Friars are responding to the social and ecclesial changes outlined above, though not at the rate of the changes themselves. Their responses can be clustered into two groups: the pursuit of fidelity to our Franciscan vocation, and engagement with society, especially the marginalized. Changes challenge friars to renew their Franciscan identity, even as they age and decline in numbers. Friars once thought that they could face the challenges of change alone, even if they actually could not, and accepting that reality challenges us to humbly ask others for help. So another theme within the responses is collaboration, whether with Friars of other entities, with other Religious, the laity, or with others of good will. 
Fidelity to our Franciscan Vocation – Most ESC Provinces are currently discerning stronger inter-provincial collaboration or the restructuring of their fraternal governance. Six US Provinces vote in May 2018 about becoming one Province, while in October 2018, the two Canadian Provinces will become one, and the former Province of England is now a dependent Custody of the Irish Province. These efforts to restructure are meant to promote renewal and obtain organizational efficiencies. Most began with collaborative initial formation efforts seeking to provide the best formation possible and have progressed to cooperation in ministry and administration. The responses of the Friars to these efforts mix enthusiasm, hope, sadness, and resistance. The myriad issues raised by these discussions currently consume much leadership time and will for the immediate future. Overall, the social and ecclesial issues, along with restructuring call for a deep examination of Franciscan identity and response to the signs of the times.
ESC Friars are engaging our Franciscan tradition within the broader Franciscan Family. They vigorously support the agenda of Pope Francis which many see as engaging and giving life to our charism as exemplified by our Father St. Francis. Many seek to retrieve our Franciscan tradition, including its intellectual dimension. These activities stimulate greater awareness that Friars are part of a worldwide Order and a broader Franciscan movement. Sound scholarship, including the work of the ESC Commission on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition (CFIT), continues to clarify our shared understanding of our charism and roles in the Church, as well as animating a renewed sense of identity.
Renewal efforts must respond to strong cultural forces, such as individualism. Many of the Friars struggle with the “me/my-ism” so prevalent in our cultures. Some individualism can facilitate evangelization, as when Friars express their individual giftedness in diverse work and ministry not sponsored by Provinces, such as through the professions. Individual calls discerned within the community open the Friars to the creative work of the Spirit to proclaim the Gospel every day to many thousands of people with emails, websites, blogs, and YouTube videos. But individualism can prevent Friars from living for others through a concern for “my schedule,” “my ministry,” and “my computer,” even to the point of being pulled away from fraternity and becoming isolated.
Friars present a face of the Church inspired by the teaching of Pope Francis. Many Friars accompany those with a sense of Church very different from traditional parish ministry. St. Barbara Province is in a provincial process of renewal and restructuring, letting go of parishes and turning over more and more administrative tasks to lay people to allow “Friars to be Friars.” The Province of Malta is seeking to adopt a more meaningful way of using its material, financial, and personnel resources in conformity with Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si. Many Provinces of the ESC maintain retreat centers and houses of prayer or hermitages open to people of all faiths and beliefs where Friars are available to accompany the search for God, the thirst for spirituality and the quest for meaning. In profoundly secularized societies, these resources help build bridges between our rich Franciscan heritage and the multi-faceted spiritual needs of the people of today.
Engagement with Society – Even as Friars increase in age and decrease in numbers, in the spirit of St. Francis, insofar as they are able, they reach out to those in need around them. Our communities of Friars include both those fragile and tired with dissipated dreams, and those seeking to create more inclusive and affirming faith communities, in both their fraternities and local ministries. Most ESC Provinces are not currently in a position to undertake new missionary initiatives, but local fraternities are challenging themselves to be open to cultural diversity, develop multi-cultural competency, and the ability to work and live harmoniously with those of other cultural backgrounds. Given the significant proportion of aspirants to the Order who are immigrants, the North American Provinces in particular are working to make their fraternities more welcoming to men of diverse cultural backgrounds.
Mission and evangelization are at the core of the founding of the new Canadian Province. The fundamental values of the Franciscan heritage – and particularly the challenges associated with living out the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in a culturally and linguistically diverse Canadian society – are inspiring a revitalized approach to mission in Canada. In Vancouver and Montreal, for example, parish ministry is putting friars in close contact with immigrants, youth, lay ministers etc.
The Friars of the ESC reach out to minister to those on the margins of society, especially the poor, the homeless, migrants and Indigenous people. Virtually every Province has Friars or sponsored institutions devoted to ministries of service and presence to the marginalized. In some Provinces, almost all ministries conduct outreach to people on the edges of society. In Merchants’ Quay Friary (Dublin) the local community began a project with facets ranging from drug rehabilitation to shelter for the homeless to feeding those on the streets and without funds. With the project up and running, leadership has been turned over to laity with professional skills. Immaculate Conception Province (New York), founded in the 19th century to serve Italian immigrants to the US continues to serve and accompany new immigrants, but now in nine languages. In 2014, the Holy Name Province (New York) decided that each of its local fraternities would seek to respond concretely to the needs of immigrants to the United States. St. John the Baptist (Cincinnati), St. Barbara (California) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (New Mexico) Provinces continue a tradition of more than a century of ministry among Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico. After many decades, several Provinces continue in ministry among historically African-American communities and have recently opened Ite Nuntiate communities to expose friars to the needs of the poor and migrants, including an inter-city Ite Nuntiate community on the US/Mexican border. 
ESC Provinces are involved in numerous social service, educational, retreat, and communications ministries, such as St. Anthony Foundation in San Francisco, St. Bonaventure (New York) and Quincy (Illinois) Universities, Siena College, the Franciscan School of Theology (California), St. Francis Retreat (Pennsylvania), Serra and St. Francis Retreats (California) and Franciscan Media (Cincinnati). Most are now led by lay people but remain connected to the Friars through Franciscan Friars presence on their oversight boards. St. Barbara, St. John the Baptist, and Assumption (Wisconsin) Provinces each have programs to pass on the Franciscan charism to the lay leaders of their sponsored institutions and to animate a Franciscan spirit within the institutions themselves.
Among the ways Friars of the ESC seek to live out JPIC values are by advocacy for the poor, the desire to put Laudato Si into practice, and by fostering inter-religious cooperation. Song and Spirit Institute of St. John the Baptist Province in Detroit regularly hosts shared celebrations of Shabbat, Muslim dialogue circles, Buddhist meditation and Quaker (Protestant) services in its liturgical space. ESC Provinces have conducted and offered to others a number of retreats, workshops and study days on Laudato Si, including energy audits for buildings and properties. The Maltese Friars are conducting a Carbon Footprint Project to help raise energy use awareness among the Friars and to effectively reduce the carbon footprint of their friaries by thirty percent over three years. In Canada, friars are voicing concerns about ecology and development, and militate for the preservation and environmentally responsible use of land.
CONCLUSION - The Friars of the Provinces of the ESC, like all Friars since the day Francis of Assisi first heard the call to repair the Church, face an incredible diversity of challenges to their living and proclaiming the Gospel. Like all of the Friars of history, they are doing some things very well, while other things still mystify them. (How are we to really live poverty? How are we to reach young people?) They find that the more humbly they seek to engage the world, to be with the rich and the poor with the popular and the unpopular, the more they seek to be authentically faithful to their Franciscan charism in its great richness and variety, the more they are following the call God has given them to be Friars for their time and place.
 University and has lectured widely on Franciscan history and spirituality. Her own research concentrates on early Franciscan lay penitents and Franciscan women. She has served in various positions within the Franciscan academic world and also seeks opportunities to open the riches of Franciscan legacy with today's seekers after a life of spiritual depth and social concern. Last year she received the Monika Hellwig Award of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for her contributions to Catholic intellectual life. 

Valley of the Angels
Changes Name
Well not exactly. I just thought it would be a catchy headline:) This past month however we have opened a new association which legally designates Valley of the Angels as a “home”. We are now the Associacion Orfanato Hogar de Valle de Los Angeles. Our new legal name better reflects the reality of our current ministry and population. This change was made in order to conform to new government regulations as well as enable us to issue receipts for the products we sell.
As we know, when Father Rocco opened the orphanage in 1993 it was in fact a true orphanage which housed about 38 orphans. Very soon after the Guatemalan laws of adoption radically changed and Father Rocco decided to expand the mission to include all children. Despite the fact that the actual definition of orphan is having one on more parents deceased, the name orphanage remained. When we established the new association this year, the board of directors decided to use the term HOGAR, which means “home” as a more accurate and fitting means of describing our children in keeping with the Franciscan Charism and the original vision of Father Rocco.
Over the last decade the school has undergone various other changes. The following is a summary of some of the highlights and begins with two self-sufficient projects which were implemented in order to ensure our future. 
The first is the cultivation of an extensive garden begun by Diego Sanz-Agero. The Angel’s Garden is an amazing project that has become one of the most beautiful additions at the Valley. The children are not only learning a new set of technical skills which teach them discipline, patience, and hard work, but also responsibility, since they are now personally invested in directly contributing to their own welfare. In partnering with Agrequima we now have integrated this education into our curriculum and award certificates of completion at the end of the year which will help our students find jobs. Agrequima, a well-known agricultural school, gives our children lessons on how to develop the land, seed and maintain various crops.
Our second project is our bakery (Panaderia) which is being built by El Pulte, the neighboring equestrian and golf club. Along with the collaboration of Intercap, a prestigious vocational school and Molina Modernos, a very popular franchise, the children not only receive a highly competitive level of education, but also are given diplomas which will give them more employment opportunities. 
We have also been offered the opportunity to sell our products at local businesses in order to earn an income. Besides providing a large number of recreational and educational activities which include karate classes, dancing, arts and crafts, sewing, and music, we also successfully placed two girls, Michelle and Jackelyn, as au pairs in the United States. They have been placed with families and now earn more per week than the monthly minimum wage of Guatemala. We have also hired an English coordinator to oversee our English language program, as it is obvious how many benefits are afforded our children who can speak English.
Our two missioners, Misty and Erin, have continued the beautiful Franciscan Mission Service contribution, agreeing to stay an additional year here at the Valley to teach the children English. Erin has also led retreats for the girls and Misty is beginning a project to help street dogs.
Mission groups continue to visit the Valley monthly from different universities in the United States and Canada. These usually include from 10 to 14 students who stay for a week or so and help out in various ways. Frankie Burg-Feret, the Minister of her Secular Franciscan fraternity in Canada, just completed leading the fourth Humber College medical mission trip which not only medically assesses all of our children and identifies any physical problems, but also provides high quality medical coverage. This service is also extended to the interior areas of the country, including Solala, Mano Amiga, and the children at the garbage dump. 
This year we have also begun a new spiritual formation program with the help of an organization called Prospera. By interviewing various leaders in education, government, business, and spiritual leaders, it has collected a list of thirty Biblical values and virtues that are specific to Guatemala. We now meet every week in groups to discuss and evaluate how to apply these values to our daily lives. 
Delta Airlines also sponsors a month-long camp which focuses on high risk children to give them an option to remain in the Valley and includes various field trips and educational programs. And one of the most exciting projects we have is preparing for our senior girls to attend World Youth Day in Panama next year. 
 Finally we are continuing our fundraising efforts especially through our new administrative director Alex.
 While our province continues to support about half our budget annually, we continue to raise over $300,000 a year through benefactors, mission drives, ministry, and other fundraisers. We are particularly grateful for all the Canadian support we have received and will be happy to be invited into any of our parishes in order to preach and help raise money.
Friar Michael Della Penna, OFM
Journey Journey into God

A Centennial Franciscan Retreat Experience
August 9-17, 2018
Mt. Alvernia Retreat House 
Wappingers Falls, NY
Friar Andre Cirino, OFM
Josef Reisch, OFS
For more information check out website:

Our Province Retreat has been scheduled for October 14-18, 2018 at Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center, Wappingers Falls NY. This retreat will held together with the Capuchin Franciscans of the St. Mary Province.

The 2019 Provincial Chapter has been scheduled for Sunday, June 16 to Friday, June 21, 2019. The chapter will be held at Mt. Alvernia, Wappingers Falls NY.
Gathering of Province's Brothers
Troy C. 1968
Recognize Anyone?
St. Anthony Feast
Andover c. 1950
News from the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem
On Sunday, February 25, for the first time in history, the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem temporarily closed in protest of attacks on the rights and property of Christians. The entrance to the shrine most visited by Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land was closed, with a sign saying: “Enough is enough; stop the persecution of the Churches”. The poster also features a picture of the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, who in recent weeks unilaterally abolished historically recognized Church exemptions to municipal taxes and mandated that the churches’ current accounts could be seized to cover arrears.
A declaration regarding the protest has been signed by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, the Custos of the Holy Land Br. Francesco Patton, and the Armenian Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, leaders of the three communities that, on behalf of the entire Christian tradition, administer the Basilica and other major holy sites in Jerusalem.
However, after the intervention of the Prime Minister, the Basilica was reopened and the following statement was issued:
Statement on the re-opening of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
We, the heads of Churches in charge of the Holy Sepulcher and the Status Quo governing the various Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem – the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, the Custody of the Holy Land and the Armenian Patriarchate – give thanks to God for the statement released earlier today by Prime Minister Netanyahu and offer our gratitude to all those who have worked tirelessly to uphold the Christian presence in Jerusalem and to defend the Status Quo.
After the constructive intervention of the Prime Minister, the Churches look forward to engage with Minister Hanegbi, and with all those who love Jerusalem to ensure that Our Holy City, where our Christian presence continues to face challenges, remains a place where the three Monotheistic faiths may live and thrive together.
Following these recent developments, we hereby announce that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, that is the site of the crucifixion of Our Lord and also of His Resurrection, will be reopened to the pilgrims tomorrow, February 28th, 2018 at 4.00 AM.
THEOPHILOS III , Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem
FRANCESCO PATTON OFM, Custos of the Holy Land
NOURHAN MANOUGIAN, Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, East Boston,
to be redeveloped.
Plans have been filed with the Boston Planning and Development Agency to develop the church and property of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in East Boston into a 115 unit residential complex of studio to three-bedroom flats, lofts, and duplexes. The site encompasses four parcels that include the rectory, convent, and parking lot in addition to the church. The church would be salvaged and converted into 13 residential units. The rectory and convent will be razed and two new buildings will be constructed. A new building at the former rectory would contain 15 units and be connected to the church, while a second building on the convent site will contain 87 units. An underground parking facility is also proposed. 
The church was staffed by the friars of our province for many years. It was built in 1905 by Italian immigrants, and its former parishioners fought for many years to block the decision of the Archdiocese of Boston to shut it down. The Vatican’s high court sided with the Archdiocese in 2014 and the property was sold in 2015 for over three million dollars. Below is an artist's rendering of the new project.
Friar Robert Artman, OFM
Friar Robert passed into eternal life on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 21, 2018 after fighting valiantly against the debilitating effects caused by an inoperable tumor in his brain. At the time of his passing he was receiving hospice care at St. Christopher Friary, Boston, where he had also been serving the community as Guardian and Director of Health Care. He was 61 years old.

Friar Robert was born in Pittsburgh, PA on August 15, 1956. He was the son of the late Catherine (Savena) and William Artman. He is survived by a sister, Kathleen Buell, and his brothers William, Raymond, and Richard of Pittsburgh PA and Kevin of South Bend, Indiana.
Friar Robert was received into the Order on August 15, 1979. He professed first vows on August 9, 1980, and made his Solemn Profession of Vows on April 27, 1985. Following his years in formation, he continued his education with studies at Andover-Newton Theological School, Newton, MA, and received a B.A. degree in Sociology from Boston University. He also obtained several units in C.P.E. (Clinical Pastoral Education) at Tewksbury State Hospital, Tewksbury, MA.

During his thirty-eight years of profession, Friar Robert worked in a number of ministries that primarily addressed the needs of the marginalized members of society. He ministered as Director of Emmanuel Dining Room in Wilmington, Delaware; Associate Director of St. Joseph Transitional Home in Brooklyn, NY; Program Manager for Our Daily Bread, Archdiocese of Baltimore; Director of Helping Hands, Toledo, Ohio; and as Supervisor of the Pine Street Inn in Boston. He also served the Order and Province in the Office for Justice and Peace at our General Curia, Rome, Italy; as Vicar of St. Paul Friary, Clearwater Beach, Florida; Guardian and Retreat Director of St. Francis Retreat Center, Andover, Massachusetts; and as Director of Health Care for the Province. His limitless energy and his wry sense of humor will be remembered by the friars, and he will be well remembered for extraordinary care for, and attention to, the needs of our senior friars.

At his request, there will be no formal wake or viewing. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Poor Clare Monastery Chapel, 445 River Road, Andover, Massachusetts, on Monday, March 26, 2018, followed by burial at St. Francis Cemetery, Andover.

Friar Albert McMahon, OFM
Friar Lucius Annese, OFM
Friar Juniper O'Connor, OFM
Friar Louis Diego DeTomasso, OFM
Friar Mark Brown, OFM
Friar Francis de Sales Paolo, OFM
Friar Maurice Peltier, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
Friar Conrad Rebmann, OFM (St. John Baptist Province)
Friar Clement Comesky, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Gary Maciag, OFM (Holy Name Province)
Friar Fred Schneider, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Robert Leonhardt, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
Friar Richard Jeske, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)

Recently Deceased Family and Friends
Rick (Enrico) Luongo, former simply professed friar
Joseph Zammit, father of Friar Jimmy Zammit, OFM, 
Grace Alfano, mother of deceased Friar Savio Alfano, OFM
Victoria Dewine, twin sister of Friar Roderick Crispo, OFM, 

Let us pray for our infirm friars:
Friar Flavian Mucci, OFM
Friar Claudio Moser, OFM
Friar Charles Soto, OFM
Friar Clement Procopio, OFM

For our friars in skilled nursing facilities:
Friar Philip Adamo, OFM
Friar Giles Barreda, OFM
Friar Francis Hanudel, OFM
Friar Lawrence Stumpo, OFM

For our infirm family and friends:
Maria Tagani (daughter of St. Francis Centre staff member)
Theresa Agrusa (sister of Friar Felician Napoli)
Astra Fernandes (mother of Friar Conrad Fernandes)
Gloria Salinas (mother of Friar Octavio Salinas)
Marie Caprio Sicuso (sister of Friar Robert Caprio)
Sheila Washburn (mother of Friar Thomas Washburn)
Please pray for all friars, families, friends, and benefactors,
living and deceased.
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.
St. Anthony Friary
24 Harrison Street/ PO Box 487
Catskill NY 12414
Cell: 917.337.9833
Office: 518.943.3451 xt. 314