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NEWS of the Immaculate Conception Province  January 9, 2010
1910-2010: Provincial inaugurates Golden Jubilee Year
Jubilee Moment: Our Founder, Fr. Panfilo
RIP: Friar G. Michael Bercik, 57
2010 Jubilarians
Pre-Chapter Steering Committee elected
Vicar General Mike Perry recovers from knee surgery
1910-2010: Provincial inaugurates Golden Jubilee Year
Centenary LogoNEW YORK - On December 25, 1910, the then-Custody of the Immaculate Conception was raised to the status and stature of a Province.  This week, Provincial Minister Robert Campagna, issued a pastoral letter to inaugurate a year-long celebration of our Province Golden Jubiliee, or Centenary, Year.  Below is the text of his letter:
Annuntio Vobis Gaudium Magnum
My dear Friars,
Making my own words with which the Cardinal-Deacon announces from the Loggia of St. Peter's Basilica a new pope - it is my great honor and holy privilege to ANNOUNCE TO YOU A GREAT JOY: THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF OUR PROVINCE.
Canonically established on December 25th 1910 - this year marks our Golden Jubilee. And we shall spend this year, in and with the whole series of events which have this purpose:
To arrive where we started
And know the place
For the first time
(T.S. Eliot)
Next month, I will send you a detailed calendar of our Centenary Observances.  Now, with this letter, I want to send you our Centenary Prayer; a prayer for use both personally and in your local fraternity.
Last year the Centenary Committee directed our brother Fr. Valentine Gesuale to compose this prayer.  After his death, on October 11th 2008, Valentine's notes for this prayer were found in his room. Those notes were taken up by the Centenary Committee and reworked by Fr. Michael MacInnis - who was careful to keep the main aspects of Valentine's prayer intact.
The very first paragraph of our Centenary Prayer has us tell God that "as we celebrate 100 years of history and grace in serving You, we redicate ourselves and seek your blessing."  Rededication...and asking God's blessing...let's start there!
Fr. Robert M. Campagna, OFM
Minister Provincial
Heavenly Father, You who are all good, all loving and all merciful,
as we celebrate 100 years of history and grace in serving You,
we rededicate ourselves and seek Your blessing.
We thank You for the ministries that You have entrusted us with.
May we live out our call with
integrity, grace, courage, fidelity and love.
We ask Your blessing upon the ministries
and the people that we serve.
May they see Christ in us.
We commend to Your mercy
our brothers who have embraced Sister Death,
and we thank You for the gift of their lives.
We pray that all that we have been, all that we are,
and all that we will be is for Your glory.
United in faith and prayer, through the intercession
of our Immaculate Mother Mary,
Our Holy Father Saint Francis and Our Holy Mother Saint Clare,
keep us ever steadfast in your love
as we strive for your vision of a world made new.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Province of the Immaculate Conception
Established December 25, 1910
Jubilee Moment: Our Founder, Fr. Panfilo
Friar Panfilo di Magliano
Father Panfilo was born August 22, 1824 in Magliano dei Marsi.  His family name was Pierbattista.  When he was baptized, he was given the name John Paul.  On July 5, 1839, at the age of 16 he became a Franciscan and was given the name Pamphilus.  As was customary he was then called Pamphilus a Malleano, or Panfilo da Magliano.  

On December 18, 1846, he was ordained a priest at the age of 22.  Immediately following his ordination, he began graduate studies in philosophy and theology. He was awarded the title Lector Generalis (professor) at the young age of 18 and was called to Rome by the Order's General Minister to teach theology at the Collegio S. Isidoro. In the three years Father Panfilo spent at St. Isidore's he became fluent in English. He also particularly wished to go to America to do missionary work. 
He was offered the chance to go to Buenos Aires as a missionary, but turned it down because of his desire to go to the United States. When Bishop Timon of Buffalo, NY, and local businessman Nicholas Devereux traveled to Rome to get permission from the pope to establish a community of friars in the new Buffalo diocese, the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor directed them to the Irish College of Saint Isidore.  He presented Father Panfilo to Bishop Timon.
The Minister General knew that Father Panfilo was fully capable of the job ahead of him and only sent the best priests to America.  Father Venantius also chose Father Sixtus da Gagliano, Father Samuel da Prezza and Brother Salvator da Manarola to accompany Father Pamfilo.  Fr. Venantius chose these friars because they had high scholastic degrees and a hardy missionary spirit.

On May 5, 1855, the 3 friars and Brother Salvator received Pope Pius IX's blessing and departed from Rome for the US, where they arrived in New York on June 20.  They were met by Nicholas Devereux in New York City.  He had graciously paid for their trip to America.  They then traveled to Ellicottville by train where they stayed for a short time with Nicholas' son John.  Soon after they moved to the home of Thomas McMahon.  In the first two years that the Friars had been living in Ellicottville they had preformed baptisms in at least 15 different towns.

In the 12 years that Father Panfilo was in the United States, he opened 12 friaries and built two churches.  He also founded two schools, one seminary and five parishes.  Father Pamphilus is also responsible for the founding the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Allegany. 
In Ellicottville, Allegany and the surrounding towns young girls and boys shared the same classroom in which the Friars prepared them for the sacraments of first Holy Communion and Confirmation.  Bishop Timon did not approve of the mixed classrooms and asked Father Panfilo to look for Sisters of the Third Order and so the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany were established.  This was recorded by Bishop Timon in his diary on March 8, 1856.  Father Panfilo also founded the Congregation of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis of Mary Immaculate in Joliet, Illinois and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Congregation of Our Lady of Lourdes in Rochester, Minnesota.

Father Panfilo was asked to returned to Rome where he stayed at the friary of San Pietro in Montorio and began writing the first of 3 books about the Order of Friars Minor.  He published his first book entitled, The Greek Church and the Procession of the Holy Ghost, in Rome in 1870.  He translated into Italian Cardinal Manning's work, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost, and then made alterations and added to, St. Francis and the Franciscans, which was written by a Poor Clare.  In 1874 he published the first of his projected three volumes of History of the Franciscan Order.  Only two volumes were published, one in 1874 and the other in 1876.  The third volume was never published.  While writing it he became seriously ill and never recovered.  He died at the Convent of St. Peter in Montorio, Rome, November 15, 1875 at the age of 52.  Although he had hoped to return to the United States, he was never able to before his death.

St. Nicholas Church 1854

 First Church used by the Friars
St. Nicholas Church
 Dedicated in 1854
Located in Allegany, New York

(Taken from History of St. Bonaventure University)

RIP: Friar G. Michael Bercik, 57
Friar G. Michael Bercik, OFMBOSTON - On the evening of December 29, Sister Death embraced our brother, Fr. G. Michael Bercik, OFM.  Friar Michael was 57 years old. Michael's passing came at Saint Christopher Friary in Boston after a prolonged illness resulting from the debilitating stroke he suffered in January 2005 while pastor of Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Derry, NH.
George Michael, the son of Thomas William and Lillian Marie (Poplin) Bercik was born in McKeesport, PA on September 17, 1952.  He entered the novitiate on August 15, 1974 and made his first profession on August 16, 1975.  He was admitted to solemn vows on January 13, 1979, and ordained priest on October 6, 1979 at Saint Paulinus Church, Clairton, PA.
Following his ordination, Fr. Michael was sent to Saint Ann Parish in Marlboro, MA for three months.  He was then assigned to Saint Pamphilus in Pittsburgh where he served as pastor for nine years.  In 1988 he returned to Saint Ann's where he remained until the parish closed in August 2004.  Michael also completed three terms (1995-2004) on our Provincial Definitorium.
Fr. Michael's body was received on Friday, January 1, at Saint Thomas Aquinas Church, Derry, NH.  Visitation was from 2:00 - 4:00 and from 7:00 - 9:00, with a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m.  The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated there at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 2.  Many friars, family, friends and former parishioners attended the funeral despite the challenging weather.  Provincial Minister Robert Campagna presided over the funeral liturgy and Manchester Bishop John McCormack also attended. Michael will be buried at Saint Francis Cemetery in Andover at a later date.
The homily was preached by Michael's long time friend, Deacon Richard Martino.  In his touching homily, he said, "Not all of the saints have been called by God while they were in their prime, but it reminds us so profoundly that the quantity of earthly life is often not the criteria for saintly status with God, but rather the quality of the life that is lived here on earth, no matter how long that life may happen to be.  Many of us in this holy place have, perhaps, at one time experienced the grief of losing someone we've loved who is younger than ourselves, and is no longer in our midst, and we ponder in our hearts, 'why?'  It's a fact of our humanity that we ask the question, 'Why was he or she taken when they had so very much more to share with us?' But at the same time we are being challenged to trust that God in his infinite and awesome wisdom knows why.  We must remember that we see with only human eyes and that we grieve and love with only human hearts, and that one day - one day - when we meet God face-to-face, these questions that we now ponder will be answered by him.  The impace that each of us leaves as a legacy to our brothers and sisters will live on in the hearts of those who were touched by the kindness that we offered to them as we walked with them on this earth."
He continued, "When I think of Fr. Michael, two words seem to come to mind: simply and loved; because Mike simply loved his family; he simply loved his faith communities; he simply loved making a difference in others' lives.  Mike lived his life in the now, squeezing the most out of each minute of every day.  He spent the better part of each day nurturing those who sought him out!  Mike always had time to listen to, pray with, and to show the love of God to those in need of his care, each and every day of his life.  Mike simply loved!"
"Friars must remember to offer suffrages for every deceased friar of the province, professed or novice.  In particular, each priest shall offer the Eucharist twice."  "When news of the death of a friar is received, a concelebrated Mass in his memory should be scheduled in the friaries of the province and the foundations."  On the thirtieth day after and on the first anniversary of the death of a confrere, professed or novice, the Eucharist shall be celebrated for him in the house to which he was assigned at the time of death" (PS-8, 1-3).
"A diehard Steelers fan," "an optimist," "generous and caring," "he had a genuine gift and love for music" - Fr. Michael touched the lives of many people in helpful and meaningful ways.  May God who called him "to serve your people as a priest and to share the joys and burdens of their lives...give him the reward of his labors, the fullness of life to those who preach your holy Gospel."
May our brother rest in peace. 
2010 Jubilarians 
A number of friars mark significant milestones during this Centenary year of our Province.  Ad multos annos!
Friar Diego DeTomasso
Friar Fabian Grifone
August 16, 1960:
Friar Romano Almagno
Friar Brennan Egan
March 26, 1960:
Friar Paschal De Mattia
25 YEARS OF SOLEMN PROFESSION - December 6, 1985

Friar Rafael Fernandez
Friar Blaise Tranchida 
Pre-Chapter Steering Committee elected 
NEW YORK - Having been delegated by the General Visitor, Friar Larry Dunham, Friars Francis Hanudel, Courtland Campbell, and Ronald Bolfeta tabulated teh ballots for the Pre-Chapter Steering Committee.
There were 145 ballots mailed; 100 of which were returned. Elected to the Committee were:
Friar John Scarangello (54 votes)
Friar Michael MacInnis (50 votes)
Friar Alexis Anania (48 votes)
Friar Rohwin Pais (46 votes)
Friar Thomas Garone (45 votes)
The Pre-Chapter Steering Committee will conduct its first meeting with the General Visitor on Wednesday, January 13 in the Provincial Curia beginning at 9:30 a.m.  The Provincial Chapter will be held in September.
Vicar General Mike Perry recovers from knee surgery 
Michael Perry, OFMST. LOUIS, MO. - The Order's General Vicar, Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, is in Chicago recovering from a Dec. 17 knee operation.

The former Sacred Heart provincial minister has "got a number of weeks of physical therapy ahead of him, but otherwise he is doing better than anyone expected," according to an update from Provincial Minister Fr. William Spencer, OFM, who added, "as one might suspect, a 'little thing' like knee surgery wasn't going to keep Mike in bed for very long. He brought work with him from the General Curia, and he intends to use this time to develop a greater facility with Italian.".
This originally appeared in the newsletter of the Sacred Heart Province.
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Protestors in Hartford

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO - Friar Vit Fiala has released his first CD of music for entitled "Serenade & Variations: Pieces for cello and piano".   The CD is a collaborative work with pianist Amy Vinisko from Bantam, CT.
The CD contains 11 tracks with selections from Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Ravel, Faure, Mendelssohn, and Sibelius.
Fr. Vit has embarked on a schedule of concerts in Ohio, Connecticut and Florida that he uses as an opportunity to share beautiful music as well as to raise money for the Franciscan Missionary Union of our Province. He would love to perform a concert in any parish or place of ministry within our Province.  To schedule one, contact him at: [email protected].
Vit is particularly excited about concerts he has been doing featuring music that was composed by Jews at the Nazi Concentration Camp called Terezin (or Theresienstadt) in the Czech Republic. These concerts have been in collaboration with Jewish musicians.
You can purchase a CD for $15 by contacting Amy Vinisko at [email protected]
BOSTON - The Vocation Office has announced that a Vocation Discernment Retreat weekend will be held at St. Leonard Friary the weekend of Jan. 22-24. The retreat is open to single men between the ages of 18-38 who are discerning a possible Franciscan vocation and want to explore God's call in their lives.
Another Vocation Retreat weekend will also be held at St. Francis Centre in Caledon, Onatrio, Canada from March 19-21.
Interested candidates should contact the Vocation Director at  (800) 521-5442 or [email protected]
Please publicize these events in your bulletins and other publications.
Prayer for Vocations 
 O Mary Immaculate, Patroness of the Americas
and Queen of the Order of Friars Minor,
we ask you to inspire humble and chosen souls
for a  life in Christ and in the spirit of St. Francis.
Motherly care,
foster vocations to our Order and to our Province,
so that seraphic love, labor and sacrifice
will ever flourish in this land dedicated to your protection.

Vocation Logo
Province of the Immaculate Conception Order of Friars Minor 2010
[email protected] www.icprovince.org