IC News | Province of the Immaculate Conception
October 4, 2013 
In This Issue
From the Provincial Minister
Provincial Minister
Primo P. Piscitello, OFM

NEW YORK - Our Franciscan sources are such a rich treasure for us and a treasure that I return to regularly for my own meditation and reflection.  And, whenever the Feast of Our Holy Father Saint Francis comes around, I like to return to one particular writing that is not always that well known, the Encyclical Letter of Brother Elias.  


The letter is written by Elias who was General Minister of the Order at the time of the passing of St. Francis and was sent to announce to the friars and the world that this great Man of God had returned to his Heavenly home.  It is extraordinary for many reasons, first and foremost, because it is in this letter that Elias announces publicly what was known only to a select few at this point - that St. Francis had been marked with the very Sacred Wounds of Christ, the Stigmata. This was something unheard of up until that time.  Elias writes of this, "I announce to you a great joy and a new miracle...Not long before his death, our brother and our father was seen to resemble the crucified Lord, bearing in his body the five wounds which are the marks of Christ."


But, the real reason I like to return to this letter, especially at times like today, our great Feast Day, is because it is dripping with emotion.  Even 800 years later, you can feel how much Elias loved St. Francis.  He begins the letter with a wonderful phrase that cuts to the heart of it, "Before I begin to speak I sigh."  His heart is heavy grieving the loss of his mentor, his brother, his spiritual father, his friend.


I like that.  I like that because I think that we all find ourselves in brown, living this Franciscan religious life because somewhere along the way, we too fell in love with this Poor Man from Assisi and his deep desire to give "everything of himself" for Christ and to Christ and to this brotherhood.  There is a passion in Francis; a passion that touched and attracted me; and a passion that, it is my guess, touched and attracted you too.


My prayer for each of us on this Feast of Our Holy Father Saint Francis is that we all be moved once again by that same initial passion that first moved us, that first touched us, that first attracted us to this way of life so that we may be again renewed in our life of faith and fraternity - brotherhood - together.


I'll end with some more words of Elias.  I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.  "In truth, in very truth, the presence of Francis, our brother and our Father, was a light not only to us who were close to him, but also to those who were more removed from in calling and in life. He was a light sent forth from the true Light to enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, that he might guide their feet into the way of peace." 


Buona Festa di San Francesco a tutti! 


God bless,
Fr. Primo
General Minister's Letter for the Feast of Francis
Solemnity of Saint Francis 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters, 

May the Lord give you peace! 

On the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi we wish to share with you our life and wish you all the best in God, our Highest Good. We live in a time where change - often used as a category to describe our era - is now also visible in the Church and the Order of Friars Minor.

It is in this climate of innovation that the ecclesial community is experiencing the Year of Faith, while coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. The community is furthered invited to renew itself through the New Evangelization and the witness offered by the lives of believers. As Pope Francis wrote in his Encyclical, Lumen Fidei, that "There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence" (LF 4).

It is our desire to continue to shine the light of faith, following the example of Francis of Assisi, because it is the foundation of our life, the passion in the mission, and the lamp which "opens the way before us and accompanies our steps through time" ( LF 8).  

Profession of Vows - Profession of Faith

By Br. Joseph Powell, OFM


It's good for the sun to be out. Aside from the banal reason that things tend to freeze over and die without the sun, it's just good to have that boundless ball of energy alive in the sky. Life pours from the sun like water from a hydrant. It is the original source of blessing - the bright and blazing sign that earth receives all good things as a gift. Every society has honored the sun, given it a name, recognized the divine blessing it signifies.


The Egyptians worshiped the sun god Ra, bearer of life; the Greeks honored Apollo, driver of the sun's golden chariot and giver of wisdom and culture; St. Francis praised Sir Brother Sun who was the image of the Most High. I'm not ancient Egyptian, but I am definitely Franciscan. To me, a bright sun in a clear sky witnesses the benevolence of God: "He who lets his sun shine on the good and the wicked . . ."


The sun was out for my Solemn Profession of vows. When I left the parking lot of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Derry, the sky was an ominous grey, but as my car neared Boston the yellow rays pushed persistently through. By the time we gathered in Waltham for the ceremony the good old orb was blazing away, doing its thing, cradling us and everything else in its life-giving fingers from ninety-three thousand miles away. A sign of blessings on a day of blessings.  It's easy to imagine Francis of Assisi basking in the warmth of such a sun and praising the Lord for all His good gifts, all His blessings - especially the blessing of the gift of faith.


That image of Francis strikes me strongly as I think on my Profession day. It was, again, a day of blessings: beautiful sun, music (three choirs! gosh.), surrounded by family and friends and friars. There were nieces and nephews two-by-two, and a Noah's ark of brown-robed Franciscans. And as we all celebrated this special moment, I thought back to the words of a friar from the day before: "Remember this is not just your day - it is our day. We all participate in this." How true that is!  We all participate in whatever good which comes from each other's life. God's sun pours out its gifts to all. And what greater gift than faith to believe in the One who loves so indiscriminately, so vastly, so generously?


A Solemn Profession is more than a profession of vows. It is a profession of faith - and not by one person only, but by the whole community. We believe in the Good God who gives us all that we have: life, family, friends, and all the rest of it. We believe that this God continues to bless us. We believe that He calls each of us forth, to belong to one another, and to bind ourselves to one another and to Him.


"Praise be You, My Lord, for all Your creatures, especially my Lord Sir Brother Sun, Who is the day through whom you give us light. And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor. Of You Most High, he bears the likeness."


Br. Joseph made his Solemn Profession of vows on September 21.  This article originally appeared on his blog: The Blue Wilderness

Men in Formation: Simply Professed and Postulants
Fr. Robert Caprio, OFM, celebrates 50 years of Priestly Ministry
BOSTON - In a wonderful celebration surrounded by friars, family and friends, Fr. Robert Caprio, OFM, celebrated his 50th Anniversary of Priestly Ordination with a special Mass at St. Leonard Church in Boston's North End.

Fr. John Bucchino, OFM, was the homilist for the Mass.  Fr. Antonio Nardoianni, OFM, and Fr. Roderick Crispo, OFM, were the principal concelebrants of the Mass.  About 10 additional friars were also present to participate in the Mass.  The men in formation were servers for the Mass.

In his homily, Fr. John spoke of Fr. Robert's priestly ministry, "As we celebrate this glorious day, we honor a man whose actions of love and service speak loudly to us of peace.  It is a day in which we honor our dear friend and brother,  Fr. Robert Caprio for his 50 years of Priestly service to God's people; we are grateful for how in his personal life and ministry, Fr. Robert has been a wonderful witness of the Lord's peace.  His priestly actions of  liturgical celebration, pastoral service, teaching, and guidance, have always reflected 'a face  shining with graciousness and a countenance showing deep sensitivity for others.'"

He continued, "
As I was preparing this homily, I thought I would use the tried and true method that we Friars often employ, for capturing who another friar is as a person, priest and brother.  That method is to check with some of his fellow friars; those who studied with him in seminary or  shared community with him along his journey.   Permit me to quote  some of their comments about him: 'a very loveable guy; no hidden agendas'; 'what you saw is what he was; and what he was was a very well integrated human being full of goodness and sensitivity to others.'; 'I never felt uncomfortable or uneasy around him; in fact, I enjoyed his company because he had that gift of making one feel accepted as they are and that they are worth something.  I was blessed by him in the seminary.' In short, these men knew Fr. Robert then as we know him still;  thus we are grateful for the gift of being blessed by his presence in our lives!"

Fr. Robert's priestly career has included many things including ministry as teacher, administrator, formator, spiritual guide and long-time ministry in pastoral care in the hospital setting. He currently is part of the Postulancy Team in Boston.


Fr. John concluded his homily with these words, "I want to acknowledge all the friars here, and those unable to attend. We are Robert's spiritual family; we have shared our life in fraternity with him, which has been vital for him and us.  We sometimes don't realize how much goodness we absorb from one another, like any family I suppose who take each other for granted.  May those in formation you work with, Fr. Robert, absorb many great lessons and example from you in the years ahead!"


Following the celebration, all were invited to a festive meal in the parish hall.




Valley of the Angels celebrates the Transitus of St. Francis
Children at Valley of the Angels in Guatemala celebrate the Transitus of St. Francis

Agape begins construction of Path of Prayer 

By Fr. Jack Hoak, OFM


SONSONATE, EL SALVADOR - Since La Asociación AGAPE de El Salvador is a pilgrimage site for all of El Salvador because of the Shrine to Divine Providence and the Oratory of Divine Mercy, we have decided to go ahead with the development of a Prayer Path that in essence will be Stations of the Cross, Mysteries of the Rosary and a number of grottos - Santa Ana, Our Lady of Peace, St. Francis to name a few. There are three major Patrons that are recognized in the country: Santa Ana, Jesus, Salvador del Mundo, and Our Lady of Peace. (So we figure, why not place smaller shrines along the Prayer Path honoring these patrons have).


The Stations of the Cross are shaped in triangular form to remind us of the Trinity as well as keep the symbolism of the main Shrine. The entire station will be covered with decorative tile with the upper portion of the triangle housing the image of the station with its Roman numeral. To the left of the monument is large planter for shrubs and flowers and to the right of the planter in front of the station, there is a place to kneel. In the lower right section of the triangle there will be a tiled representation of a mystery of the Rosary. A small plaza is designed for the entire station with two stone benches. A TAU cross will stand beside each plaza as an even more special sign of our Franciscan Heritage for this devotion. Since the plan for the Prayer Path will be for 15 stations (to include the Resurrection), each Station of the Cross will to have a mystery of the Rosary. The last five mysteries (the Luminous Mysteries) will be set apart with its own path and similar design of the triangle. At the Fifth and Tenth stations, the plaza will be larger than the others. The beginning of the Path will have a gathering area in the style of a pavilion and the last, or 15th station will be of a similar design (pavilion type, but with the meditation of the Resurrection).


The entire Prayer Path through the woods is projected for completion by Holy Week of 2014. Below is what I have posted in a fund raising letter which I have sent to the States indicating the cost of each station: "...might I suggest another area of development which we at AGAPE have undertaken for the many pilgrims that come to visit our shrine, oratory and surrounding property? I call it: Sendero de Oración (The Prayer Path). We are creating in the wooded area around the Shrine a path along which pilgrims can say the Stations of the Cross or pause to say one of the mysteries of the Rosary. The area will also have various pavilions for the pilgrims to rest with their families to have a meal or snack during their visits. How can you help? If you wish to be a Patron of La Asociación AGAPE de El Salvador (individually, with others in your family or community, through a Church or Civic organizations, or partnering with your place of work or business associates), to keep this nonprofit association providing assistance to the less fortunate of God´s children, then I am asking you to consider any of the following:


Prayer Path:

$2000.00 (name on the station) 

$1000.00 (name on the Giving Wall of the Station) 

$ 500.00 (name on the mystery of the Rosary) 

$ 100.00 (name on the Giving Wall of the Rosary)"


If the friars would like to promote this in their parishes or ministries, the amounts mentioned need not be specifically for a station or mystery, but any contribution will be graciously accepted with a receipt for tax purposes given to each donor.


Thank you for your attention. May the Lord give you Peace. 

International Congress for Missions/Evangelization held in Caledon

CALEDON, ONTARIO - From September 22-29, the International Congress on Missions and Evangelization of the Order met at our St. Francis Centre in Caledon.


Mission and Evangelization representatives from each of the Order's Conferences were present to share on the great work being done in each of their areas.  Representing the English Speaking Conference was Friar Gilles Bourdeau, OFM (St. Joseph Province).  Friar Joe Rozansky, OFM (Holy Name Province), Coordinator of the Order's Office of Justice and Peace was also present at the meeting.


The group also visited our St. Peter's Church in Woodbridge on Sunday, September 29 for Mass and were welcomed by the local fraternity there for lunch.


The climate of their meeting, as reported on the Order's website, was very fraternal and equally well participated. The work was also carried out in a climate of true and fraternal sharing spurred onward by an interest in the good of the Order in the various presences and activities of our Entities.


Highlighted at this gathering were the various positive and new experiences as well as the difficulties that the friars and the provinces are going through in different countries of the world where they operate.



Liberty Mural to be unveiled at Most Precious Blood

NEW YORK - Most Precious Blood Church will be the site of the unveiling of the LIBERTY mural on Saturday October 12 at 2 p.m.


Little Italy has created the L.I.S.A. project NYC (Little Italy Street Art) lisaprojectnyc.org, Manhattan's only mural district, with art ranging in size from 4' x 8' to a 25' x 45' mural by world renowned artist Ron English, to our grand addition of the 5 story tall LIBERTY mural by artist Tristan Eaton.  The mural is a tribute to the American spirit, the hard work and sacrifice made by our families though out the generations.


The mural unveiling begins at 2 p.m. in the courtyard of the Most Precious Blood Church and ends with a outdoor event across the street with an "art battle," 2 teams of 4 artists will paint a 10' x '40 wall, and will be judged by prominent folk from the art world as well as celebrity. The event will feature DJ, refreshments, and finger foods. The print press, TV media, bloggers and the Little Italy community will be present.


Now more than ever the city could use something beautiful to look at and be proud of, Little Italy has accomplished that with the L.I.S.A. project NYC. Please join us as we come together as Americans and we welcome the LIBERTY mural to Little Italy and the world.



New York Archdiocese begins Pastoral Planning Process
NEW YORK - The first meeting [Manhattan South] of MAKING ALL THINGS NEW: Pastoral Planning in the Archdiocese of New York -- took place recently in the hall of Immaculate Conception Church, East 14th Street.   The Core Teams of both St. Anthony Church and Most Precious Blood -- together with Fr. Joseph Lorenzo, OFM, Pastor of St. Anthony and Fr. Romano S. Almagno, OFM, Administrator of Most Precious Blood were present.


After the presentation of a letter from Cardinal Dolan in which he stressed that "... the Archdiocese is not a grouping of independent local entities acting in isolation.  Therefore, pastoral planing at the local level must be done in cooperation with neighboring parishes, as well as with the central administration of the Archdiocese"  the time-line [April 2013 to January 2015] was presented and discussed.

  • Parish self-evaluations, parish summary reports and data verification forms are to be completed by December 1, 2013.
  • Cluster Suggestions are due to the Archdiocesan Advisory Group by March 1, 2014
  • The Archdiocesan Advisory Group will complete its preliminary recommendations by March 31, 2014
  • The same Advisory Group will complete its final recommendations by June 30, 2014
  • Cardinal Dolan will announce his decisions in September 2014
  • Implementation begins in 2015

Three Parish Models were presented:

  • Collaborative Parishes = when parishes enter into formal coooperative relationships with other parishes.
  • Two-Linked Parishes =  when two or more parishes share a pastor.
  • Consolidated Parishes = the formation of vibrant communities of faith.

When parishes are CONSOLIDATED, almost always the newly formed parish will be given a new name and it will have one worship site.  In some situations, the newly formed parish will also require an additional worship site, depending upon circumstances.  There are two different ways for parishes to be reconfigured through consolidation according to canon law:  merging parishes and closing parishes.


When a MERGER occurs:

  • two or more parishes come together to form a new community
  • there is a new mane which represents the new community being formed
  • net assets and liabilities of the merging parishes go to the newly formed parish

When a CLOSING occurs:

  • one or more parishes and church buildings close, the remaining parishes come together to form a new parish community
  • people from the closed church are invited to the neighboring parishes
  • net assets and liabilities of the closed parishes are redistributed within a broad geographic area to provide for the pastoral care of the parishoners.

Obviously, all of this will have great implications on the two parishes we currently serve in the Archdiocese and on our Province itself.

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