Category Archives: Franciscans

Has the Catholic Church in Turkey been too neglected by us?

Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini, OFM Cap. of Izmir,
Turkey, and Administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Anatolia and President
of the Turkish Episcopal Conference, gave the following intervention today. The
point of noting the Archbishop’s intervention here is that I believe we have to be concerned with
the reality of the Catholic faithful in places outside our neighborhood. Catholics can’t simply concerned with matters that are near. The June murder of Capuchin Bishop Luigi Padovese‘s death has remained a key point in my prayer, interest
in ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, the missionary aspect of the Church’s
preaching program and the extent to which one would lay down his life for the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is Luigi Padovese a martyr? Franceschini has been clear that Padovese’s death was premeditated by Islamic radicals with a hatred toward Christianity while the Turkish authorities insist the murder was personal and not politically or religiously motivated. I am not sure as I didn’t know the state of his soul or his true relationship with Christ. The designation of a person as a martyr is a matter for Mother Church to make, but I might be persuaded to think in that direction. Christians comprise less than one percent of the Turkish nation.

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“The little Church of Turkey, at times ignored,
had her sad moment of fame with the brutal murder of Bishop Luigi Padovese
O.F.M. Cap., president of the Turkish Episcopal Conference. In a few words I
would like to close this unpleasant episode by erasing the intolerable slander
circulated by the very organisers of the crime. It was premeditated murder, by
those same obscure powers that poor Luigi had just a few months earlier
identified as being responsible for the killing of Fr. Andrea Santoro, the
Armenian journalist Dink and four Protestants of Malatya. It is a murky story
of complicity between ultra-nationalists and religious fanatics, experts in the
‘strategia della tensione’. The pastoral and administrative situation in the
vicariate of Anatolia is serious. … What do we ask of the Church? We simply
ask what we are lacking: a pastor, someone to help him, the means to do so, and
all of this with reasonable urgency. … The survival of the Church of Anatolia
is at risk. … Nonetheless, I wish to reassure neighbouring Churches –
especially those that are suffering persecution and seeing their faithful
become refugees – that the Turkish Episcopal Conference will continue to
welcome them and offer fraternal assistance, even beyond our abilities. In the
same way, we are open to pastoral co-operation with our sister Churches and
with positive lay Muslims, for the good of Christians living in Turkey, and for
the good of the poor and of the many refugees who live in Turkey”.

Conventual Franciscan professes vows: Gabriel Scasino hopes to attain perfect charity

Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending a friend’s profession of first vows as a Conventual Franciscan friar. Friar Gabriel Mary Scasino is a member of the Immaculate Conception Province of Conventuals. The vow ceremony was held at the National Shrine of St Anthony of Padua, Ellicott City, MD, on the Solemnity of St Joseph of Cupertino (the day was a solemnity because the friary is dedicated to the honor of Cupertino).

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Friar Gabriel is one of two men who Franciscan Conventuals from New Haven, CT. There is 1 Capuchin also from New Haven.
You may ask what is a “Conventual Franciscan”? Some may hear the terms “black Franciscans” or “Grey Friars” or even “community of Franciscans”. All are synonyms. The friars are called “black” or “grey” Franciscans due to the color of the habit worn.
The friars themselves define themselves in their Constitutions as “… a community founded by St. Francis of Assisi under the name of Friars Minor. From its earliest times the word conventual was added to this name. The members of the Order are called Friars minor Conventual. From its found our community by the will of our Father St. Francis, is a true fraternity. Its members, therefore, as brothers of a single family, share in the life and work of the community ….”
Further it is stated that “St. Francis wanted his brothers to be known as Friars Minor ‘so that…from the very name itself his disciples might realize that they had come to the school of the humble Christ to learn humility.” Plus it is said that the “friars are united in a conventual fraternity, in the proper sense of that term, so as to foster greater dedication, a more regular life, a more fervent divine office, a better formation of candidates, the study of theology, and the other works of the apostolate in the service of the Church of God so that, especially under the guidance of Mary Immaculate, the Kingdom of Christ may be extended throughout the world.”

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So, Gabriel become a member of the venerable order founded by the saint himself. But what does “profession of vows” mean? According to the Constitutions, one’s profession of vows means that friars:
  • “dedicate themselves directly and entirely to God in a special manner;
  • are conformed more exactly to the type of life Christ the Lord chose for Himself and are united in a special way to the Church and her saving mission;
  • stimulate the fervor of their charity through a fuller expression of their baptismal consecration, progress in the life of pilgrims and penitents, and voluntarily deny themselves goods and otherwise highly esteemed.”
Also, it is taught that “By their very nature the three vows bind under pain of serious sin.” Everything we do has some type of implication.

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Folding his hands between those of the Father Minister Provincial Justin Biase, and resting them on the Evangeliary, Friar Gabriel said:
To the praise and glory of the Most Holy Trinity! I, friar Gabriel Mary Scasino inspired by divine grace to follow the Gospel more closely in the footsteps of our Lord, Jesus Christ, with firm faith and will, in the presence of my brothers, into your hands friar Justin, vow to God, the holy and omnipotent Father, to live for three years of my life in obedience, without anything of my own, and in chastity, and I also promise to observe faithfully the life and Rule of the Friars Minor confirmed by Pope Honorius, according to the Constitutions of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. Therefore, I commit myself to this fraternity with my whole heart, so that, by the working of the Holy Spirit, the example of Mary Immaculate, the intercession of our Father Francis and all the saints, with the help of brothers in the service of God, the Church and humanity, I may attain perfect charity. (Vow formula, OFM Conventual)
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One striking promise made to Gabriel by the Provincial upon receiving the vows is that “if you [Gabriel Mary] observe them [the vows], I promise you life everlasting.” The certainty is what impressed me; the certainty that the Franciscan way of life, if observed, leads one to the personal encounter with God. Very few instances in the Christian life, in addition to Baptism and the holy Eucharist, can make this assertion with faithfulness and Truth.
The video of the vow ceremony can be seen here and other pics here.

Our Lady of the Angels & The Portiuncula Indulgence

From a life on Saint Francis of Assisi by Saint Bonaventure:

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“The Portiuncula was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God which was abandoned. Francis had great devotion to the Queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly in order to repair it. He heard that the Angels often visited it, so that it was called Saint Mary of the Angels, and he decided to stay there permanently out of reverence for the angels and love for the Mother of Christ.

He loved this spot more than any other in the world. It was here he began his religious life in a very small way; it is here he came to a happy end. When he was dying, he commended this spot above all others to the friars, because it was most dear to the Blessed Virgin.

This was the place where Saint Francis founded his Order by divine inspiration and it was divine providence which led him to repair three churches before he founded the Order and began to preach the Gospel.

This meant that he progressed from material things to more spiritual achievements, from lesser to greater, in due order, and it gave a prophetic indication of what he would accomplish later.

As he was living there by the church of Our Lady, Francis prayed to her who had conceived the Word, full of grace and truth, begging her insistently and with tears to become his advocate. Then he was granted the true spirit of the Gospel by the intercession of the Mother of mercy and he brought it to fruition.

He embraced the Mother of Our Lord Jesus with indescribable love because, as he said, it was she who made the Lord of majesty our brother, and through her we found mercy. After Christ, he put all his trust in her and took her as his patroness for himself and his friars.”

More on today’s feast of Our Lady of the Angels and the Portiuncula Indulgence here. One has to remember that Holy Father Francis received this “little portion” church from the Benedictine monks!

Keeping the mission in front us

Fr Herald CFR.jpegMissions to help people find their true humanity and to know the mercy of Christ and friends, always needs our personal attention: friendship, prayers & study and financial assistance. Can I get you thinking about the foreign missions by personally undertaking some work to know the good work of missionaries and the work of the Holy Spirit? 

Consider this blog post a seed planted: make a plan to go to the missions for period of time (even for a week), support a project with friendly letters, human contact and financial support and most certainly with your prayer to the Saints Francis Xavier, Therese of Lisieux and Josephine Bahkita for their intercession before God’s throne.
In all the consider you make, perhaps you may want to pray the Memorare to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Feeling a call to serve as a missionary in the Sudan, one of Africa’s incredibly poor countries, Father Herald Joseph Brock, CFR asked his superiors if he could serve the Church in Sudan. With tremendous generosity of the Friars of the Renewal and friends, Father Herald is rocking on… Father Herald writes a blog, “CFR Sudan Mission,” to keep friends engaged in his projects.
Making donations to the Franciscan Mission Outreach –CFR Sudan Mission can be done here. Last September I made a plea for help for the Mission.

Luigi Padovese murdered by Turk

Luigi Padovese.jpgBishop Luigi Padovese, OFM Cap, 63, was murdered today at about 1pm local time by his driver who it is claimed had psychological problems and history of violent outbreaks was supposedly a convert to Christianity but some news agencies are naming the driver a Muslim. At the moment no one is claiming political motivation for the murder.

Bishop Padovese was born at Milan, Italy and a member of the Capuchin Franciscan order. He was ordained a priest for nearly 37 years and a bishop for 5.5 years. He was the Vicar Apostolic in Anatolia.

Bishop Padovese was to meet Pope Benedict XVI with other Middle East bishops in Cyprus to receive the Instumentum laboris, the working document for the forthcoming Synod of Bishops, scheduled to meet in October.

The Minister General of the Capuchins posted this brief bio for Bishop Luigi.

The BBC story noted here and Spero News here.

May God grant mercy Bishop Luigi Padovese mercy and may his memory be eternal.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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