Tag Archives: Franciscan

Capuchins Open Center in Jerusalem

The Order of
Capuchin Friars Minor opened a center for spirituality and formation for
religious and laypeople who want to attend courses and retreats in that region.
The center, which is inspired by the motto, “I am the light of the
world,” was inaugurated 28 September 2010.

At the inauguration ceremony,
Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, noted that this light is
the witness that believers make to those around them. He added that this idea
“is a topic of our next synod,” which will take place in Rome,
beginning Sunday, and will focus on the Middle East.

“In Jerusalem, we can
count on hundreds of religious congregations, 14 of which are contemplative
communities,” the prelate said. “They are the strength and richness
of the Latin Catholic Church.” He continued: “Today we inaugurate a
new center for spirituality and welcome, thanks to the goodwill of our beloved
Capuchins, a center called to be light.” “True Christians influence
the world around them and reflect the light of the Lord,” the archbishop

The property where the center is located belonged to the Capuchin
order since the 1930’s, when Archbishop Luigi Barlassina invited the religious
to build a convent in the Jewish area of Jerusalem.

However, the friars had to
leave Jerusalem during World War II, putting the project on hold. The property
was taken over by the state for a psychiatric hospital. The Capuchin center
project was later revived in the 1990’s.

Present at the inauguration ceremony
were: Fr. Mauro Jöhri, Capuchin General Minister and the entire Definitory; His
Beatitude, Archbishop. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem; Archbishop
Antonio Franco, Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Apostolic Nuncio in Israel;
Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, Custos of the Holy Land; Bishop
Francesco Beschi, Bishop of Bergamo; the Capuchin Order’s Legal Representative,
the General Bursar, the Capuchin Provincial Minister of Venice, other
Franciscan Provincials.

The renovation was made possible by a number of
benefactors, with a considerable contribution from the Cariplo Foundation.

A photo
of the center’s dedication is here.

The Latin Patriarch of
Jerusalem posted a story on
the center

Zenit carried a story on this center.

story is reposted and edited from Capuchin Newsnotes, 13 October 2010)

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.

Religious life 2010: Profession of vows, entrances and ordinations

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Spring and summer great times in abbeys and great orders because of the ordinations, profession of vows, entrances to the novitiate and the anticipation of such things. God, indeed, provides…God hears our prayers for humble workers in the vineyards. We seek the face of God together, in faith, hope and charity.
For last two years I’ve been compiling a selective list of orders that have received new members and noting which ones had professions of vows because I was awe struck by the fact that some people are still being called to do such. That is to say, I am not struck by the fact that God still calls men and women to accept the gift of religious life but that they actually say ‘yes’ to the Divine Invitation to follow Him.
I was also curious to know which groups, randomly surveyed, got new members. Leading others to Christ is serious business, so I wanted to know how the Church in America might fare in the future with fewer vocations. For example, the tri-provinces of the Eastern Jesuits (the Provinces of Maryland, New England & New York) admitted only 8 for themselves for 2010. To compare numbers, in the New England Province in 1990, 6 men entered the Jesuit society (only 1 remains today) and in 2010 they admitted only 2 men. Dismal numbers given the beauty of the vocation. What would Saint Ignatius of Loyola say?????
Let us note well: Some religious orders or monasteries don’t want anyone to know the facts of professions, entrants or ordinations too readily. This is frustrating because the info should be readily available if a group has a website. There is good reason to believe that many religious are embarrassed by the fact that no one is entering or that with all the money being spent on vocation promotion no one is interested in their way of life as it is lived in that group’s context. Moreover, some orders are not aware of the value of internet technology in today’s era, or are just incapable of find the “right way” to use technology to assist in getting the word out there that life exists in their order or that the charism they’re living is worth living and may be attractive to others.
We should acknowledge the fact that some orders are dying (or are already dead and the membership is refusing to admit that their group is dead) but if God has given the grace to come into existence, to abort the charism/vocation too readily and without taking stock in the factors that have contributed to diminishment and the factors of correctives, is perplexing.
Nothing beats being faithful to some simple facts which encourages a faithful living of the vowed life and makes it attractive to others:
  • a common prayer life and personal prayer which includes Mass, the Divine Office, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Lectio Divina, the rosary; a daily hour could be optional but there ought to be a good reason why a religious is not making a holy hour more often than not;
  • a common vision for living and serving the gospel in the Catholic Church as it is today, not as the Church “was in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s” or what the Church “should be”; the work done together, whether serving the poor, teaching school, being chaplains needs to cohere to the founding charism, be done together, and with joy in the Risen Lord; serving the gospel and the Church means being faithful to the Church’s teaching authority, which means pastoral authority of the Pope and the bishops;
  • a caring fraternal life
  • the wearing of a religious habit not only in the house but in public; if you won’t wear the habit in a restaurant or movie theater or any other place, including the airport, then you shouldn’t be there; the wearing of the roman collar for religious orders should be done by exception if there is a legitimate habit available and the lapel pin just doesn’t cut it.
In sum, I’d say that a religious ought to live the virtues we observe in God’s Trinitarian life: be familial/communal with to regard to living, faithfully accepting of another’s differences (the gifts the other brings), maintaining a personal dependence on another realizing that we humans didn’t make ourselves and we really only know ourselves in light the other person, having an attitude for the sharing of resources and the practice of hospitality remembering that we receive guests as though it was Christ Himself knocking on our door.
The fruit of prayer and witness to Christ is seen in the admission of candidates to religious life as postulants, novices, simply and solemnly professed members as well as ordinations. Let me give you a sampling of what I am talking about –this is not a comprehensive list:
The Monastic Life:
Monastero di Bose (Italy) solemnly professed three, 1 monk and 2 nuns.
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Saint Walburga Abbey (Virginia Dale, CO) have 3 novices, 1 sister professed simple vows and there are 5 sisters in temporary vows. The abbey has a blog.
Saint Emma Monastery (Greensburg, PA) has 1 novice.
Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles (Kansas City-St Joseph, MO) have regular vocations but as to numbers, that is unknown. You would have to wait for their newsletter or call them.
Abbey of St Paul outside the Walls (Rome) simply professed 1 and there are 2 novices.
St Louis Abbey solemnly professed 2 monks, will simply profess 1 and admitted 1 to the postulancy and ordained another to the priesthood in June. Father Bede reports that in the past 13 months there have been a total of 5 solemn professions and D.V. there will be 1 simple profession in November and a solemn profession in January 2011.
St Anselm’s Abbey (Washington, DC) simply professed 1 monk.
Marmion Abbey solemnly professed 1 monk and admitted 2 to the novitiate.


St John’s Abbey 2 monks made solemn vows and 4 simply professed vows; their stories are here; 2 were admitted to the community.
St Mary’s Abbey (Morristown, NJ) simply professed 2 monks on May 1. Four entered the novitiate.
St Vincent’s Archabbey ordained 1 to the priesthood, 5 became novices and 4 professed simple vows. The juniorate has 13 monks.

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St Meinrad Archabbey ordained 1 priest and 2 professed solemn vows.
St Benedict’s Abbey (in Kansas) ordained 2 monks, 1 to the order of deacon and another to the priesthood.
St Benedict’s Abbey (in Wisconsin) simply professed 1.
Conception Abbey simply professed 1, solemnly professed 1 and 4 entered the novitiate.
The Monastery of San Benedetto (Norcia, Italy) had 2 monks profess simple vows and 1 profess solemn vows this summer. The community was founded in 1998 in Rome and in 2000 moved Norcia, Italy. The community grows.
Benedictine monasteries worth knowing about, who live the life but don’t publish the numbers of their monasteries with accuracy:
The Dominican nuns of Summit, NJ, the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, will simple profess 1 and 1 entered the postulancy. Watch their slide show.
The Carmelite Monks (Cody, WY) had 4 postulants enter, 2 enter the novitiate and a perpetual profession. 2 were ordained to the diaconate.
The Norbertine Canons of the  Abbey of Saint Norbert (DePere, WI) admitted 3 the novitiate (2 for St Norbert’s & 1 for the daughter house Santa Maria de la Vid in New Mexico); there is 1 novice in the 2nd year novitiate.
The Norbertine Canons of Daylesford Abbey (Paoli, PA) admitted 1 to the novitiate, there is 1 2nd year novice, 2 others in formation for priesthood.
The Norbertine Canons of the Abbey of Saint Michael (Silverado, CA) 2 professed solemn vows; new postulants were accepted; 1 was ordained a priest and 1 a deacon.
Apostolic Orders:
The Missionary Fraternity of St Charles Borromeo educates 40 seminarians in Rome and who ordained 3 as priests on June 26; plus there are houses of formation in Mexico and Chile.
The Conventual Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception Province simply professed 1 friar; 1 made solemn vows.
The Conventual Franciscans of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation received 2 postulants and 1 novice; there was 1 simple profession of vows.
The Capuchin Friars of Saint Mary’s Province simply professed 2 friars, and ordained 1; seven student friars renewed vows; 1 friar ordained deacon; 2 novices received the habit.
The Capuchin Friars of the Province of Our Lady of the Angels admitted 5 to the postulancy.
The Capuchin Friars of the Province of Saint Conrad simply professed 1 friar, 1 novice, 3 postulants and 1 friar ordained deacon.
The Capuchin Province of Saint Joseph 2 novices received the habit.
The Capuchin Friars of the Saint Augustine Province simply professed 1 friar; 7 novices received the habit
The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal had 3 sisters profess final vows and 5 take the habit.
The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal had 6 friars profess final vows and 10 remain in the novitiate; 4 friars were ordained deacons.
The Franciscan friars of the Holy Name Province finally professed 4 friars and admitted 4 men as postulants; 2 friars ordained deacons.
The Dominicans of the Western Province ordained 5 men to the priesthood, 3 novices took simple vows.
The Dominican friars in Canada had 5 men enter the novitiate.


The Dominican Province of St Joseph ordained 3 to the priesthood, simply professed 8 with 21 men who entered the novitiate.
The Dominican Province of Saint Albert the Great had 10 men enter the novitiate, 3 make simple vows and 2 make solemn vows; 2 friars ordained priests and 1 friar ordained deacon.
The Dominican Missionaries for the Deaf Apostolate perpetually professed 1; 2 are in theological studies preparing for priesthood; the community has 12 members in 2 priories.
The Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus had 4 sisters renew vows; 1 professed perpetual vows and 3 entered the novitiate and 1 entered the second year of novitiate. There are also 4 new pre-postulants.
The Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma had 7 sisters finish the first year novitiate.

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The Sisters of St Francis of the Martyr St George (Alton, IL) 21 junior sisters renewed their vows; 4 professed simple vows, 5 entered the postulant program, 3 entered the 1st year novitiate and 2 moved to the 2nd year novitiate.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist simply professed 1 and received 1 into the novitiate joining 4 other sisters; the FSE also received 1 into the postulancy.
The Congregation of St Cecilia, Dominican Sisters of Nashville perpetually professed 5 and simply professed 9; 20 were invested as novices and 26 new postulants entered.
The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (Ann Arbor, MI) had 8 make their simple profession of vows & 5 made perpetual vows. 11 enter the novitiate and 22 enter the aspirancy. Founded in 1997 the congregation has more than 100 sisters.
The Sisters of Life simply professed 10 and finally professed 1; 7 sisters began the novitiate.

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!

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]yahoo.com.
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