19 November 2017

Solanus Casey beatification - 2

In a show of faith and the effectiveness of a listening ear, over 60 thousand people braved the rain and cold to attend the beatification of Solanus Casey at Detroit's Ford Field on Saturday, November 18, 2017. Among the faithful in attendance were nearly 350 Capuchin friars from many parts of the world. It was a joyous occasion for everyone.

18 November 2017

Solanus Casey beatification - 1

Capuchins from all parts of North America are gathering in Detroit this weekend for the November 18 beatification of Br. Solanus Casey, the first North American Capuchin to become a Blessed, and only the second American-born male to reach this honor. Many of those present in the city came together on Friday evening for Evening Prayer and appetizers in one of Detroit's Capuchin Soup Kitchens this evening, and then were transported to the other Capuchin Soup Kitchen for dinner. The joyous occasion of Solanus' beatification was made even more joyous by the presence of so many Capuchins.

Speaking to the assembled friars during Vespers, the General Minister, Br. Mauro Jöhri, spoke of how Venerable Solanus Casey modeled the Capuchin charism for us. While he never traveled to a distant land, he embodied the missionary spirit by welcoming and accepting everyone who came to him, in the same way that Jesus welcomed all the sick, the suffering and even sinners. Although this is the first beatification of an American Capuchin, Mauro reminded us, it should not be the last. The path to holiness taken by Solanus is open to all of us, and now that sixty years have passed since the death of Solanus, it is time for others to follow his lead. Even if we have done nothing up until now, let us begin again, brothers!

11 November 2017

Chapter of the Province of Australia

New Provincial Council (l to r): Thomas McFadden, Lam Vu, Gerard O'Dempsey, provincial minister, Julian Messina, provincial vicar, and Michael O'Dwyer
Please include in your prayers the newly-elected provincial council of the Province of Australia. It is always a joy to spend quality time with my brothers throughout the world, and this week was certainly no exception. As this was likely the last chapter at which I will preside, however, the week was bittersweet for me. I will miss these opportunities in the future.

20 October 2017

Chapter of the Stigmata Province

Meet the new provincial minister and council of the Province of the Sacred Stigmata of Saint Francis (aka the New Jersey Province). The provincial minister is Br. Remo DiSalvatore (center), the provincial vicar is Br. Robert Williams (second from the right), the second councilor is Br. Francisco Arrendondo (far right), the third councilor is Br. Ronald Giannone (far left) and the fourth councilor is Br. Robert Perez (second from the left).

Congratulations and godspeed. 

01 October 2017

At the Service of the Church as Capuchins

About half of our Capuchin bishops attended the gathering held for them in Assisi on September 13-15. We are extremely proud of these men - dedicated both to serving the Church and to preserving their Capuchin spirit.

24 July 2017

Profession of temporary vows

One downside of being on the general council is that I cannot attend most of the celebrations in my province. An advantage, however, is that I can attend the celebrations of other provinces. This evening, I had the privilege of attending the profession of temporary vows by Br. Sunil D'Costa in Toronto. His vows were accepted by Br. Mauro Jöhri, who is visiting the Province of Central Canada at the moment.
Best wishes and prayers, Br. Sunil!

21 May 2016

The changing face of the Order in North America

The new provincial council of the Province of Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd (left to right): Br. John Juhl, Br. Henry Alva, Br. Germaine Kpakafi, Br. John Frampton and Br. Paul Duplessie
The Province of Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd (Central Canada) celebrated its tenth ordinary provincial chapter during May 16-19. The underlying topics of discussion would have been familiar to most of the provinces in the North American-Pacific Capuchin Conference: how to deal with the financial, fraternal and ministerial challenges brought about by the aging and shrinking of the province's membership, and how to assure quality formation for the young men who want to join the Order, to name two of the topics. This chapter, however, was unique in at least one respect. It was the first chapter in the history of the Order in North America to elect a provincial minister who is neither a native of North America or of the founders' country. The new provincial minister, Br. Henry Alva, is a member of the Province of Karnataka (India) who opted several years ago to minister in this province. To put an exclamation point on this unique situation, the newly-elected provincial vicar, Br. Germain Kpakafi, is a member of the General Custody of the Congo who has been ministering in Canada for the past few years.

The uniqueness of this situation may not last long. Most of the circumscriptions in the NAPCC have some form of collaborative arrangement with one or more circumscriptions in other countries. The phenomenon is again changing the face of the Order in the conference. The first change took place decades ago as provinces gradually became "americanized", even while keeping some vestigial customs of their founding provinces. Now, the provinces here are becoming increasingly multicultural, or as some would prefer to say, intercultural. The change is taking place not only because friars from other circumscriptions are coming here temporarily to minister, but also because the North American provinces are getting vocations from a wider range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Given this situation, it will not be at all surprising if provincial councils in the NAPCC begin increasingly to portray the global reach of the Order.