The 2014-2015 Class of Postulants

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in NA Provinces


This year, the Conventual Franciscans welcomed eight men who will be spending the next year with them as postulants.The postulancy is a program that gives men who are discerning a vocation with the frairs a chance to live in a friary and learn about Franciscan life as well as the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. Below you will find the biographies of the postulants. They were compiled by Brother Joseph Wood and Friar Paul Schloemer:

Aaron Clark 1

Aaron Clark

Aaron Clark, 41, is from Los Altos, CA. He has been working in the technology industry in sales and customer service for 10+ years, and has been a business owner. Five years ago he came back to the Church feeling called to help and serve others as a Franciscan. The past two years he has been on the spiritual care team at a hospital, a tutor for ESL, and active in serving the poor.

Ted Cramer

Ted Cramer

Ted Cramer, 33, born in San Luis Obispo, CA, has made Laramie, Wyoming his home for the past 13 years. After completing degrees in engineering and math, he decided to stay in Laramie to manage construction for the local Habitat for Humanity. Jobs changed, but his dedication to St. Paul's Newman Center, the local church, grew ever stronger through coordinating student/resident dinners, facility remodeling and upkeep, and just helping whenever needed. Ted has been feeling the pull to religious life for many years and believes living with a community of Conventuals is the best way to continue his discernment.


Roberson Lubin 1

Roberson Lubin

Roberson Lubin, 28, was born and raised in Les Cayes, Haiti. He also lived in the Dominican Republic for 4 years where he taught High School French, as well as teaching Creole to the elderly. He has a Diploma in Cross-Culture or Interculturality. He enjoyed volunteering at Our Lady of the Rosary Medical Center and Parish for 3 years. He first met the Friars at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish at Hermosa Beach in California and immediately felt the Franciscan calling. He likes languages and culture as well as listening to music, sports and reading. Roberson is fluent in Creole, French, Spanish and he is improving his English.  

Christopher Garcia 1

Christopher Garcia

Christopher Garcia, 22, was born in Dana Point, CA. He graduated from Saint Mary’s College of CA in May 2014 with a BA in Theology and Religious Studies with minors in History and Philosophy. He came across the Conventuals when the vocation director started offering Mass at his college in the spring of his Junior year. Chris is an avid reader, a sports enthusiast, and photographer; he enjoys going to the movies, and hanging out with friends in his free time.

Tim Blanchard

Tim Blanchard

Tim Blanchard, 19, was born in Latham, NY and has worked in numerous kitchens both for employment and voluntarily. Working in a banquet house that had a partnership with the regional food bank in NY he was able to work and be part of providing over 500,000 meals for the poor. Tim has also volunteered at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Latham for 11 years where he met the MI youth group and eventually became a youth retreat leader working with the Conventuals at Marytown, Libertyville, IL. Here he experienced the friars’ passion for life and love of God. After years of discernment he decided to enter the community right after high school and is excited to see what crazy adventure Our Lady has planned for him!

Franck Lino Sokpolie

Franck Lino Sokpolie

Franck Lino Sokpolie, 19, was born in Lome, Togo and immigrated with his family to the United States in 2006. A freshmen in college, he has been studying, philosophy, political science and foreign languages. Franck’s vocational discernment has been a long journey. After visiting many Orders, Franck felt called to the Conventuals as he experienced their ministries, spirituality and community lifestyle. When not studying or reading, Franck is usually out for a run. He also enjoys rock climbing and peaceful mornings. He is very intrigued by the life of the Saints and the Blessed Virgin Mary. 


Jaime Zaragoza

Jaime Zaragoza is a twenty-six year old young man from El Paso, Texas. He comes from a very faithful family (his father was recently ordained as a deacon,) and has grown closer and closer to his Church in recent years. Jaime played college football for a year at Sul Ross State U., but then left school to work as a cook at a country club and also as a volunteer cook for a homeless shelter. Jaime first met the friars at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in El Paso. 

(Source of images: OFM Conv.)


A New Friar-priest arrives at the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in NA Provinces


Friar Luke Poczworowski


Over the last few years, Friar Luke Poczworowski worked as the pastor of five parishes in rural Illinois. The Conventual Franciscan brought a lot of energy to this ministry and excited parishioners about their faith. They were in turn delighted to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood earlier this year.


Now, Friar Luke has moved to a new ministry. He will be serving the parishioners of the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a faith community founded by Polish immigrants in 1901. Many people from St. Josaphat know Friar Luke since in the past he had been St. Bonaventure Province’s Minister Provincial. St. Bonaventure Province encompasses Wisconsin, Illinois and other portions of the United States Midwest. As Minister Provincial, Friar Luke visited his province’s friars at their various ministries where he listened to their concerns and took care of their needs. He also got to know many of the people that the friars serve and collaborate with. Conventual Franciscan life, after all, always revolves around living in and serving a community.


(Source of image: OFM Conv.)

Mexico City is a Center of Catholic Faith

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in NA Provinces

friar francisco nahoe

Friar Francisco Nahoe

We are familiar with the important pilgrimage sites to our faith in Europe, the Holy Land and other areas of the Middle East. In North America, there are also many important pilgrimage destinations where Catholics can travel for inspiration and a deeper experience of our faith.

One such destination is Mexico City. Conventual Franciscan Friar Francisco Nahoe, the rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Basilica in Reno, Nevada, will lead a pilgrimage to Mexico’s capital form November 24 to 29, 2014. He will introduce pilgrims to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other important places.


The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Mexico

Construction of the old Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe began in 1531 in the vicinity of Tepeyac Hill where Our Lady had appeared to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin not long before. Construction of the basilica finished in the early 1700s. Between 1974 and 1976, the Church built a new basilica building because the old basilica was at the time unstable. Today both are open to the faithful and the curious.

(Sources for image 1 and image 2: OFM Conv. and Protoplasma Kid/WikimediaCommons.)


Franciscan from Massachusetts Travels to Ontario, Canada to Speak About Friars Working in Brazil

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in NA Provinces

Friar Joe F

Friar Joe Freitag

In the nearly 30 years that Friar Joe Freitag has been a Conventual Franciscan, he has amongst various ministries served the poor and vulnerable people of Syracuse, New York and taught children with special abilities at a school on Staten Island. His latest ministry in Chicopee, Massachusetts calls upon him to care for elderly friars.

Last Sunday, Friar Joe found himself at St. Patrick Parish in Markham, Ontario, a northern suburb of Toronto where he spoke during that day’s Masses. The topic of his talk was the Conventual Franciscan Friars’ mission in Brazil. Friars in Brazil serve many communities where the poorest of the poor reside. They assist these men, women and children in spiritual matters while also working to improve their standard of life.

Vocations to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual in Brazil are rising. Young friars as they proceed in their formation receive an excellent education in seminaries, which they then use in their service to communities around the country. Friar Joe admitted that costs for educating friars are high. He asked the men and women of St. Patrick Parish to pray for the friars and the people they serve and to help financially with their education if they can. After the conclusion of each Mass he happily talked with parishioners who were leaving the church.

(Source of image: OFM Conv.)

God is Listening

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in NA Provinces

Friar Richard Kaley is the Conventual Franciscan pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Bloomington, Minnesota. This church makes a concerted effort at communicating the richness of our faith to the world. On its website, visitors can find audio and video homilies, bulletins, and also newsletters.

Today we bring you one of Friar Richard’s video homilies. Found above, the homily encourages those of us who feel like outsiders to never give up reaching out to God. The Lord loves us, always hears our calls, and answers them too.

New Friaries in Aberdeen and Oxford

Written by Peter Rajchert on . Posted in NA Provinces


Conventual Franciscans in Oxford, United Kingdom

In a sign of the Conventual Franciscans’ growing presence in the United Kingdom, Friar James McCurry – the Minister Provincial of Our Lady of the Angels Province – recently erected two new friaries in the Blessed Agnellus of Pisa Custody, which covers the United Kingdom and Ireland. His Our Lady of the Angels Province encompasses the eastern United States and Canada, but is also responsible for the friars in the UK and Ireland.

The first new friary in Aberdeen, Scotland takes on the name of Blessed John Duns Scotus. The second new friary can be found in Oxford, England. It falls under the patronage of Blessed Agnellus of Pisa and will also serve as the house of formation for friars in the region.


The foundation of the friaries in Aberdeen and Oxford is historic. Both Conventual Franciscan homes mark the friars’ return to the two cities after an absence of around 500 years. The Order of Friars Minor Conventual itself reestablished its presence in the United Kingdom in 1907 after having been suppressed by King Henry VIII in 1538. The Order’s beginnings in the British Isles date back to 1224.


(Source of image: