27 Jun

Romania: New Priests

On Friday, June 23, 2017, thirteen young men were ordained to the priesthood by the Most Reverend Petru GHERGHEL, Bishop of Iasi. The ceremony took place in the Roman Catholic Church of Iasi. Five of the newly ordained priests were friars from the Romanian Province of St. Joseph of the Order of the Friars Minor Conventual. The remaining eight were from the Diocese of Iasi.

Others attending the celebration included: the Most Reverend Aurel PERCA, Auxiliary Bishop of Iasi, Friar Teofil PETRISOR, Minister Provincial, along with rectors, professors and formators of the institutes where the candidates studied, priests from Romania and abroad, parents and family members of the candidates and a large number of the faithful.
Next Sunday, the new priests will celebrate their first masses in their places of origin.

Friar Virgil BLAJ, Provincial Secretary

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22 Jun

Istanbul: Franciscan Priestly Ordination

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, Friar Andrew HOCHSTEDLER, OFM Conv., was ordained a priest at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Istanbul, Turkey.


This significant occasion was attended by friars from the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, a Custody of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. The Custody belongs to the Province of St. Joseph Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania. Other participants included friars from Italy, Croatia, France and the United States; priests of the Apostolic Vicariate of Istanbul together with the Most Reverend Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez, OFM, Vicar Apostolic of Istanbul; plus family and friends of Friar Andrew.


The Mass was presided over by the Most Reverend Cesar ESSAYAN, OFM Conv., Bishop of Beirut and former Custos of the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land. It was during his time as Custos that Friar Cesar first guided the newly ordained on his vocational journey. Now as a Bishop, he imposed his hands on Friar Andrew and conferred Sacred Orders upon him.
Before the Mass, there was a moment of interior preparation. Guests, tourists and music lovers were treated to a concert by Romanian organist Eduard ANTAL. His playing created a joyful atmosphere which was conducive to the celebration.


At the beginning of the Mass, Friar Martin KMETEC, the Vicar Custos, welcomed everyone and gave thanks to the Lord for the gift that Friar Andrew has been to the Custody. At the same time he stressed that there had never been a priestly ordination in this basilica before. In his homily, Bishop ESSAYAN mentioned Pope Francis’ message of June 10, 2017: “Life can survive only because of the generosity of other lives.” In fact, recalling St. Maximilian Maria KOLBE, who gave his life to save another life in 1941, in Auschwitz, the Bishop of Beirut invited Friar Andrew to consider this example: being a priest is a grace from the Lord but at the same time this grace, this gift, becomes a gift to others.


Friar Andrew HOCHSTEDLER was born on July 20, 1983, in Istanbul, to a Protestant family. In 2008, after having worked for three years as a journalist, he started his vocational journey at the St. Anthony friary in Istanbul. From there, he entered the postulancy program in Brescia, Italy. He studied philosophy at the Theological Institute of Assisi and studied theology at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure (Seraphicum) in Rome. Friar Andrew professed his solemn vows in the Order of Friars Minor Conventual at the Basilica of St. Anthony, in Istanbul, on September 13, 2014. He was ordained a deacon in the parish of Saint Antoine in Beirut, on December 4, 2016.


friar Lucian ABALINTOAIEI, OFM Conv.



Ordinazione Sacerdotale A Istanbul

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06 Jun

Saint Anthony Community Center Opened in Zahle, Lebanon

 The Saint Anthony of Padua Community Center was inaugurated in Zahle (Lebanon) on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 11 A.M.

Present at the event were Mons. Cesar Essayan, Apostolic Vicar of Beirut, Friar Valentino Maragno, director of the global “Anthonian” Caritas, Friar Martin Kmetec, Custodial Vicar of the Orient and the Holy Lands, and many Friars Minor Conventual from Lebanon as well as local volunteers active in serving refugees and the poor.

The Saint Anthony of Padua Community Center is located in Zahle’s industrial district. The inauguration began with a speech by Maragno, in which he explained the origins of the idea for the center. Friar Kmetec thanked the “Anthonian” Caritas for their willingness to get involved in this project. Finally, Mons. Essayan prayed a prayer blessing for the center and for all the people who will use the facility to live out “love of neighbor.”

Speech given at the inauguration of the Saint Anthony of Padua Community Center (fr. Martin Kmetec OFMConv)

Centro Sociale “Sant’Antonio Di Padova” à Zahle (Libano)

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