Canonical Visitations 2024
Bishop Michael Martin with his brothers

Canonical Visitations 2024

Friar Joseph Wood, Assistant General for the Conventual Franciscan Friars (CFF), continued his canonical visitations across the United States in May and June of 2024. Canonical visitations are a way for the Order to check in with friars on an individual level. They assure our overall community that religious life is still healthy and very much needed in our turbulent world, and that suggestions from the “grass roots” for improvement on the local and international levels are always appreciated and respected.

During Friar Joseph’s many encounters and engagements, friars were interviewed, a bishop was ordained, anniversaries were celebrated, and the common CFF novitiate was prepared to welcome a new class of novices.

In Chicago, four men concluded their postulancy program, and are prepared to enter the CFF common novitiate in California at the end of June. Our novitiate community is also blessed to have the Capuchin and Observant novitiates located nearby, so that we can share conferences, resources, and fraternity.

Postulants James Muzzey, Justin Roy, Patrick Allen, Paulo Moonjeli with Postulancy director Friar Paul Schneider (Left) and Associate Postulant Director Friar Ian Bremar (Right)

The former home of the Van Rensselaer family – pioneers in the Albany region of Upstate New York – has been the foundation of St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary since 1912. Although the seminary has been closed for several years, the old mansion has been completely restored to host many of our elderly confreres in a very peaceful landscape.

1912, was also the inaugural year of our friars ministering at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. Although located in a small rural community, thousands of pilgrims visit this sacred site and have experienced years upon years of spiritual and physical healings.

Our confrere, Friar Michael Martin, has joined the ranks of our international cadre of Conventual episcopal leadership. Having graduated from our Franciscan high school in his hometown of Baltimore, and after spending many years in the education apostolate as a teacher and administrator, Bishop Michael now assumes the ministry of chief shepherd of the Diocese of Charlotte in North Carolina. Bishop Martin was honored and humbled to be ordained by his former high school teacher, now the Most Reverend Gregory Hartmayer, Metropolitan, Archbishop of Atlanta, Georgia.

Arroyo Grande is a town on the Central Coast of California where a Provincial novitiate was established in 1981. In 2016, it became the site for the inter-Provincial novitiate of the CFF. Two new friars have recently been assigned as novice directors, Friar James Ciaramitaro, who has worked in parochial ministry and formation, and Friar Antony Vattaparambil, from the Province of India, who has been ministering in the United States for the past ten years and who also has parochial and university chaplaincy experience.

Novice Directors Friars James Ciaramitaro and Antony Vattaparambil

Friar Victor Abegg, the current Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph of Cupertino (the “California Province”), and the son of Swiss immigrants, celebrated his 50th anniversary of priestly ordination. The event took place at St. Paul’s Parish in Pismo Beach, California, a quaint seaside town where our friars have ministered since 1929. During the Mass of Thanksgiving, Friar Victor spoke about “his” celebration being a celebration for “everyone,” in that we should always be grateful to God for every blessing in our lives, all the graces and even the heartaches that help us to be more compassionate people.

(For more photos, please visit our Order website:

 – friar Joseph Wood, Assistant General for the Conventual Franciscan Federation