From May 15-31, 2018, the Postulator General traveled in Honduras, Costa Rica and Brazil, where he learned more about some of our friars who lived and died in the fame of holiness.
Among these we remember Friars Casimir CYPHER and Michael BROWN, from the United States. They served in Honduras in the 20th century. Friar Casimir ministered in Olancho, Honduras, to great effect. He was killed by agents of the ruling dictatorship, on June 25, 1975, when he was just 34 years old, together with another Colombian priest and some lay people. His tomb is in the parish church in Gualaco, Olancho. The local inhabitants still recall this confrere of ours with affection and mention his reputation for holiness, a reputation he still enjoys, forty-two years after his death.
Friar Michael Brown worked continuously in a mountainous and isolated area of the Olancho district. He is buried in the church in Salamà and he too enjoys a great reputation for holiness. He died in a car accident while he was accompanying a woman and her child.
During his visit, the Postulator, accompanied by Friar Juan Alonzo PAGOADA ACOSTA, met with the Most Reverend Josè BONELLO, OFM, Bishop of Juticalpa. He proved very open and devoted to these witnesses to the faith in Honduras. He also promised his support in spreading the word about them to the people of God.
On May 20-24, as the visit continued Friar Damian, stayed at the beautiful friary of San Francisco of Alajuela in Costa Rica, and held a seminar on the procedures to be followed when carrying out investigations for causes of beatification and canonization. He put particular emphasis on spreading the fame of holiness and also on the new project entitled
“Our Fathers in the Faith,” which is aimed at the entire Order of Friars Minor Conventual. Six friars participated in this seminar: Friars Juan Alonzo PAGOADA ACOSTA and Josè Isael SARMIENTO SARMIENTO (from Honduras), Friar Alexander Roger CARRILLO (from Venezuela), and Friars Ronaldo Gomes DA SILVA, Rafael Pinheiro NORMANDO and Gilson Miguel NUNES (from Brazil). Over the four days, the friars given were instruction and clarification on what the Congregation for the Causes of Saints requires in order to proceed with canonization causes. There was also time for fraternity and visits to places near Alajuela.
Finally, during May 25-30, Friar Damian was in the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. in Brazil where together with the Custos, Friar Ronaldo Gomes DA SILVA, he visited the places where Friar Martinho Maria de Porres WARD ministered. Friar Martinho was another native of the United States who enjoys great fame of holiness in the places where he carried out his ministry, especially in the city of Andrelândia, Brazil, where he is buried in the small cemetery of the Minor Seminary of the Friars Minor Conventual. Friar Damien celebrated Mass there on Sunday May 27, together with the Custos, some friars, and a large group of faithful. The Mass marked the start of a Jubilee celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Friar Martinho. A visit to his tomb followed, where prayer was offered, thanking God for the gift of this confrere to the Church, the Order and Brazil.
This was more than just a visit; it was a pilgrimage in the footsteps of those members of our Order who have given witness to the faith. It was also a positive experience of fraternity with our friars working in these countries. They are countries often marked by social difficulties, but also noted for their great faith and hospitality.
Friar Damian PĂTRAȘCU Postulator general