The friars of the USA Province recently gathered together for their annual assembly the week of June 12. Rather than a business-focused Chapter meeting, the week was more reflective and retreat-like and centered around the theme of compassion. Held at Techny Towers Retreat and Conference Center in Techny (Northbrook), IL, speakers included Fr. Hubert Moons, OSM, a former Prior General of the Order and Dominican Fr Charles Bouchard, OP. The week also gave the friars the opportunity to fraternally be together in prayer and camaraderie. The Assembly officially ended with the joyous solemn profession of Brothers Leo Hambur and Sebastian Soy Mulu at the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago.

On Thursday, June 15, 2017, the Servite friars celebrated the solemn profession of Bro Leonardus Hambur, OSM, and Sebastian Soy Mulu, OSM, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Sorrows, Chicago.

Brother Leonardus was born in Ruteng, Indonesia in 1988, and Brother Sebastian was born in Kupang, Indonesia in 1990. They joined the Servite Order in Ruteng, a foundation of the Servite Mexican Province. Fr Angel Ruiz Garnica, OSM, Prior Provincial of the Mexican Province, was present to receive their vows. Witnessing were Fr. John Fontana, OSM, Prior Provincial of the USA Province, Fr. Michael Guimon, their current Formation Director, and Fr Ramon Bustillos, OSM, their Novice Master. Bro Sylvain Paquet represented the Canadian Province.

While studying philosophy in Malang, Indonesia, Brothers Leonardus and Sebastian were selected to participate in a joint program of the North American Conference of Servites (comprised of the Mexican, Canadian, and United States Provinces) to study and minister in the United States and arrived in December of 2013.

After a summer of ministry in Texas, the brothers will return to theology studies at CTU in Chicago.

(Photos by Chris Guillen Photography)

Fr. Lawrence M. Choate O.S.M., a solemn professed friar and priest of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary (Servites)-United States of America Province, died on Friday May 26 2017, at Our Lady of Sorrows Monastary, Chicago IL. He was 70 years of age and a priest for thirty-eight years. Dear son of the late Bernard and the late Ruth Choate, loving brother of Bernard, Reid, Thomas, the late Kevin and the late Ruthanne; beloved uncle to many nieces and nephews. Visitation was Tuesday May 30, 2017, at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica.  Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at the Basilica. Interment was in the Servite plot at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, IL.

Fr. Larry served the Province and the Order in a variety of ways: as Assistant Provincial; Provincial Secretary; Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows; and most recently as Provincial Treasurer, and Director of the Development Office. He served on the Servite High School Board of Directors and for many years was the business manager of Holy Trinity High School in the Noble Square neighborhood of Chicago. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Choate served as Dean of Deanery III-D and was the Administrator of St. Francis of Assisi/Our Lady of the Angels parish for the past eleven years.

Eternal rest, grant unto him/her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

FR. DAMIAN M. KOBUS, O.S.M. – a solemn professed friar and priest of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary -U.S.A. Province died very early Thursday morning, January 5, 2017, at Laurelhurst Nursing Facility, Portland, OR. He was ninety-four years of age, a friar for seventy years and a priest for sixty-seven years.

The Funeral will be held Tuesday, January 10, 2017, in the Chapel of Mary, The Grotto, 8840 NE Skidmore St., Portland:

8:45 AM Reception of the body and a brief time for viewing 9:15 AM Morning Prayer from the Office of the Dead, recitation of the Servite Rosary by the Servite Secular Order   10:00 AM Mass of Christian Burial  Interment Servite Cemetery, The Grotto.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

2016’s Festival of Lights at the Grotto was a record breaker! Total attendance was the highest count ever at 83,050 visitors – and this in spite of having to close five nights due to severe weather. The previous record was 62,931 visitors and was set in 2011 during a season of unusually warm weather.

Christmas Eve alone recorded a total of 3,792 visitors for the day – another record breaker.

A special thanks to all who worked so devotedly to make this a memorable holiday tradition in the Portland area.

Bro. Brian M. Fitzpatrick, OSM, died Monday, November 28, 2016 at Annunciata Priory, Chicago, IL, where he ministered for 26 years. He was 79 years of age and a friar for 55 years.

Visitation Friday, December 2, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Annunciata Church, 11128 S Avenue G, Chicago, IL, and Saturday, December 3, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial will at 10:30 a.m. on December 3rd, 2016, also at Annunciata Church. Interment will be in the Servite Section of Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, IL.

In his 55 years of religious life, Bro. Brian served the Order in several capacities as well as in several parishes. Since 1991 Bro. Brian has been an integral part of the Annunciata community serving it every way possible. He was a dear friend and beloved by many and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

The Grotto is ranked at #18 on TripAdvisor’s summer attraction trends. Congratulations.

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The Grotto is a National Catholic Shrine dedicated to Mary, Our Sorrowful Mother, which is a ministry of The Servite Friars – Order of Friar Servants of Mary. The Grotto strives to provide a welcoming presence and a beautiful environment conducive to peace, quiet, and spiritual inspiration. With its fir trees, colorful rhododendrons and other native plants, The Grotto is an inviting destination for all. An internationally-renowned Catholic shrine and botanical garden, The Grotto provides a spiritual and peaceful retreat for more than 200,000 visitors each year from all faiths and all walks of life.  Visitors are delighted to discover this 62-acre green space just minutes from downtown Portland. In addition to its beautiful gardens, The Grotto offers comfort, support, and healing through The Grotto Spirituality Program and the Grotto Conference Center provides a serene setting for business meetings, community workshops, or religious retreats.

The USA Province of Servite Friars is grateful to receive news of the appointment of Mandla Siegfried Jwara, C.M.M., as Vicar Apostolic of Ingwavuma in the Republic of South Africa. We offer Bishop-elect Jwara our sincere and heartfelt congratulations. We pray that his leadership will deepen the discipleship and Catholic faith of this vibrant church.

The Order of Friar Servants of Mary takes genuine pride in the 68 year legacy of service that we have offered to this growing Church in the name of Jesus Christ. The work and ministry of our brothers, who preceded our new bishop in the leadership of the church of kwaZulu–Natal, is a great investment in this community of faith.

We are grateful for the fraternal and collaborative relationship we have enjoyed with Bishop José Luís Gerardo Ponce de Leon, I.M.C., since his appointment in 2008. We wish him well in his continued ministry to the church of Swaziland and we look forward to a fruitful and loyal partnership with his successor!