Roman Catholic Franciscan Religious Order 

Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos

Province of Saint Mary Theotokos

 

Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE)

Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE)

(“an Order within an Order”)

with distinct and independent ecclesiastical functions

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 News Briefs Page: October 18, 2019 – April 16, 2018
Press Releases
Most Reverend Olivia Doko, MA, OSB, Cam. Oblate, OFE (hc)
 
Most Reverend Oliva Doko, MA, OSB, Cam. Oblate and Deacon Diane Smith Whalen
 
Bishop Olivia Doko, MA, OSB, Cam. Oblate, OFE (hc) was awarded an Honoris Causa membership in the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on the 18th day of October 2019, the Solemnity of Saint Luke, Evangelist. An Honoris Causa (Latin: “for the sake of honor”) membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the Roman Catholic Church. She resides in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Monterey, CA, USA.
 
Bishop Doko is the founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries through which she has provided spiritual retreats and workshops. She has a private Holy Listening practice, offering directed retreats and spiritual direction, with a focus on contemplative prayer, to individuals and small groups. Qualified as a pastoral consultant through Loyola University, New Orleans, Olivia holds an MA in Theology (with an emphasis in Adult Christian Community Development) from Regis University, Denver. She has served the Western Region of Roman Catholic Women Priests – USA as Administrator, Program Coordinator and as Bishop. Currently, she is retired but continues to serve her regional community as Bishop Emerita. She and her husband, Slavo, have been married 56 years. They have two married sons and three grandsons.
 
Federation of Christian Ministries
 
On the memorial of Saints Cosmas and Damian, Martyrs, Thursday, September 26, 2019, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) was approved for membership with the Federation of Christian Ministries (FCM) Faith Communities.
 
The Federation of Christian Ministries responds to the Divine Call by empowering and nurturing those inspired for inclusive ministries. We are a convention of faith communities and churches, gathering and inspiring Christians and individual ministers. Ministering to God’s people, we serve as equals and partners by providing pastoral and spiritual care, leading worship services, officiating at weddings, baptisms and funerals. We offer spiritual direction, lead retreats, offer healing and interfaith outreach.
 
Province of Saint Mary Theotokos
 
 
On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Saturday, September 14, 2019, the Minister General of the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) established its first province. The name of the province will be the Province of Saint Mary Theotokos. 
 
The division of a religious institute into provinces is generally along geographical lines, and may consist of one or more countries, or of only a part of a country. 
 
At this time, Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE will function as its Minister Provincial and Minister General.
 
Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE)
 
 
On the Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Saturday, August 24, 2019, the Minister General of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) established the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE), for married and celibate Roman Catholic priests. The Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) were fused together in a single entity (“an Order within an Order”) with distinct and independent ecclesiastical functions. Present OFE members and those who join will be members of both orders.​ Celibate Roman Catholic priest will function as brothers in our Order. 
 
Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) distinct and independent ecclesiastical functions are: OFE Motto: Repair My Church; Restore Unity of Roman Catholic married and celibate priesthood; Mission Emphasis: Minister to Married Roman Catholic Priests; and Mission Emphasis: Provide the People of God regular access to the Eucharist. 
 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) distinct and independent ecclesiastical functions are: OFE Motto: Repair My Church; Nonprofit Religious Corporation; Ecumenical and Interreligious Outreach; Mission Emphasis: Minister to celibate, married Roman Catholic and Catholic priests, and laity; and Mission Emphasis: Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charters.
 
Most Reverend +Dermot P. Rodgers, FM, OFE (hc), BA, MA, MDiv
Most Reverend Dermot P. Rodgers, FM, was awarded an Honoris Causa membership in the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on the 15th day of August 2019, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. An Honoris Causa (Latin: “for the sake of honor”) membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the Roman Catholic Church. He resides in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.
 
Bishop Rodgers is the bishop for Missionary Province of St. Peter of Rome and priest for St. Peter of Rome Roman Catholic Mission, San Diego, California, USA. Bishop Rodgers has oversight for Saint Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in Bermuda Dunes, California, USA, the Guadalupan Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament in Bakersfield, California, USA, Mission of Saint Peter of Rome in San Diego, California, USA, Benedictines in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and Bishop Protector for the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Corona, CA, USA.
 
Most Reverend +Dermot P. Rodgers, FM, BA, MA, MDiv
 
                                                        ​   
Most Reverend Dermot P. Rodgers, FM, BA, Ma, MDiv
 
On Thursday, July 25, 2019, Feast of Saint James, Apostle, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE ) Board of Directors upon a motion made, seconded, and unanimously carried, Most Reverend Dermot P. Rodgers was approved to assume the responsibility of being Bishop Protector for the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE).  
 
Bishop Rodgers is the bishop for Missionary Province of Saint Peter of Rome and priest for Saint Peter of Rome Roman Catholic Mission, San Diego, California, USA. Bishop Rodgers has oversight for Saint Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in Bermuda Dunes, California, USA, the Guadalupan Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament in Bakersfield, California, USA, Mission of Saint Peter of Rome in San Diego, California, USA, and small group of Benedictines in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
 
He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Borromeo College of Ohio, USA, Master of Arts and Master of Divinity from Oblate College, Washington, DC, USA.
 
Bishop Rodgers is an ordained Roman Catholic priest and former Capuchin friar. Currently, a member of a small community as a Franciscan of Mercy (FM). He was consecrated by Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan and Bishop William Manseau. Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan was consecrated by Archbishop Emanuel Milingo (before his excommunication for having consecrated Archbishop Peter Paul Brennan and 4 other men in the USA).  Archbishop Milingo was consecrated by Pope Paul VI and making Bishop Dermot P. Rodgers consecration valid but illicit, that is, without having first received the required authorization from the Holy See.
 
How blessed and honored we are to have Bishop Dermot, as our Bishop Protector and shepherd for the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) and Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE), Corona, CA, USA.

Mr. Avwerosuoghene Joseph Goru, OFES

Mr. Avwerosuoghene Joseph Goru became a professed secular Franciscan of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular (OFES) on Thursday, July 25, 2019, Feast of Saint James, Apostle. His religious name is Brother Josephmary.
 
Brother Josephmary is a parishioner at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Cathedral of the Diocese of Warri, Delta, Nigeria, West Africa. He’s a student studying for a Bachelor of Science degree at Tansian University. It is a private Christian university. It was founded by Reverend Msgr. Prof. John Bosco Akam​.
 
The motto of Tansian University is “Scientia Potestas et Virtus” (Knowledge is power and virtue).
Very Reverend Johnpaul Ejike Akpa, CMCF, BAPhil, BTh
 
Very Reverend Johnpaul Ejike Akpa, CMCF, BAPhil, BTh
 
On Thursday, July 25, 2019, Feast of Saint James, Apostle, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) and the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) formed an ecclesiastical affiliation charter with Congregation of Mother of Christ Fathers, which is in Nigeria, West Africa. [OFE Charter # 072519-1]
 
The Congregation of Mother of Christ Fathers (CMCF), founded on September 8, 2014 by Very Reverend Father Johnpaul Ejike Akpa is an Institute of apostolic religious life whose members take the three public vows of obedience, poverty and chastity.
 
The Spirit of the Congregation is that of charity, humility, prayer, penance and abandonment to the will of God. It is a dynamic growth of the Spirit of Christ as expressed in the gospel. We strive to imitate Christ in order to be his faithful interpreters by our very lives.
 
Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE is the Guardian for the Congregation of Mother of Christ Fathers (CMCF).  
Friar David Elijah Cortez, SSF
 
On the Feast of Saint James, Apostle, Thursday, July 25, 2019, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) and the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE)​ formed an ecclesiastical affiliation charter with Saint Joseph’s Hermitage, which is in San Antonio, TX, USA. [OFE Charter # 072519-2]
 
Friar David Elijah Cortez, SSF, minister general and founder of Saint Joseph’s Hermitage, also founded the Sons of Saint Francis (SSF).  The mission as Sons of Saint Francis involves reformation of our Franciscan Order in particular, restoration of the Church in general; and the renew of the world as a whole.
 
The Sons of Saint Francis charism goes back to the original charism and spirituality of our holy seraphic father, Saint Francis. We do not claim to be ‘official’ Friars Minor as such, but carrying on the primitive spirit and tradition of our founder, Saint Francis, we claim spiritual adoption as his sons.
 
The Rule of Life of the Sons of Saint Francis is this, to observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by living in obedience, without property, and in chastity. Brother Francis promises obedience and reverence to his holiness Pope Honorius and his lawfully elected successors and to the Church of Rome. The other friars are bound to Brother Francis and his successors.
 
Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE is the Guardian for Saint Joseph’s Hermitage | Sons of Saint Francis (SSF). 
 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) Website
 
 
On Wednesday, July 24, 2019​​, the URL of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) website now begins with “https” instead of “http” it means the site is secured using an SSL Certificate (the s stands for secure). SSL Certificates secure all of our website data as it is passed from your browser to the Sharefaith website’s server. ​The OFE secured website Click Here
On the Nativity of the Lord, Friday, December 25, 2015, Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) launched its new website, forming an international Franciscan religious order.
 
Reverend William Seuffert, HDM, OFE (hc), BA, STL​, MDiv, DD
 
Reverend Father William Seuffert, HDM, was awarded an Honoris Causa membership in the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on the 14th day of July 2019, the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha. An Honoris Causa (Latin: “for the sake of honor”) membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the Roman Catholic Church. He resides in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
 
Father William Seuffert, who founded the Hermitage of Saint Tekakwitha, also founded the Hermits of Divine Mercy (HDM) as a contemplative Roman Catholic religious order of monks and nuns.  HDM provides a community for men, women, and married couples who are 50 years of age, or older and who are normally excluded by other orders because of infirmity, age or marital status. The hermitage is under the administration of Hermits of Divine Mercy. Like traditional orders, they also take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. For married people, chastity means a strengthening of the marriage vows. Poverty in all ways includes good stewardship of monies and obedience to Church and superiors
 
Reverend Father William Seuffert is a member of the Board of Directors of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc.
 
The OFE has an ecclesiastical affiliation charter with this hermitage.
 
Franciscan Action Network
 
On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) became an Institutional Member of the Franciscan Action Network (FAN).
 
Its Mission Statement is Inspired by the Gospel of Jesus, and the example of Saints Francis and Clare, the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peace making, care for creation, poverty, and human rights. 
 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc.
 
2019 Top-Rate Nonprofit
 
 
 
On Friday, June 28, 2019, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc. has earned a spot on the 2019 Top-Rated List. Making the GreatNonprofits Top-Rated List helps Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc. get visibility, trust, and recognition.​​
 
The mission statement of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) is to minister to celibate and married Roman Catholic (and Catholic) priests and laity by offering them a welcoming home, support, acceptance, affirmation of their marriages, and validation of their lives and ministries. It also supports efforts to restore married priesthood to the Roman Catholic Church.​
 
Office of Mission Support: Click Here.
 
The Right Rev. Metropolitan +Michael Melchizedek, BA, MDiv, DD (hc) PhD
 
On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, Archbishop Melchizedek was elevated to the rank of Metropolitan by Patriarch Nicholas. Patriarch Nicholas is Metropolitan Archbishop of Paris and presides over the Church of France and the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of the Nations.
 
The Patriarch wrote in his accompanying letter with the document of elevation to Metropolitan: “It is with pleasure that I send you our decree of elevation to the rank of Metropolitan. I wanted to reward your good work in the service of the Church.
 
Metropolitan +Melchizedek had served in both Western and Eastern traditions. He was originally ordained in a Catholic Order, teaching as seminary professor at Saint Elias School of Orthodox Theology and as a Archbishop of an Eastern Eparchy, Nebraska Ukrainian Orthodox Exarchate.
 
Archbishop Melchizedek is a member of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) Advisory Board since July 21, 2016.
 
Mr. Michael Ude, OFES, CMCF, BS, OND
 
Mr. Michael Ude became a professed secular Franciscan of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular (OFES) on Thursday, May 23, 2019. His religious name is Brother Michael Francis Stephen.
 
Brother Michael Francis Stephen is a parishioner at Saint Mark’s Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Awgu, Enugu State, Gnugu, Nigeria, West Africa. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy from Tansian University and an Ordinary National Diploma from the Federal College of Agriculture. 
 
Michael Ude is a presenter at Vision Africa Radio 104.1 FM and a seminarian at Catholic Institute of West Africa. 
 
Brother Michael Ude is a professed brother of the Congregation of Mother of Christ Fathers (CMCF), Nigeria, West Africa.
 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE),Inc., Board of Directors
 
The present members of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc., Board of Directors are Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE, President, and Patricia Cuozzo, OFES, Secretary and Treasurer, Reverend Paul Ochieng-Ogada+, DMB, Member, Reverend Friar Andrew Sagayam+, OFE, Member, and Brother Leonard Ndegwa, DMB, Member.
 
On Thursday, May 23, 2019, upon a motion made, seconded, and unanimously carried, Reverend Friar Rouville Fisher, III+, OFE, and Reverend Father William Seuffert+, HDM, were elected voting members on the Board of Directors to the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc.
Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.
 
2019 Top-Rate Nonprofit
 

Volunteer. Donate. Review

 
On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. has earned a spot on the 2019 Top-Rated List. Making the GreatNonprofits Top-Rated List helps Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. get visibility, trust, and recognition.
The mission statement of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. is of funding the Feeding the Hungry Children Campaign and to meet the needs of orphan children that we serve so that they may grow, learn, and have the opportunities of life that they deserve.​​
 
Office of Mission Support: Click Here.
PETITION
 
Saint Peter, Married, Apostle, Pope, Patriarch, and Martyr
 
Save my Church and restore married priesthood / optional celibacy back into the Roman Catholic Church Click Here
 
The Church is suffering within its own ranks. On the grassroots level, we meet priests who live in grief and sometimes in poverty. We welcome Pope Francis acknowledging in Amoris Laetitia that “we could draw from the experience of the broad oriental tradition of a married clergy.”
 
The mission of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc. is to minister to married Roman Catholic priests by offering them a welcoming home, support, acceptance, affirmation of their marriages, and validation of their lives and ministries. It also supports efforts to restore married priesthood to the Roman Catholic Church. Canon Laws 212 §2 and §3 tell us that we have the duty to express our views about the Church’s “matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful.” Men who have left the priesthood to marry are made to feel that they failed merely because they wanted the fulfillment of wives and families of their own. Sadly, they have become disheartened by the Church’s abandonment.
 
All of us have seen how many good priests have been dismissed because they chose to love a woman and have a family. Most of them have to find other work to support their families. Those who could not find work often have been pushed into poverty and suffered emotionally because of the treatment they have received from the Church.
 
Countless people in the pews have let it be known that they want a priest – married or celibate, it matters little – who will be compassionate about their life issues. Many would welcome a move of the Church to allow married priests back into active priesthood. If the Church is willing to welcome married Episcopal priests into our Church, surely you should be open to accepting former and now married Roman Catholic priests.
 
Sign Petition Click Here
 
Grace, Mercy, and Peace, 
 
Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE 
                                                                                     
Very Reverend Michael Cuozzo, OFE, MDiv, DD, STD, PhD
Abbot | Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos
Minister General | Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE)
Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE)
 
OFE, OFES, and COFE Mourn the Death of
Reverend Friar Donald H. Kelpinski+, OFE, MDiv, MEd
 
Of Blessed Memory
 
Reverend Friar Donald H. Kelpinski, OFE, MDiv, MEd, died Thursday, March 14, 2018, in Hesperia, California, USA, after a long illness.
 
Reverend Donald H. Kelpinski, OFE became a professed Franciscans Friar and Brother of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on August 20, 2015. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on October 16, 2016. He was an active participant in OFE and will be missed.
 
Father Donald and his wife Gloria was received into the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of the Archdiocese of North America in 2003. They were married two years later. He was a tonsured reader in his Orthodox community. A reader, also called a lector is the second-highest of the minor orders of the Orthodox Church. It is a clerical order to which a man is tonsured and ordained, to read in services and in the Divine Liturgy.​ 
 
He was a member Saint George the Great Martyr Orthodox Church, Orthodox Church in America (OCA), Diocese of the West,Hesperia, CA, USA. 
 
Father Donald is survived by his dear wife of 14 years Gloria Teresa Kelpinski.
 
​Bronze GuideStar Seal of Transparency
 
 
On Sunday, March 31, 2019, the Bronze GuideStar Seal of Transparency was awarded to the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc. and the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. 
 
GuideStar Seal of Transparency indicates that a nonprofit has provided key information in its Nonprofit Profile. 
 
Office of Mission Support: Click Here.
 
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Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. and Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc. are proud to be 100% trustworthy.
 
 
 
 
Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. and Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc. are registered with Charity Navigator, the premier site for accessing information needed to make intelligent giving decisions.
Office of Mission Support: Click Here.
 
Copyright of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) Logo
 
On Monday, March 11, 2019, the certificate of registration was issued under the seal of the Copyright Office in accordance with title 17, United States Code, attest that registration has been made for the work of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) Logo. The effective date of the registration was August 01, 2018.
 
Abbot Father Sean Anderson+, CFC​, OFC Advisor, 
 
Abbot Father Sean Anderson, CFC, OFC Advisor
 
On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Father Sean Anderson, CFC, accepted appointment as a spiritual guide on the Advisory Board of the Order of Franciscans Culdee (OFC).
 
Abbot Sean was ordained to the diaconate and presbyterate in the Eaglais Uilíoch Ársa Solas Críost (EUASC) by Archbishop Brendan Rumph. He is the Abbot of the Celtic Franciscan Companions (CFC) within the Celtic Catholic Church USA, Anam Cara Episcopate. The CFC is an Order that embrace the distinct, yet very interconnected spiritualities and charisms of the Franciscan Mendicant tradition with Celtic, Desert, Benedictine, and new monastic spirituality and its forms of historic and New Monasticism. We vow to live a life of the ‘Perigrini Christi’ – the one who sees life as a pilgrimage of Anam Cara, Soul Friendship, with Christ. Through our soul friendship and compassion, we seek to become the hands, feet, and heart of Christ within Creation and towards all whom we meet along the way.
 
Abbot Sean holds a Master of Divinity (MDiv), and several Information technology industry certifications.
 

He is a former professional musician, grows vegetables, and raises chickens.

R​everend Friar Abel Makahamadze, OFE, BA, DipTh, DipPhil
 
On Friday, November 30, 2018, Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle, Reverend Father Abel Makahamadze, became a professed Franciscan Friar and Brother of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE). Father Abel’s religious name is Brother John of the Cross. The name of his friary will be the Redeeming Christ OFE Friary.
 
Reverend Makahamadze was ordained to the diaconate and presbyterate by Right Reverend Patrick Mutume of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists) in Harare, Zimbabwe, East Africa. 
 
The OFE, OFES, COFES, and DMB Mourn the Death of
Archbishop Emeritus John Njenga
 
Of Blessed Memory
 
It is with great sorrow that the Catholic Archdiocese of Mombasa wishes to announce the passing on to glory of their beloved Archbishop Emeritus, Most Reverend John Njenga at the age of 90, which occurred on Sunday, November 4, 2018. 
 
Archbishop Njenga was born on December 25, 1928 at Tigoni, Limuru, Kiambu County as the last born to the late Mzee Peter Kimani and Mama Maria Wanjiru. His siblings were: Muthoni, Nderu, Mwaura, and Nyambura.

He was ordained priest on February 17, 1957 in Lioki Parish, Catholic Archdiocese of Nairobi by the late J.J McCarthy then the Archbishop of Nairobi and later appointed Bishop of Eldoret in October 19, 1970. In October 25, 1988, he was appointed Bishop of Mombasa where he served until his retirement on April 1, 2005 aged 76. Archbishop Njenga served as priest for 61 years and Bishop for 48 years.
 
Archbishop Emeritus John Njenga​ was beloved friend of the Divine Mercy Brothers of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (DMB) and second bishop that accepted DMB in his diocese.
 
The Very Reverend Father Archdeacon John F. Demeis, OFES
 
The Very Reverend Father Archdeacon F. Demeis, OFES  and seven other deacons of the Archdiocese of New York City, New York, USA celebrated their 25th anniversary at Saint Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral by Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan. 
 
Archdeacon Demeis, of the Italian-Greek (Eastern) Catholic Church (a Byzantine Greek Catholic Rite) was received as our first Eastern Catholic laity of the OFES on Tuesday, February 19, 2016.
OFE, OFES, and COFE Mourn the Death of
Most Rev. Wencesloa Padilla, CICM
 
​​
Of Blessed Memory
 
Mongolia mourns Filipino Bishop Wenceslao Padilla, first prelate of Mongolia, died on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, at the age of 68, following a heart attack. The bishop, who was a member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM).
 
Born in 1949 in Tubao in the northern Philippine province of La Union, Bishop Padilla entered the seminary in 1960 and in 1976 was ordained a priest.
 
He was a missionary in Taiwan and, for six years, a provincial superior of the Chinese provinces of his congregation.
 
When in 1991 Mongolia and the Holy See established diplomatic relations, he was sent as a missionary to Urga.
 
In April 1992, he was appointed ecclesiastical superior of the mission of Urga where he took care of street children, the homeless, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
 
On July 8, 2002, Pope St. John Paul II established the Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar and named the missionary its first prefect.
 
On Aug. 2, 2003, Bishop Padilla received the titular see of Tharros. He received his episcopal consecration on Aug. 29, 2003, from Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe.
 
Bishop Padilla was a friend of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE)​ and the first bishop to express praise and appreciation of the mission, goals, and charism of OFE. He was thankful that we were providing a feeding program for twenty-three orphan children at the Divine Mercy Children’s Orphanage, Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa. Bishop Padilla was a dear friend of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) and will be missed.
 
The OFE, OFES, and COFES Mourn the Death of
Reverend Friar Leonard Edward Schmidt, OFE, BEd, BA, MA
 
LEONARD EDWARD SCHMIDT Obituary pic
Of Blessed Memory
 
Reverend Friar Leonard Edward Schmidt, OFE, BEd, BA, MA, died Monday, August 13, 2018, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, after a long illness.  
 
Friar Leonard Schmidt, OFE became a professed Franciscan Friar and Brother of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on November 9, 2015. He was a member of the Sanctification of Families Union of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Friar Leonard was an active participant in OFE and will be missed. 
 
He is survived by his wife Adeline Kvemshagen Schmidt. They enjoyed a happy, loving marriage for over 48 years, which was anchored by their Roman Catholic and United Church faiths. 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) and
Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE)
 
Rule of Life
 
A rule is the most straightforward description of a religious way of life. The Rule of 1223  A.D. was written by Saint Francis of Assisi, approved by Pope Honorius III. The Friars, Brothers, and Laity of the OFE commit to the General Rule, a modern interpretation of the 1223 A.D. Rule of Saint Francis of Assisi is this:
 
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
 
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
 
To live a life of commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ and to serve him faithfully.
 
To acclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the study of the Scriptures.
 
To keep the Eucharist and the Gospel at the center of our lives. 
 
To acquire knowledge and inspiration of the Franciscan spirituality of our patron Saint Francis of Assisi.
 
To infuse our daily life with compassion, service, community, simplicity, reverence for creation, dignity of human persons, peacemaking, prayer, and support of family unity.
 
To welcome celibate and married Roman Catholic priests and laity.
 
To be respectful to the Pope, Patriarchs, Bishops, Abbot General, Minister General, and members of our Order.
 
Differences between the three branches of our Order
 
 
A friend who has expressed interest in our order has asked this question: What are the differences between the three branches of your Order?
 
The Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) [“an Order within an Order”] with distinct and independent ecclesiastical functions​ are of priests who are married as well as celibate Roman Catholic priests and who were ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop.  Celibate Roman Catholic priest will function as brothers in our Order. 
 
Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE) distinct and independent ecclesiastical functions are: OFE Motto: Repair My Church; Restore Unity of Roman Catholic Married and Celibate Priesthood; Mission Emphasis: Minister to Married Roman Catholic Priests; Mission Emphasis: Provide the People of God regular access to the Eucharist.
 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) distinct and independent ecclesiastical functions are: OFE Motto: Repair My Church; Nonprofit Religious Corporation; 
Ecumenical and Interreligious Outreach; Mission Emphasis: Minister to celibate, married Roman Catholic and Catholic priests, and laity; Mission Emphasis: Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charters.
 
The second branch is the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular (OFES) of Roman Catholic laypeople and wives of married Roman Catholic priests.
 
The third branch is the Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (COFE) comprised of married and celibate Catholic autocephalous (ecclesiastically independent) bishops and priests (men and women) who are of the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” and who were not ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop.
 
Why members have friaries and abbeys?
 
 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist (OFE), and Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical​ (COFE) friaries and abbeys ​are places to minister to celibate and married Roman Catholic (and Catholic) priests and laity by offering them a welcoming home, support, acceptance, affirmation of their marriages, and validation of their lives and ministries. It also welcomes laity who support married and celibate priest. The friary  and abbey are a place where we are called to live the Franciscan “Rule of Life” and to assist the Order to accomplish its mission, goals, apostolic works, and charism. The friary and abbey are where all are welcome to celebrate Eucharist and other sacraments. ​​
 
Friaries  and abbeys are self-governing, friars and brothers supporting themselves, and their ministries with secular or church-related employment.
 
United in Spirit: OFE Newsletter
 
November 2018 Volume 3 Issue 1 Click Here 
Valerie J. Stroud, OFES (hc), BA, DipRS
 
Valarie J. Stroud was awarded an Honoris Causa membership in the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular (OFES) on the 4th day of October, 2018, the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi. An Honoris Causa (Latin: “for the sake of honor”) membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the Roman Catholic Church. She lives in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool in the UK.
 
Valerie Stroud has served the reform movement for 25 years in the UK and internationally. She is the Webmaster and Communications Manager for We Are Church International, a network of national groups committed to reform of the Roman Catholic Church. She is also the Chairman of The People of God Trust /Catholics for a Changing Church in the UK and Hon. Treasurer for the International Federation for a Renewed Catholic Ministry. Her degree studies with the Open University in the 1990’s enabled her to develop her understanding of how power works in groups and societies, including the Church. For her Diploma she studied World Religions and how they adapt to change and the modern world.
 
Rev. Friar Anthony A.M. Pearson, COFE, STD, DD, MTh, MA, MEd, BA, ThG
 
Reverend Friar Anthony A.M. Pearson, COFE, STD, DD, MTh, MA, MEd, BA, ThG
 
Abbot General Michael Cuozzo, OFE, on Saturday, September 8, 2018, established the Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (COFE), for Catholic autocephalous bishops and priests (men and women) who are of the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”
 
On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, Memorial of the Most Holy Name of Mary, Reverend Father Anthony A.M. Pearson, became its first professed Franciscan Friar and Brother of the Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (COFE). Father Pearson’s religious name is Brother Anthony of the Divine Mercy.  The name of his friary will be Saint Maria Faustina of the Divine Mercy OFE Friary.
 
Most Reverend Rouville M. Fisher, III, ordained Father Pearson to the diaconate, presbyterate, and as bishop to serve the jurisdictional Diocese of Saint Maria Faustina of the Divine Mercy of the Independent Catholic Church of North America (ICCONA), New Braunfels, Texas, USA.
 
Bishop Anthony A.M. Pearson has been in Christian ministry for 40 years serving as a pastor, educator, author, counselor, and consultant. He also worked in law enforcement, the military, and as a public educator/counselor. After 20 years as an ordained protestant, evangelical, Baptist minister, serving churches from Massachusetts to Texas; he embraced the Catholic faith after spiritual visions and revelations he received while on pilgrimage to the Holy Lands in 1991. Returning to higher education in 1994, he completed numerous graduate degrees and received an honorary doctorate. Through these experiences he gained new insights and understandings; and began the journey of preparation which led to his seeking Holy Orders through Independent Catholic Church of North America (ICCONA), and his studying as a seminarian at Saint
Michael’s Seminary. 
 
Bishop Pearson is the past president and dean of Saint Michael’s Old Catholic Seminary, former bishop of the Diocese of Saint Maria Faustina of the Divine Mercy, and retired rector of Saint Maria Faustina Parish, New Braunfels, Texas, USA.
 
He is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of Texas. He is married to Marsha Lee Emery, and is father to five sons and grandfather to eleven grandchildren.
 
Bishop Pearson and his wife Marsha are attending the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), or Ordo Initiationis Christianae Adultorum (OICA) instruction at Saint Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Parish in Canyon Lake, Texas, USA. RCIA or OICA is a process developed by the Catholic Church for prospective converts to Catholicism.
 
Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (COFE)
 
The Order of Franciscans Ecumenical is pleased to announce that we have established the Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (COFE). 
 
On the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saturday, September 8, 2018, the Abbot General of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) established the Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (COFE), for Catholic autocephalous (ecclesiastical independent) bishops and priests (men and women) who are of the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” and were not ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop.  
 
Present members and those who join COFE are called to assist the Order to accomplish its goals, mission, charism, Apostolic works, and to live out the OFE Franciscan “Rule of Life.”
 
At the Vatican on 16 June 2000, Pope John Paul II ratified and ordered the publication of “Dominus Iesus (English: The Lord Jesus). This Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was signed and published by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) in August of the same year. In this Declaration, the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the validity of Orders and Sacraments of autocephalous or Old Catholic denominations:
 
“The Churches which, while not existing in perfect communion with the Roman Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by Apostolic Succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular Churches. Therefore, these separated Churches and communities as such have by no means been deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation which derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church.” (IV. Unicity and Unity of the Church, 17)
 
“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ” (Ephesians 3:20-21)
 
Novitiate of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular (OFES)
 
On the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist, Wednesday, August 29, 2018, the Reverend Friar Terence M. McDonough+, OFE, Founder and Abbot of Our Lady of Knock Abbey established a Franciscan Novitiate Program of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular (OFES) at his parish. He is the pastor at The Friends of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini
 
The OFE has a charter with Our Lady of Knock Abbey. The Reverend Friar Terence M. McDonough became a member of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on March 9, 2017.
 
Most Reverend Phillip Francis Straling, OFE (hc), DD
 
Most Reverend Phillip Francis Straling, DD
 
Most Reverend Phillip Francis Straling was awarded an Honoris Causa membership in the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) on the 14th day of July 2018, the Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino.  An Honoris Causa (Latin: “for the sake of honor”) membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the Roman Catholic Church, the Dioceses of San Diego, San Bernardino, and Reno. He is Bishop Emeritus in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno, Reno, Nevada, USA. 
 
On July 14, 1978, San Bernardino native Phillip Francis Straling, was appointed as the Bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino, San Bernardino, California, USA. He was ordained bishop on November 6, 1978. The new diocese comprises of San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The Diocese of San Bernardino used to be part of the Diocese of San Diego, San Diego, California, USA. He served as bishop of the Diocese of San Bernardino from 1978–1995.
 
In 1995, Pope John Paul II divided the state of Nevada into two dioceses – the Diocese of Las Vegas in the south and the reconstituted Diocese of Reno in the north – and called Bishop Straling to assume leadership of the Diocese of Reno, Reno, Nevada, USA. He was installed as the sixth Bishop of the Diocese of Reno on June 29, 1995 and served there until his retirement in 2005. He holds the title of Bishop Emeritus in the Diocese of Reno.
 
On June 29, 1988, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles, Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo, OFE celebrated his 30th anniversary of his priesthood ordination. He was ordained by Bishop Phillip Francis Straling.  
 
Bishop-Elect Reverend Father Charalambos Ocen+, DipTh
 

 Bishop-Elect Reverend Father Charalombos Ocen+, DipTh

On Sunday, June 17, 2018, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) formed its fifth ecclesiastical affiliation charter with Saints Cyrillos and Methodios Greek Orthodox Church, which is in Katakwi, Uganda, East Africa. [OFE Charter # 061718]
 
Bishop-Elect Reverend Father Charalambos Ocen is the founder and pastor of the parish. He is a priest of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa and the Holy Metropolis of Kampala and all Uganda.  December 27, 2016, Father Ocen was elected a member on the Board of Directors to the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.  For the last three years he has been an Advisory Board member for the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE). There is a thirty year history of involvement and collaboration between the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) and Orthodox jurisdictions.                                                                              
Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.
 
Acquisition International Announce the Winners of the 2018 Business Excellence Awards
 
 

                             Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos was awarded                               Best Non-Profit Charity Corporation – California

 
Press Release: United Kingdom, 2018 – Acquisition International Magazine have announced the winners of the 2018 Business Excellence Awards.
 
In these times of financial and economic upheaval, the business environment can be more uncertain than ever. From global issues of an increasingly erratic climate, to political instability and data security questions, enterprises are facing challenges, new and old. With our programme, we provide an overview of the very best of the best, who have worked hard to achieve phenomenal success for their clients.
 
Discussing the awards, Laura Hunter, Coordinator comments on the success of their deserving winners: “These awards rewards and recognise the hard work undertaken by businesses of all sizes from across the corporate landscape. Congratulations and best of luck for the future to all of my winners, I am extremely proud of your success.”
 
Acquisition International prides itself on the validity of its awards and winners. The awards are given solely on merit and are awarded to commend those most deserving for their ingenuity and hard work, distinguishing them from their competitors and proving them worthy of recognition.
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc., Board of Directors
 
On Monday, April 16, 2018, upon a motion made, seconded, and unanimously carried, Reverend Paul Ochieng-Ogada+, DMB, Reverend Friar Andrew Sagayam+, OFE, and Brother Leonard Ndegwa, DMB, were elected voting members on the Board of Directors to the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc.
 
The present members of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE), Inc., Board of Directors are Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE, President, and Patricia Cuozzo, OFES, Secretary and Treasurer.
 
The OFE, OFES, and COFE Mourn the Death of
The Most Rev. Dr. Eileen Bonnie Devlin, TOR 
 
Of Blessed Memory
 
Rev. Dr. Eileen Bonnie Devlin, musician, ordained minister, music therapist, composer, performer and recording artist, died on March 1, 2018 in Ellington Florida, USA. Bonnie was born on September 27, 1952 in Plainfield, NJ and raised in Rahway, N.J. She graduated from Douglass College in New Brunswick, NJ with a BA degree in Philosophy in 1974. In her lifelong dedication to learning and education, she earned four advanced degrees: MA in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education; MA in Creative Arts Education, both from Rutgers University; a PhD in Aesthetics and Humanities from NYU; a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School. Bonnie dedicated her life’s work to building bridges between cultural groups through education, music and performing arts. She believed that all cultures share common traits that unify all humans. Her work was focused on building communities of welcoming, nurturing and joyful diversity.”
 
She was a member of the Order of Franciscans Culdee (OFC) Advisory Board from December 27, 2016 until March 1, 12018. She was very supportive of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical (OFE) | Order of Franciscans Culdee (OFC) and will be missed. 
Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.
 
 
In February, 2018, Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos was awarded “Best Non-Profit Charity Corporation – California,” by Acquisition International, AI Global Media Ltd., United Kingdom.  Acquisition awards are based solely on merit, meaning that there are no commercial requirements, no awards guaranteed by payment, and no barriers to entry. The only factors that will determine success are the work that is done and the results achieved.  The nomination came in January, and was subject to a lengthy and in-depth assessment process designed to enable Acquisition International to give recognition to those organizations considered remarkable. 
 
The Board of Directors of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. express gratitude to Laura Hunter, Assistant Awards Manager – AI Global Media Ltd., as well as to the in-house research team for compiling the Abbey’s case file, the judging panel, and all involved
Deborah Rose-Milavec, OFES (hc)
 
Deborah Rose-Milavec was awarded an Honoris Causa membership in the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular (OFES) on the 6th day of February, 2018, the Memorial of Saint Paul Milki and companions, Martyrs. An Honoris Causa (Latin: “for the sake of honor”) membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished service to the Roman Catholic Church. She resides in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
 
Deborah Rose-Milavec is the Executive Director of FutureChurch. They are a national coalition of parish-centered Catholics seeking changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership. FutureChurch works for just, open and collaborative structures for Catholic worship, organization and governance; a return to the Church’s early tradition of both married and celibate priests; a return to the Church’s earliest tradition, modeled on the inclusive practice of Jesus recognizing both female and male leaders of faith communities, and regular access to the Eucharist, the center of Catholic life and worship, for all Catholics.
 
Deborah has worked among some of the most vulnerable in our society. She has directed programs and campaigns related to domestic violence, at-risk youth, humanitarian aid, war and peace, and the environment. She holds a master’s degree in theology and, most recently, she served as program director and vice president of Catherine of Siena Virtual College, an online school dedicated to teaching women and men about gender inequity in church and society, with a special outreach to Africa, China, India, the Philippines, Thailand and Latin America.
 
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