Transition is God’s Way of Promotion
Transition is God’s way of promotion. And we here at St. Francis of Assisi are going through a bit of a transition, as one of our Friars, Fr. Brian Smail, O.F.M., is transitioning from our parish to the provincial offices. Our director of music and pastoral associate, Meredith, sat down for a little Q and A… here is what she learned:
Meredith: How long have you been a Friar and can you share a bit of your journey with us in a nutshell?
Fr. Brian: I have been a friar since 1992 (30 years). I am what they used to call a “delayed vocation”… now they call it a “second career vocation.” I used to work at Bank of America in Boston for 15 years. Part of my job was going into Boston. When I was in Boston working I would go into St. Anthony’s shrine which was down in the financial district. That is when I met the friars. In those days I didn’t even know what a friar was. What was the difference between a friar and a regular priest? Interestingly enough, the first friar I ever met was Fr. Michael Carnevale. He was at Arch Street at the time. I was able to ask him questions about what his life was like. He told me about his life. And at that time I really wasn’t interested in being a friar. I was fascinated by their life. The more I got to know them and what they did, how they with each other and the people that they served.., it attracted me more and more. One day I was in the lobby and there was an application to be a friar, so I took it. That application remained in my brief case for two years, I kid you not! Two years! Anyway… I filled it out! I was accepted. It was not an easy decision. I had a very comfortable life. I wasn’t wealthy by any means… but I had a comfortable life. My family and all my friends were in Boston. I was in my mid 30’s then. But something told me that if I don’t do this now, I am going to regret it some day. So I took the plunge. My novice director when I went in was Father Andrew Reitz and that was in Brookline, Massachusetts. That is how I got involved with the Friars. Bumping into them in downtown Boston. Learning about them and being attracted to their way of life.
Meredith: When did you come to NYC?
Fr. Brian: I came to NYC in 2007. I had been in Boston for 9 years at St. Anthony’s. And I was asked to be the Director of Vocations. The provincial John O’Conner asked me to move to NYC. It wasn’t like he asked me, “Brian would you like to do this…” – it was more like, “Brian, I need you to do this!” But he did let me think about it. I figured I was being asked to do something that was important to the province, so I did it. And again, it was a whole new experience… moving to NYC. I didn’t know anyone here. The Friars were so welcoming to me. Fr. Jerome Massimino was the pastor then, and he made me feel right at home. I would say it was an easy transition in terms of my community life as a friar. It took a while to really get into the vocation director position. But I grew to love it. I did that for 7 years. And it was one of the longest terms anyone ever served as vocation director. It is an office that really needs a fresh pair of eyes and skills to move it forward to the next level. So I did what was mine to do. Because I liked the parish here so much, (I used to help out here when I was vocation director) I asked to stay here and work at the parish).
Meredith: When you transitioned to the parish, in what capacity did you work here?
Fr. Brian: I worked here in the church as Parochial Vicar. I also wanted to do more than sacramental ministry. I was already certified as a spiritual director. I did a program at Boston College for that. So that was one of the things I brought with me. I also did Adult Faith Formation and Bereavement Ministry which I very much have enjoyed. And of course, the sacramental things.
Meredith: You have been at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi working with us here since 2014 full-time until now. Now you are transitioning back to the province. What will your work entail with the province?
Fr. Brian: It is kind of complicated, as it is a number of areas. It primarily the area of finance and development. So many people that the friars have served are very, very generous to us. They remember us in their wills and bequests and trusts. I process those. I am also the grant administrator for the Bonfils grant and the benevolence grants that the province disperses. I will also be working on other projects in development.
Meredith: What is the thing you will miss the most about working at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi?
Fr. Brian: One of the things I love about this parish is that you meet people from all walks of life. Different ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic backgrounds, everybody. This is a parish of choice for many, many people. You also meet people from all over the world. I am going to miss that the most. And also the staff. We have a great staff here of incredibly talented people. I will miss that a lot. That is why I am hoping that once I get settled in this new job I can help out as my schedule permits. I can’t imagine being a public minister, and not doing that type of work. I will definitely miss that. But you know in this life sometimes when you are asked to do something, it’s not so much about you but about what the province needs.
Meredith: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me this morning. We are so grateful for the years you have been with us here and we will surely miss you, but find comfort knowing you are next door and hopefully will have time in your schedule to worship with us!! Blessings on your new endeavors.
Join us to celebrate St. Clare of Assisi
Presentation: Clare of Assisi, Woman for All Ages
Sr. Marie Puleo, MFIC will offer a talk inviting us to take another look at Clare of Assisi, a powerful medieval saint in her own right and not just a companion of Francis.
Saturday, August 6, 2022 at 2:00 PM
San Damiano Hall
Thursday, August 11 at 7: 30 AM, 12:00 PM and 5:30 PM
in the Upper Church, the 12 PM Mass will also be available on livestream
Fr. Brian Smail, OFM will be ending his full time service at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi at the end of this month. Fr. Brian has been asked to minister in the Provincial Office. He will continue to live in the friary on 31st street with the friars and he plans to continue to help out in the church as he is able.
We are very grateful for his many years of ministry with us at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. In addition to presiding at the Eucharist and hearing Confession, Fr. Brian also served our community by providing spiritual direction and by leading our bereavement ministry.
We have been blessed by his presence and ministry and we wish him luck with his new responsibilities serving the whole province.
Helping Hands for the Disabled
Helping Hands for the Disabled is an agency that helps people who are blind. They are looking for volunteers who will:
- Read mail for the client
- Go shopping with the client
- Run errands
- Go for a walk
- Assist with small tasks
If you are interested in helping out and can make a 2-3 hour commitment per week, please contact Edward Trochimczuk ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). The agency will also offer a $20/per visit stipend.
Happy Feast of the Assumption!
August 15th the Church around the world, both Catholic and Orthodox celebrate Mary’s entrance into eternal life in heaven.
Join us for Mass at 7:30 AM, 12:00 PM and 5:30 PM.
Mary had said yes to the Father’s call. She enjoyed all of the joys and blessings that came with the mission God gave her and she endured all of the hardships and sadness that it also brought her.
When her life’s journey was complete, like all of the saints, she was granted a share in the fullness of her son Jesus’ victory over death.
Mary is the Mother of God. She is also a devoted disciple. She is a prophet and a faithful servant of God. Her prophetic words still echo through history and inspire believers in each generation:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour
for he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.
Pray for us Mary, Mother of God!
(Photo: mosaic of the Assumption in the Church of St. Francis of Assisi)
Recent News & Events
- February 2023
- January 2023
- December 2022
- November 2022
- October 2022
- September 2022
- August 2022
- July 2022
- June 2022
- May 2022
- April 2022
- March 2022
- February 2022
- January 2022
- December 2021
- November 2021
- October 2021
- September 2021
- August 2021
- July 2021
- June 2021
- May 2021
- April 2021
- March 2021
- February 2021
- January 2021
- December 2020
- November 2020
- October 2020
- September 2020
- August 2020
- July 2020
- June 2020
- May 2020
- April 2020
- March 2020
- February 2020
- January 2020
- December 2019
- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- June 2019
- May 2019
- April 2019
- March 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- January 2017