Fr. Richard Speaks about Friars Leaving Assumption
The Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province, who joined with us in building Assumption in 1926 and have shared our lives for 94 years, will be leaving us at the end of June, 2020.
Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, Provincial Minister, sent a letter to Fr. Richard Mucowski, OFM, Pastor and the people to the parish to announce the decision of the friars to leave. Although the letter was included in the weekly bulletin, Fr. Richard wanted to personally deliver the decision to the parish family at each mass the weekend of January 4th and 5th. The following is what he shared.
My brothers and sisters, you may recall last year Holy Name Province began a process of reviewing all of the ministries and people we friars are serving. Here at Assumption we friars joined with the people of Wood-Ridge and created this beautiful parish we have served since 1926. In April, many of you spoke with two of the friars who visited here to share your feelings about the work we friars have continued to do here. Over the past year, friars on various committees have met and listened to all my brother friars to determine how we can best serve the path St. Francis intended for us when he formed the Franciscan Friars.
Present church built in 1958.
Interior of present church
Friday afternoon I received a call from our Provincial Minister, Fr. Kevin Mullen, to share the decision of our community and ask that I share it with you. The decision was made to leave Assumption this summer. In the bulletin I’ve included a letter from Fr. Kevin addressed to me and all of you he as a follow up to our conversation. I ask that you trust that this decision, made in conjunction with many others and so not subject to change, is what God wants of us. I promise to keep you updated on the transition from the friars to the priests of the Archdiocese of Newark as I am made aware of them.
I’m confident that the spirit that brought us together in 1926, the spirit we have nourished and cherished through the years, the spirit that makes us a parish family, will get us past these first difficult days and keep us growing in faith together for many years to come.
Having served as your pastor for the past nine years, I, and I think I can speak for Fr. Paul, Fr. Bob and Br. Jim, our Guardian as well, have been blessed to become part of this warm, caring parish family and are forever grateful that you have allowed us to share your lives from the baptism of your children through the death of your loved ones.
Let me remind all of you that this is your parish. We are servants to you our people. We love you and continue to pray for your well being and care. For the future, please pray for us as we pray for you and work with you through this transition.
Assumption Parish is not the only ministry that the friars are returning to their bishops. We are withdrawing from eight other ministries: parishes in Allegheny, NY, Wilmington, Delaware, North and South Carolina, Orlando Florida and 96th Street in the New York Archdiocese and campus ministry in Athens, Georgia. We no longer have the manpower to sustain these ministries in the manner that we believe we can give our all.
This is a difficult call for all of us friars. Let us share the time we have left with each other and find some joy in the time until this summer. I will do my best to prepare whoever will be appointed after me so that your new pastor may walk with you along a new path. Regardless of where any of us are, I know that we will continue to be in each other’s hearts and prayers.