New Provincial Council elected and new proposals put forth to set a future course for the Midwest Capuchins
June 5-9, 2023 marked the 48th Triennial Chapter of the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph. Friars from the Province convened at St. Xavier University in Chicago to elect leadership and chart a course for the future.
Friar Mark Joseph Costello, OFM Cap. was elected by his Capuchin brothers to serve a second term as Provincial Minister. Similar to a bishop or archbishop, the Provincial Minister serves as the leader of a religious order. Costello will lead the Province until the next triennial chapter in 2026.
Costello, a native of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, entered the Capuchin order in 1982 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He ministered in Capuchin formation and worked as an architectural and design consultant for churches across the United States. From 2015 to 2020, he served as pastor at several parishes on the Crow reservation in Montana. Costello served as Provincial Minister from 2020 to the present.
The New Provincial Council
In addition, a new Provincial Council has been elected to advise the Provincial Minister. The council is made up of:
- 1st Councilor and Provincial Vicar Friar William Hugo, OFM Cap.
- 2nd Councilor Friar Tien Dinh, OFM Cap.
- 3rd Councilor Friar Biju Parakkalayil, OFM Cap.
- 4th Councilor Friar Nicholas Blattner, OFM Cap.
Br. William Hugo, a native of Chilton, Wisconsin, was serving as the Guardian of St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit at the time of his election. Br. Tien Dinh is the Assistant Director of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit. Dinh was born in Vietnam and was raised in New Orleans. Both Hugo and Dinh served on the previous Provincial Council. Br. Biju Parakkalayil of Kerala, India is ministering as Guardian at St. Lawrence Friary in Mt. Calvary Wisconsin. Prior to that, he ministered at Capuchin Retreat in Washington Township, Michigan. Br. Nicholas Blattner of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin ministers as Mission Secretary and is based in Detroit.
"I am humbled by the responsibility entrusted to me by my Capuchin brothers to lead the Province of St. Joseph for the next three years," said Br. Mark Joseph Costello. "The Provincial Councilors and I will do our utmost to continue our mission based on the model of our brother, St. Francis of Assisi. The people of God whom we serve at our ministries, such as the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit, Capuchin Community Services in Milwaukee and St. Lawrence Seminary in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin, can be assured of our continued ministry, rooted in contemplative prayer, of putting the Gospel of Jesus Christ into action."
The new leadership team took office immediately. A new Provincial Minister and Provincial Council are elected by the friars of the Province every three years during a Provincial Chapter meeting. The newly-appointed Provincial Minister and Council will serve a three-year term that expires upon the next leadership election at the 49th Provincial Chapter in 2026.
In addition to electing leadership, the Provincial Minister offered his Triennial Report, in what can be likened to a “State of the Union” for the friars of the Province. The Provincial Treasurer offered a financial report. Friar Celestino Arias, OFM Cap. from the Capuchin General Curia in Rome offered his reflections. Keynote speaker John Allen, editor of Crux, spoke on how the Capuchins offer a stabilizing influence in a divided world and Church amid sweeping change and tribalism. Friars in collaboration from provinces in Africa, Asia and Europe shared presentations on life and Capuchin ministry in their respective homelands. Installation Mass for the new Council, prayer and an anointing were all held at the Chapel at St. Xavier University.
Time was set aside during Chapter for friars to debate and vote on proposals that would establish new guideposts for the Province as it moves forward. One such proposal grappled with the question of what sorts of ministries the Province should focus on in the future. Consensus formed around the notion of establishing ministries at locations like St. Francis of Assisi in Milwaukee and the new Capuchin Center there. The Capuchin Center could serve as a location for an “open door” ministry to serve the people with counseling and addressing spiritual needs. More to come on that in future editions of Sandal Prints.