Franciscan friars announce withdrawal from churches in Binghamton

By Nicky Hickling

June 17, 2014 Updated Jun 17, 2014 at 6:28 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Bishop Cunningham and the Franciscan leadership have agreed that on Sept.1, the churches of SS. Cyril and Methodius and the Church of Holy Trinity will return to the pastoral care of the Diocese of Syracuse under one pastor appointed by the Bishop from among the diocesan clergy.

The Diocese of Syracuse is currently in the process of identifying candidates for the pastorate, and a decision will be made in the near future.

Fr. Brad Milunski, OFM Conv., confirmed the Conventual Franciscan Friars of the former provinces of Immaculate Conception and St. Anthony of Padua have been in a process of discernment concerning ministry and fraternal life for several years. In May, the two provinces officially united to form one province under the patronage of Our Lady of the Angels with its provincial headquarters in Ellicott City, Maryland.

In his announcement, Fr. Brad stated:

“The more than 800 years of the Franciscan Order in the world and the 160 years of history in the USA have seen countless changes in the friars’ life and ministry, but this decision is nonetheless painful for all of us. You remain always a part of our Franciscan family, and we ask for your understanding and continued prayerful support as we try to move forward in the best way we know how in service to the larger church and the world. The friars cannot adequately thank the people of Binghamton and all that you have been for us through over 75 years of Franciscan ministry in this city. Your rich ethnic heritage, generous spirit and example of Christian living remain always a part of our Franciscan family.”

The decision to withdraw was made after a four-year process of reflection on the places where the friars serve, while acknowledging the decreasing numbers of friars to serve presently and in the future.

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