Franciscan Missions in Waterford and its New Leader

The Franciscan Missions office has started a new chapter. Since November 2015, Fr. Teofil Czarniak, OFM, has been working as the executive director of the General Secretariat of the Franciscan Missions, Inc., in Waterford. The organization, known as Franciscan Missions, has been in existence for more than 50 years.

The mission of the organization is threefold: 1) to provide direct financial support for missions of the Order of Friars Minor throughout the world, 2) to provide financial support for the training of future missionaries, and 3) to educate the world, particularly the people of the United States, on the mission work of the Order.

Appointed by General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, Fr. Teo’s role as executive director was approved by the Franciscan Missions Board of Directors in fall 2015.

Ordained in 2002, Fr. Teo, born Adam Czarniak, in Andrychow, Poland, joined the Franciscan Order in 1994. In 1996, Fr. Teo celebrated his first profession with the Order. He then celebrated his solemn profession in 2000, his diaconate in 2001, and in May 2002, Fr. Teo celebrated his ordination as a Catholic priest at the Wyzsze Seminary Duchowne in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Poland. Upon his first profession, he took the priestly first name of Teofil which means “friend of God,” in celebration of his entrance into Franciscan life.

As executive director, Fr. Teo is responsible for the overall management of the fundraising initiatives of the Franciscan Missions, which focus on generating awareness of and financial support for the Order’s mission work in developing countries and on six continents. His experience as a missionary in Poland and, most recently, Uganda, has prepared him well for this new post.

“During my work in Uganda, I was privileged to witness not only fragility and poverty, but, most importantly, beauty of life and power of faith. This deep experience gives me strength for our daily work. Building upon a strong foundation, we look forward with hope. The staff of the Franciscan Missions is aware of being God’s tool in changing the world for the better,” said Fr. Teo.

Information about the work of the Franciscan Missions can be found on its website www.franciscanmissions.org. A Facebook page provides photos as well as items being sold for fundraising purposes.