The Custody of the Immaculate Conception in Great Britain was formally announced to the friars on Tuesday, November 11, gathered in Chapter in London. The Province of Ireland had approved the request of the English Province to become a dependent custody at their Extraordinary Chapter held on November 3.
The first Custos of the new dependent Custody is Patrick Lonsdale, OFM, who had previously been a definitor and secretary for formation. The newly elected councillors of the Custody are Juniper Adams, OFM, Danny Convery, OFM, and Antony Jukes, OFM.
Irish Provincial Minister Hugh McKenna, OFM, was also present, as was General Definitor Francis Walter, OFM, and General Visitator Ed Tlucek, OFM.
This reconfiguration of structures came about following visitation leading to their Chapter which was originally scheduled for this past July. The Chapter was postponed until this week and instead, the friars of England had a discussion with General Minister Michael Perry, OFM in July and a few members of his administration.
The English friars have established a working commission to deal with issues related to this juridical change.
First founded in 1224, the Immaculate Conception Province of England currently has 36 solemnly professed members and this number makes it increasingly difficult to surface friars for all of the positions of leadership required of a Province. Becoming a Dependent Custody of Ireland provides the English friars an opportunity to strengthen a collaborative relationship that has already begun with Ireland and strengthen their ability to move forward in the future. The two Provinces have engaged in joint formation efforts already for a number of years.