Monthly Meeting: December 2023

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Monthly Meeting: December 2023

December 19, 2023 @ 12:45 pm

Because this is an Advent program, we invite everyone to join us on that day, regardless of registered membership.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 19: Please note special start time at 12:45 (not the usual 12:30)

  • 12:45 p.m. — general business meeting, all invited
  • App. 1:00 p.m. — guest speaker, all invited
  • Immediately following, app. 1:30 — Board Meeting

Meeting ID: 853 550 5703


Rev. Michael Della Penna, OFM, Ph.D.

Order of Friars Minor, Province of the Immaculate Conception

– Pastor, St. Leonard of Port Maurice Parish ( and St. John School (, Archdiocese of Boston

– Spiritual Director and Chairman of the Board, Silent Children’s Mission, Toronto (


“Living the 800-Year Nativity Message: St. Francis of Assisi, Our Holy Family, and Christ’s Coming.” 

Franciscan friar Michael Della Penna returns to our Serra Club this month as our Advent speaker. He first visited with us in July 2022, when he shared his thoughts on “Living Junipero Serra’s Mission Today: We Are All Missionaries.” Many who attended immediately wrote to ask if he would join us again.

Father Michael will visit with us from St. Leonard’s Church in Boston’s North End, where he will speak about the annual Christmas tradition of the Nativity devotional introduced in Greccio, Italy, by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223, and as later documented by St. Bonaventure.

Ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Boston in 1999, Father Della Penna spent 11 years directing the Franciscan Valley of the Angels Orphanage and School in Guatemala before returning to his Boston home parish as pastor in January 2020. Before Guatemala, he completed multiple assignments for his Immaculate Conception Province, including associate pastor, retreat director, formation director, and definitor.

Father Michael led pilgrimages to Assisi for 12 years for Franciscan Pilgrimage Programs and currently leads pilgrimages to Medjugorje. He returned last weekend from Assisi and Greccio, where he led pilgrims in recognizing the 800th anniversary of the introduction of the live Nativity by St. Francis. In addition, he has taught at St. Bonaventure University, lectured widely, and directed retreats throughout Africa, Canada, Central America, Haiti, and Italy.

For several weeks during the summer, Father Michael works with the Silent Children’s Mission alongside other priests and many communities of women religious, such as the Poor Clares, the Sisters of Charity, and the Sisters of the Holy Rosary, and Secular Franciscans in ministering to the health, education, and spiritual needs of children in Malawi, Africa. SCM also serves the poorest of the poor children in Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and many additional locations of deep poverty throughout the world.

Father Michael’s parishioners know him as a gifted homilist-teacher, who frequently references and finds inspiration in Saints Francis, Clare, and Anthony, and with a particular enthusiasm for preaching on Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. He has been building a youth and young adult ministry at St. Leonard’s, promotes the Young Catholic Professionals Boston, ministers to local men in recovery, and welcomes the St. Joseph’s Home for Artisans and the Pure in Heart program as parish ministries.

Father Della Penna earned baccalaureate degrees in psychology and philosophy, completed a Master of Divinity degree from Weston Jesuit, studied at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto, and was awarded licentiate and doctorate degrees in Franciscan Spirituality from the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome. He is the author of The Crucified Knight: The Spiritual Odyssey of St. Francis of Assisi According to Henry of Avranches (Tau Publishing, 2014).

We welcome everyone to our December 19 meeting and encourage you to invite others who would value this program. The Zoom link will be sent closer to the meeting date. 


On November 25, the Vatican announced that Catholics will be eligible to receive a plenary indulgence by praying before a Nativity scene or display in a Franciscan church from December 8, the Solemnity of Mary, through the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord on February 2. We encourage our Serra Club of Philadelphia members and friends to check their diocesan directories for Franciscan-staffed churches.

For further information:


December 19, 2023
12:45 pm