Director’s Desk

New Year’s Greetings

Happy New Year! We had a wonderful Christmas Season. Heartfelt THANKS so so many who sent envelopes and gifts of green. Thanks to many who delivered gifts, supplies, gift certificates, and so much to help fill our shelves to use all year for our residents. Blessings upon you. We are grateful that the winter has been mild so far, bringing down the heat bills and not calling for too much ice melt or use of the snow blowers. God is goo!

It’s thawing a bit, some sun is shining, and today has me smiling. A former resident Jonathan stopped in today. He was here for nine months back in 2012-2013. He was recipient of the +Fr. Patrick Mendola Memorial Scholarship in May of 2013. He is doing very well, as a masonry apprentice (brick layer) and in the union for same. He has a long-term girlfriend and enjoys a good rapport with his family. Needless to say, we talked about his time here, our “tough love,” and his growth in self-esteem. I thank God for small blessings, but this one felt like a bigger one.

We sent out a JOB POSTING today for needed part-time and SUB staff, as one of our staff is heading to pursue a further doctoral degree, and another has to reduce hours due to another full-time job. We are proud of them but much fill the ranks. We have such a tight knit staff and truly a team effort, so it’s hard to “let go” of one of our own. I am blessed to have such a super staff. I’m grateful to YOU for helping me pay their rather miniscule salaries for their critical work.

It’s Monday as I write this note, and already I’m scheduled for two wakes and two funerals this week. It’s always tough to have the right words to console and support families who lose loved ones. One funeral is for the mother of a long-time benefactor (HVAC service and former fire chief). The other is the father of one of my Town of Hamburg Police Lieutenant. +Dad was also a volunteer fire fighter. Finally another is a former fire chief who has had a long battle with his illness. Just being there for the families is what I often call the “Ministry of Presence.”

Sympathies to those who were rooting for the Atlanta Falcons. I confess I was just because they were the “underdogs.” I went to bed after the third quarter and was shocked by the news the next morning at 5:30. Oh well…guess my expectations were “deflated.” Smile! Thanks again and blessings to you!

Peace and all good!

Friar Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv.

End of Summer Message

I’d like to spring forward, instead of falling back. Summer flew by and with the heat and sun, we had to cut the grass here very little. Our recent Golf Tournament was a great success. This critical fund raiser is major for us. I remind any and all groups, churches, schools, etc. of the opportunity to call me to schedule a “Tips for Raising Teens Session.” Any venue, large or small is fine. These have been well-received by parents, grandparents, and others in the past few years. The session is practical, concrete, and provides ample time for Q & A and informal discussion.

We are seeking potential candidates for our Board of Directors. We would like to enhance our board with a few new members. Needless to say, we welcome men and women from a variety of back grounds. The major role of a Not for Profit Board is to assist with development, fund raising, and promotion of the Mission and Program. Some board members perhaps have the ability to assist directly with contributions. Others can plan, assist, and chair our various fund raising events. The Board does approve policy as well, but we do not propose new policies all that often. Rather we revise and update our Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual every year or so. If you or anyone you know might be interested in a Board role, please give me a call so we can meet, discuss, and share the Mission and Philosophy of The Franciscan Center, as we move through our 36 year of quality holistic care of young men.

As I pen this column for you, I’m preparing to travel to our Franciscan Shrine of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD. I’ll be giving a retreat for Fire, EMS, and Police personnel, with the topic of St. Francis of Assisi as model for First Responders along with a gutsy sharing of my brief ministry at Ground Zero as we “not forget” the 15th Anniversary of the Tragedy of 9-11-10. I’ll then attend the 2016 Jubilee Celebration of our Province of Our Lady of the Angels at a parish we staff in Pt. Pleasant, NJ. We’ll gather for prayer, meal, and fraternity with our Friars celebrating their various jubilees of Profession and/or Ordination. This is my 40th Anniversary of Religious Profession (first vows). As the only Friar here at this time, I need to remain grounded in my Franciscan charism.

Finally, in that enthusiasm of “springing forward,” we are seeking a possible a college intern or dedicated volunteer to do some Development/Promotion work with us. We need someone who is energetic, computer experienced, and willing to assist with our fund raising events, public relations, and promotion of our quality youth program. This internship could potentially lead to a part-time position as an Assistant for Development & Promotion. Naturally some experience with PR and Development is preferred. He or she cannot be shy, and those willing to “roll up one’s sleeves,” are the best candidates. This would clearly be great for a college student’s resume. Give me a call with any questions or if you wish to come visit, take a tour, and share your thoughts.

Peace and all good things (Pace e bene).

Friar Joe

Memorial Dinner & Testimony

Greetings Friends,

Happy Spring! We recently celebrated the Annual +Fr. Patrick Mendola Memorial Dinner at Salvatore’s. It was a wonderful evening, and though a fund raiser, it is the most sacred of our events. As usual, we honored a few of our special benefactors. The first was Certo Brothers Distributors. They have been a major support of our annual Golf Tournament, providing refreshment for weary golfers. The other honoree Paul Kubala, was on our staff from 1993-2016, and was recently appointed as Deputy Commissioner of Youth Services for Erie County. Both of these gentlemen spoke to the crowd and made us proud. Naturally, the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the scholarship sponsored by our friends at Ingram Micro, Inc. This year our honoree was PETER, who was with us over a year some months ago. P. graduated high school, worked at Tops Market, now works at Home Depot. He was recently honored by Home Depot as “employee of the month.” He has rebuilt bridges with his family and matured quite a bit, while living independently since leaving us. We are quite proud of Peter. Below is his testimony, shared at the banquet:

Good evening ladies and gentlemen first I want to thank you all for coming this evening.

Those who do not know who I am, my name is Peter { } and I am an Eagle scout from Troop 400, based out of St. Peter and Paul church, in the village of Hamburg. I was adopted from Russia in 1996 by my wonderful parents who are sitting in this room with me this evening.

I came to TFC because I was at a point in my life where I needed a wake up call. I needed to mature and learn how to become a responsible adult. The Franciscan Center taught me ways to grow spiritually and mentally while living there.

While living at The Franciscan Center for eight months, learned many Life Skills. One of these skills is job preparation. I learned how to properly fill out job applications. I also learned how to fold dress clothes the correct way so that they stay sharp and clean for job seeking and interviews. Another aspect relating to job preparation is communication skills. I learned how important communication is, in not only the work force, but also life in general.

While at The Franciscan Center I learned more in depth about money management. learned how to set up a checking account and how to go about direct deposit for a job. I learned how to budget money and how to keep a check book in balance.
One of my biggest excitements while living at The Franciscan Center was apartment research. I learned about costs of things such as rent, utility bills, security deposit, groceries and many more. This knowledge helped prepare me for living on my own.

While at the TFC, I also made two good friendships and had lots of fun times with the TFC staff. Some of the outings we would go out on would be to Desiderio’s dinner theater, movies, camping, hiking and day trips with the staff.

Another aspect while living at the TFC is spiritual growth. I began to read the bible more and have discussions with staff on spiritual growth and how it applies to daily life.

This evening I want to thank two very special people who are with me, my mom and dad for making me the man I am today and teaching me wonderful life lessons as I grew up in their home. Thank you for all you have done to get me to this pivotal point in my life and all that you continue to do to help me. If it was not for my parents I know for a fact that I would not be here today, so thank you for all you have done for me.

I also want to thank the wonderful TFC staff who helped me grow. I especially want to thank Father Joe and Maureen for pushing me to make difficult life changes. I thank everyone helping me and supporting me while I was living at the TFC. Thank you all for coming tonight and supporting me. I am truly honored to receive this award. Thank you and GOD Bless you all.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all!  We had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s and are grateful to so many of our benefactors who’s gifts filled our stockings, attic, food & supply room, and even paid many bills.  God reward your kindness!

Sadly, we are losing one of our longest serving Staff, but oh how proud we are of his big move.  PAUL KUBALA, has been on staff here since the summer of 1993.  He has been real team player, excellent role model for our residents, and a great source of guidance and input to me and our staff.

Paul has been named Deputy Commissioner of Youth Services for the County of Erie We wish Paul all the best and look forward to his leadership and support.  Congratulations to Paul Kubala!

We have been doing a major push the past few months in promotion of our program and services.  If you know of any venue we should reach to “get the word out,” please let me know via jbayne [at] franciscancenterinc [dot] org or at 822-8017.  I am also available to offer our “Tips for Raising Teens” Presentation to any public forum, group at a church, school, organization, etc.  Just let me know.

Peace and all good things!

Fr. Joe

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Friends,

As families gather at table, we here wish to offer gratitude to so many of YOU, who help us in our ministry to troubled youth. I pray the Lord bless you and your families. Let us be united prayer for our world and these United States. We desperately need peace in our world!

A few events of late deserve special mention. I want to thank all who made our Chicken Bar B Q of November 1, 2015 such a success. Our hosts at Bowmasville Fire Department are an inspiration. Their sense of teamwork bespeaks their overall approach to being a fine Fire Company. The crew at the grills at Evans Center Fire Department were up at the crack of dawn doing their magic with home-made sauce on the chicken. So many fire companies, ladies auxiliaries, and others donated wonderful baskets and other prices for the auction. The on November 15, 2015 the Knights of Columbus at Msgr. Nash Council opened their hall to us for our Annual Spaghetti Dinner. All the meal was provided by our Friends at Chef’s at Seneca and Chicago. Please patronize Chef’s and be sure to tell Mary Beth and brother Lou how much we appreciate their goodness. Chef’s also donated a wonderful Sabres game/meal package for the special raffle.

As we move into the Holiday Season. Stay calm. Don’t get caught up in the commercial mania. We here decorate, have our parties and special meals, and use it as a time to continue to give thanks for so many of you!

The recent pleasant and fair weather has been a blessing. Thanks be to God.

Much peace!
Fr. Joe


Happy Fall to all! Always check our upcoming activities under EVENTS on our web site.

I have been presenting an informal workshop to various parents groups entitled: TIPS FOR RAISING TEENS. It has been fruitful and helpful as is evidence by the questions, discussion, and feedback. If any group, church, school, etc. would like to host “Tips for Raising Teens” please give me a call to schedule @ 822-8017. Naturally, a larger group would be fine, but there is no size limit. We would welcome a “free will” offering but it is not necessary.

We are always seeking new “Friends of The Franciscan Center.” This group, founded by dear friend and benefactor Jon Williams of Ontario Specialty Contracting (OSC), several years ago, has become a serious budget line for us. Generous donors make a monthly or annual pledge from their business or corporation. Call us for details at 822-8017. We would welcome you to visit for a brief presentation and tour of the center.

We have also instituted a major promotion project. Our promotion/public relations consultant Alex McDougall, has been “getting the word out” via various media, etc. to reach youth and families in need of our quality holistic services. If anyone has ideas or connections in assisting Alex at getting word out on our services, please contact him: ajmcdougall [at] aol [dot] com

Best Wishes for a Happy Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving!

Everybody’s Column, Buffalo News

{sent in 5/28/15}

Some affirmative comments on the 5/11/15 front page story on Maritime Charter School: The article clearly shared positive realities as well as the voices of some critics. As a long-time provider of youth services, I realize the educational piece is always integral to positive youth development. Maritime seems to realize that despite society’s current approach and political correctness, children/youth and yes even adults, need structure, guidelines, expectations, and some semblance of discipline. I laud Maritime’s statement that it can “at least have standards and consequences for students already enrolled.” Too often in schools and other settings, standards are continually watered-down and/or eliminated. Why shouldn’t students have to meet a code of conduct, if we are preparing them to be responsible and contributing members of society? Maritime states that it emphasizes “moral integrity and leadership, as well as academic effort, and physical fitness.” Imagine offering those qualities and values to our young people in today’s world! Though some might consider Maritime as having “strict rules” students interviewed for the BN article “said they receive extensive individual support from teachers, and a close community of kids who look out for each other.” Bravo to Maritime! Their modus operandi is very similar to ours at The Franciscan Center, a successful Transitional Independent Living Program in South Buffalo for young men 16 thru 20 who need help in “body, mind, and spirit,: amidst their “growing up struggles.” The parents should direct the family, the teachers the classroom, and the mentors the youth programs! Is the opposite working in our society? Again, Bravo to Maritime and others who hold firm to expectations, standards, values, and some structure.

Fr. Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv.

Happy Mother’s Day

To any and all Mother’s, blessings and joyous wishes on Sunday for Mother’s Day. One mother “went viral” this past week in Baltimore for “retrieving” her errant Son, who was participating in the sad riots in my hometown. This mother to me, like my own Mom, is hero. She was doing her best and was not willing to allow her son to continue his clearly wrong and out-of-line behavior against society, police, and his own neighborhood. IF more parents truly acted as parents and not their child’s or children’s buddy, our society would see improvement. This cry is often echoed here in my office: Be the parent, not the buddy or friend. May true peace come to our streets. I also continue to ask, why there is no outcry or protest at our “Kids killing Kids” on our city streets. Violence continues and there is no media hype or politicians calling for justice? Why is it only when there is a chance to claim racism or police brutality, which of course are wrong, but is it ok for the kids (black or white) to kill each other, is that ok? God help us.

Though we here cannot actually be a mother or father, we are the adult mentors, trying to set example, draw out the good in each youth, and affirm positive behavior. So often our young people have not had this experience at home nor from our society. Too much misbehavior is tolerated, too much entitlement preventing development of good work ethic and self esteem. I honestly believe the answers to some of our society’s woes are easy answers but instead society makes excuses, blames others, and claims “poor me.” Again, I pray God help us.

Someone recently shared this article with me. It is powerful and in my not so humble opinion, “right on target.” But it also relates to what we struggle with in runaway homeless youth services. Our society continues to offer hand-outs, entitlements, encourage young and not so young people not to complete education, not to get a job, to merely sit back and expect government to hand them everything, to take care of everything, and to totally depend on government. This is not healthy! This does not improve self-esteem. This does not help our young people grow into responsible members of the community. It enforces dependence, entitlement attitudes, and that “you owe me” mentality. It is not merely a racial issue, its our liberal societal approach. Here at The Franciscan Center, our mission is empowerment in “body, mind, and spirit.” We do not merely hand young men a fish, rather we teach them how to fish. Amen!

Happy Easter and Passover! Happy Spring!

Peace and all good!

Fr. Joe

Support the Coalition

As a long-time member and Board Member for several years of The Coalition for Homeless Youth, I wholeheartedly support CHY’s plea to the Governor to increase Runaway Homeless Youth to the 2008 funding level. Please tell your NYS Assembly and Senate Members to support us.

Fr. Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv.
Executive Director
The Franciscan Center

Downloadable file: Governor_Budget_Letter


(716) 822-8017

1910 Seneca Street
Buffalo, NY 14210