Fr. Eugene Smith
Fr. Eugene Smith
Servite Father Eugene Smith, recently prior of his Portland community of friars, has been elected to the role of prior provincial of the Order of Friar Servants of Mary – USA Province, and has joined the Servite community of Our Lady of Sorrows in Chicago.

Father Don Siple, rector of The Grotto in Portland since 2017, left at the end of July to join Father Smith and the Servite community in Chicago. Father Siple will minister to the province as assistant provincial and master of formation.

“I thank Father Eugene and Father Don for helping enrich the spiritual lives of thousands of people who have come to The Grotto over the past few years,” said Christopher Blanchard, executive director of The Grotto. “There is no better place to grow in your faith than at The Grotto, and no better priests to help you grow. I pray they continue their success in their vital leadership roles for the Servite province.”

Joseph Danna, chair of The Grotto’s board of directors, said he has enjoyed working with the two priests. “I think both will make great leaders of the Servite province going forward,” he said.

Servite Father Vidal Martinez assumed the role as rector of The Grotto Aug. 1. Father Martinez was born in 1948 in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico. In 1962 he entered the Servite seminary high school in Hillside, Illinois, and made his solemn profession of vows in 1973. He was ordained a priest May 10, 1975, at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica in Chicago.

Father Martinez is an experienced pastor who is fluent in English, Spanish and French; he has spent most of his priesthood serving in multicultural and multilingual parishes throughout the Servite USA province. Most recently he has resided at Our Lady of Sorrows Monastery in Chicago where he has served as national assistant to the Servite Diakonia and the Secular Servites, movements comprised of lay people who seek to share in the spirituality and ministry of the Servite order. Father Vidal also has assisted parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago and in the St. Peregrine Ministry for those who speak Spanish.

“His wealth of pastoral experience, language skills, and love for sharing the Servite charism and spirituality have prepared him well to serve as rector of The Grotto,” staff said in a statement.

Also new to The Grotto on Aug. 1 was Servite Father Leo Hambur.

He was born in 1988 in the small town of Ruteng on the island of Flores in Indonesia. He entered the Servite postulancy program in his native country, where he completed his pre-novitiate and novitiate formation, making his first profession of temporary vows in 2011. After finishing philosophy and pre-theology studies at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Malang, East Java, Indonesia, he came to the United States in 2013 as part of an inter-jurisdictional formation agreement within the Servite order.

After gaining proficiency in English, he completed theological studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, graduating with a master of divinity degree in 2019. He made solemn profession of vows in June of 2017 and was ordained to the priesthood June 13, 2019, at Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica in Chicago. Following ordination Father Hambur was assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Denver as parochial vicar.