For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications
RINGWOOD, N.J. — June 16, 2015 — Br. Thomas Ennis, OFM, a member of Holy Name Province, the largest community of Franciscan friars in the United States, will celebrate 50 years as a friar this month.
Throughout his religious life, Br. Ennis has served others through his work as a caregiver to retired friars and as a cook at St. Francis Inn, the province’s soup kitchen in Philadelphia.
He was inspired to join the Order of Friars Minor after hearing the famous St. Padre Pio, OFM Cap., speak in Italy, while he was stationed in the Mediterranean Sea during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After Br. Ennis returned to America, he sought out the Franciscan friars at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. He was received into the Order in 1964 and professed first vows one year later.
Br. Ennis was then assigned to Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., where he looked after the friars’ dining room — a role with which he was comfortable, as his father had owned and worked in restaurants. From 1967 to 1968, he served at the province’s formation house for student friars in Rye Beach, N.H., before he was assigned to St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., to serve as the assistant infirmarian at the provincial infirmary. He made his solemn profession in 1969.
His next assignment, in 1979, was to the province’s retirement friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he helped care for the elderly. After a year, Br. Ennis returned north to Philadelphia, where he began cooking for the guests of St. Francis Inn, a role he held for 36 years until his retirement in 2006.
Today, he lives at the province’s skilled nursing facility in Ringwood, where he continues to share the works of St. Padre Pio with visitors.
Br. Ennis and other friars marking their golden and silver jubilees will be honored at a 5:30 p.m. Mass on June 24 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City. All are invited to attend.
About the Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven provinces in the United States that belong to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its more than 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social ministries, as well as in overseas missions.
The Order, founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi, commemorated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Today, St. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, remains one of the most widely known saints, revered for his affection for nature and desire for respect of all people.
Questions and photo requests should be directed to Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, at 646-473-0265 ext. 321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.