NEW YORK — With blessings from the Order’s General Minister and words of praise and gratitude from the Provincial Minister, 18 friars were honored on June 24 for their Franciscan service. The jubilarians came from schools, parishes and other ministries around the Province to celebrate with friends and family their 50th and 25th anniversaries as Franciscans at the Province’s annual jubilee Mass.
Fr. Michael Perry, OFM — re-elected last month as the Order’s leader — celebrated the Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street. He was visiting from Rome. It was a collaborative celebration with Kevin Mullen, OFM, delivering the homily and Fr. Primo Piscatello, OFM, provincial minister of Immaculate Conception Province, participating in the liturgy as a vested concelebrant. The readings were presented by jubilarians.
After reading the names of each jubilarian, the General Minister expressed his gratitude. “I thank you in the name of the Order for your faithfulness and your witness.” Kevin also thanked the jubilarians, specifying that “when we gather, we give thanks for the quality of what you’ve done, not the quantity.”
Following the Example of Francis
“You’ve had God’s spirit in your life and you have followed the example of Francis,” said Kevin. “You have gone forth to proclaim God’s love is presence in the world.
“Your profession has demonstrated that you know Christ,” said the Provincial Minister. “You know the power that comes with his resurrection. One of the great aspects of this celebration is recognizing that you’re not finished. We recognize that there’s much more work to be done in this world. Witness to the Gospel takes place in real life.”
Kevin said, “An excellent example took place less than a week ago in Charleston when relatives of the victims of the shooting responded with love and forgiveness. It’s important to live the Gospel. Love it with joy. Live it in good times and in bad.”
Those marking 50 years since their first profession were Brian Cullinane, OFM, of Boston, Xavier De La Huerta, OFM, of Philadelphia, Thomas Ennis, OFM, of Ringwood, N.J., Glenn Humphrey, OFM, of St. Michaels, Ariz., Christopher Keenan, OFM, of the Bronx, N.Y., James Patrick Kelly, OFM, of Hartford, Conn., Karl Koenig, OFM, of Philadelphia, Dominic Monti, OFM, of Allegany, N.Y., James Nero, OFM, of Wilton Manors, Fla., Andrew Reitz, OFM, and Xavier Seubert, OFM, of New York City, and Patrick Sieber, OFM, of Philadelphia.
The friars marking 25 years were David Blake, OFM, of Allegany, Kevin Kriso, OFM, of West Clarksville, N.Y., Kevin McGoff, OFM, of El Cajon, Calif., William McIntyre, OFM, of Durham, N.C., Khoa Nguyen, OFM, of Cromwell, Conn., and Christopher Posch, OFM, of Wilmington, Del.
During the Mass, the jubilarians renewed their vows with the traditional prayer after the homily.
Appreciating the Journey
Several jubilarians expressed their pleasure at commemorating their milestone.
Glenn said: “Fifty years! What an interesting journey this has been, from the concrete and asphalt of New York City to the dusty roads and sagebrush of Arizona. And it was certainly interesting to have us all together. What a diverse group of friars we are.”
It was a joyful and surreal event, according to Kevin Kriso. “It was surreal thinking about how fast the years have gone by. It was a great time of reflection for me of how things have changed and also about the people who have passed on and of those who I’m still meeting. I thought about all of the places I’ve been able to go and where God has taken me.”
Andrew said that, coincidentally, this class of silver jubilarians was the first class of novices that he had when he was the Province’s novice director from 1989 to 1996. “I was there when they made their profession of vows in 1990. How quickly time flies.”
Brian said: “What a great evening it was, gathered with so many of my friar classmates and also with members of the silver jubilee class. It was a great time to catch up on where the different guys are and what they are accomplishing. I was so very pleased that members of my family were also there for the Mass and celebration. Most of us commented that we could hardly believe it has been 50 years since we first took our simple vows at St. Raphael’s in Lafayette, N.J., at the end of our novitiate year. It was so extra special to have our minister general there to be the main celebrant.”
“The celebration had a lot of happy, joyful energy, especially with the large number of jubilarians this year,” said Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, who organized the event. “I was very happy that the friars, and the family and friends of the jubilarians had a wonderful time at this special celebration, honoring the commitment of our brothers.”
Photos taken by Octavio Duran, OFM, and Michael Reyes, OFM, at the jubilee Mass, the second celebrated by Kevin since being elected Provincial Minister in June 2014, can be found on the Facebook page of St. Anthony’s Guild.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.