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Franciscan Friars Welcome Pope Francis to New York City

For Immediate Release 

CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications
jthomas@HNP.org

NEW YORK — Sept. 15, 2015 — The Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province are preparing to welcome Pope Francis to New York City next week.

Following his election as pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, chose to be called “Francis,” after St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor, or “lesser brothers,” to which the Franciscan friars belong.

“Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has focused on caring for the poor and marginalized, and our environment, and sharing God’s mercy and forgiveness through the joy of the Gospel,” said Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, provincial minister, or CEO, of Holy Name Province. “These elements have been part of the Franciscan tradition for more than 800 years. As Franciscans, we are called to be lesser brothers, humbly serving others and joyfully sharing the life and beauty of the Gospel.”

“We are grateful for Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, ‘Laudato Si’,’” Fr. Mullen added. “We are energized for his call for immediate, inclusive dialogue and action to address the related challenges of poverty and global climate change. These are ideas that we strive to incorporate in all of our ministries, located along the East Coast of the United States.”

Holy Name Province has been present in New York City since the 1860s. Its ministries include:

  • St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street, located half a block from where Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 25. It is home to St. Francis Breadline, founded during the Great Depression. The parish also reaches out to the forgotten and marginalized through programs like The Migrant Center, a resource and referral center for newly-arrived immigrants, and St. Francis Counseling Center.
  • Holy Name of Jesus Church on West 96th Street. One of the parish’s core ministries is the Franciscan Community Center, which offers social services programs including a food pantry and the 93rd Street Sandwich Line, the FCC Thrift Shop, and counseling, as well as senior services, and after-school programs for local children.
  • St. Francis Friends of the Poor, a non-profit organization that oversees three residences in Manhattan, providing humane and dignified housing for people with serious psychiatric problems and histories of homelessness. The first St. Francis Residence was opened in 1980, and was the first of its kind to offer a comprehensive solution to the problems of the homeless and mentally ill population.
  • CREATE, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that offers 24-hour-a-day transitional housing services, and in-patient and out-patient rehab and counseling services in Harlem, N.Y., a 15-minute walk from Our Lady Queen of Angels School, where Pope Francis will meet with school children and immigrant families.

Holy Name Province also has ministries in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, the other cities that are hosting Pope Francis during his visit to the United States.

Friars will be available for comment before, during and after the pope’s visit to the United States. To speak with a friar, please contact communications director Jocelyn Thomas at 646-473-0265 or jthomas@hnp.org.

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 justice 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.

Information about Holy Name Province can be found on www.hnp.org. News about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.

Questions and photo requests should be directed to Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, at 646-473-0265 ext. 321 or 732-829-1513 (mobile) or jthomas@hnp.org. 

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