Council Members Meet in New Jersey

HNP Communications In the Headlines

MARGATE, N.J. — Holy Name’s Provincial Council gathered Jan. 7 to 9 at the Franciscan Friary here for their first meeting of the year, discussing a variety of topics including the Province’s strategic plan, the Leadership Development initiative, the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, 2009 events, and the standard monthly agenda of personnel and finance issues.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, and the eight council members conducted a detailed review of many timely matters. He said that, despite the unfavorable economic climate in the country and the loss of income for the Province’s investments, the HNP leadership is pleased that the apartment building adjoining the Provincial Office on West 31st Street is providing income.

“I am thankful that the Province is making a significant profit from the rentals,” said John, referring to The Epic building.

Planning for the Future
Much of the three-day meeting was focused on planning the year — and years — ahead. The Council reviewed the status of the Province’s strategic plan, which was approved at the 2008 chapter.

Francis Gunn, OFM, the Province’s coordinator for strategic planning, presented a detailed description of the implementation of the strategic plan (SP). He explained how the SP will affect various aspects of the friars’ lives including fraternity, collaboration, friar skills development, finances, vocation, and Franciscan identity.  In addition, he described the projects of the Province’s directorates.

Leadership development, a key goal of the Province’s SP, was discussed in depth on Jan. 8 when council members listened to an update on the leadership development initiative. Representatives from Axiom Consultant Partners, the specialists hired by the Province, reported on the results of the self-assessments that more than 54 friar leaders completed in early December.

A variety of recommendations arose from the friars’ self reflection process. The consultants suggested to the Province, among other ideas, that increased training would assist many friars as would developing a mentoring program and providing education in specific leadership skills such as financial management and conflict resolution.

The feedback included the fact that friars are open to thinking about leadership as a calling and are eager to engage in dialogue about it, John said.

John said that the Axiom team has “finished what they were hired for.”  The Provincial Council has now asked the Leadership Development Committee to reconvene to review and discuss Axiom’s varied recommendations and to come up with a feasible plan for their implementation, according to Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM.

The results of Axiom’s research will be presented to HNP guardians at a gathering on March 19 in San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street, New York City.

FVM Update and Province 
At their January meeting, Council members also met with representatives of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry:Michael Duffy, OFM; Katie Sullivan, and Karen Pushaw. They discussed ways to enhance the FVM’s recruitment efforts and broaden and strengthen the structure of the FVM, the Province’s 20-year-old program based in Philadelphia.

A series of nine fraternal gatherings is being planned for late February through early May. The gatherings will take place at houses from Florida to Boston. Details will be distributed to the friars  within the next few weeks.

The next council meeting will be Feb. 12 and 13 in New York.

Friar Transitions
Several changes in friar assignments have been announced by the Council.

Gerald Dolan, OFM, has received permission to retire from full-time ministry and has been assigned to St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla., effective Feb. 16.

Lawrence Ford, OFM, has been assigned as parochial vicar at Holy Name Friary, West 96th St., New York effective Jan. 10

Venant Lalonde, OFM, has also been assigned to St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla., effective Feb. 1.

James Sabak, OFM, is in residence at Gemelli House in Silver Spring, Md., effective Jan. 15.

With the approval of the Provincial Council, Daniel Sulmasy, OFM, has accepted a faculty position at the University of Chicago.  Dan will serve as Clinton-Kilbride Professor of Medicine and Medical Ethics at the medical school, with a co-appointment as professor of medical ethics in the divinity school. Pending the approval of university committees and the state medical board, Dan will assume his position at the beginning of the new medical academic year on July 1.  Dan will live at St. Joseph Friary, the inter-provincial house of post-novitiate formation for Sacred Heart, St. John the Baptist, and Assumption provinces, in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, a short distance from the university. He hopes to take up residence there in early May.

Joseph Cavoto, SA, has joined the community of St. Francis Friary, New York, effective Jan. 10.  A graduate of the Washington Theological Union who was ordained in 1980, Joe came to know a number of friars of the Province during his years of study in Washington. A certified social worker, he began ministering at the West  31st Street church part-time this past year at both the counseling center and the Center for Franciscan Spirituality and Spiritual Direction. Recently, he received permission from both the Atonement Friars and the Province to join the ministry at St. Francis full-time. The Province extends a warm welcome to our Franciscan brother, said Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM.

Shown in the photo above are the 2008 – 2011 Council members. They are, seated: Christopher Coccia, John O’Connor, and Dominic Monti, and standing: Thomas Conway, Michael Harlan, Kevin Mullen, Francis Di Spigno, Daniel Dwyer, and F. Edward Coughlin.

Editor’s note:  Details about the strategic plan are available in a separate story in this issue of HNP Today. Information about the leadership development initiative will be posted online (in the HNP’s Extranet) as well as in the next issue of this newsletter.