Formation: Postulants Travel to East Coast to Learn, Experience Ministries

Rebecca Doel Friar News

The postulant class of 2011-2012 continues to be “on the move” according to postulant director Ronald Pecci, OFM. In the past months, the five men in their first year of friar formation have attended workshops and visited several HNP ministry sites.

“Our schedule was created with the idea that postulants would be able to get to know the reality of the Province and participate in workshops and programs for religious in initial formation,” he said. “Recently we’ve been doing just that.”

Ronald, guardian of St. Paul Friary in Wilmington, Del., where the postulants live, said the postulants noticed a great variety in ministries but also common elements of the life and work of the Province.

Earlier this month, Dennis Bennett, Casey Cole, Sergio Ferrisi, Edgardo Jara Araya and Ramoncito Razon participated in the Inter-Franciscan Formation Program at Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, N.Y., with some 50 religious from Poor Clare monasteries, Third Order communities, Conventual and other OFM provinces.

The Nov. 8 to 11 gathering included a presentation on Franciscan discernment by Sr. Clare D’Auria. “She offered a great program on discernment guided by the writings of Francis and Clare,” Ron said.

“The inter-Franciscan program has been operating for 26 six years, and our Province has participated in it for most of those years,” added Ron, who is currently the coordinator of the program.

Immediately after their workshop at Graymoor, the postulants traveled “up the river” to Esopus, N.Y., and Mount St. Alphonsus. There, they were part of a religious formation conference workshop on “Religious Life in the 21st Century.” Fr. Sean Sammons, FMS, the former general minister of the Marist Brothers was one of the presenters. “Sean gave an encouraging and challenging presentation to the 47 men and women in initial formation who attended that workshop,” Ron noted.

Preparing for the Novitiate
Since Holy Name Province now participates in a collaborative novitiate with other OFM provinces in North America, men attend some common programs during the postulant year as preparation.

“Currently, all of the provinces participating in the common novitiate are scheduled to be together for three workshops during the year as well as for the Franciscan Institute summer session,” Ron said.

The first — a “Profiling Workshop” conducted by Fr. Tim Lamb, OFM, personnel director for St. John the Baptist Province — was held Oct. 16 to 21 at the Jesuit Spiritual Center in Milford, Ohio. Nineteen postulants from six provinces used various assessments, such as Firo B and Meyers-Briggs, to identify key aspects of their personalities, thus beginning a discussion on how to meld the various types into one community, Ron said.

Getting to Know Ministry Sites
“Visiting many ministry sites during the postulancy allows the men to become familiar with the work of the Province as well as many of the friars,” Ron said. “In late summer, we did day trips to Philadelphia and Camden. More recently, we visited Assumption Church in Wood-Ridge, N.J.”

In Wood-Ridge, Richard Mucowski, OFM, gave an orientation to Presidium and various policies to address the “Protecting God’s Children” protocols. “Since we were going to be in North Jersey, we took advantage of the hospitality of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, and we visited a number of ministry sites over the course of the Oct. 28 weekend,” Ron said.

postulants-rAfter Richard’s presentation, Julian Jagudilla, OFM, and Paul Keenan, OFM, gave the postulants a tour, explaining the ministry. At St. Anthony’s in Butler, the men joined the friars for prayer and their evening meal. “After meeting many of the friars, Kevin Cronin, OFM, gave the postulants an overview of the Ministry of the Word,” Ron said.

The next morning, the group headed to New York City for a tour of the St. Francis Friends of the Poor ministry withThomas Walters, OFM. While in Manhattan, Ron took the postulants to Holy Name of Jesus Church on the Upper West Side to hear about the life and ministry community from pastor Daniel Kenna, OFM, and Lawrence Ford, OFM.

Back to New Jersey, the postulants visited Daniel Grigassy, OFM, and Christopher VanHaight, OFM, at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson.

“Dan took us to the friars’ plot in Holy Sepulchre to visit some of the ‘lions’ of the Province,” Ron said. “Due to an errant snowstorm on Oct. 29, we had to cancel our planned visit to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood and instead attended the vigil Mass at St. Anthony’s Church, followed by dinner with Michael Jones, OFM, Patrick Fereday, OFM, and Gonzolo de Jesus Torres-Acosta, OFM.”

He added, “On Sunday morning, after much of the snow had melted, we attended Mass at St. Mary’s in Pompton Lakes, which was followed by some time with Frank Sevola, OFM, Larry Anderson, OFM, and Richard Husted, OFM.”

— Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.