Formation Update: Five Postulants Visit New Jersey, New York Ministries

Ronald Pecci, OFM Friar News

The update below, from the Province’s director of postulancy, is part of an occasional series of stories on the formation process.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Postulancy is a unique year in Franciscan formation, as educational as any other year, but not as academic or primarily spiritual; this approach is experiential. The Ratio calls for a great variety of experiences for the postulant to acclimate to the rhythms of religious life. He must become familiar with the Franciscan Order and his province of entry to prepare for novitiate. To this end, the program has our postulants travel to various retreats, workshop programs, and friar ministries and houses.

The morning after preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the community at Holy Name College, the postulants traveled to Mt. Saviour Monastery, Pine City, N.Y., just outside of Elmira, to share the first week of Advent with the Benedictine monks of that monastery. They followed the monastic schedule for six days, learning under the direction of Michael Reyes, OFM, to “quiet” themselves. After returning to Silver Spring for two weeks, they had their first break to visit their families.

The new year brought the annual “Formation Intersession Program” with presentations on Islam by Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, and Michael Calabria, OFM, of Washington. Immediately after the program concluded, the postulants went to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., using that as a home base, as they traveled to meet the friars and learn of the ministries in northern New Jersey. These included Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, St. Mary Friary in Pompton Lakes, St. Anthony Parish in Butler, St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson. Also visited were several ministries in Manhattan: St. Francis Friary and Parish, the Provincial and Development Offices, and St. Francis Friends of the Poor Residences. The postulants also visited the friars’ plot in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Totowa, N.J. In addition, the postulants had the opportunity to visit the Cloisters Museum in Manhattan and be led there by postulant Christian Seno, halfway through his master’s degree in art history. All of this was “topped” by the gracious hospitality and generous encouragement of the retired community in Butler.

After a few weeks back home in Silver Spring, Dominic visited the postulants to present a lively workshop on the history of Holy Name Province. Only days later, the student friars had the opportunity to meet Thomas Kornacki, OFM, of Bolivia, who offered the postulants a presentation on the history of our Bolivian mission.

Earlier this month, the postulants participated in a workshop on Long Island that gave them information and a sense of fraternity. When this class of postulants arrived, eight men had come from five countries of origin besides the United States. Today, the class is six men strong with four countries of origin besides the United States.

The phenomenon of multi-cultural classes has become standard in religious communities in the United States. Thus, the postulants participated in a weekend workshop on “Inter-Cultural Community Living” sponsored by the Religious Formation Conference at St. Joseph Renewal Center, Brentwood, N.Y. Patrick Keyes, CSSR, who completes his doctorate in inter-cultural studies at Fordham University in May, led the program attended by 64 religious men and women in formation and their formators. The majority of religious men and women in formation were foreign born, and 16 countries of origin were represented.

 Fr. Ron is the Province’s director of postulancy. A personal reflection of his journey to Franciscan life can be found on the Friar Stories page of the HNP website. The above image originally appeared on the Postulancy of the Franciscans of Holy Name Province Facebook page.

Editor’s note: More information about the postulants and other HNP student friars can be found in the Join Us section of the website.