Formation Update: Postulancy Offers Varied Experiences

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

WILMINGTON, Del. — Getting to know the people and places of the Province has been the focus of the last few months for HNP’s two postulants, Wilmer Garcia and Junior Joseph.

“The postulancy program aims to aid men entering the program in the transition from secular to religious life. This is a many-faceted task but much is accomplished by our being mobile and experiencing as much as can be accomplished in a one-year period,” said Ronald Pecci, OFM, director of the Province’s postulancy program.

In mid-January, the postulants and Ron visited St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., and made it their “base of operation” as they visited Holy Name Friary in Ringwood and three New Jersey parishes — St. Bonaventure in Paterson, St. Anthony in Butler, and St. Mary in Pompton Lakes. “At each place, we try and meet as many friars as we can and get an orientation to Franciscan life and ministry at that place,” said Ron.

In early February, Ron and Junior traveled to the novitiate in Burlington, Wis., for a program with the other OFM postulants of the U.S. provinces. Sean Sammon, FMS, presented on human sexuality for the postulants, said Ron, adding that Wilmer remained in Wilmington because “he is enrolled in an intensive ESL program on weekdays and cannot miss class.”

“We ended February with a trip to Holy Name College. Using it as our base, we visited St. Francis Parish in Triangle, Va., St. Camillus Parish, Silver Spring, Md., the Holy Land Monastery, Washington, and the Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Silver Spring. We also received an orientation to the Franciscan Mission Service from Paul O’Keeffe, OFM,” said Ron.

March brought them to St. Joseph Villa in Hampton Bays on Long Island, N.Y., for a religious formation conference workshop led by Sr. Lynn Levo, CSJ, on human sexuality and spirituality. That program was followed only two days later by the Inter-Franciscan Formation Program’s March workshop on Franciscan poverty and minority led by Sr. Nancy Schreck, OSF.

Last week, the postulants joined the friars of St. Paul’s Friary in a day of prayer at Jesus House, a retreat center in Wilmington. This traditional event is done three or four times a year, according to Ron, the guardian of the friary. “The day begins with morning prayer. One of the friars volunteers to lead the day, usually offering some input on a topic and giving the rest of us some reflection or discussion questions to ponder. After the individual reflection, we come together to share our insights. The day ends with Mass followed by dinner.

“The postulants have always been part of the day, since they are part of our community,” continued Ron, who led this recent prayer day. “Discussions centered around community, prayer and ministry, and their inter-relationship.”

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.