Formation Update: Postulants Begin Serving Maryland Community

Ronald Pecci, OFM Friar News

Ronald Pecci, OFM, director of postulancy, and the Province’s seven postulants, have been busy since they were welcomed into the formation program in August. Below, Ron provides an update on the group’s activities at their residence — Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md. — and around the Province.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — After the postulants settled in at Holy Name College, the first several weeks of our program were devoted to orientating the men to the basics of religious and Franciscan life through a series of workshops.Daniel Grigassy, OFM, James Scullion, OFM, James Vacco, OFM, and I provided the majority of the initial orientation.

Our first venture away from home was to Philadelphia to volunteer at St. Francis Inn. There, the postulants worked alongside other volunteers, as well as the friars and sisters serving the poor of that city.

The following week, the postulants began their regular ministerial assignments. Two of the postulants minister at Jean Jugan Residence in Washington, a facility operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor. Two began working at Gift of Peace House, a facility for the terminally ill indigent, operated by the Missionaries of Charity. Their service there ended after one month due to a large influx of additional volunteers. Now they serve at Community Visions, a multi-service day facility and overnight shelter for the poor in Silver Spring operated by an interfaith group.

One postulant ministers at St. Francis International School, the multi-parish and multi-cultural elementary school on the grounds of St. Camillus Parish, next door to the postulants’ residence, while another ministers to the young adult group at the mission in Langley Park of St. Camillus Parish. Two of our postulants are involved full time in intensive English as a Second Language classes.

Now that we have established a regular routine, we are attending workshops designed for men and women in initial formation. We have been to a workshop on Catholic Social teaching sponsored by the Religious Formation Conference.

Recently, we attended a four-day workshop on Franciscan prayer and contemplation given by Fr. Jack Rathschmidt, OFM Cap. This workshop is sponsored by the Inter-Franciscan Formation Program, a cooperative association of Franciscan men and women involved in formation ministry that I currently facilitate. Holy Name Province has been part of this group for many years. Always a noteworthy point in the formation experience, attendees include those from various Poor Clare monasteries and OSF sisters communities as well as men from OFM, TOR, OFM Conv., and OFM Cap. This gathering allows our postulants to learn quickly about the extent of the Franciscan family.

We have only just begun our visits through the Province. Besides St. Francis Inn, we have been to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., St. Paul’s Parish, Wilmington, Del., and the Poor Clare monasteries in Wilmington and Chesterfield, N.J. We also attended the ordination of Paul Keenan, OFM, at Assumption Church in Wood-Ridge, N.J., on Nov. 9.

Photos of the postulants’ activities, including their Nov. 14 visit to the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., for the concert of Br. Alessandro Brustenghi, OFM, can be found on the Facebook page Postulancy of the Franciscans of Holy Name Province.

 Fr. Ron is the Province’s director of postulancy.