Formation Update: Postulants, Novices Learn at Workshops

Rebecca Doel Friar News

EASTON, Pa. — Earlier this month, postulants belonging to the North American OFM provinces gathered at St. Francis Retreat House for a workshop on “Healthy Integration of Human Sexuality and Celibate Chastity.” Led by Fr. Sean Sammon, FMS, it was one of several recent workshops for men in formation.

Postulant Update
The May 6 to 9 gathering, organized by Ronald Pecci, OFM, with the help of Holy Name postulants Dennis Bennett, Casey Cole, Sergio Ferisi, Edgardo Jara Araya and Ramon Razon, was the third time this year that postulants came together from the seven provinces who participate in the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate.

Ron said the workshop was “the first time we have considered this subject matter together. Previously, each province handled this matter independently.” He noted: “Not only was the workshop excellent — Sean Sammon is a noted expert in this area — but with the postulants having been together two previous times, they are really beginning to form a community among themselves.”

Dennis, Casey, Sergio, Edgardo and Ramon are visiting their homes until mid-June, when they will travel to St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., for six weeks of study at the Franciscan Institute with their fellow OFM postulants before they begin their novitiate year in Burlington, Wis.

Novitiate Update
Last month, Ron traveled to Burlington to lead a two-day workshop on St. Clare and the Poor Clares. He said it was the second time he’s led such a workshop for the Interprovincial Novitiate that explores the early sisters and friars and their place in the Franciscan family.

“Fortunately,” he said, “there is a great deal of new material on Clare published in the past few years, so there is quite a story to tell.”

Scott Brookbank, OFM, who recently joined the Interprovincial Novitiate leadership team, commented: “The novices said it enhanced what they learned from the Poor Clares who earlier in the year gave a workshop on the spirituality of St. Clare and the Poor Clares.”

He added that the month of May is “very busy” at St. Francis Friary in Burlington. On May 18, the novices attended a workshop on penance and reconciliation conducted by Fr. Steve Malkiewicz, OFM. “Along with registering and sending transcripts to colleges and theology schools, the novices are continuing their in-depth study on the vows and the Franciscan Rule.” The novices will profess simple vows this summer.

The leadership team — comprised of Scott as well as friars from St. John the Baptist and Sacred Heart provinces — will be spending the Memorial Day weekend planning for the incoming class of novices.

— Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.