NEW YORK — Linh Hoang, OFM, Hugh Macsherry, OFM, Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, and Harry Monaco, OFM, were ordained priests on May 16 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street here.
The 11 a.m. Mass was celebrated by Most Rev. Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio and permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations.
“This is a great day for the Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province, and for the families of these men, and indeed for the universal Church,” he said, referring to the 800th anniversary of the Order and the recent Chapter of Mats in Assisi.
“A few weeks ago, friars from around the world attended the Franciscans’ International Chapter of Mats to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the Order. For the first time in history, there were more than 1,000 Franciscans of several Franciscan families together.”
The ordination was also significant because the four men are all second-career priests, experiencing a “life shift,” to use the phrase made popular by the Province’s recent advertisement for men to join religious life.
During Mass, Archbishop Migliore was assisted by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, Provincial Vicar and Secretary for Formation and Studies Dominic Monti, OFM, and Francis Di Spigno, OFM, director of post-novitiate formation. Altar Ministers Antonio Cornier, OFM, Frank Critch, OFM, Stephen DeWitt, OFM, Mario Gomez, OFM,Daniel Horan, OFM, and Erick Lopez, OFM, traveled from Holy Name College, the Province’s house of studies in Silver Spring, Md. Serving as deacon was Fadi Azar, OFM, of the Custody of the Holy Land.
Journeys of the Four Friars
Linh, a faculty member of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., celebrated his first Mass at 5:15 p.m. on May 16 at St. Francis Church. Linh, 37, who moved to the United States as a child from Saigon, Vietnam, earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium; master’s degrees in theology and divinity from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago; and a doctorate in theology from Fordham University, the Bronx.
Linh said he joined the Franciscans while a grad student at Fordham because “I was attracted to the spirit of St. Francis and the theologies of the early Franciscan scholars. I felt that the contemporary Franciscans were seriously trying to live out that tradition.”
Hugh, 36, a native of Baltimore, holds two bachelor’s degrees, the first in philosophy and classical languages and literature, and the second in secondary education and foreign languages from the University of Maryland. Before joining the Franciscans’ formation program, he taught middle school Spanish in the Montgomery County School System in Wheaton, Md. Hugh said he was drawn to the Franciscans by the image of St. Francis.
“I have found personal relationships to be a very important element in developing my attraction to the Franciscans ever since I began my serious discernment to this life,” he said.
Hugh celebrated his first Mass in Baltimore on May 17, and on June 1 will begin his new ministry on the staff of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston.
Stephen, 43, a native of Simsbury, Conn., earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in liberal arts with a concentration in urban studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the friars’ formation program, Stephen worked as an account manager in the financial services industry in Philadelphia. He celebrated his first Mass May 17 at the West 31st Street church.
Stephen said he first considered a vocation to ordained ministry while in college. He entered a diocesan seminary while in his 20s, and after two years, returned to his career. “I was thinking that my time in the seminary was a detour. Only later would I see that this was part of my journey.” He contacted the friars shortly after 9/11.
He continued: “I recall wondering that if today was my last day on earth, would I be happy with how I spent my life. When I met with Francis Di Spigno, the vocation director at the time, I wanted him to say, ‘You’re too old,’ or ‘Thanks for your interest but we’re not interested.’ Clearly, things did not work out that way.”
Beginning June 1, Stephen, who says he hopes his future ministry will include service or advocacy for the homeless, will serve as parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi, New York.
Harry, 45, of Ballston Spa, N.Y., earned a bachelor’s degree in history from St. Bonaventure University in Western New York and a master’s degree in social work from Boston College. Harry had initially entered the Province’s formation program in the late 1980s but withdrew in 1992. He then worked in a variety of social outreach positions before re-entering the Order’s formation. He said, “I was attracted by the person and story of Francis of Assisi and the manner in which he chose to live the Gospel.” Harry will celebrate his first Mass May 24 at St. Mary’s CHurch in Ballston Spa.
John O’Connor said he was greatly privileged to be part of the ordination.
On behalf of all the friars, he thanked the archbishop, adding, “He is a good friend of the Order and of the Friars Minor of Holy Name Province.” John also thanked the friars and staff of St. Francis of Assisi Church, who organized a luncheon after the ordination.
To the families of the newly ordained, John said, “These men are here today because of you. Congratulations to all.”
Celebration by Friends, Friars and Family
From around the country, relatives and friends of the new priests celebrated the ordination ceremony. In addition, friars from Holy Name Province — from Florida to Massachusetts — and other religious communities traveled to New York for the festive occasion.
A note of thanks in the ordination program described the gratitude that the four new priests felt for their family and others.
It read: “In our gratitude and joy to almighty God, who has led us in love and wisdom to this day, we give thanks and praise.
“The call to presbyteral ordination is neither received nor is it accepted in isolation. The journey to this moment began with our families. We are forever grateful to our parents, living and deceased, who formed us in the faith. You have been our first evangelizers and proclaimed the Word of God to us by the way you lived. You have shaped us into the men God has called us to be.
“To all the men and women who have journeyed with us, we say, ‘thank you;’ may God grant you blessings and peace. Amen. Alleluia.”
—Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.