NEW YORK – Provincial Minister John O’Connor received the solemn vows of four men on Sept. 9 at St. Francis Church on West 31st Street here. BrothersGeorge Corrigan, Zachary Elliott, Emerson Rodríguez and Gonzalo Torreseach placed their hands in the hands of John and professed their vows to live the Rule of St. Francis for the rest of their lives. The more than 60 friars in attendance then rose to congratulate the men.
This profession was the first at 31st Street since 2003. In 2004, Gerald Paciellomade his solemn profession at Siena College, and no friars professed solemn vows last year.
Following the Mass, receptions were held at the Campanello Restaurant across West 31st Street from the church and in the friary. Following these, John O’Connor conducted a tour of the space for the Provincial office and friary in the new building.
Those professed were:
George Corrigan was born in Atlanta, Ga., and grew up in Orlando, Fla. A former naval officer, George spent three years service as a lay missionary in Kenya with the Franciscan Mission Service (FMS). Immediately prior to his time with the FMS, he was a chief information officer for a private sector business. It was during George’s time in Kenya as a lay missioner that he came to know Joseph Nangle, Joseph Ehrhardt and Roy Corrigan (no relation). After his time in the missions, the re-entry program George attended was held at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., where he met a good number of friars. He says he was attracted to the friars, because of their quality and diversity. Since joining the formation program, George has ministered as a chaplain at Bethesda Naval Hospital, an intern at Maryknoll Office for Global Concern, a Hispanic youth minister with Esperanza Latina in Langley Park, Md., a chaplain at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Del., an intern at Mercy Center in the Mott Haven area of Bronx, N.Y., and, most recently, a pastoral associate at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community in Raleigh, N.C.
Zachary Elliott was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., and went to high school in Woodbridge. He entered the U.S. Army after high school and later earned an associate degree in accounting. For a short while, he worked in the field of accounting and eventually wound up working in warehousing and distribution for an international cosmetic company. Zack first met the friars in Raleigh, N.C., shortly after being relocated there by the company with which he was employed. He joined the diocese’s vocation program, where he met other men discerning a vocation. While working in Raleigh, Zack attended the friars’ parish, St. Francis of Assisi. He was attracted to the sense of hospitality and ownership he encountered at that parish, exhibited by the parishioners themselves. Soon after, Zack found himself inquiring about a vocation as a friar with Dan Kenna and entered into the friars’ application process. Zack says, “This was my first experience with the friars after thinking I would be pursuing a diocesan vocation. I did not know Holy Name Province from any other province or any other friars for that matter, so that was not a factor in the process. I just know that what I was exposed to through St. Francis in Raleigh was something I wanted to be a part of.” Zack most recently ministered on his pastoral internship year at St. Francis Church on Long Beach Island, N.J. There he was involved primarily in pastoral care of the hospitalized, nursing homes, and homebound parishioners, as well as weekly preaching, RCIA, and being involved and exposed to various other parish ministries.
Emerson Rodrìguez Delgado
Emerson Rodríguez was born in Cajamarca, Peru and grew up in Chachapoyas, Amazonas, Peru. He met the friars at Santísimo Nombre de Jesús parish in Lima. Emerson’s initial formation took place in our foundation in Lima, as well as his studies in theology. He is now stationed in Silver Spring, Md., pursuing higher studies in Biblical languages and Scripture at the Catholic University of America. Emerson says he became interested in the life of the Franciscan friars because of their life in fraternity lived with a sense of joy and their openness to a variety of ministries. He says, “Along this wonderful time living with the friars and being one of them, I’ve met many brothers who have inspired me by their hard work, charism and joy. Therefore, I try to emulate in my life the best of what I find in this adventure of living in fraternity in Christ.”
Gonzalo De Jesús Torres Acosta
Gonzalo de Jesús Torres was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. He earned a degree in petroleum engineering from Universidad de América in Bogotá and worked as an engineer in the Amazon jungle for some years before owning and managing a chain of natural products stores. He came to New York City to study English, and his school was located across the street from Saint Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street, where Gonzalo would attend Mass. Gonzalo found the friars there very welcoming and open. He is attracted to the ministries of the Province that deal with immigrants and the less-privileged people. He says the friars spoke to him of the urgent need for Hispanic ministers in the United States, which helped him to decide to pursue religious life here. He ministered during his pastoral year at Holy Name of Jesus Church in New York City. Gonzalo says that it is his “goal to bring the Good News to all God’s people. However, since I am Latino, I would prefer to minister to the Latino community in the U.S.”