For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications
NEW YORK — July 27, 2015 — Fr. Andrew Reitz, OFM, a member of Holy Name Province, the largest community of Franciscan friars in the United States, is celebrating 50 years as a friar this summer.
Born in Olean, N.Y., and raised in Allegany, N.Y., Fr. Reitz first met the Franciscans at nearby St. Bonaventure University, one of two province-sponsored schools, and St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, also staffed by the friars. After his sophomore year at SBU, he joined the Franciscan Order and professed first vows in 1965.
As a student friar, he received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1967 from St. Bonaventure University before he professed final vows in 1969. After earning a master’s in theology in 1972 from Augustinian College, he was ordained a priest in 1971.
Today he is pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Midtown Manhattan, overseeing an active parish in the heart of New York.
After ordination, Fr. Reitz was assigned to St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., where he would minister for the next 13 years. “It was a wonderful place to break into ministry,” he recalled. “The friars there were a great model of community life.”
In 1984, Fr. Reitz began a 12-year stint as a member of Holy Name Province’s formation team, training student friars, first as assistant director of formation, and later, as director of novices. During this time, he served at the province’s formation, or training, houses in Silver Spring, Md., Brookline, Mass., and Providence, R.I. From 1987 to 1989, he ministered briefly as parochial vicar at St. Camillus Church, Silver Spring.
“I liked my years in formation, especially being novice director for seven years,” he said. “I was grateful for classes and a greater understanding of Franciscana.”
He returned to St. Francis Parish on Long Beach Island in 1996 for another nine years before he was assigned to Sacred Heart Church, Tampa, Fla., in 2005. He was the first Franciscan pastor of this parish, as the friars had assumed care of the community from the Jesuits, and he remained there for the next six years before he was named pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City in 2011.
Fr. Reitz has greatly enjoyed his time as a friar of Holy Name Province. “There are many opportunities,” he said. “We’re a place where you can begin ministries, grow ministries, and use your talents and abilities for the greater good.”
He and other friars marking their golden and silver jubilees were honored at a Mass on June 24 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City.
About the Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven provinces in the United States that belong to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its more than 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social ministries, as well as in overseas missions.
The Order, founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi, commemorated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Today, St. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, remains one of the most widely known saints, revered for his affection for nature and desire for respect of all people.
Information about Holy Name Province can be found on www.hnp.org. News about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.
Questions and photo requests should be directed to Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, at 646-473-0265 ext. 321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.