Fr. Brian Cullinane Marks 50 Years as a Franciscan Friar

HNP Communications News Releases

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications

BOSTON — June 19, 2015 — Fr. Brian Cullinane, OFM, a member of Holy Name Province, the largest community of Franciscan friars in the United States, will celebrate 50 years as a friar this month.

A native of Washington, D.C., Fr. Cullinane has served mostly in parish ministry at churches in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. He entered the Order of Friars Minor in 1964 and professed his first vows as a Franciscan one year later. After studying philosophy and theology, he made his final vows in 1969 and was ordained a priest in 1971.

His first assignment after ordination was to St. Francis Church in New York City, where he spent several months in pastoral training. Later that year, he was assigned to St. Elizabeth Parish in Wyckoff, N.J. During the summers, he attended the University of Detroit, studying radio and television production. Afterward, he went to Los Angeles, where he worked at the Franciscan Communication Center and served as a technical adviser for an episode of the “Gunsmoke” TV series.

In 1975, Fr. Cullinane was assigned to St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y. He began working in campus ministry and was eventually appointed vice president of university relations, overseeing fundraising, public relations and sports information. Through a connection with an alumnus, Fr. Cullinane became the chaplain for the New Orleans Saints NFL team. He performed this unique ministry from 1979 to 1983, celebrating Mass for the players during away games and leading prayer services.

After a sabbatical in 1984, Fr. Cullinane was assigned to Holy Name Church in Garfield, N.J., where he oversaw the “Come Home” program for Catholics who had stopped going to church. In 1989, he became pastor of St. Leo’s Parish in Elmwood, N.J., where he spent 10 years. After another six-month sabbatical in 1999, he was assigned to Holy Angels Church in Little Falls, N.J. Three years later, he became pastor of Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J., where he served from 2002 to 2011.

Today, Fr. Cullinane serves at St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street in Boston. His roles are varied — he celebrates Mass, hears confessions, counsels, and helps with annulments and other needs. He often advises people about how to live joyfully.

“I tell people not to take life so seriously,” he said. “Be able to laugh at yourself, and enjoy yourself and everything around you. We all have so many opportunities. With community, family and friends, how can you be anything but joyful?”

Fr. Cullinane and other friars marking their golden and silver jubilees will be honored at a 5:30 p.m. Mass on June 24 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City. All are invited to attend.

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 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