For interview and photo requests, contact Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications, at 646-473-0265 or JThomas@HNP.org.
HARTFORD, Conn. — June 1, 2021 — Br. Jay Woods, OFM, a member of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church on Saturday, June 12. The liturgy will be celebrated by Bishop Mark Bartosic, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, with whom Br. Jay became acquainted when he was a student friar serving as a prison chaplain in the Windy City.
The 11 a.m. Mass at the church in downtown Hartford, where the friars of Holy Name Province have served for more than three decades, will be live-streamed on the parish’s Facebook page. Those who cannot be there in person are invited to attend virtually.
The ordination Mass is being celebrated in Hartford because off Br. Jay’s connection to the community and the features of the parish.
“I did my pastoral internship at St. Patrick-St. Anthony and I thought it would be wonderful to celebrate with the warm and loving community of this parish,” said Br. Jay, who grew up in Massachusetts. “Also, the music ministry at St. Patrick-St. Anthony is fantastic and I know that it will add much joy to the solemnity of the ordination.”
Br. Jay holds a bachelor’s degree in fine and performing arts with a concentration in theater, and a minor in philosophy, from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. In May, he earned a master of divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
Before joining the Franciscans, he worked for 14 years in theater, television, and film in roles such as costume director and assistant wardrobe supervisor. In 2014, Br. Jay entered the Interprovincial Franciscan Novitiate in Burlington, Wisconsin, where he professed his first vows in 2015. One year later, he joined Holy Name Province, and in August 2020 he professed his final vows as a Franciscan, and he was ordained to the transitional diaconate in September 2020.
During his Franciscan formation, or training, Br. Jay served a year-long internship at St. Patrick-St. Anthony, helping the parish connect with its community liturgically and socially, and by working with a housing program for homeless men in drug and alcohol recovery. From the day he joined the Franciscans, he felt a similarity between his 13-year career in theater, film, and television and his ministry work.
“I am blessed to be in another vocation that values collaboration and celebrates everyone’s contribution to a project,” he said.
Br. Jay currently lives at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he plans to study for a master’s degree in social work at Boston University beginning in September.
About Holy Name Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven entities in the United States belonging to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its nearly 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social service 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 care for creation.