Franciscan Friars Welcome Pope Francis to Washington, D.C.

HNP Communications News Releases

For Immediate Release

CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications

NEW YORK — Sept. 14, 2015 — The Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province are preparing to welcome Pope Francis to Washington, D.C., this month.

Following his election as pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, chose to be called “Francis,” after St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Order of Friars Minor, or “lesser brothers,” to which the Franciscan friars belong.

“Throughout his papacy, Pope Francis has focused on caring for the poor and marginalized, and our environment, and sharing God’s mercy and forgiveness through the joy of the Gospel,” said Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, provincial minister, or CEO, of Holy Name Province. “These elements have been part of the Franciscan tradition for more than 800 years. As Franciscans, we are called to be lesser brothers, humbly serving others and joyfully sharing the life and beauty of the Gospel.”

“We are grateful for Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, ‘Laudato Si’,’” Fr. Mullen added. “We are energized for his call for immediate, inclusive dialogue and action to address the related challenges of poverty and global climate change. These are ideas that we strive to incorporate in all of our ministries, located along the East Coast of the United States.”

Holy Name Province has been present in Washington, D.C., and Maryland since the 1930s. Its ministries include:

  • St. Camillus Church, a large multicultural parish in Silver Spring, Md., where more than 4,000 people gather to worship each weekend. Composed of people from more than 100 countries, the diverse community has dedicated itself to serving the poor through food pantries, Habitat for Humanity and fair trade markets. St. Camillus is dedicated to energy conservation and sustainability, and maintains a garden on the grounds of Saint Francis International School, an award-winning elementary school on its campus. St. Camillus also dedicates itself to advocacy work, calling for immigration reform, and laws to protect the environment.
  • Holy Name College, home to some of Holy Name Province’s student friars in Silver Spring. As they are completing their studies, the student friars assist at varied ministries and sites throughout the area, including food pantries and soup kitchens, parishes and hospitals.
  • Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, a religious site in the Brookland neighborhood of northeast Washington with full-size replicas of Holy Land shrines, a beautiful church, and extensive gardens. Visited by more than 50,000 people a year, one of Holy Name Province’s friars is stationed there to assist with its care.

Several HNP friars will attend the Sept. 23 Mass of Canonization for Blessed Junípero Serra, OFM, a Franciscan friar who is known as the Apostle of California for his work founding Catholic missions throughout the state during the 18th century.

Holy Name Province also has ministries in New York City and Philadelphia, the other cities that are hosting Pope Francis during his visit to the United States.

Friars will be available for comment before, during and after the pope’s visit to the United States. To speak with a friar, please contact communications director Jocelyn Thomas at 646-473-0265 or

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 justice 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 or