For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications
NEW YORK — May 23, 2018 — Franciscan friar Br. John Aherne, OFM, a member of Holy Name Province, the largest community of Franciscan friars in the United States, will be ordained to the priesthood on June 23 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City.
All are welcome to the 11 a.m. Mass that will be celebrated by The Very Rev. Roberto González, OFM, archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Br. Aherne joined Holy Name Province’s postulancy program in 2010 and professed his first vows in 2012. Over the last few years, he has ministered at Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla., and at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, and he has worked with various communities — including veterans at Walter Reed Medical Center, persons with intellectual disabilities and the poor.
Before joining the Franciscans, Br. Aherne – a certified Irish dance teacher – worked at several publishing companies and ran a small dance school. Br. Aherne, who holds a bachelor’s degree in English from New York University, is graduating on May 24 with a master of divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He was selected to be the student speaker during commencement. The friar was ordained a transitional deacon in Cincinnati last summer after having professed his solemn (or final) vows as a friar in August 2016.
“I have always felt called to the priesthood,” said Br. Aherne. “The parish where I grew up – Transfiguration Church in Maspeth, Queens – was staffed by kind, generous, prayerful men who were terrific role models. They also sparked within me a love for the sacramental and liturgical life of the Church, a love that has been kindled by the many Holy Name friar-priests I’ve gotten to know. I have experienced the healing that the Eucharist, the liturgy of the word, and reconciliation can bring; I well up with tears at baptisms and marriages; I have been humbled while sitting at the bedsides of dying people.
“I can think of no better way to serve God than to be present with people at these moments of life and share the sacraments with them,” said Br. Aherne. “Being able to celebrate the sacraments with people strikes me as a tremendous privilege.”
Br. Aherne became acquainted with the friars by attending daily Mass and serving as a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Francis of Assisi Church, where he will be ordained. After ordination, he will be stationed at St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J.
Last year, two Holy Name Province friars – Mario Gómez, OFM and Edgardo Jara, OFM – were ordained to the priesthood, also by Archbishop González, at St. Camillus Church, the Franciscan parish in Silver Spring, Md.
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.
Information about Holy Name Province can be found on HNP.org. News about its friars and events can be found on the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province Facebook page.
Interview and photo requests should be directed to Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, at 646-473-0265 ext. 321 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.