TAMPA, Fla. — The last of six fraternal gatherings for Holy Name friars was held this week at the Franciscan Center here as part of the Province’s visioning and planning process.
These three-day programs included a combination of presentations, discussions, prayer and fraternal time, according to Michael Harlan, who coordinated logistics for the gatherings. According to evaluations received by the Provincial Office, the participants were very pleased with the experience and the structure of the program, he said.
Friars came from various locations around the Province for these gatherings. they were organized by the Province’s Visioning and Planning Committee to provide valuable input to the V&P Committee whose role is to develop a process to create a vision statement and a five-year plan for the Province. The plan will embrace all aspects of the friars’ lives — fraternal, ministerial, contemplative and evangelical.
One of the goals of the gatherings was to listen to and reflect upon the input of leading voices regarding challenges facing Franciscan ministry and the Church in the United States. A highlight was the video presentation by William Short, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, according to Michael.
Another video guest, Dean Hoge of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., spoke about religious trends in the United States.
At its March 19 meeting in New York, the Visioning and Planning Committee reviewed the results of the Fraternal Gatherings held to that point to plan the next steps of the process, which will culminate in a Province Chapter of Mats from June 5 to 8 at Siena College. The Committee identified working committees that will be needed at the Chapter as well as potential chairs for these committees. It also created a Vision Drafting Task Force, which will work with consultant Dominic Perri to draft several alternative vision statements on the basis of the data provided by the Fraternal Gatherings. The committee plans to have all the information transcribed by April 1.
Dominic Monti, a member of the Visioning and Planning Committee, said that the plan is to circulate these draft statements among the friars of the Province for their reaction prior to the Chapter of Mats.
“With the help of our Office of Communications, we hope to create a ‘discussion board’ in the Friars Only section of the HNP Web site where the draft visions created by the task force can be posted and friars offer their input,” Dominic said. “We hope these drafts can be posted in the month of May.”