Friar Formation: Postulants Gather at Graymoor

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

GARRISON, N.Y. — More than 50 formation directors and their students from several Franciscan communities, including three postulants from Holy Name Province, participated in the biannual four-day workshop at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center last week.

One Holy Name postulant John Aherne said the gathering “had a real sense of family.”

Ronald Pecci, OFM, and William Herbst, OFM, HNP’s postulant director and assistant director, traveled with postulants PedroCorces, Jeffrey Upshaw and John from St. Paul Friary in Wilmington, Del., to Putnam County for the Nov. 2 to 5 gathering.
Fr. Michael Crosby, OFM Cap., led this year’s Inter-Franciscan Formation Program workshop on “Franciscan Prayer and Contemplation” and spoke on “Conversion, Contemplation and Prayer.” The gathering is held every year at the Garrison motherhouse of the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement, overlooking the scenic Hudson River north of New York City.
Students of a variety of Franciscan groups including the Order of Friars Minor, OFM Capuchins, Third Order Regular men and women, Poor Clares, and Order of Servant Franciscan men and women participated in the workshop.
formation_rThe gathering was very rewarding, according to John, a native New Yorker, who became acquainted with the friars of Holy Name Province through St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City.
“The Inter-Franciscan Program at Graymoor reminded me of being at home for the holidays. There were a lot of people, a lot of food, and — most importantly — a real sense of family,” he said. “This feeling was echoed in the talks Michael Crosby inspired us with during our time there.”
John added, “Whether we were discussing conversion, contemplation, embracing the lepers in our lives, or how our search for God can be likened to our search for the right pair of jeans, it all came down to love: loving Christ, loving the poor and loving each other. This spirit of oneness and fraternity permeated the whole week and I look forward to returning next year.”
The program began 23 years ago as the Inter-Franciscan Novitiate program. It is a cooperative program, formed originally for novices, and led by a committee of novice directors of First, Second and Third Order Regular communities, according to Ron.
Holy Name Province has participated in the program for many years. “With the creation of so many collaborative novitiates often in the Midwest, there are fewer and fewer novices in the Northeast,” Ron said, “so last year the program was opened to all in initial formation.”
Ron said he was named coordinator of the program in spring 2010 after Sr. Mary Maloney, FSP, who headed the program for many years, retired.
Earlier this fall, Ron gave a workshop on the life and writings St. Clare of Assisi to the novices at the OFM Inter-Provincial Novitiate in Cedar Lake, Ind. As Provincial liaison to the novitiate and novices, he participates in some activities. 
 — Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.