Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below feature many activities of Holy Name friars, including their celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, contact the friars by phone or email, or connect with the HNP Communications Office.

To provide news briefs for future issues of HNP Today, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

Louis Canino, OFM, announced the new labryinth and Mary’s Garden at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, Stoneville, N.C., will be dedicated May 10. Louis, director, will provide new details as they become available.

Parishioners of St. Paul’s in Wilmington, Del., made 200 crosses out of palm leaves for the community’s annual fundraiser. The crosses, modeled on similar crosses from Mexico and Latin America, were sold for $10 following Palm Sunday Masses, according to The News Journal. “This is a faith-filled community,” said Todd Carpenter, OFM, pastor. “This is an immigrant community, and the crosses are not just things that remind them of their faith. They remind them of their home.”

David Convertino, OFM, John C. Coughlin, OFM, Fred Dilger, OFM, Thomas Gallagher, OFM, Karl Koenig, OFM,Hugh Macsherry, OFM, Sebastian Tobin, OFM, and Anthony Wilson, OFM, are among friars who appear in the rotating photos on the home page of The images chosen are meant to represent the variety of ministries of Holy Name Province.

Kevin Downey, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., was quoted by Potomac Local in an April 14 article that describes an upcoming Earth Day commemoration. “Our Earth Day event is named in honor of Francis of Assisi,” said Kevin. “In 1979, Francis was named the ’Patron of Ecology.’ We thought this would be a great way to celebrate the 35th anniversary of this designation. This provides an opportunity to showcase all the good going on in the community, not to mention to get resources out to everyone. This way, we can all do our part to care for and protect the environment better.” The parish is holding the second annual St. Francis Earth Day on April 27.

Daniel Horan, OFM, served as keynote speaker at the Franciscan Mission Service’s World Care Benefit on April 11. Among the attendees at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land were Thomas Cole, OFM, director of the HNP Franciscan Missionary Union, Gerald Hopeck, OFM, co-principal of St. Francis International School in Silver Spring, Md., and postulant Javier Del Angel de los Santos. Holy Name Province and the FMU both sponsored this annual event. Jack Jezreel, founder of JustFaith Ministries, was the honoree.

Christopher Keenan, OFM, a chaplain for the Fire Department of New York, celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for firefighters on Monday at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, in recognition of the one-year anniversary of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. On Tuesday, Thomas Conway, OFM, director of the Shrine, celebrated a Mass of Remembrance, open to the public, and Joseph Quinn, OFM, preached. “Joseph preached a great homily on healing,” said Brian Cullinane, OFM. “He emphasized the bravery and strength of all involved on that Marathon Day last year. The Mass was attended by a good number of people and had very special music: ‘Be Not Afraid,’ ‘The Lord is My Shepherd,’ ‘Beautiful City’ and ‘Go in Peace.’ It was a very special celebration.”

Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, is concluding a three-session adult education class this week at St. Francis of Assisi Parish titled “When Jesuit and Franciscan Come Together.” The class looked at differences and similarities of Franciscan and Jesuit spiritualities and how these themes can be seen in Pope Francis, as well as some of the new directions the pope is taking. Last week, Dominic, as HNP secretary for formation and studies, attended part of the meeting of the U.S. provincials to present a report on collaborative efforts in initial formation and held a meeting of the Province’s Formation and Studies Directorate on April 11. Several days later, he presented a workshop to the HNP postulants on the history of Holy Name Province.

Siena College president Kevin Mullen, OFM, was among attendees at the April 10 ordination of Edward Scharfenberger as the 10th bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Albany. Other friars from the Loudonville, N.Y., campus who attended the Mass included Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, Kenneth Paulli, OFM, and Reginald Reddy, OFM.

Russel Murray, OFM, of Siena College, participated in the annual meeting of the OFM Commission for Dialogue, held in February in Jerusalem. “In support of the meeting’s treatment of Jewish-Catholic relations, I arranged a visit for participants to Yad Vashem with the staff of the International School for Holocaust Studies. I have spent a portion of the past two summers at the ISHS doing research and lecturing on the significance of the Holocaust for Catholic teaching on Judaism and the Jewish People, and will return to Yad Vashem this July to lecture again on this topic. My work at Yad Vashem is sponsored by the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill University. Also, as James Sabak, OFM, did during the fall semester, I have been teaching at the Franciscan School of Theology this spring semester, flying out to California each month to lecture on ecclesiology. My last trip will be in May.”

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, visited the Poor Clares of Delray Beach, Fla., last week and provided a photo during his visit. Before his term concludes, John will visit Poor Clare communities in Massachusetts and South Carolina. This week, John is in Washington for meetings.

From March 18 to 27, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., led a pilgrimage to Israel, sponsored by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. Robert Lentz, OFM, and Francis Soucy, OFM, were part of the 18-member group that traveled from Bethlehem to Nazareth, visiting sacred shrines, and also experiencing the plight of Palestinian Christians under the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. The pilgrims stayed in Palestinian homes, ate with Palestinians, visited schools and other social institutions, and learned from Palestinian leaders engaged in nonviolent resistance.

Francis Pompei, OFM, is organizing a community service fair on the grounds of St. Patrick’s Friary in Buffalo, N.Y., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 17. Through the participation of more than two dozen area businesses and agencies, the event will offer visitors information about healthcare, employment and other services. Last fall, Francis and others arranged to update the St. Patrick Food Pantry, which is on friary property.

Student friar Ramon Razon, OFM, has written about a variety of topics related to art in his blogOrganic: Growth, Movement, Imagination. Recently, the Silver Spring resident described how he transformedfabric from old habits into a relief of Archbishop Oscar Romero, his novitiate patron. Ramon’s post was shared by the English-speaking Conference and other provinces through social media.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by April 23, always the Wednesday before the newsletter’s publication. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics for future issues include:

  • Reflection by Robert Lentz, OFM
  • Earth Day commemorations

 Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas