Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below feature 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

Before becoming a friar, John Aherne, OFM, ran a small Irish dancing school. The community at Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla., where he is ministering this summer, learned of his talents and showed “much interest” in him teaching a class, according to the Aug. 10 bulletin. After a few very popular sessions, he agreed to teach another class three days later.

Michael Calabria, OFM, gave a presentation titled “Cultural Confluences: Italo-Islamic Art and the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi” on Aug. 12 at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies Summer Institute for Educators. The institute’s theme this year was “Integrating the Mediterranean World into World History: Approaches and New Teaching Resources.”

Thomas Conway, OFM, John Maganzini, OFM, and Joseph Quinn, OFM, were part of a team that led an Emmaus Ministry Retreat for Grieving Parents in Boston on Aug. 2. Eighteen parents from three states, whose children have died, attended the daylong spiritual retreat at St. Anthony Shrine. In addition to prayer, the program included music, parent witnessing, meals, blessing of candles, Mass, and small group discussions. Participants listened to “a moving reflection by Thomas,” said staff member Diane Monaghan, a founder of the Emmaus Ministry who wrote a description of the retreat. “‘Focus on the now,’ Tom exhorted the parents, ‘not the past or the future. In our brokenness, healing begins now, if we are open to it and the coping mechanisms others can provide.’” A discussion of “how could this be God’s plan for us?” followed. Other friars who participated in the retreat included Christopher Coccia, Brian Cullinane, Gregory Day, Hugh Hines, John Hogan, Richard James, Myron McCormick, Daniel Murray, and Sebastian Tobin. A recap was posted last week on the Shrine’s website.

Provincial Councilor David Convertino, OFM, recently shared on the blog of the HNP Development Office thoughts about a homily given last week during the gathering of administration members of the OFM provinces. His reflection is titled “Who Are You and Whose Are You?” David has served as the HNP development director since 2011.

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, began his new role as interim president of Siena College on Aug. 4. He succeeds Kevin Mullen, OFM, who was elected Provincial Minister in June and is moving to New York City this month.

Gregory Day, OFM, has notified friars that no guest rooms are available at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston for the next few months. A message distributed last week said: “St. Anthony Shrine is currently going through many transitions of friars moving in and out. Once settled, the friar community will be much larger than previous years. As a result, we have very few guest rooms. With this in mind, I would like to inform you there are no guest rooms available until October. Thank you for your understanding.”

The grounds of St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., were the focus of a recent story in The Beacon, the newspaper of the Diocese of Paterson. “I hope this property continues as a prayer space, but also becomes a place to recreate,” said Stephen DeWitt, OFM, parish administrator, of the gardens, labyrinth and outdoor shrines. “This is such a welcoming space. I hope it draws in even more people.”

Daniel Horan, OFM, of Boston, gave a talk last week at the annual meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, in Pittsburgh. The weekend of Aug. 1, Daniel spoke at the retreat of the Our Lady of the Angels Region fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order, in Wappinger Falls, N.Y. Attendee Mary-Frances Reavey of Somerset, N.J., said, “he speaks as well as he writes. He is an inspirational young man.” Photos of both events can be found on Dan’s Facebook page.

Richard Husted, OFM, of Pompton Lakes, N.J., participated in a gathering last month of people involved with the former Berakah program, that had ministered to young adults. He noted, “Forty ‘one-time young adults’ gathered at St. Francis Retreat House in Easton, Pa., on the last weekend of July. We called it a retreat/reunion with the title ‘We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe.’ Sharing memories of the group that had ministered to young adults for 12 years was a major part of the weekend. Each person received a copy of a booklet that I had put together called, ‘The Story of Berakah.’ Time for prayer and re-connections filled the weekend. Zeni Fox from Seton Hall University was our guest speaker. At one point, she said to me, ‘You’re smiling like a proud grandfather.’ This was indeed a wonderful opportunity to recall the past, but also to hear how the faith continues with families and friends and faith communities. St. Francis Retreat House is indeed a place of welcome.”

Farewells were said recently to friars as they left their ministries around the Province to begin new assignments. They included David Hyman, OFM, of the University of Georgia’s Catholic Center, now assigned to St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in North Carolina. Frank McHugh, OFM, and Jim McIntosh, OFM, of St. Anthony Shrine moved to Paterson, N.J., and Philadelphia respectively. A farewell note from Christopher VanHaight, OFM, was included in the bulletin of St. Bonaventure Parish, Paterson, N.J.

A quote from Brian Jordan, OFM, was included in an article titled “McGovern: WTC Cross is About History, Not Religion,” published last month in the Boston Herald. An opinion piece, the article focused on the lawsuit filed by atheists after a 17-foot-tall cross of steel beams found in the rubble of the Twin Towers was included in the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Atheists argued that the cross’s presence in the museum violated separation between church and state. A federal appeals court rejected that claim. “In a way, we’ve been vindicated,” said Brian, who supported keeping the cross in the museum. “I’m satisfied and gratified that this will go down as a piece of history — as a reminder.”

Jeffery Jordan, OFM, Gary Maciag, OFM, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, Steven Pavignano, OFM, Gene Pistacchio, OFM, Patrick Tuttle, OFM, and the Provincial Councilors are among the friars appearing in the current set of photos on the home page of the Province’s website. The photos are chosen with the goal of sharing a variety of people and locations to communicate the charism and the work of Holy Name Province. As part of the refreshed format of the Provincial website, new photo albums will be added to the photo gallery during the coming weeks.

Tony LoGalbo, OFM, director of post-novitiate formation, is participating in the Franciscan Formators’ Workshop/Gathering of the English-speaking Conference from Aug. 10 to 14 in Colorado. Other HNP friars at the gathering are Scott Brookbank, OFM, guardian of St. Francis Friary where the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate is located, and Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, the Province’s director of formation and studies.

Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, was the main celebrant for the feast day liturgy in honor of St. Clare on Aug. 11 with the Poor Clares of Wappinger Falls, N.Y. Peter Ahlheim, OFM, Peter Chepaitis, OFM, Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, and friars from Immaculate Conception Province’s Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center were also present. The Mass was the inaugural liturgy for the 100th anniversary of the Poor Clares in the Archdiocese of New York, being celebrated from 2014 to 2015.

The Province’s postulants attended the simple profession of a Franciscan Brother of Brooklyn on Aug. 3 in South Huntington, N.Y. Ronald Pecci, OFM, celebrated the Mass. Since then, the postulants have been preparing for their reception into the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate on Aug. 15. Photos of them leaving Holy Name College were posted on Facebook on Aug. 13.

Joseph Rozansky, OFM, director of the Order’s Office for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, led a retreat “Caring for God’s People in the Spirit of St. Francis: Pope Francis and Dorothy Day” at St. Francis Retreat House in Easton, Pa., the weekend of Aug. 1.

James Sabak, OFM, will lead a retreat for the 20s/30s Boston Young Adults group Sept. 19 to 21 titled “What’s Wrong with Being Naked: the Truth Behind Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Church” at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, Mass. St. Anthony Shrine has been providing programs for young adults for more than five years.

To mark the 69th anniversary on Aug. 6 of the bombing of Hiroshima by the United States, Patrick Sieber, OFM, of Philadelphia, joined five others in a demonstration outside Lockheed Martin Corporation in King of Prussia, Pa. “People gathered on the sidewalk in front of the main driveway to the Lockheed complex, where they displayed signs next to large banners held by stakes in the ground. The underlying message of the day centered around the killing and slaughter of children, from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, and Israel’s slaughter of innocents in Gaza, enabled by Lockheed Martin, the world’s No. 1 war profiteer and weapons supplier,” said Patrick. “We put up ‘A Memorial to the Innocents’ lined with a child’s stuffed animals and pictures of the Hiroshima children. The six of us were stopped by Lockheed Martin security, backed up by police cruisers blocking the drive. We were arrested, cuffed with hands behind our backs, and taken to the police station, where we were cited for disorderly conduct and released.”

Dac Tran, OFM, reports that “thanks to LAN Airlines, some 250 families received blankets to keep themselves warm this winter. On Friday, Aug. 1 under cloudy skies, LAN Airlines, working through Caritas Lima and Caritas Lurin, brought a busload of 1,000 blankets to Santo Tomas Chapel in Lima to help needy families. Each family received four blankets. While their parents waited patiently in line for the donated blankets, the children were treated with hot chocolate. This was indeed a blessed day for all!” Dac has served at Santo Tomas Chapel in Lima since July 2012.

The new guardian of St. Patrick Friary in Buffalo, Jud Weiksnar, OFM, has created a Facebook page to showcase the ministries and people of the friary where he is now assigned. He has compiled several photo albums showing images of residents including former guardian John Alderson, OFM, Timothy Dauenhauer, OFM, Vianney Justin, OFM, Steven Pavignano, OFM, and Francis Pompei, OFM, along with staff and volunteers of the St. Francis Thrift Shop and St. Patrick Food Pantry.

News for the next HNP Today e-letter is requested by Aug. 20, always the Wednesday before distribution. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for the future include:

  • Solemn profession of three friars
  • Pilgrimages offered by HNP ministries
  • Award presented to Jacques LaPointe, OFM
  • Sept. 11 commemorations

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas