Friar News Briefs

Maria Hayes 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 articles, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

► Development director David Convertino, OFM, wrote about love and the recent solemn profession in a blog post titled “This is Not a Wedding.” “These three friars have vowed their life to God, the Church and to us, their brothers,” wrote David. “They have made their vows at a time in history when there are no certainties of the former traditions of religious life. Yet, even though there are nay-sayers, and prophets of misfortune proclaiming the demise of religious life, these newly professed men, along with their brother friars, are not afraid to stand before everyone and proclaim their faith in God, the Church and especially our Franciscan fraternity.”

►A video of F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, welcoming students to Siena College, where he is interim president, was posted recently on the school’s website.

►Photos of William DeBiase, OFM, and other people involved with St. Francis Inn appear on the cover of the August/September issue of The Pilgrim, the publication of St. Francis Inn Ministries, Philadelphia. The photos were taken this summer at the annual block party, attended by more than 550 guests.

►Francis Di Spigno, OFM, executive director of university ministries at St. Bonaventure, has joined the school’s ongoing Bald for Bucks campaign. Participants challenge donors to raise a certain amount of money for cancer research and promise to shave their heads if that challenge is met. “I don’t know anyone who has not been affected by cancer, whether they’ve had cancer or they know a loved one who has succumbed to cancer,” Francis said in a video produced by SBU. One year ago, Francis’s cousin died from the disease. If the SBU community raises $25,000, he will shave his head.

►Gregory Gebbia, OFM, principal of Christ the King Prep School in Newark, N.J., and Robert Sandoz, OFM, president, participated in a recent reception at the New York City headquarters of HarperCollins Publishers to celebrate the release of a book about Cristo Rey schools across the country. “Putting Education to Work: How Cristo Rey High Schools are Transforming Urban Education,” was released at the end of August. Robert shared background about the book project in a Sept. 4 e-letter from the high school.

►Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, is preparing for the annual guardians meeting, being held Sept. 16 and 17. The leaders of the HNP houses, from New England to Florida, are gathering at St. Mary’s Carnevale Center in Pompton Lakes, N.J.

►The ministry of several friars based in and near Anderson, S.C., is featured in an article in the Sept. 5 issue of the Independent Mail newspaper. “Three Transplanted Friars Find Faith in the Upstate” features Gerald Hopeck, OFM, Michael Jones, OFM, and Steven Kluge, OFM, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Anderson, S.C.

►Julian Jagudilla, OFM, director of the St. Francis Migrant Center, will join thousands of people concerned about the environment by participating in the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21 in New York City. Representatives from many HNP ministries will participate in the event that begins at 11:30 a.m. on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

►Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM,
was installed last month as chaplain of Hilbert College outside Buffalo, N.Y. A story about Greg was published in the Hamburg Sun. One week later, the Buffalo News published a story about Greg’s creative way of blessing the rooms of students with water guns.

►An article about Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, appears in the Summer 2014 issue of Siena magazine. The story, “From President to Provincial: Mullen Elected to Lead Holy Name Province,” describes Kevin’s background and his transition from the campus to New York City.

►Last month, Emeric Szlezak, OFM, traveled from St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., to St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York City to celebrate his 75th anniversary as a friar. St. Stephen’s feted the 96-year-old with a Mass, food and Hungarian dancing. Photos appeared on the Catholic New York website.

►Siena College staff member Dennis Tamburello, OFM, took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last week in honor of a cousin who passed away two years ago. A video appeared on the college’s Instagram account.

►Last month, Christopher VanHaight, OFM, participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge at Immaculate Conception Parish, where he is pastor. Funds raised supported the father of an Immaculata Catholic School student.

News for the next HNP Today e-letter is requested by Sept. 17, always the Wednesday before distribution. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future issues include:

  • HNP guardians’ meeting
  • Spanish vocation retreat

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas