Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

NEW YORK – Below are news items about some of the many activities of Holy Name friars, including their presentations, outreach and celebrations. More information can be obtained by visiting links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, by contacting the friars by phone or e-mail, and by connecting with the Communications Office.

To provide news briefs for future issues of HNP Today, e-mail Jocelyn Thomas at

Brian Cullinane, OFM, pastor of Assumption Church in Wood-Ridge, N.J., participated in the Oct. 19 Universal Bonaventure Celebration in Chatham, N.J. The event, hosted by Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications, was one of  more than 20 similar gatherings being held this year by St. Bonaventure University to commemorate SBU’s 150th birthday. Brian and Thomas are both alumni of SBU.

Mario DiLella, OFM, is being honored Oct. 25 by the Archdiocese of Atlanta for his many years of service at the Catholic Center at Georgia Tech. In addition, the Archdiocese of Atlanta will dedicate the Fr. Mario DiLella, OFM, Memorial Plaza, which is outside the Catholic Center. An article in the Oct. 5 edition of Our Sunday Visitordescribes Mario’s ministry, according to Daniel Grigassy, OFM, who brought the news piece to the attention of HNP’s Communications Office.

Mario served Georgia Tech for the last 38 years. After noting that the center has produced 24 priestly vocations in the course of Mario’s 38 years there, the article states:  “Those 38 years coincide with the service of Franciscan Fr. Mario DiLella, who retired in May as campus minister at the Catholic Center. But he won’t take credit for any of it. Nevertheless, the Archdiocese of Atlanta will honor him this fall with the dedication of the Fr. Mario DiLella, OFM, Memorial Plaza, which will grace the exterior of the Catholic Center that he helped build in 1985.”

Mathias Doyle, OFM , director, and Judy Dougherty, assistant director of Siena’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy, sponsored a Debate Watch for the members of the Siena College community in Loudonville, N.Y. More than 80 watched the four presidential debates on TV at the Debate Watch. A half-hour discussion followed. One of the local news channels covered one of the sessions and aired interviews with two Siena students, one favoring Barack Obama and one for John McCain. The nonpartisan program allowed students to better know the candidates and the issues involved in this election.

An article by Daniel Horan, OFM, was published in the recent issue of the Maltese journal Spirtu u Hajj. His article, “The Contemporary Relevance of The Canticle of Exhortation for the Ladies of San Damiano for all Christians,” can be found in Volume 86 of Spirtu u Hajj (Oct/Dec 2008) on pages 6 to 10. Dan invites the reader to reflect on this often overlooked letter from Francis near the end of his life to the Poor Clares, and to consider its value for contemporary Christians. The journal is published by the OFM province of Malta and is available online.

Brian Jordan, OFM, is raising money through the Nov. 2 New York City Marathon for construction workers who were killed or severely injured  on work sites this past year. Brian requests that his supporters give generously to a new fund that will dispense monetary gifts to family members of future victims of worksite accidents, The Construction Workers’ Relief Fund. Checks can be sent to Brian; c/o the Construction Workers Relief Fund at the Building and Construction Trades Council, 71 West 23rd Street, New York, N.Y., 10010.

Jacques Lapointe, OFM, reports that he is enjoying his retreat ministry. This summer, Jacques accompanied a dozen families from Westchester County and Manhattan to the Paray le Monial Shrine to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Bourgogne region of France. While celebrating a First Communion Mass for three New York catechists, Jacques noted that a miracle took place at the Sainte Marguerite-Marie a la Coque chapel, when a woman walked up to receive the Eucharist. It was a very emotional moment, according to Jacques, because the woman had not walked for more than three years.

Jacques recently completed a retreat on prayer in northern Maine at the Christian Life Center in the Portland Diocese, and is preparing a November retreat in the New York City area for the African community. He has also been invited to organize a retreat for the Filippino prayer group in New York City. This year, he also offered Pre-Cana sessions in New York City; Dallas; Montreal, Canada; Paris; and Biarritz, France. Many young engaged couples participated at these sessions. Jacques has been involved in Pre-Cana formation since his time in Tokyo, Japan.Donnon Murray, OFM, said that he inspired Jacques in this ministry through his own FIRES program for married couples.

Robert Menard, OFM, and Charles Miller, OFM, were among more than 100 people from St. Francis of  Assisi Church in Triangle, Va., who gathered for the founding action of the Virginians  Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (Voice) in Dumfries., Va., on Oct. 5.  Details will be provided in the next issue of this newsletter.

Mark Reamer, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, N.C., returned recently from a parish trip to Guatemala.

William Scully, OFM, and his work at Saint Francis Xavier Church in Narrowsburg, N.Y., and with a mission church at nearby Our Lady of the Lake in Huntington, was recently featured in a story in The River Reporter. Writer Tom Kane, who William said is an ex-priest, discussed the Franciscan ministry in Narrowsburg, the Province’s long history in Sullivan County, and Holy Name’s DVD, “Holy Name Province: Love at Work.” In the article, Kane references “a large monastery-like building overlooking the hamlet of Callicoon was once the minor seminary of the Order until it was sold to the federal government, which uses it to house the local branch of the Delaware Valley Job Corps.” Kane also references Holy Name Province as the largest OFM Province in the U.S. The writer quotes Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM. “Our new DVD clearly shows how the Provincial community provides friars with the spiritual and fraternal support to live fully the calling of St. Francis of Assisi to be the heralds of the Gospel in the midst of society,”  John is quoted as saying.

On Sept. 14, Raymond Selker, OFM, celebrated Mass in honor of Mexican Independence Day for the growing Spanish community in Greenville, S.C.  The liturgy was held on a large trailer, Ray said. Information about Ray’s  expanding ministry will be provided in an upcoming issue of this newsletter.

James Vacco, OFM, is serving as a temporary administrator at St. John’s Parish in Olean, N.Y., whose pastor retired in June. “The parish is in the midst of having two other parishes merge with it, and the process of merging, for a number of reasons has been difficult,” said James. “The diocese’s partial solution to that is to send in the Franciscans to keep things afloat and try and smooth things over.  What I am doing is nothing exceptional but keeping the parish moving along until a pastor is appointed.”