Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas 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

This weekend, Dennis Bennett, OFM, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and postulant Angel Vazquez are participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge held by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network to raise awareness about climate change. They will jump into the cold Potomac River at the National Harbor on Jan. 24. Information about climate change can be found on the Our Initiatives page of the Justice and Peace section of the HNP website.

Several homilies offered by William Bried, OFM, at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Arizona are available for viewing on YouTube. William has been stationed at The Casa, as the center is known, since September. A growing retreat center, The Casa is raising funds for an expansion project that includes a new church, guest rooms and meeting facilities. The Assisi building, a 32-room guest lodge, is projected to open this spring, according to an article published last month in AZ Central. Before moving to the Southwest, William was administrator of St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York City.

Edward Coughlin, OFM, Gary Maciag, OFM, and Dominic Monti, OFM, recently participated in the annual planning meeting of the Commission for Franciscan Intellectual Tradition. A photo taken during the Jan. 15 to 17 gathering in Denver was posted on FIT’s Facebook page. Information about the organization, formed in 2001 by the Order’s English-speaking Conference, can be found on its website.

Octavio Duran, OFM, director of media for St. Anthony’s Guild and editor of The Anthonian magazine, was featured by National Catholic Reporter last week in an article titled “Friar’s Photos of Oscar Romero Show ‘Humanity That Lived in Him.’” The story details Octavio’s work with martyr Archbishop Romero as a seminarian serving in the archdiocese’s communications office in El Salvador. Several iconic photographs of Archbishop Romero that were taken by Octavio were published in several media outlets earlier this month after Vatican theologians declared the archbishop a martyr. A photo of Michael Duffy, OFM, at St. Francis Inn, Philadelphia, taken by Octavio, appeared in a photo series about global poverty that was published last week by the Daily Mail, of Great Britain

John Felice, OFM, and John McVean, OFM, were mentioned in an entry in a Jan. 6 blog posts from Supportive Housing Network of New York. Titled “Mario Cuomo’s Legacy,” the piece describes the historic 1990 agreement by New York City and the state of New York to create 3,600 units of supportive housing for homeless mentally ill people in New York City. The photo that appears with the blog entry shows John Felice with Cuomo. The two friars have been running St. Francis Friends of the Poor residences for more than 30 years.

Gerald Hopeck, OFM, and Ignatius Smith, OFM, participated in the Jan. 10 March for Life in Columbia, S.C., with 30 members of St. Joseph’s Parish, Anderson, S.C., where they are stationed, and the Students for Life group from Clemson University. Other friars will take part in the March for Life in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22.

A reflection by Brian Jordan, OFM, titled “Assisi in Brooklyn: Rare Opportunity to View Historic Exhibit of Francis in Manuscripts,” was published in the Jan. 8 issue of The Tablet, the Diocese of Brooklyn’s newspaper. In the reflection, Brian described the Franciscan manuscripts that were displayed at Brooklyn Borough Hall from Dec. 17 until Jan. 14. Brian, chaplain of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, said, “Our city and our world needs the message of St. Francis of Assisi more than ever.”

John McDowell, OFM, was recently featured in two newspapers in western Pennsylvania, where he is president of Bishop Guilfoyle High School in Altoona, Pa. The first, “Personable Priest is Public Face of Bishop Guilfoyle High,” was published in the Nov. 3, 2014 issue of The Catholic Register, the publication of Altoona-Johnstown Diocese. The second, “Bishop Guilfoyle’s President Makes All Feel Welcome,” was published Nov. 17 on the front page of the Altoona Mirror.

Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, is in Rome until Jan. 29 attending the Order’s formation program for new provincial ministers. Information and photos were posted on the OFM website earlier this week.

Steven Patti, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Raleigh, N.C., participated in a gathering of 10 other parishes in Los Angeles that are part of an organization called “Parish Catalyst.” “These parishes have met twice before, including my first session last summer in Dallas,” said Steve. “The meetings have to do with sharing ideas on best practices for parishes. St. Francis was chosen from many other parishes over a year ago to be part of this gathering, a nice badge of honor for us.” Steve, stationed at the parish since last summer, writes about the meeting and other events in the parish bulletin.

Several podcasts by Daniel Riley, OFM, director of Mt. Irenaeus, have been posted recently on the website of the Franciscan mountain retreat. They are titled “Movement to Listen” and “Bluejays and Baptism.”

Brian Smail, OFM, is giving a course titled “The Letters of St. Clare” as part of St. Francis of Assisi Parish’s spring adult education program. The class begins Feb. 3 and runs through March 31. Information about other classes and workshops being given by the New York City parish can be found online.

From Jan 3 to 10, Dennis Tamburello, OFM, accompanied 12 Siena College students on a service trip to St. Gabriel’s School in Fontaine, Haiti, where they taught English. The school’s founder and director, Pierre-Louis Joizil, is a Siena graduate. “I was extremely proud of our students, who lived under very rough conditions for a week, having to drink only bottled water, and lacking Internet access or even power for much of the time,” said Dennis. “They handled it all with a smile and without a word of complaint. They also did an excellent job as teachers. I personally taught students in the 10th and 11th grades.”

Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Greenville, S.C., has asked that a video about the endowment of St. Anthony School be shared again with friars “so we can all share in the blessing of this Gospel work.” The four-minute video, titled “Ensuring a Bright Future,” includes narration by Patrick.

News for the next HNP Today e-letter is requested by Jan. 28, always the Wednesday before distribution. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future coverage include:

  • March for Life on Jan. 22
  • Profiles of friars marking major anniversaries of profession in 2015
  • Year of Consecrated Life

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas