Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

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

To provide news briefs for future articles, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

From the Provincial Administration
The Provincial Council met last week, on July 18 and 19, focusing its discussion mainly on planning the 2017 Provincial Chapter, the recent Southern Initiative webinar and on a study being done of the Province’s healthcare. The Councilors also reviewed updates from the HNP Vocation Office, and the task force studying the fraternities-in-mission in Boston and at New York City’s 31st Street.

The latest ongoing formation resource is available on the HNP Friars Only section of the HNP website. It is the third in a series launched this spring by the HNP Ongoing Formation Committee.

  • Next month, more than 30 alumni from a youth group at Holy Cross Parish in the Bronx, N.Y., will commemorate the milestone birthday of Martin Bednar, OFM. They will honor Martin, who was the coordinator of the group more than three decades ago, by taking a seven-day cruise from New York to the Bahamas to celebrate his 80th birthday. “Back in the old days,” the group numbered more than 100 people, said Martin, now stationed at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J. According to Martin, the group was very united then and remains so even now. The group used to have a retreat every year, he said, adding that some members visit him regularly at the HNP infirmary. Many of the members of the youth group were teenagers “back in the day” and some of them are now parents themselves and will be bringing their children on the cruise, according to Martin. Nearly 10 years ago, in July 2007, the youth group alumni took a similar cruise.
  • Michael Calabria, OFM, will be leading a retreat from Sept. 23 to 24 at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, Pa. Titled “Beyond the Veil: Women and Gender in Islam,” it will “examine the status significance and spirituality of women as expressed in the Qu’an and Islamic tradition, as well as in Islamic history and culture, according to a description in the center’s summer-autumn brochure. Information about programs at the retreat center operated by the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia can be found on its website. Michael is director of St. Bonaventure University’s Center for Arab and Islamic Studies in Western New York.
  • St. Anthony Shrine is holding farewell receptions for two friars who are departing for other locations. On July 31, Eric Carpine, OFM, who has been transferred to St. Petersburg, Fla., will be feted and on Aug. 21 Daniel Horan, OFM, who is moving to Chicago, will be honored. Information can be found in the Shrine’s bulletin.
  • A video showing F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, was posted last week on the Facebook page of Siena College, where Ed is president. The light-hearted skit capitalized on the popularity and recent publicity of the PokemonGo game. The photo and text attracted more than 525 “likes.”
  • Brian Cullinane, OFM, and Daniel Murray, OFM, were among 38,000 people at the July 19 baseball game in Fenway Park, Boston, who heard the Arch Street Band perform before the Red Sox – San Francisco Giants game. The band played for an hour before the 7 p.m. game on what Fenway named “Catholic Night. “It was a great evening of exposure for the band and the Shrine,” said Brian. The band played a variety of music, he said, both religious songs and popular music. A video of the band singing the Fenway Park favorite “Sweet Caroline” was posted on the St. Anthony Shrine Facebook page. Earlier in the day, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, archbishop of Boston, shared a message  about Catholic Night. Brian said he and Daniel arrived early at the ballpark to help the band members set up. They enjoyed talking with passers-by, he said, telling them about the Shrine and the Franciscans.
  • Francis Di Spigno, OFM, and  Khoa Nguyen, OFM, are in Krakow, Poland, this week participating in 2016 World Youth Day. Pope Francis as well as General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM will also be spending time at the July 25 to July 30 gathering of thousands from around the world.
  • On July 5, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, celebrated Mass at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, in Allegany, N.Y., at the opening of the general chapter of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, which is being held from July 25 to Aug. 2. The previous Friday, he celebrated Mass at Cabrini of Westchester, a senior residence in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Next Tuesday, Kevin plans to celebrate Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City in commemoration of the Feast of the Portiuncula.
  • John O’Connor, OFM, guardian of the St. Francis of Assisi Parish friary in Triangle, Va., was quoted in a story in the July 13 issue of Arlington Catholic Herald that announced a guide offering practical ways to care for creation and to response to the people call to action. “The Eco-Parish Guide: Bringing Laudato Si’ to Life” is a tool for pastors, staff, pastoral councils and parishioners to combat climate change, according to the story. St. Francis of Assisi Church in Triangle is one of three North American parishes that is highlighted. “Understanding such interconnectedness is part of the charism of the Franciscan order and thus interwoven into the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi Church,” said John in the story. “Very much part of what it means for all of us to be disciples of Jesus is to understand that we are responsible for cherishing, protecting and celebrating creation,” John is quoted as saying. “The average person goes through life not thinking much about creation— maybe just thinking how nice the trees or the birds are— but if we’re not careful with the beauty of the world around us, we could lose it,” John said.
  • Jud Weiksnar, OFM, guardian of St. Patrick Friary in Buffalo, N.Y., was featured in Western New York Catholic earlier this month in a story titled “Franciscans Make Commitment to Care for Creation.” It reported that Judreturned home in June from a two-week trip to Italy for a meeting on justice, peace and the integrity of creation. The gathering brought together Franciscans from throughout the world who discussed the importance of caring for creation and the lasting impact of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si’.”  The story, distributed by the Diocese of Buffalo on July 14 through an email, included a photo taken at the meeting in Italy. According to the article, “A big emphasis, not just for this year but for 2017, will be to try to implement Laudato Si’ in all of our ministries in all of our parishes,” Father Weiksnar said. “One big thing is that we’re asking every Franciscan friary to come up with an ecology plan and seeing how we can simplify our lifestyle, or adapt our lifestyle, to have less of an impact on the environment.” Information about the May 22 to 29 JPIC meeting that Jud attended can be found on the website of the Order of Friars Minor.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by August 3 — 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 in HNP Today include:

  • Simple profession of vows on August 2
  • An update from Dominic Monti, OFM, about membership trends of the Order of Friars Minor
  • Reception of novices on August 15
  • August 27 solemn profession of three HNP friars

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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