Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars and feature celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, email the friars, contact 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 Administration
The Provincial Council met in Pompton Lakes, N.J., on Sept. 19 and 20. Among the main meeting topics, according to a report by Lawrence Hayes, OFM, were feedback about an article by Russell Becker, OFM, the role of the regional councilors, plans for the Sept. 21 new guardian and pastors meeting, and provides the names of friars appointed to the HNP directorates and committees. The next Council meeting is scheduled for Oct. 22 to 24.

The Provincial Administration is organizing a collection to help the millions of people in Puerto Rico affected by last week’s Hurricane Maria. Earlier this week, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, heard from Roberto González, OFM, Archbishop of San Juan, who described the humanitarian crisis. “The situation here is becoming very serious, especially in old age homes and refugee centers that are without drinking water, food and electricity,” said Roberto in a text message. “Many thousands of people have lost everything. The devastation is everywhere. For help, we will all be most grateful! Your prayers can move mountains.”

► Seven novicesfive from Holy Name Province and two from St. Barbara Province – participated in the rite of divestiture on Sept. 20. Michael Blastic, OFM, one of the three interprovincial novitiate team members, said the rite of divestiture took place in the Novitiate Chapel during the Eucharist, which was celebrated with the novitiate and friar communities of Mission Santa Barbara. “The purpose of the ritual of divestiture is to take time to look at one’s life and ‘set aside’ or divest oneself of what one no longer needs, what one wills to do without, what may be part of a former way of seeing oneself or others, habits, conveniences, customs, attitudes, things, etc.,” he said. “The symbols of these things are placed in an envelope, and each brother places his envelope in a chest during the ritual in order to declare solemnly to oneself and the brothers one’s seriousness about embracing the experience of leaving all things in order to follow Jesus. The chest remains present in the chapel throughout the novitiate year as a reminder of the ongoing challenge to let go of all the distractions and obstacles to being fully present to God and one’s brothers and sisters.” The novices were formally received at an Aug. 21 ceremony.

► In response to the Trump Administration’s intention to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Michael Calabria, OFM, Fr. David Couturier, OFM, Kevin Kriso, OFM, and other friars participated on Sept. 11 in an event in support of Dreamers at St. Bonaventure University. An article published in The Bona Venture describes the involvement of the friars to help educate students and faculty on the importance of DACA. When asked, “how do students get involved?” Fr. David  director of the Franciscan Institute, said, “First, educate ourselves about the issue; second, come together to help one another recognize this directly affects people in our community; and third, send messages to Congress, to legislators, telling them that this is not something we can stand for.”

► A video featuring Ross Chamberland, OFM, executive director of SBU’s Lateran Center for Catholic Identity, was posted yesterday on the Facebook page of Daybreak TV Productions.  In it, he talks about the importance of admitting when mistakes are made.

► On Aug. 30, Gregory Gebbia, OFM, and Robert Sandoz, OFM, participated in a collaborative session with faculty members of Christ the King Prep School in Newark, N.J., and Christo Rey Brooklyn in the Province’s San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street in New York City. “The energy and enthusiasm to share ideas were palpable,” according to a recent newsletter distributed by Christ the King Prep, where Greg is principal and Robert is president.  The school community gathered for a prayer service on Sept. 5 and a Mass of the Holy Spirit on Sept. 8 celebrated by Robert.  Videos of both were included in the  email that was titled “Celebrating the Vision — 10 Years.”

► Two HNP friars – Linh Hoang, OFM, and Daniel Horan, OFM – were recently named to the St. Bonaventure University Board of Trustees. They join three other friars on the board – Thomas Conway, OFM, and Kevin Mullen, OFM, along with Fr. John Puodziunas, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province.

► A new book by Daniel Horan, OFM, “Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas” (Liguori Publications) is available for purchase online. The book description says “For each day through the Octave of Christmas, Dan selects a short Scripture passage – one that is already known but not yet fully understood – and uses it as a starting point for reflecting on how our faith is already handed on to us, but not yet perfectly lived.” Information about Dan’s work can be found on his website and Facebook page.

► The Franciscans of Holy Name Province were recognized on Sept. 16 in Ringwood, N.J., during the 100th-anniversary celebrations of St. Catherine of Bologna Parish. Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., joined pastor Fr. Pavel Szurek and the community for a special liturgy marking the occasion. “For the majority of its history, St. Catherine’s – the only parish in the U.S. named after this saint – was in the hands of the Franciscans. In our pastoral work, we are sensitive to the roots of the parish – the Franciscans and the spirit of their founder, St. Francis of Assisi, and to the spirit of our patron, St. Catherine of Bologna. We remember where we came from and now the journey continues,” said Fr. Szurek. The parish’s history stretches back to 1765, before the Revolutionary War, when Fr. Ferdinand Steinmeyer, SJ, began ministering to German, Polish and Slovak laborers in the area. The first Franciscan father to serve in Ringwood, Bonaventure Jahn, OFM, arrived in 1876. He traveled there six times yearly from Paterson for Mass in parishioners’ homes. Four years later, the mission was placed under the permanent care of Holy Name Province. The mission’s first church was opened in 1917 and it was elevated to a parish in 1944. In 1990, the friars returned care of the parish to the diocese due to the decreasing number of friars. 

► Brian Jordan, OFM, was honored with the Fr. Mychal Judge, OFM, Memorial Award on Sept. 16 at the 36th Annual Great Irish Fair of New York, held on Coney Island. The event, according to Irish Central was “packed with Irish-American culture and heritage. The festivities kicked off around 10 a.m. with a Mass, followed by a ceremony at 11 a.m. and live entertainment performances at noon. The sounds of traditional and contemporary Irish tunes from local Irish bands filled the Ford Amphitheater, along with food, pubs, dancing, children’s activities, and Irish goodies.”

► Last weekend, Erick López, OFM, blessed the re-opening of the food pantry in Langley Park, Md. Founded in 1963, St Camillus Food Pantry/La Despensa San Antonio serves more than 10,000 families every year. Photos of the blessing are available on the St. Camillus Church Facebook page.

► On Sept. 17, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, celebrated the world premiere of the “Saint Bonaventure Mass” at St. Bonaventure University. It was composed by world-renowned conductor Fabio Luisi, who has been writing the piece for nearly two years, an endeavor for which he refused to be paid. He dedicated the Mass to president emeritus Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, with whom he has been friends for four years. He told the Olean Times Herald that “he wanted the small Mass to use simple imagery and serve as an ‘exhibition of spirituality’ where the Catholic religion began, taking inspiration from Gregorian chanting and the words of St. Bonaventure himself, which are recited in the Mass.’” The music was performed by the chamber ensemble of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus.

— Compiled by Johann Cuervo and Jocelyn Thomas

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