Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name Province friars, featuring 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
Highlights of the Provincial Council’s February meeting, held on Feb. 20 and 21, have been emailed to HNP members. The document includes summaries of discussions about two articles – “Taming the Demon: How Desert Monks Put Work in its Place,” published Feb. 8 in Commonweal, and “Stop ‘Whitesplaining’ Racism to Me,” by John Blake.  It also provides updates about the Revitalization and Restructuring Process, closing of the infirmary in Ringwood, N.J., the winter fraternal gatherings, Saint Barbara Province’s chapter in June, and a petition of the New York State Catholic Conference. The next Council meeting will take place on March 19 and 20.

The second issue of the newsletter series titled Friars Forward, about the Revitalization and Restructuring Process, was distributed to HNP friars on Feb. 26.

► As he and other friars at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., prepared to move to their new homes last week, Philip O’Shea, OFM, provided the following message: “By now, you have heard that Holy Name Friary is to close and we are to move. I want to assure you all that the change will in no way lessen the comfort and convenience of my life. I remain a friar surrounded by friars even though separated in distance from many whose close proximity I have enjoyed. These past three-and-one-half years at Ringwood have been happy. I have made many friends among the staff and have also enjoyed the kind generosity of all of you. Change provides the opportunity to exercise the great power of adaptation which the Lord has given to us. My own physical condition is changing. I’m not what I used to be nor will I be as I am now for any long period of time. So, I am fully participating in the many types of change that affect us, especially as we grow older. I am at peace with full confidence in the Lord and in your support. More information later as it develops.” Since moving to Ringwood in summer 2015, Philip has submitted a series of reflections to the Provincial newsletter about his outlook on life. The most recent appeared in the Jan. 21 issue of HNP Today.

Jim McIntosh, OFM, the webmaster for the USFranciscans website, has taken on an additional position. Effective Feb. 1, he is serving as communications assistant for the HNP Communications Office, a part-time role. Jim is also guardian of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady Church-Friary in Wood-Ridge, N.J. An essay by Jim titled “ Refugees vs. Migrants”  appears as part of the Friar Friday series on the USFranciscans website.

► A new book by Daniel Horan, OFM, titled “Reading Praying, Living Pope Francis’s Rejoice and Be Glad: A Faith Formation Guide,” was released last month by Liturgical Press. A review by Boston College, where Dan earned his doctor’s degree, said: “In his apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis calls on Christians to fully embrace their baptismal call to live the Gospel. Franciscan friar and author Daniel P. Horan, a Boston College alumnus, has written a book to guide readers through Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation. Reading, Praying, Living Pope Francis’s Rejoice and Be Glad (Liturgical Press, 2019) offers helpful commentary, additional context, and expert insight. The publisher calls Fr. Horan’s book “the most extensive and helpful commentary on Gaudete et Exsultate available anywhere. Fr. Horan teaches at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago and is the author of several books, including God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude and The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Influence of His Life, Thought, and Writing.” Information about Dan’s books and about his speaking engagements can be found on his website.

Richard Flaherty, OFM, was mentioned in an article published March 2 in Irish Central about the Lazarus Ministry at Boston’s St. Anthony Shrine.  Titled “A forgotten child in a shoebox coffin is lifted up by love,” the article describes the funerals and burials that the friars arrange as part of the Lazarus Ministry for adults and children who die without resources. “There is no family there for Angela,” said the article. “The best guess is her mother was addicted and fled the hospital after her baby died. Instead, Boston Irish Franciscan Father Robert Flaherty was there to guide the little spirit, unloved in life, home to God.” Angela was the name given to a deceased two-year-old who died f cancer. She was named after the angels. That is also the name of the mother of Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, a resident of the Shrine who spent 15 years ministering to the dying at a hospice. Last year, the Province launched an initiative to help finance the cost of burials for the abandoned.

► The annual newsletter of Bethany Ministries was released last month. The publication, which appears on the website, is distributed to roughly 2,500 people, according to Peter Chepaitis, OFM, co-director of Bethany Ministries. This edition of the newsletter provides information about ecumenical and interfaith services that took place in 2018 – including an event where musicians Kim and Reggie Harris led the singing – visits to parishes, a campus ministry for missions and retreats, outreach to families and individuals who are in need of support, and sacraments and spiritual direction.

► On Feb. 13, Michael Calabria, OFM, presented “Pearls on a String: Islam and Religious Pluralism in Mughal India” at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y. This was the first in a series of events at SBU commemorating the 800th anniversary of St. Francis’ encounter with the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil. Michael, the founding director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, was recently awarded tenure and elevated to associate professor at the university.

Topics that will be featured in future issues of this newsletter include:

  • Profiles of friars marking 50-year and 25-year jubilees of profession in 2019
  • Diaconate ordination of Abraham Joseph, OFM
  • Presentation of the HNP Francis Medal

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

Editor’s note: The format of Friar News Briefs lists, in alternating issues, shows names organized by friars’ last names, in ascending (A to Z) order, followed — in the next issue — by names listed in descending (Z to A) order.

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