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Friar News Briefs

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.

From the Administration
At their April 24 to 25 meeting, the Provincial Councilors discussed a range of topics, among them two recent articles from The New York Times written by David Brooks, updates from the Elder Care/Holy Name Friary Task Force, the Fraternal Ecology process, highlights from the recent ESC provincial ministers meeting, Franciscans International, a proposal from the JPIC Office about priorities for the next year, personnel issues, and the approval of two  friars in temporary profession – Javier del Angel de los Santos, OFM, and Roberto Serrano, OFM – for solemn profession this summer.
Abraham Joseph, OFM, is expected to be ordained to the transitional diaconate at noon on May 21 at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The ordaining bishop will be the Most Reverend Mark Bartosic, auxiliary of the Chicago  Archdiocese. according to Joseph Rozansky, OFM, assistant director of post-novitiate formation.

► On May 5, a Memorial Mass was celebrated for Emeric Szlezak, OFM, at St. Stephen of Hungary Church in New York City, where the late friar, who died in March at the age of 101, had been stationed for more than 40 years. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, presided at the 2 p.m. liturgy.

Brian Smail, OFM, parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, served as spiritual leader for a group of 27 people during a 10-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land April 7 to 17. “We had morning prayer, a daily rosary, and daily Mass at each place we visited,” said Brian, noting that a local Christian Palestinian tour guide, who spoke fluent Arabic, Hebrew and English, accompanied them during the entire trip. Site visits included the Sea of Galilee, Cesarea, Tiberias, Nazareth, Bethany, Ein Karen (the Biblical location of the Visitation), Jericho, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Capernaum, and the Dead Sea.

“I enjoy meeting the Holy Land friars who staff all of the sites. This year, the custody was celebrating the 800th anniversary of St. Francis’ meeting with the Sultan. There were banners at every holy site depicting this event,” Brian said. “I always find the Sea of Galilee the most inspiring. It is a very serene place where it is easier to feel the presence of Jesus than in the bustling streets of the Old City of Jerusalem. The highlight of the trip was a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee from Tiberias. They stopped the boat in the middle of the Sea and I did the Gospel reading of Jesus ‘calming “the storm’ on the sea.” This was Brian’s fifth visit to the Holy Land. His first two were with Steve Doyle, OFM, while he was living on Arch Street, and he also went twice with Boston College, where he did his undergraduate studies. Brian provided a photo of the banner commemorating Francis’ meeting with the Sultan.

► On April 19, Patrick Sieber, OFM, spent a significant portion of Good Friday handcuffed in a police van singing his favorite hymn, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Patrick, along with five others from among a group of about 40 people who gathered at the Lockheed Martin plant in King of Prussia, Pa., to protest nuclear weapons production, was arrested and charged with trespassing. “Given the tenor of the times, with a nuclear weapons build-up without moral debate and barely public acknowledgment, it seemed like the right place to be,” said Patrick, whose niece and grandniece were among the group of protestors. A resident of the friary at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, Patrick said n the event was organized by the Brandywine Peace Community, which began anti-nuclear weapons protests at General Electric plants in Philadelphia and King of Prussia, and continued through the years when the company changed hands, from RCA to Martin Marietta to Lockheed.

“When the cold war ended, worry about nuclear weapons receded. However, nuclear weapons are still very much with us, and the threat to humanity is greater than.” ever,” said Patrick, who noted that the group prayed the “Stations of Justice, Non-violence and Love.” Patrick, who celebrates Mass in Philadelphia and in nearby Camden, N.J., has participated in this annual protest for more than 40 years. The goal of the group, he said, is to abolish nuclear weapons and support the United Nations Treaty for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. “Ours is the first public witness of support for the treaty at the #1 nuclear weapons contractor in the Philadelphia area. We will continue to resist and speak out in protest,” he said. An article about last month’s demonstration was published in The Nuclear Resister, a publication whose slogan is “Nonviolent Resistance for a Peaceful and Nuclear-Free Future.”

► A painting by Michael Reyes, OFM, titled “Christ the Dreamer” has been chosen by a selection committee for the exhibit at the 2nd Annual Heavenly Lights Art – Show, “We All Belong,” sponsored by the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City. All are invited to the exhibition, which runs from May 9 to Sept. 6 – as well as to the opening night reception on May 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. – at the church’s gallery at 1085 Fifth Ave. Michael, who professed his final vows in 2015, attends the New York Studio School of painting, drawing and sculpture, and is working toward a master of fine arts degree with a concentration in painting.

Lawrence Hayes, OFM, HNP secretary for formation and studies, Joseph Rozansky, OFM, assistant director of post-novitiate formation, Russ Testa, JPIC representative, and Basil Valente, OFM, HNP director of vocation ministry, spent last week in Colorado Springs, Colo., participating in the 2019 All Formators’ Conference of the US-6 provinces. Attendees at the gathering, which was held at Mount St. Francis Retreat Center, included representatives from the provinces participating in the Revitalization and Restructuring Process – Assumption, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart, St. Barbara, St. John the Baptist, and Holy Name

“In addition to presenting and discussing formation opportunities and challenges as we move forward with Revitalization and Restructuring, a variety of proposals, action items, and recommendations were presented and discussed, highlighting each level of formation: vocations, postulancy, novitiate, and temporary professed,” said Basil. Maureen Day, assistant professor of religion and society at the Franciscan School of Theology, gave the keynote address: “Listening, Learning and Accompaniment: Ministering to Young Adult Catholics.” Participants included: Mark Soehner, OFM (of SJB — provincial liaison for initial formation); Eric Pilarcik, OFM (SB), Erasmo Romero, OFM (OLG), John Gutiérrez, OFM (SB) Rommel Pérez, OFM (SH); Michael Jennrich, OFM (SH), Jeff Macnab, OFM (SB) ; Jerry Bleem, OFM (SH), Anthony Garibaldi, OFM (SB), Martín Ibarra, OFM (SB) Carl Langenderfer, OFM (SJB), Charlie Martínez (OLG), Ralph Parthie, OFM (SH), and Gregory Plata, OFM (ABM).

► Three HNP friars will be attending the Order’s V Chapter Under Ten, which is scheduled for July 7 to 14 in Taizè, France. Those friars are Ross Chamberland, OFM, of St. Bonaventure, University in Allegany, N.Y., Steven DeWitt, OFM, of St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, and Erick Lopez, OFM, of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md. They professed their final vows in 2014, 2011 and 2010, respectively. “Friars in Dialogue” is the theme of the July gathering for friars professed less than 10 years.

► On May 1, Religious Brothers Day was commemorated around the world. In Boston, St. Anthony Shrine posted on its Facebook page photos of nine brothers who live on Arch Street. The friars shown are Paul Bourque, OFM, Christopher Coccia, OFM, Gregory Day, OFM, Thomas Donovan, OFM, John Jaskowiak, OFM, Tony LoGalbo, OFM, John Maganzini, OFM, Daniel Murray, OFM, Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, and Sebastian Tobin, OFM.

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

  • Commencement ceremonies at Siena College and St. Bonaventure University
  • Recognition of David Bossman, OFM, by Seton Hall University on June 4
  • Summary of commemorations of the anniversary of the encounter of St. Francis with the Sultan

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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