Friar News Briefs

Jim McIntosh OFM 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
An updated version of the HNP Directory has been posted on the Friars-only section of the Province website. Friars with additional changes to their contact information are asked to email the changes to Sharon Berrios at the Provincial Office. In addition, an updated directory of friars who live at healthcare facilities has been distributed to friars.

Ross Chamberland in Casey Cole’s latest profile video. (Photo from the video)

► The latest in the video series called “A Friar Life,” produced by Casey Cole, OFM, was released last week. Featuring Ross Chamberland, OFM, of St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., this is the ninth video of the series, which showcases the diverse lives and wide-ranging ministries of friars. Previous installments can be found on Casey’s website “Breaking in the Habit.” On June 22, Casey is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood.

► Provincial Councilor David Convertino, OFM, gave a presentation last month to the provincial minister, vicar and staff members of St. John the Baptist Province. Held on April 26 in Cincinnati at the conference center of St. Anthony’s Shrine, 25 people attended the program arranged by SJB Province’s development director Colleen Cushard. David’s presentation, which he said was well received by attendees, described ways to manage change and to be a change agent in today’s world.

John Frambes at the blessing of the lifeguards at Long Beach Island. (Photo courtesy of Jim Scullion)

► On May 18, St. Francis Community Center, the more than 40-year-old facility affiliated with St. Francis Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., held its annual blessing of lifeguards. John Frambes, OFM, who worked as a lifeguard from 1962 to 1970 in Margate, N.J., conducted the blessing of approximately 15 lifeguards at the facility’s aquatic center.

Ignatius Harding, OFM, participated in an inter-religious event last month at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in northern Virginia that marked the 800th anniversary of the meeting between Francis and the Sultan. Approximately 50 people attended the event that was held on April 28. He and Imam Cemal Gumus of Dar Al Noor Islamic Community were the presenters. The event included a jointly sponsored viewing of the movie, “The Sultan and the Saint,” with dialogue and introductory questions from participants of both communities who shared faith stories and concrete experiences. Both faith communities expressed interest in continuing their dialogue at a later date at Dar Al Noor Mosque, located near the parish. “We have two active ministries directly connected in an ongoing interfaith way – our ‘Parish Ecumenical and Interreligious Representatives, or PEIRS’ ministry through the Diocese of Arlington, and our ‘Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Empowerment,’ a coordinating group of 45 local churches, mosques and temples,” Ignatius said. “Through these ministries, we have steady contact with activities and celebrations as interfaith community action and solidarity groups. We have longtime fraternal relationships with several mosques in the area and jointly came up with the idea of a reflection get-together on the movie. It provided another opportunity for dialogue between our communities. The evaluations from the participants were very positive and our parishioners are now invited to one of the nearby mosques for a similar experience in October,” explained Ignatius, who provided a brief video of his presentation welcoming participants.

Bernardine Kessing and Larry Hayes with a visitor at St. Catherine of Siena Nursing Home. (Photo courtesy of Larry)

► Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, received a surprise last week when he visited the friars at St. Catherine of Siena Nursing Home in Caldwell, N.J. Not only did he see the residents, but he spent time with an animal visitor. Ravi, a therapy horse, was photographed with Larry and Bernardine Kessing, OFM.

► Since the beginning of 2019, Daniel Horan, OFM, an assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, has been writing a column for National Catholic Reporter. His most recent column, titled “Thomas Merton’s Counsel for Donald Trump (and the Rest of us),” was published on May 15.

Stephen Kluge, OFM, has been appointed the spiritual assistant for a Secular Franciscan fraternity based in Raleigh, N.C., where he is stationed. The role involves fostering communion with the wider Church and the Franciscan family, as well as assisting with initial ongoing formation and fostering a deeper insight into Franciscan spirituality. Steve has been involved with the Seculars since January, when their previous spiritual assistant, a Conventual Franciscan, was reassigned. Steve had spent a number of years as a spiritual assistant to the Seculars on Long Beach Island, N.J. Many of the Seculars of the Raleigh fraternity are from other area parishes that are not Franciscan, according to Steve, adding that his ministry with the Seculars gives him life and joy. “It requires me to go deeper into my own Franciscan vocation. It helps me to see Secular men and women desiring to live the Gospel in a more committed way. We feed off each other,” Steve said.

The presidents of the Order’s conferences with members of the General Council. (Photo courtesy of Alvin Te, OFM)

► Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, is in Rome this week participating in the spring meeting of the presidents of the OFM conferences. For the past two years, Kevin served as president of the English-speaking Conference, one of 14 in the Order of Friars Minor.

► On May 6, James Scullion, OFM, welcomed the bishop of Trenton, N.J., to St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Brant Beach, N.J. Bishop David O’Connell, C.M., conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation at the parish, where Jim serves as pastor. Photos and a description of the confirmation were included in the May 8 issue of The Monitor, the publication of the Trenton Diocese. The newspaper began its report by saying, “Bishop David M. O’Connell C.M., visited the Diocese’s southernmost parish of Ocean County, conferring the Sacrament of confirmation and visiting the friars and staff of St. Francis of Assisi, Brant Beach. During the pastoral visit, Franciscan Father James Scullion, pastor, took the bishop on a tour of St. Francis Community Center – located adjacent to the church, — including its gym and aquatic center, as well as the parish’s four worship sites positioned along Long Beach Island’s 18 miles.”

► On May 14, the Knights of Columbus presented its Clergy Appreciation Plaque to the team at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Greenville, S.C. Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor, accepted the honor on behalf of the parish’s friars – David Phan, OFM, and Robert Serrano, OFM – and its group of deacons, including Phil Allen, Dexter Gourdin, Steve Olson, James Williams and Winston Wright. The clergy team was honored “for their dedicated service to St. Anthony Parish and the City of Greenville, South Carolina,” according to the plaque’s inscription. A photo of Patrick accepting the plaque was posted on the Facebook page of St. Anthony Men’s Club. “I was overjoyed to see the fraternal support of the priesthood by the Knights of Columbus and their associates. It was a wonderful gathering, rather informal but very heartfelt,” said Patrick. “The men feel the pressure on the Church and they want to make sure their priests know they have their support. They were very endearing beautiful speeches, and I’m deeply grateful to the Knights of Columbus.”

JPIC representatives of the US-6 provinces during their visit to Niagara Falls. (Photo courtesy of Jud)

► Last week, Jud Weiksnar, OFM, hosted a meeting in Buffalo, N.Y., of representatives of the US-6 provinces who work in Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. In addition to Jud, the group included Fr. Larry Janezik, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, Br. Scott Obrecht, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, Fr. Mark Schroeder, OFM, representing St. Barbara and Our Lady of Guadalupe provinces, and Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office for JPIC. “Since it was my turn to host, we held the meeting at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, N.Y.,” said Jud, pastor of Saints Columba-Brigid Church. “Those from other provinces were interested in Holy Name Province’s connection to the seminary. They noticed that photos f former rectors – among them friars Dan McLellan, OFM, Dan Lanahan, OFM, Juvenal Lalor, OFM, and Kevin Mackin, OFM, are still on the walls outside the dining room.” During two days of meetings, Jud said the group discussed ideas for the forthcoming National JPIC Office, the ministry’s work on immigration, the report that Testa will present at the upcoming international JPIC gathering in Jerusalem, and other issues. Julian Jagudilla, OFM, and Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, as well as the JPIC animator from Ireland, Fr. Gabriel Kinahan, OFM, participated in the meetings via web conferencing. After the meetings, Jud gave the visiting friars a tour of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, which included stops at the famous Vidler’s in East Aurora and a drive by the vacant old St. Patrick’s Friary on Seymour Street. The group also enjoyed dinner at Duff’s Famous Wings, the same location that President Obama visited in 2010. The group’s next in-person meeting is scheduled for September, according to Jud, chair of the HNP Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, and who provided a group photo taken at nearby Niagara Falls (see above). The JPIC group is one of several working toward strengthening and consolidating its work as the restructuring of the six U.S. provinces progresses.

 Topics planned to be featured in future issues of this newsletter include:

  • Recognition of David Bossman, OFM, by Seton Hall University on June 4
  • Two student friars who are completing their year-long internships
  • Summary of commemorations of 800th anniversary of the encounter of St. Francis with the sultan

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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