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Friar News Briefs

The updates below describe recent 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 communications@hnp.org.

From the Administration
All are welcome to attend the Aug. 24 solemn profession of Javier Del Angel De los Santos, OFM, and Roberto Serrano, OFM, who are scheduled to profess their final vows as Franciscans at an 11 a.m. Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City.
The Provincial Council met on July 23 and 24 in New York. Their discussions focused on a wide range of topics which included the Testament of St. Francis, a vocation report, personnel issues, updates on compliance matters, the HNP Fraternal Ecology process, the initial formation program of new “Brothers Walking Together” year, a report on the JPIC Directorate, and the US-6 Chapter of Mats scheduled the week after the Council meeting. The Councilors will meet next on Sept. 17 and 18.

► After a sixmonth hiatus, John Anglin, OFM, has posted a new article, titled “Let the Children Come to Me,” on his blog The Wandering Friar. “The blog is taking a new direction and will offer reflections on my various ministry experiences,” explained John, who recently visited Peru for a week as part of Unbound, an international non-profit organization founded by lay Catholics grounded in the Gospel call to serve the poor. According to its website, Unbound, which has a presence in 18 countries, provides “personal attention and direct benefits to children, youth, aging, and their families so they may live with dignity, achieve their desired potential and participate fully in society.” The organization invites one-to-one sponsorship of children and adults and builds community by fostering relationships of mutual respect, empowerment, understanding, and support.

David Blake, OFM, guardian of the St. Bonaventure University friary, celebrated a Mass on July 20 in the chapel of the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany during which Sr. Liz Schumacher made her final profession of vows. The Eucharistic celebration in Allegany, N.Y., was a joy-filled and emotional ceremony, according to an article in the Franciscan Sisters newsletter, which also posted a video of the Mass on its website.

► July 15 was a milestone for Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla.  It marked the 14th anniversary of the arrival of the Franciscan friars at the Florida parish. A recent announcement in the parish e-newsletter acknowledging the momentous date said, “The first Franciscan pastor was Fr. Andrew Reitz, OFM, accompanied by Fr. Roch Coogan, OFM, Fr. Barry Langley, OFM, and Fr. Sean O’Brien, OFM. Over time, the community changed with Br. Juan de la Cruz, OFM, and Fr. George Corrigan, OFM, who joined the community in 2007. Fr. Zachary Elliott, OFM, came to Tampa in 2011 as Fr. Andrew transferred to New York City, and Fr. George became the pastor. Over the last few years, we’ve said farewell to Fr. Frank CritchOFM, Fr. Dan Kenna, OFM, and Fr. Michael Reyes, OFM, and welcomed Fr. Salim Joseph, OFM.”

Michael Calabria, OFM, of St. Bonaventure University, returned this week from India, where for several weeks he did research for his book on the Qur’anic inscriptions at the Taj Mahal and the faith of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who built the edifice. He also did research for a Keenan-Martine grant on the religions of South Asia, including Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism, for a course he will teach at St. Bonaventure. Michael has observed that in spite of more recent sectarian and political tensions, for centuries the cultural expressions of India’s various religious communities blended together seamlessly. Since 2016, Michael has served as the Order’s general assistant for dialogue with Islam.

David Convertino, OFM, the Province’s executive director of development, has announced that the Franciscan Friars Second Annual “Night of Stars” will be held on Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. at SECOND, a popular event venue on Sixth Avenue in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood.  The night, which David says is as much a friend-raiser as it is a fundraiser, includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and performances by Broadway stars. “It takes a good amount of resources for friars to care for the poor and impoverished,” says David, which is why the development office is counting on the help of Province supporters to make this event a smashing success.  A save-the-date message that David and his staff emailed to Province friends and supporters in late July read: “The Franciscan Friars serve over 2 million people each year suffering from the obstacles of poverty, hunger, homelessness and mental illness through their services of food centers, breadlines, shelters, soup kitchens, residences, medical and dental assistance, inner-city education, immigration assistance, drug rehabilitation and care centers, as well as burying the unwanted and forgotten dead. Now we are asking for your help as we help others.  Last year’s event  raised over $400,000 in the one night, and this year we are hoping to raise $500,000 for the Province’s needs.”

► In honor of Siena College president F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, who died on July 30 of complications from heart surgery, the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual men’s basketball game between Siena and St. Bonaventure University will be renamed to the Brother Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, announced the news last weekafter Ed’s funeral services. Kevin had spoken with the athletic directors, presidents, and chairs of the board of directors at both institutions about changing the name of the trophy as a lasting tribute to Ed’s memory and his years of service at Siena and St. Bonaventure. The tradition of the men’s basketball teams squaring off for the Franciscan Cup, as it has been called up until now, began in 2010. Ed, a graduate of St. Bonaventure, was often heckled at the game by good-natured Bonnie fans and fellow friars for sitting with the Siena crowd. The inaugural game for the Brother Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup is scheduled for Nov. 12 at the Times Union Center in Albany.

Daniel Horan, OFM, spent several weeks in Australia, speaking at various events and venues, most recently at Australia Catholic University in Brisbane, where he gave three keynote lectures at the Franciscan Schools of Australia Conference. His time “down under” included a lecture to the faculty and staff at Padua College, Brisbane, titled “Franciscan Education is Always Incarnational, Relational and Practical.” He also gave a daylong workshop on “Franciscan Charism in Catholic Education” to the faculty and staff of Our Lady of the Nativity School in Melbourne, and he presented the Third Annual St. Bonaventure Lecture at Padua College in Brisbane that was titled “Risking the Peace the World Cannot Give: St. Francis, the Sultan, and Ecclesiastical  Disobedience.”  The titles of Dan’s lectures, given between Aug. 7 and 9 at the conference, were “Encounter: a Franciscan Response to Racism, White Privilege, and Fear of the Other,” “Franciscan Wisdom for a Planet in Peril,” and “Authenticity, Vocation and the Risk of Faith: Insights for Religious Educators and Generation Z.”  Photos of the events can be found on Dan’s Facebook page.  On Aug. 12, Dan returned to Chicago, where he is an assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union and a regular contributor to National Catholic Reporter.

► This year’s annual Father Mychal Judge 9/11 Walk of Remembrance is scheduled for Sept. 8. Like the firefighters he served as the longtime chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, Mychal Judge, OFM, rushed toward danger on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists crashed jumbo jet airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. While tending to the injured and praying over the dead in the lobby of the north tower, he was fatally struck by debris from the collapsing south tower – and because his was the first body carried away from the scene, he was the first certified fatality of the terrorist attacks. Every year since 2002, the annual Walk of Remembrance is held on the Sunday before the 9/11 anniversary, beginning with a Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street, where Mychal resided at the friary, followed by a processional prayer walk to the World Trade Center site that remembers those killed in the terrorist attacks and retraces Mychal’s final journey. Several hundred are expected to participate. Information can be found on the 9/11 Walk of Remembrance Facebook page.

Dominic Monti, OFM, was one of several presenters at the Master Classes in Franciscan Studies this summer at the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University in Western  N.Y. From June 24 to 28, Dominic taught the class titled “Adapting to a New World: Franciscan Men and Women in 19th & 20th Century America.” A distinguished professor of Franciscan studies at St. Bonaventure and an expert historian, Dominic spoke about the rich European heritage that Franciscan men and women brought with them to the U.S. to minister to the immigrant populations that had already migrated to America from their native countries in Europe. With a vastly different culture and demanding needs of poor immigrant families, these Franciscan pioneers were challenged to adapt their vocational life and ministries in new and creative ways – which, Dominic said, profoundly shaped the Franciscan presence in the United States as it is known today.

Kevin Mullen, OFM, and the other provincial ministers of the US-6 provinces made an appeal to the members of the six fraternities on a subject that has dominated national headlines. In a joint letter released last week, the leaders of the six provinces – currently in the midst of a Revitalization and Restructuring Process that aims to unify them into one coast-to-coast Franciscan community – asked all friars to pray and increase their advocacy for immigrants. “Over the past several weeks and months, we, like so many others, have been horrified by the treatment received by immigrant men, women, and children, both on the border between the United States and Mexico, but also elsewhere throughout our nation,” the provincial ministers said in their letter. “We want to be bridge builders for those who cry for walls and those who decry walls. Now is our time to pray, reflect and act, without an expectation that any solution will be easily or quickly achieved.”

John O’Connor, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., reports that Francis House, the outreach center at the parish, was recently named one of the top 10 social service agencies in northern Virginia. United Health Care and the 2-1-1 program, which is the national emergency phone number for those in need, have recently contacted Francia Salguero, director of Francis House, to schedule meetings that will begin discussions on ways to further enhance cooperation between the agencies and Francis House. “In the past year alone, parishioners of St. Francis have been extremely generous in caring for the poor and needy by donating several hundred thousand dollars in food and financial support to the Francis House program,” John said.

Patrick Sieber, OFM, participated in the Hiroshima Day Peace Observance on Aug. 6, which marked the 74th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the Japanese city. Brandywine Peace Community, a not-for-profit organization that advocates peace through non-violent protest, sponsored the observance, which was held in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The annual event calls attention to the atomic bombing that obliterated 90% of the city, killed 80,000 inhabitants in the immediate blast and firestorm, and consumed tens of thousands more from radioactive fallout, according to a press release from Brandywine Peace Community. Patrick, a Philadelphia resident, serves at St. Francis Inn, the Province’s soup kitchen in the Kensington neighborhood, just 10 blocks from where he grew up.

► The accomplishments of Patrick Tuttle, OFM, and the spirit and passion with which the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Greenville, S.C., ministers, were featured in a recent edition of The Catholic Miscellany. The July 28 article, titled “Laugh Harder, Pray Beautifully and Make an Impact,” had this to say about Patrick: “When he arrived in 1994, St. Anthony of Padua Parish was a small parish of around 200 registered members, serving an area that was primarily low-income, African-American Greenvillians. Today, parish membership tops 1,000, a cause for celebration as Father Tuttle and the parish community celebrate his 25th jubilee.” Patrick, a native of Hartford, Connecticut, is marking 25 years since he was ordained to the priesthood. It’s not the first time Patrick was recognized for his spirit. In the video series, “A Friar Life,” he is described as “a commanding presence capable of rousing a packed church with a spirit-filled homily, inspiring a boardroom of executives to support the mission, and bringing down the house as a larger-than-life DJ for receptions and fundraisers.”

James Vacco, OFM, served as one of the Catholic chaplains during the first week of the season (June 22 to 29) at the Chautauqua Institution – the not-for-profit, 150-acre community on the picturesque Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York State that provides nine weeks of programs in the performing arts, religious exploration, academics and recreation. Fr. Donald Cozzens, the author, lecturer and seminary professor of pastoral theology, was the week’s other chaplain. Ecumenical in spirit and practice, the Institution’s department of religion features distinguished religious leaders of many faiths as preachers and teachers. In addition to his chaplain duties, James gave a presentation as part of the Chautauqua Institution’s interfaith lecture series, in which religion historians spotlight moments in religious traditions that impacted the world and evolution of religion.  Also speaking at the Chautauqua Institution this summer was Richard Rohr, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province. James, pastor of St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, N.Y., lectured on “Thomas, the Millennial Among the Apostles.” It was a busy week for James, who midway drove to the Buffalo Diocesan Catholic Center to lead the staff in a day of reflection, whose theme was “Loyalty: God’s Example and Our Response.”

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

  • Welcoming of 2019-20 postulants on Aug. 22
  • Commemoration of Franciscan Volunteer Ministry’s 30th anniversary
  • Friars marking their 65th anniversary of profession

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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