Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe activities of assorted 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 The next issue of the HNP Today newsletter is scheduled for publication on Dec. 11.

From the Administration
The Provincial Council members gathered in Margate, N.J., from Oct. 22 to 25 for their monthly meeting. They welcomed Stephen O’Kane, OFM, of the Province of Ireland, who is serving as the Province’s general visitor until the 2020 Provincial Chapter. At the meeting, they discussed a variety of issues and events including the agenda for the 2019 guardians and pastors meeting, Fraternal Ecology reports on 10 Fraternities in Mission, the Revitalization and Restructuring Process, Siena College’s presidential search, compliance issues, and Education for Justice resources. Next week, the leaders of the Province’s ministries and friaries are participating in the annual guardians and pastors meeting from Nov. 18 to 21 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

► The Greenville News published a feature article last week about Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, which is located in Greenville, a city in northwest South Carolina. In “15 Minutes with Father Patrick Tuttle,” the friar answers a range of questions about his life, ministry, and opinions. Patrick provides insight into the best part about living in the South, what he has learned from neighbors about living simply, and the question he’s asked most about wearing the habit.

► A Mass celebrated last month by Frank Sevola, OFM, guardian of St. Anthony Shrine, was broadcast on Archdiocesan TV. The Boston Archdiocese also plans to broadcast a Dec. 19 Mass at which Frank is presiding.

► Last month, Catholics and Muslims in Winter Park, Florida, joined together to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the encounter of St. Francis and the Sultan of Egypt. An article published on Nov. 6 by the Orlando diocese quoted Paul Santoro, OFM, saying, “As a Franciscan, this peacemaking between St. Francis and the Sultan 800 years ago is one of the main events that we celebrate. It is in our constitution that we are supposed to be peacemakers. We are supposed to live among people, Christians and non-Christians alike, and respect them as children of God… Isn’t it wonderful that 800 years later, we are still peacemakers in the world as Francis wanted.” The article went on to say that Michael Calabria, OFM, director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York, spoke about common misunderstandings and our call as Catholics to respect and embrace others. In speaking about Christian-Muslim relations, Michael was quoted in the article saying, “The brothers… should undertake a study of these religions and cultures with a sense of great reverence. I believe that’s critical for the larger Franciscan family and the entire Church.

 James Sabak, OFM, of Raleigh, N.C., wrote a piece for Today’s Liturgy, the resource for music ministers, titled “Remembering the O Antiphons During Advent” that will be published in the Dec. 1, 2019-Feb. 25, 2020 issue. The magazine is published by OCP, Oregon Catholic Press.

 Over the past month, Dan Riley, OFM, animator of Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Community, spent time with supporters of The Mountain. He led “Mountain on the Road” events in Buffalo, New York, as well as in several southern states. The October issue of Making All Things New, the monthly e-newsletter of Mt. Irenaeus, included information about his schedule of events and a video reflection about the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Artwork and photographs by Dan are among the items available through the 2019 online Mountain Auction which accepts bids through Nov. 17.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, a member of the Order’s Justice, Peace and Integrity Committee, encourages all to read the most recent issue of the Order’s JPIC newsletter. The July-October 2019 issue of Contact has an interview with Joe Nangle, OFM, as well as articles about the Franciscan Network on Migration, the 25th international climate conference taking place Dec. 2 to 13 in Chile, and the JPIC National Assembly in Bolivia, the first official meeting between JPIC delegates and the secretaries for mission and evangelization of the Friars Minor of European countries bordering on the Mediterranean.

The provincial ministers and staff of the ESC at their recent meeting in Malta. (Photo courtesy of Jack Clark Robinson)

Kevin Mullen, OFM, and the other leaders of the ESC provinces attended the autumn meeting of the provincial ministers of the English-speaking Conference last month in Malta, where Friars Minor have served for more than 500 years. A photo of the group was taken during their gathering.

► In October, Dominic Monti, OFM, enjoyed spending time with the Province’s general visitor, Stephen O’Kane, OFM. When a province is preparing for a chapter in which the brothers are electing a provincial minister, as Holy Name Province will be doing at the 2020 Chapter, explained Dominic to friends recently, this friar  visits  and interviews the members of the province, assesses the state and condition of the province, and encourages friars as they prepare for chapter. The time spent with Stephen was like a reunion for Dominic because the two friars had lived in fraternity in the late 1990s in Silver Spring, Maryland, when Stephen was studying in the U.S. Dominic’s schedule also didn’t slow down when the calendar turned to November, as he spent a “delightful two days” on the weekend of Nov. 2 at Siena College participating in the annual Kieval Colloquium – which this year commemorated the 800th anniversary of the encounter of St. Francis with the Sultan of Egypt. “It was a special honor for me to get to know Dr. Susannah Heschel at this event because it was the work of her father, the late Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel, that was very formative of my understanding of the Hebrew prophets,” Dominic said. This week, he is at Old Mission Santa Barbara in California, teaching Franciscan history to the novices of the six OFM provinces that are in the process of joining together. Dominic is there from Nov. 11 to 22.

Kevin Mackin, OFM, of St. Petersburg, Florida, recently discussed his newest book “Get Thee Behind Me, Satan: Rejecting Evil,” on the program “How we See It,” aired on 90.5 Spirit FM, a talk and music station that broadcasts from St. Petersburg. The program can also be heard online at (Kevin’s 15-minute segment follows a segment about art for sacred spaces). His books are available from and other booksellers, and a link appears on his blog A Franciscan

Friars and attendees at the Kaleidoscope dinner for Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School. (Photo courtesy of Gregory Jakubowicz)

Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, and Russel Murray, OFM, attended the Kaleidoscope dinner held by Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School in Buffalo, N.Y. “It was a nice event to raise money for the scholarship named for our brother Joel Campbell, OFM,” said Greg, an alumnus of Timon High School.  He is stationed at St. Joseph University Parish Rectory in Buffalo while Russel is at St. Bonaventure University.

► The latest episode of The Francis Effect Podcasta podcast about culture and politics from a Catholic Perspective co-hosted by Daniel Horan, OFM, is now available online. Dan, who teaches at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, returned last week from England, where he gave a presentation at the Franciscan Legacy Conference at Durham University. Last month, he joined the members of the diverse Franciscan Family in San Antonio, Texas, to deliver the annual Fiesta Franciscana lecture at the Oblate School of Theology on Oct. 12. This year’s topic was “All God’s Creatures: Rethinking Franciscan Theology of Creation.” Last week, he returned to San Antonio to deliver the keynote address at the Archdiocese of San Antonio Annual Assembly, titled: “Walking with Christ, Living in the Spirit: Building a Culture of Accompaniment and Missionary Discipleship.” Information about Dan’s speaking schedule can be found on his website and Facebook page.

Mario Gomez (kneeling) with the three couples recently married by him. All three brides are sisters. (Photo courtesy of Mario Gomez)

Mario Gomez, OFM, reports that one of the most exciting, amazing and life-giving sacramental ceremonies he has ever celebrated was the wedding of three couples – where all the brides were sisters. “I was quite delighted and utterly excited to be marrying three couples at once,” Mario said of the Sept. 7 wedding at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, North Carolina. “The three sisters, Carina, Nimia and Magdalena, and their spouses – Elvin, Walter and Jose Antonio, respectively – were all originally from Honduras. All three grooms were also somehow related (uncle/nephew and godfather),” continued Mario, who professed his solemn vows as a Franciscan in 2012 and was ordained to the priesthood in 2017. “Moreover, one of the couples – Magdalena and Jose Antonio – received the Sacrament of Confirmation at this triple wedding! There were blessings of rings, arras, lazo, candles, cojines, medallitas, and flowers for our Lady of Guadalupe for each one of them.”

► On Oct. 25, friars from the United States and Canada gathered in the Province’s San Damiano Hall in New York City for a presentation – titled “Franciscans and the Civil rights Movement: Father Nathaniel and the Cost of Leadership” – by the Academy of American Franciscan History. Daniel Dwyer, OFM, of Siena College and chair of the AAFP, introduced speaker Paul Murray, professor emeritus of Siena College Department of Sociology. The event, part of the annual lecture series named for the late Fr. Antoninin Tibesar, OFM, was attended by Brian Belanger, OFM, a member of the AAFH, as well as friars from other OFM provinces and laypeople.

► Last month, Francis Di Spigno, OFM, traveled to Italy to lead a group of travelers in St. Bonaventure University’s heritage pilgrimage. Francis – who has served as executive vice president of SBU’s University Ministries since 2011 – along with Sr. Margaret Carney, OFM, and Jean-Francois Godet-Calogeras, led the group to historic sites in Assisi, Bagnoregio, Magliano and Rome.

► Supporters of Siena College and St. Bonaventure University gathered at the Times Union Center on Nov. 12 to watch the schools’ basketball teams compete for the Ed Coughlin Franciscan Cup. The prize was renamed recently in honor of F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, who died July 30. The Siena Saints won the game by a score of 78-65.

► David Convertino, OFM, reflected recently on the “Night of Stars” event that the Province held to support the work of the friars. The event was held on Sept. 30 in New York City. “Night of Stars was conceived as a way to connect Holy Name Province with its own supportive constituents,” said David, the Province’s executive director of development. “It is an opportunity to join us with people who respect and support the work that we do as Friars with the poor and marginalized, and who want to participate in the mission of the Friars and help us continue our presence and work.” HNP brought Broadway to SECOND on Sixth Avenue again this year with Night of Stars and knockout performances by Norm Lewis, Alysha Umphress, Whitney Bashor, Alexander Gemignani, and Taylor Iman Jones. The opening video showed Michael Carnevale, OFM, in full chef’s apparel and cooking show motif, following a recipe to “make a friar!” David said that the cocktails and performances – and the silent auction of artwork crafted by the friars – made for a warm and elegant evening. The Friars met and led each guest around the venue, often stopping at a life-size St. Francis made out of moss, surrounded by topiaries, plants and décor that brought a fall theme into the rooms. “The evening proved that the loyalty of our supporters and donors is nothing short of astounding. Their trust in the friars is wonderful and humbling at the same time. Through their extreme generosity, we were able to surpass our fundraising goals of this year and last year! Thank you to everyone who participated on every level which made ‘Night of Stars’ a star-filled night,” David said.

Casey Cole, OFM, announced on Facebook that his new book, titled “Let Go: Seven Stumbling Blocks to Christian Discipleship,” will be released in January. Casey’s first book, “Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God,” was released in 2018.

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

  •  Book about the history of the Franciscans in the United States
  •  Experiences of friars at the U.S – Mexico border
  •  The 2019-20 class of OFM postulants

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas