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Friar News Briefs

The updates below describe assorted activities of Holy Name Province friars. They feature 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. The next issue of the HNP Today newsletter is scheduled for distribution on March 13.

From the Administration
The Provincial councilors held their first meeting of the new year on Jan. 20 by videoconference. Their agenda focused on a review of the Fraternal Ecology process, including responses to the Jan. 3 announcement of the Province’s withdrawal from nine Fraternities-in-Mission. The councilors also discussed the Revitalization and Restructuring Process, chapter reports, the change in the status of a friar guest worker to a permanent member of Holy Name Province, and other topics.
Friars are asked to email articles for the next edition of The Provincial Annals to Julian Davies, OFM, editor, by May 1. Reports about friaries and ministries, as well as photos, are requested.
Schedule: The Provincial Office will be closed on Feb. 17 for Presidents Day.

Jacek Orzechowski at the Keep Winter Cold Polar Bear Plunge. (Photo courtesy of the Franciscan Action Network)

► Three postulants – Tim Amburgey, Daniel Cruz, and Tyler Grundi – joined Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, as participants in the Jan. 25 Keep Winter Cold Polar Bear Plunge at the National Harbor in Washington, D.C. The plunge is an annual fundraiser for Chesapeake Climate Action Network and other local organizations that co-sponsor the event, including Franciscan Action Network and Sunrise Movement DC. “In addition to helping raise funds for organizing efforts around climate justice – one of the most foundational pro-life issues – for us as Franciscans, it was a great opportunity to give witness and evangelize with our creative action,” Jacek said. He noted that Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Sí: On Care for Our Common Home, calls us to respond to the cry of the poor and clamor of the earth. “That includes the rapid and profound transformation of the ways we produce and consume energy. Our politics and lifestyles must change if we want to have a planet hospitable to life,” said Jacek, adding, “Fidelity to the Gospel compels us to safeguard our planet while lifting up the poor and marginalized.” He continued: “The Green New Deal, championed by the youth-led Sunrise Movement, is a critically important step in defending the life-support system of our fragile planet, transforming our society, and living out the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-56). It’s Christian love in action. This is why we participate in the Polar Bear Plunge.” Jacek is hopeful that taking the plunge in the Potomac will challenge other people of faith to get more involved in a public square around climate justice and support the Laudato Si’ generation – that is, the young people and their social movements for change. The Jan 29 e-letter from the Franciscan Action Network included a photo of Jacek, who “plunges each year in full habit,” according to FAN.

John Anglin’s new blog. (Photo courtesy of his website)

John Anglin, OFM, has renamed his blog from “A Wandering Friar” to “A View from My Window.” In his first post, John wrote, “Welcome aboard to my new blog. I have chosen to keep the same web address so that my Wandering Friar posts are available here by just scrolling down. As the new blog title suggests, I will be offering perspectives from my own heart and soul on my life and on the world around me. I also hope to avoid entering into the mire of rancor that floods the Internet today. That having been said, here goes.” John, a member of the HNP Ministry of the Word, lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.

► St. Bonaventure University has named Ross Chamberland, OFM, its interim chaplain until Aug. 1. “It’s my privilege to serve the university community in this additional capacity,” Ross said in SBU’s Jan. 14 announcement. “I have a passion for evangelization and pastoral care, especially of our student community. I’m thankful to have been asked.” While serving as the university chaplain, Ross will continue his role as assistant vice president for student engagement in the Division of Student Affairs. “I am grateful to Ross for being willing to serve in this important role at St. Bonaventure,” said Russel Murray, OFM, vice president for mission integration at SBU.

The Summer 2019 issue of the Anthonian.

► The vocational callings of two friars – Casey Cole, OFM, and Richard Husted, OFM – are highlighted in the winter 2019 issue of The Franciscan Anthonian magazine in an article, “This is My Call.” In the article, which is accompanied by photos of Casey’s ordination to the priesthood last June, he describes what led him to the Franciscans. “Most had already walked with Casey via social media, through his reception of the habit and classes at Chicago’s Theological Union, and trips around back home and around the country,” the article begins. “His social media ministry, dubbed ‘Breaking in the Habit,’ includes Casey’s YouTube experience of his modern formation reality show, seen by tens of thousands.” In another article titled “A Full Circle in the life of a Friar,” the magazine describes the Franciscan journey of Richard, who grew up in Butler, New Jersey, the town where he is currently stationed. Copies of this and other editions of The Anthonian can be found at Provincial ministry sites.

► The late Ed Coughlin, OFM, is featured in the cover story of the winter 2020 issue of Siena magazine, which was distributed last month. The article, “Remembering Brother Ed,” shows a collection of photos as well as words of remembrance from students and the chair of the Siena College Board of Trustees. “In the wake of Ed’s passing, the outpouring of love and support in the capital region and from alumni all over the country has been healing,” said John Murray, Jr. “Saints look out for each other.” Ed, who had served as president of Siena since 2014, died last summer after surgery.

Kevin Cronin, OFM, has recently been preaching at several Long Island churches – among them Our Lady of Miraculous Medal in Point Lookout, St. Mary’s in Long Beach, and Saints Philip and James in St. James – and was pleased to observe a new commemoration that invites Catholics to deepen their appreciation, love, and witness to God and his word.  Kevin, who is stationed at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey, commemorated Word of God Sunday on Jan. 26, under the suggested guidelines of Bishop John Barris of Rockville Centre. In an email, Kevin described it as follows: “There was a solemn procession of the Book of the Gospels from the altar to the pulpit, complete with incense. It was suggested that the faithful venerate the word after the homily, as with the cross on Good Friday. However, we did not do that part since the church was packed with 1,000 people and the Mass would have never ended. But we suggested to the faithful that they return after the final hymn to reverence the word by approaching the Book of Gospels enthroned on a podium where the Eucharist is distributed. Many people returned and I was truly moved by their prayerfulness and reverence at venerating the word representing Jesus, the true and living Word made flesh.” Every morning, two classes from the parish school attended daily Mass, at which Kevin invited them to reverence the Holy Word. This was the first year that the worldwide Catholic Church celebrated Sunday of the Word of God, which Pope Francis instituted in an apostolic letter published in autumn 2019.

Kevin Daly, exiting from the surf. (Photo courtesy of St. Francis of Assisi Parish)

Kevin Daly, OFM, was among 162 people who braved the cold and walked into the frigid Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 2 for the 16th annual Super Plunge on the Jersey Shore. Coinciding with Super Bowl Sunday, the group gathered on the sand of Long Beach Island to raise money for St. Francis Community Center and the swim teams of Southern Regional High School. Before taking the plunge, the participants were blessed by Jim Scullion, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Brandt Beach. The other two friars stationed at the parish – Scott Brookbank, OFM, and John Frambes, OFM – were not as adventurous and chose to cheer the participants from the land.

The cover of Kyle Haden’s new book. (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

► A book by Kyle Haden, OFM, of St. Bonaventure University, will be available for purchase through Amazon on Feb. 15. Titled “Embodied Idolatry: A Critique of Christian Nationalism,” the book examines the effect of Christian nationalism on Christian practice in the U.S. Kyle focuses on the mechanisms by which such beliefs become sedimented into the emotional embodied structures of the Church and the individual.

► On Jan. 23, the OFM friars of St. Joseph Friary in Chicago, Illinois, along with Capuchin and Conventual student-friars as well as other members of the Franciscan family in the Chicago area, attended a talk by Ken Himes, OFM, that was titled “Solidarity in a Franciscan Perspective.” One of the students in attendance, Aaron Richardson, OFM, said that the talk was rooted in the core principle from Catholic Social Teaching that human beings are “sacred and social.” Aaron said he was particularly inspired by an idea from the presentation – that we, as human beings, are most like God when we fall in love. “It definitely encourages me to be open and vulnerable among the people I serve, and learn from and be changed by my encounters with others,” said Aaron, who lives at the post-novitiate formation house in Chicago.

Linh Hoang, OFM, Erick Lopez, OFM, and Paul Williams, OFM – along with Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDDEN, executive director of Pax Christi, USA – facilitated a discussion of the Province’s friars of color as part of an ongoing effort of HNP’s Racial Action Committee. Some of the points of this conversation, which took place in Chicago on Jan. 24, will be incorporated into a proposal  for the 2020 HNP Chapter.

Lalo Jara (left) at Mid-Atlantic Congress. (Photo courtesy of Edgardo)

Edgardo Lalo Jara, OFM, and Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, both stationed in Silver Spring, Maryland, participated in this year’s Mid-Atlantic Congress organized by the Archdiocese of Baltimore. On Feb. 1, Edgardo, along with Kathia Aranga, the director of Hispanic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and Fr. Bruce Lewandowski, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Baltimore, were part of a panel – “Talking About the Ecclesial Movements in the Catholic Church” – led by Hosffman Ospino, professor of theology at Boston College. “This is the second year I was invited to this Religious Congress,” said Lalo. “Last year, I facilitated a workshop on ‘Identity and Spirituality of the Basic Ecclesial Communities.’” Jacek’s workshop, which he presented entirely in Spanish, was titled “A Call to Be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic vis-a-vis the Challenge of Laudato Sí.” Lalo was in New York City last month immersed in his studies for some of the classroom requirements of the Fordham University online doctorate program.

Mike Johnson, OFM, is becoming a familiar face to friars and friends of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, according to OLG’s January 2020 edition of Padres Trail. The Province’s newsletter features an article about Mike, who is serving as General Visitor to the Southwest-based province as it prepares for its chapter. The article that appears on OLG’s website describes his role as a facilitator in the process of discerning new provincial leadership – a visitation that is a normal part of the Franciscan life and takes place each time a Province is scheduled to elect a provincial minister. Over the next few months, Mike will be carrying out one of his significant responsibilities as General Visitor by meeting with each member of the OLG province.

John O’Connor, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Virginia, celebrated the Franciscan Mission Service’s Jan. 19 re-commissioning Mass in Washington, D.C. – marking the end of the two-week re-entry retreat of recently-returned missioners. John, who has served on the FMS board, said he is pleased to be affiliated with this organization. “FMS does important work and friars should be acknowledged for their lifelong service as missioners,” he says. The re-commissioning Mass included an offertory of gifts that symbolized the gifts that the missioners received while on mission. A reception after the Mass brought together members of the FMS community, including program alumni and staff members. Photos are posted on the Franciscan Mission Service website.

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

  • “St. Francis Builds” ministry trip to Puerto Rico
  • 2020 Provincial Chapter

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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