Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe recent activities of Holy Name Province friars. They highlight their personal projects as well as events at friaries and ministry sites.

For details about any of the information, email the friars, contact the HNP Communications Office, or visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned. To provide news for future articles, send an email to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

From the Administration
The Provincial Councilors focused on a variety of fraternal and ministry topics at their recent meetings – including the discussions by members of local contemplative fraternities-in-mission about the official report by the Province’s general visitor. The Councilors also discussed the Franciscan Leadership Program, the re-opening of the friary in Margate, New Jersey, plans for the 2020 guardians and pastors meeting, and the five Provincial directorates. In addition, they reviewed the current structures and statements of purpose of the directorates and described schedules and goals for the groups.

Casey Cole (l) and Pat Tuttle are beginning a new YouTube channel. (Photo from Facebook)

Casey Cole, OFM, and Patrick Tuttle, OFM, are launching a new YouTube channel called “Upon Friar Review.” Their discussions will focus on topics in the media, according to Casey, who announced the initiative earlier this month. “Our goal is to reach a wider audience – particularly young people – than we normally do through our social media outreach,” said Casey. “In reacting and commenting on pop culture, we hope to attract an audience – which otherwise would not engage people of faith – to think more critically about the world and open them to Christian life.” The videos will be released every Thursday beginning Oct. 15. Content will also be shared on Casey’s blog. Patrick promoted the launch of the video series on his Facebook page, saying, “It should be a good deal of fun and insight. I hope you enjoy it.” Patrick was fully on board when Casey pitched the idea. “Given our age difference, there was a natural dynamic that seemed to work between the ‘new priest’ and the ‘wise priest,’ both of whom are energetic about mission and interested in pop culture,” he said. Casey and Patrick, who both reside at the St. Peter Claver Friary in Macon, Georgia, have known each other for more than 10 years when Casey was a student and Patrick was a chaplain at Furman University.

David Convertino gives a question to viewers from a Franciscan quiz during the online fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of the HNP Development Office)

► On Sept. 28, David Convertino, OFM, the Province’s director of development, hosted an online version of the Night of Stars fundraiser. The popular annual event, first held in 2018, went virtual this year because of COVID safety regulations. But the pandemic didn’t stop the show altogether, as the virtual curtain went up on Sept. 28 to featured performances by Broadway stars Kate Baldwin (of “Hello Dolly!”), Jenn Colella (“Come From Away”), and Norm Lewis (“Porgy and Bess”). A major part of the annual event is a meet-and-greet with the friars to provide supporters with a glimpse into the Province’s outreach work. This year, friars from St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Massachusetts, and St. Francis Inn soup kitchen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – as well as from Siena College near Albany, N.Y. – provided virtual greetings to attendees. David played game-show moderator from his New York City base at the friary on West 31st Street by leading a lighthearted and entertaining quiz with questions about St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscans. The event raised money, says David, “that is vital to helping the friars – through our Franciscan outreach programs – to help people struggling with poverty and mental illness. Contributions to the work and lives of the friars can be made to FriarWorks, while donations to help people affected by the pandemic can be made through the Franciscan Relief Fund. The Development Office staff is hoping to host an in-person Night of Stars event sometime in spring 2021. The virtual Night of Stars can be viewed online.

St. Anthony Shrine is renovating its women’s clinic. (Photo courtesy of Jim McIntosh)

Tom Conway, OFM, executive director of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, was joined by Paul Bourque, OFM, Tony LoGalbo, OFM, and Frank Sevola, OFM, in breaking ground last month on a renovation project for the women’s clinic sponsored by the Shrine. The facility opened its doors in 2016 to address the complex health care needs of homeless women in downtown Boston. New additions to the facility will include a private waiting area, two wellness rooms, a consultation room, storage space, and a handicap-accessible bathroom with a shower – all of which is designed to meet the growing needs of a population increasingly dependent on the clinic. An article about the renovation was published in the Sept. 21 edition of the Boston Herald, which contained photos of Frank holding a sledgehammer, the exterior of the Shrine on Arch Street, and pre-pandemic scenes at the Shrine.

► On Sept. 22, the friars at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Santa Barbara, California, received copies of the Franciscan Rule in a formal ceremony which was held at Serra Retreat in Malibu. The novices expressed gratitude for prayers on their Facebook page. Five are members of Holy Name Province: Daniel Cruz, OFM, Tyler Grudi, OFM, Kevin Hamzik, OFM, Jimmy Kernan, OFM, and Chukwuma Raphael Oadkike, OFM. This month, the novices expect to receive their Franciscan habits in the traditional rite of investiture. Two months earlier – on July 15, the feast of St. Bonaventure – the interprovincial novitiate welcomed 10 men into the program.

The exterior of St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of Jim McIntosh)

► Four young people are participating this year as Franciscan Volunteer Ministers – all assigned at St. Francis Inn soup kitchen in Philadelphia, where they report to site supervisor Michael Duffy, OFM. News about the program can be found on the FVM website and Facebook page.

Larry Ford, OFM (Photo from HNP archives)

Larry Ford, OFM, is now working full-time as director of the Revitalization and Restructuring Office of the US-6 provinces. The appointment was made shortly after he completed his term last month as pastor of Holy Name of Jesus-St. Gregory the Great Parish in New York City. Larry, who was also elected this summer to HNP’s Provincial Council, will be working with R&R associate director John Barker, OFM, a member of St. John the Baptist Province. Both friars will be working closely with a consulting firm, as well as with the provincials of the six provinces, in organizing the many aspects of the unification process.

Daniel Horan, OFM, was part of the National Catholic Reporter’s coverage of the new papal encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” that was signed by Pope Francis in Assisi, Italy, on Oct. 3, the day before the feast of St. Francis. Dan participated in an online discussion about the document – in which the pope speaks on human fraternity and the economic responsibilities that stem from humankind’s interconnectedness – with NCR’s Vatican correspondent Joshua McElwee and opinion editor Olga Segura. He also wrote an article on three key Franciscan themes in the new encyclical. Dan, the Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, has written columns for NCR for many years.

David McBriar, OFM (Photo from HNP archives)

► A series of reflections by David McBriar, OFM, of New York City, has been posted on the Province’s development office’s  Friarworks website. Over the last few months, David has written about a range of topics, including “A Threat to the Roman Catholic Church Today,” “Distance in the Time of COVID-19,” “Junipero Serra” (the Spanish Franciscan missionary who was made a saint in 2015), and “Racism in the Catholic Church.” David’s blog series was launched by the Development Office a few months into the pandemic to share a friar’s perspective during this time of uncertainty and unrest. David was asked to write the blog, whose topics are driven by current events, because he has much to share and has written beautiful reflection pieces in the past, according to the director of development David Convertino, OFM. The reflections can be found on the Friarworks website and on the FriarWorks Facebook page.

Jim McIntosh, OFM, was among the group of friars and lay people who participated in the annual meeting of English-speaking Conference communicators. Held this year via Zoom on Sept. 23, he and 12 others discussed how the pandemic has affected their work and how they could enhance their collaboration. Also participating from Holy Name Province were Maria Hayes, director of marketing, and Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications, who has chaired the committee since 2013. Jim, who lives in Butler, New Jersey, is the webmaster for the website.

John O’Connor (Photo from HNP Provincial Archives)

John O’Connor, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Virginia, has been asked by Prince William County government officials to serve on the Community Needs Task Force Committee to help improve relations between county government and residents. The government officials who reached out to John told him, “Your leadership and understanding of the needs of the most vulnerable population will be the excellence needed to help strategize with forward-thinking.” John was also contacted recently by the Virginia Catholic Conference to work with several other Church leaders to further develop positive dialogue and collaborative efforts between the Catholic communities of Virginia and the state’s legislative bodies, including the Assembly and Senate.

► Several friars around the Province have been formally commissioned recently into new roles. In Western New York, Xavier Seubert, OFM, officially became guardian of St. Bonaventure University Friary in a Sept. 17 ceremony on the feast of the Stigmata. David Blake, OFM, guardian for the past three years, handed the reins to Xavier, who had previously held the position from 2005 to 2011. Dominic Monti, OFM, who served as vicar for David, will continue in that same role under Xavier.

Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, has authored a new book, “Listen to Him – A Sunday Contemplative Encounter with the Word of God.” The book can be found online at, whose motto is “Keeping the Franciscan spirit alive through publishing.” This is Kevin’s second book, which he says is “an invitation” to a Sunday contemplative encounter with the Word of God. “It is a meeting with Jesus on his terms as He reaches out to you,” said Kevin, who has also published roughly 20 articles and many translations of Latin Church documents. Kevin, who lives at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Florida, marked his 50th anniversary as a friar in 2016.

Topics planned for upcoming issues of the HNP Today newsletter include:

  • St. Francis Springs Prayer Center updates
  • Renovation of St. Anthony of Padua Friary in Butler, New Jersey
  • Franciscan pilgrimages

The next newsletter issue is scheduled for distribution in mid-November.

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas