Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe the 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.

From and About the Administration
It is a season of anticipation and planning for the friars — anticipation, as they commemorate Advent and await Christmas and the birth of Christ, and planning, as they settle into life with their brothers at their newly-configured Contemplative Fraternities in Mission. Last week, the third video of a three-part series about contemplation, fraternity and mission was distributed to HNP friars. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, asked that friars at each CFIM discuss amongst themselves the video’s contents and incorporate their reflections into their friary’s fraternal life in mission plan – which they are required to submit to Michael Harlan, OFM, secretary of the Province, by Feb. 15, 2021. “Our original plan had been to discuss the three themes while gathered together at Chapter 2020,” said Kevin. “While the COVID-19 pandemic precluded the possibility of our being together at Siena College or regionally, the Provincial Council decided to create these videos for viewing in the local fraternaties while the newly-formed CFIMs were organizing themselves and writing their new FLM. This unites us with the now familiar Catholic Action method of ‘See, Judge and Act,’ as well as with the more recent Franciscan take on this methodology utilized at the Nairobi Plenary Council of the Order – ‘Listening, Discerning and Going Forth.’” Kevin’s Dec. 8 letter to the friar community provided reflection questions for house chapter discussion on two important themes of Franciscan life –mission and ministry.
As the United States moves into its 10th month of managing the coronavirus pandemic, the staff members of the Provincial Office, and many of the ministry sites, continue to work remotely.

► The Dec. 6 feast of St. Nicholas was commemorated at several ministry sites, among them St. Francis International School in Silver Spring, Maryland, and St. Peter Claver School in Macon, Georgia – where friars left candy in the shoes of students, symbolic of the third-century saint who is said to have left small gifts and sweets for children in the boots they left outside their door overnight. Casey Cole, OFM, who serves in ministry at St. Peter Claver, was pictured in a Facebook post participating in the feast day activity.

► A new book about St. Bonaventure – published by the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University – has been dedicated to the late Edward Coughlin, OFM, who served as director of the Institute from 1991 to 1996. Released last month, the book, “St. Bonaventure: Friar, Teacher, Minister, Bishop: Essays in Celebration of the 800th Centennial of the Seraphic Doctor,” is a 720-page volume of articles on the theology, philosophy, and spirituality of St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Italy.

Javier Del Angel De los Santos leading a class at BC. (Photo courtesy of Javier)

► When Javier Del Angel De los Santos, OFM, a native of Tampico, Mexico, arrived in Massachusetts last year to finish his master of divinity degree at Boston College, he never imagined that 12 months later the college would invite him to teach Sacred Scripture courses in Spanish at its Continuing Education Center of the School of Theology and Ministry. Javier, who already has a master of arts in theology with a concentration on Sacred Scripture, also has a set of firsts in his curriculum. He was the first Holy Name Province friar teaching Bible courses at the Institute of Pastoral Studies of Loyola University Chicago. Now he is the first Mexican HNP friar teaching Scripture at Boston College. This semester, Javier is teaching “Introduction to the Synoptics.” Several courses offered by the Continuing Education Center at BC’s School of Theology and Ministry are almost completely asynchronous online with some live sessions on Zoom for Q & A with the students. “One of the advantages of these types of courses,” said Javier, “is that we have the opportunity to reach hundreds of people worldwide. I have been very lucky to have amazing colleagues and mentors who have been very generous in sharing with me their wisdom and insight during this process,” he added, among them, theologian Felix Palazzi van Buren and world-renowned Scripture scholar Richard Clifford, S.J. Javier also explained that Latinos represent nearly 52% of the Catholic population in the United States – and with that number comes an increasing need for updated and high-quality Biblical formation for people in general as well as lay ministers working as religious education directors, catechists, pastoral care agents, social activists, and permanent deacons. “With all their programs, Boston College contributes to the formation of a new generation of Catholic Latino leaders in the United States,” said Javier, who lives at St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street. “This is the beauty of the Franciscan vocation – that we friars can be present ministering in practically every field or area, trying to contribute in the best of our capacities to build the Kingdom of God along with our brothers and sisters,” added Javier, who professed his final vows in August 2019.

► In a message and video emailed on the day before Thanksgiving, Larry Ford, OFM, director of the Revitalization & Restructuring Office, has issued a request to OFM friars of the United State – asking them to ponder a potential name for the new province that will be formed in the unification of the US-6 provinces. “Our name can come from the roll of saints that tell some of our Church and Franciscan history; it can come from Scripture and Gospel values, [and] it can articulate Franciscan characteristics, virtues, values, or stories. You have a blank sheet of paper and a blue sky with which to begin,” Larry said in his message, which asked friars to send their suggestions by Jan. 10, 2021. To ensure that all suggested names are new, Larry and his colleague in the R&R Office, John Barker, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, provided a list of names that are already in use.

Dominic Monti at the burial of Conrad Harkins. (Photo courtesy of Russel Murray)

► In commemoration of the feast of All Souls of the Seraphic Order, the friars serving at St. Bonaventure University and Mt. Irenaeus laid to rest the mortal remains of their brother Conrad Harkins, OFM, in St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany, New York. They were joined by members of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and friends of Conrad, who died on Aug. 31. Dominic Monti, OFM, presided at the committal service on Nov. 6.

► On Dec. 12, the friars of Mt. Irenaeus broadcast their first Facebook live event – an afternoon of prayer and tree-trimming. Kevin Kriso, OFM, guardian of Holy Peace Friary in Western New York, along with Joe Kotula, OFMLou McCormick, OFM, and Dan Riley, OFM, hosted friends and supporters of The Mountain – both in person and virtually. The “Advent Day on the Mountain” began with a prayer at the chapel – led by Dan and Lou — that was followed by a walk to the House of Prayer where participants created a traditional Christmas wreath and decorated a Christmas tree with ornaments that represented prayers submitted by people.  The event was organized by the Mountain’s Council for Spirit and Life’s “Weekends and More” group that works with Joe on its projects. A video of the gathering can be seen on the Mt. Irenaeus Facebook page.

► Another episode of FriarChef, the entertaining and informative video series from the Province’s Development Office, was released last week. It featured Barry Langley, OFM, who lives at St. Francis Friary in New York City, baking an assortment of Christmas spritz cookies. The video is introduced by Michael Carnevale, OFM, who notes that in addition to his baking talents, Barry is also “a terrific quilter.” The previous episode, posted on Nov. 17, showed Michael and Tom Gallagher, OFM, collaborating on one of their favorite dishes – chicken with shallots and grapes. All of the videos in the FriarChef series, which was launched this fall, can be found on The Franciscans YouTube channel.

Mark Reamer, OFM, reports that the section of St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, New York, used by the friars of Holy Name Province has been restored. According to the November/December 2020 issue of the Albany Diocese Cemeteries Newsletter, the site had deteriorated over recent decades, with many of the markers stained and overgrown with sod. Mark, guardian of St. Bernardine of Siena Friary on the Siena College campus, contacted the cemetery about restoring the lot, which is now “beautiful with its clean markers,” according to the newsletter article, “Franciscan Friars Lot Restoration,” which includes a photo that illustrates the restoration. Since section 40 was purchased in 1973 by the Siena College friary, 32 friars affiliated with the college have been buried there – the first, Stephen Janto, OFM, on April 3, 1975.

Dennis Tamburello, OFM, was featured in a recent email series, “Saints Don’t Sit on the Sidelines,” distributed by Siena College’s development office. The 1975 Siena graduate, who has been part of the Siena community for nearly four decades, said his life changed forever when he transferred into the college as a student in 1973. “Much of who and what I am today, I owe to the Siena community. I have taught a lot, but have also learned a lot. I am grateful for the ways Siena continues to support and challenge me.” The email quoted some of the reflections that Dennis has shared about campus life during the pandemic. “Fr. Dennis says this semester’s challenges surrounding COVID-19 were the biggest ever. He says that everything became more complicated, both in and out of the classroom. But he was amazed and gratified by how well the Siena community met these challenges. It made [him] proud to be a Siena Saint.” According to the Siena website, Saints don’t sit on the Sidelines” means that  “A Siena education isn’t just something you get. It’s something you get to do, that’s why Saints are always in the game.”

► On Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, St. Anthony Shrine presented an online fundraiser in which friars and staff members shared information about the ministries offered at the downtown Boston church. Frank Sevola, OFM, guardian of the Shrine, welcomed viewers to the Tuesday evening event, which was hosted by a former television news anchor and current communications personality Liz Brunner, who introduced a variety of people who spoke about the importance of the Shrine’s work. Among the speakers were Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, actor Ellen Pompeo, and Tom Conway, OFM, executive director of the Shrine. In his observations about the ongoing pandemic, Tom said that “every time there is a crisis, there is an opportunity.” The 44-minute program is available for viewing online. “This fantastic program features performances by two world-renowned cellists, Owen Young and Yo-Yo Ma, as well as a prayer led by Provincial Minister Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, at 37:56,” said staff member Julie Ogden. Several days prior to the event, an update about the Shrine’s reopening was posted on its website.

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

  • Renovation of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey
  • Most popular HNP Today stories of 2020
  • Friars marking anniversaries of religious life in 2021
  • Franciscan pilgrimages

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

Editor’s note: Past HNP Today stories can be found on the News & Events page of the Holy Name Province website.