Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe the recent activities of Holy Name Province members. They highlight the friars’ 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 communications@studio91.wpengine.com.

From and About the Administration
The Provincial Council held its first meeting of 2021 on Jan. 13. The main topics of discussion were the recent virtual meetings of the English-speaking Conference and the leaders of the Revitalization and Restructuring Process; recommendations for the lay members of the Province’s directorates and committees, and the development of a Franciscan leadership program.
The Provincial Office is in the process of producing two annual resources — the Memorial Days of Deceased Friars booklet and the 2021 HNP Directory. Both will be mailed to friars within the next couple of weeks.

Dominic Monti and Xavier Seubert celebrated 50 years of ordination. (Photo by Kyle Haden, OFM)

► This month, nine friars marked their 50th anniversary since their priestly ordination on Jan. 9, 1971. Some commemorated this milestone with a special Mass. At St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, Xavier Seubert, OFM, and Dominic Monti, OFM, celebrated the occasion with a Mass on Jan. 9, while in the Bronx, Christopher Keenan, OFM, marked the occasion with a Mass on Jan. 8. In Boston, Brian Cullinane, OFM, celebrated a special Mass for the friars at St. Anthony Shrine on Jan. 13. The other friars in this ordination class are James Patrick Kelly, OFM, Richard Mucowski, OFM, Jim Nero, OFM, Andrew Reitz, OFM, and Patrick Sieber, OFM.

Roberto Tito Serrano, OFM, celebrated his first Mass at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, on Jan. 5 after having been ordained a priest a month before, on Dec. 5. A video of the Mass was posted on the Facebook page of Siena Friars.

► A series of video reflections by Jim Sabak, OFM, has been posted on the Facebook page of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Province provided pastoral and administrative care for 30 years before returning custody to the Diocese of Raleigh last September. The popular video series, originally posted daily on weekdays on the parish web and Facebook pages (the latter with as many as 850 views a day), began last March as a way to keep parishioners engaged in faith when daily Mass and in-person ministries were suspended at the start of the pandemic. Jim, Steve Patti, OFM, and Steve Kluge, OFM – all of whom had been stationed at the parish before the custody transfer – videotaped brief “homilettes” based on daily scripture readings. “Sometimes, the focus would be the Gospel, and other times it would be the first reading or the Psalm,” explained Jim, who now works for the Diocese of Raleigh and continues to live at St. Francis. The reflections, which corresponded with the liturgical calendar and feast days, were filmed from the friary chapel, church, and other campus locations to keep parishioners connected with familiar sights. After the custody transfer, Jim continued posting reflections with permission from new pastor Msgr. Michael Clay, who welcomed the ministry outreach as a way to keep the Franciscan presence alive at St. Francis and maintain the historical connection between HNP and the parish.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, a longtime leader in social justice causes, has recommended sharing a video created by the youth minister of Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, North Carolina. “Marcus Steer has produced a short video as a way to build upon the recent prophetic statement from the US-6 provincials in response to the violence and sedition attempt at the Capitol building. The video is clear about its Franciscan perspective, framing it within the larger societal conversation about the Black Lives Matter movement and the events of Jan. 6,” said Jacek. “I hope other parishes and schools will use it as an evangelization tool and a way to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King,” he said.

Joe Nangle (Photo from the provincial archives)

Joe Nangle, OFM, has been writing a weekly column for Pax Christi International since last April – a ministry that came about at the suggestion of Johnny Zokovitch, executive director of Pax Christi-USA, who had been a fan of Joe’s columns in Sojourners magazine many years ago. “Evidently, they thought I still had something to say,” said Joe, admitting that, at first, the thought of producing a weekly column, and the challenge of finding fresh topics to write about, was a bit overwhelming. Now going on nine months, he is well-settled into the role. “I have immensely enjoyed this challenge each week, usually giving it about six hours over three days,” says Joe, whose 700-word column is posted every Thursday on the Pax Christi-USA website. With total discretion on the subject matter, his columns have ranged from religion and faith to secular and political issues. The Washington, D.C., resident has written several columns about the leadership of Pope Francis during the coronavirus pandemic – most recently, his vision for a post-virus “new normal.” Last September’s articles centered on the Season of Creation, the new liturgical time that will be observed every year. Based on the feedback from Pax Christi officials, his columns are well-read – including his Jan. 9 entry, “This new year, let us take our cue from Jesus’s injunction: Let the Children Come to Me.” Many of his columns can also be found on the Facebook page of Pax Christi International, the Brussels-based Catholic peace movement with 120 member-organizations in more than 50 countries.

The home page of Lalo’s new website.

Edgardo “Lalo” Jara, OFM, has launched a website to serve as a resource to the Hispanic population. Called “Cafeteando Con P. Lalo” – or “Coffee with Fr. Lalo,” the same title as his Facebook page – it went live on Dec. 30. The site includes more than 60 links to Catholic content pages and music of Catholic singers, as well as several sections – among them Pray, Read, Pilgrimage, See, and Let’s Drink Coffee. Lalo, who serves in pastoral ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Virginia, also airs his weekly online faith formation show at 4 p.m. every Wednesday on YouTube. He launched the series last summer while living in Silver Spring, Maryland.

► In recent weeks, several columns by Dan Horan, OFM – the Duns Scotus Chair of Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois – were published online by National Catholic Reporter. Dan has been writing for the publication since January 2019. His most recent NCR columns are titled “The Church Teaches that Purpose of Government is the Common Good. Period.” and “How Biden Can Lead the US Away from World War Fought Piecemeal.” On Feb. 4, Dan is scheduled to present CTU’s annual Duns Scotus Lecture, called “Spirituality in a Wintry Season: The Wisdom of the Franciscan Tradition in the Quest for Meaning Today.”

Dan Dwyer (Photo from HNP archives)

Dan Dwyer, OFM, was featured this month in the Siena College series, “Saints Don’t Sit on the Sidelines.” The post, distributed on Facebook on Jan. 1, described the 1974 Siena graduate as another familiar face on the college campus. “As an associate professor of history to our students, Fr. Dan has taught and mentored countless Saints over the years,” the post said. “Since he came to Siena as a freshman, Fr. Dan has spent most of his adult life living and working on campus. He says what makes it special are the people he has been privileged to know and the sense that Siena really is a large extended family.” The Siena Annual Fund launched the Sidelines series shortly after the pandemic to shine a spotlight on Siena Saints who were making a difference in their communities through their service, careers, and volunteerism. The series evolved from the Siena campus motto, “The World Needs More Saints.” “We wanted to showcase our friars, alumni, students, faculty, and administration doing incredible things to help others. We wanted to amplify their work and show that there are Saints everywhere stepping up to change the world for the better,” said Mike Utzig, senior associate of Siena’s Annual Fund and 2007 graduate. “The response has been overwhelming. The series has reconnected so many to the mission of Siena College and our Franciscan tradition.” The month of December featured friars and drew social media posts from countless alumni and students on the impact they had on their lives. One student even used an emoji of a goat to describe Dennis Tamburello, OFM, as the “greatest of all time.” Utzig said the Sidelines series posts always results in “greatly appreciated” support for the Annual Fund. The series has featured high-profile figures – such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the first Saint to receive an honorary degree from Siena – and current students who are making masks for their local hospitals; alumni volunteering at food banks; amazing friars like Mychal Judge, OFM, the FDNY chaplain who died on 9/11; and a young alumna who wrote an inspirational children’s book about women in the financial industry. The Sidelines series is distributed every Friday morning through email and is posted on the @SienaAnnualFund social media pages.

► The name of Ed Coughlin, OFM – who died in July 2019 from post-heart-surgery complications – will grace the outside of a MacCloskey Square townhouse on the Siena College campus in Loudonville, New York, as part of the gift of the senior class of 2021. Ed served as Siena College president from 2014 until his death on July 30, 2019. The building dedication as the “Br. Ed Coughlin House,” according to a Dec. 4 announcement by the college, pays tribute to Ed’s spirit that continues to inspire all who knew him, and honors the connection he had to the class of ’21. The announcement also said that all contributions made toward the class of ’21 gift will be donated to the Siena COVID Emergency Health and Safety Fund. In addition to Ed’s name, all seniors who donate $100 or more will have their names inscribed on a plaque that will honor the memory of the Siena president.

► After a pause of several months, John Anglin, OFM, has added a post to his blog, “A View from the Window.” In his post, “Life and Death,” John looks back at the past year and ahead to 2021. “Shooting by gun violence seems to be rampant across the country. Just thinking about all this can be overwhelming. In my own Franciscan province, a number of friars have died by this terrible virus and by other causes. Some of them were quite close to me. In addition, three men have died at what most would say is all too young an age, two of them sons of close friends, one of them the son of my cousin. Am I sad? Yes, of course. Fortunately, I am not depressed but there is at times a mood of sadness about me.” John, who marked his 50th anniversary as a friar in 2014, is a member of the HNP Ministry of the Word.

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

  • Renovation of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey
  • Update on the unification process of the US-6 provinces
  • Milestone birthday of Pius Liu, OFM
  • 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.

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