Javier Del Angel De los Santos, Juan de la Cruz Turcios, and Jay Woods have been scheduled for ordination in May and June of this year. (Photos from the Provincial archives)

Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe some recent activities of Holy Name Province members. They highlight the friars’ personal projects as well as events at friaries and ministry sites, including a book release, an online class, social justice projects, an annual newsletter, and construction of a new space for a food pantry.

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.

About the Administration
The recent meetings of the Provincial Council, held on Feb. 24 and March 10, covered a wide range of topics. The Councilors discussed COVID-19 travel guidelines, fraternal life plans of HNP fraternities, potential visits to friaries by the Provincial Minister, approval of graduate studies for two friars, reports from committees and directorates, and updates on Revitalization and Restructuring meetings. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, is helping to draft a letter to the 10 bishops who signed the “God Is on Your Side” statement supporting the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s work against bullying of LGBT youth.

► The dates of the presbyteral ordinations of Jay Woods, OFM, Javier Del Angel De los Santos, OFM, and Juan de la Cruz Turcios, OFM have been announced. Javier and Juan are scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood on May 29 at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland, while Jay’s ordination Mass is planned for June 12 at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Connecticut.

Jim Sabak. (Photo from the provincial archives)

► A book by James Sabak, OFM, titled “‘Vigilemus et Oremus’: The Theological Significance of ‘Keeping Vigil’ in Rome from the Fourth to the Eighth Centuries” is scheduled for release in April. It is the first book authored by Jim, who lives at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he serves as director of worship for the Diocese of Raleigh. In his book, Jim examines the nature of Roman vigil liturgies in the early centuries of Christianity to unravel the most primitive structure of keeping vigil and to promote a better understanding of the Paschal Vigil. A member of Societas Liturgica and the North American Academy of Liturgy, and chair of the American Franciscan Liturgical Commission, Jim has written for Worship, Studia Liturgica, and Horizons, and regularly contributes to the PrayTell Blog. Additional information about the more than 400-page book can be found online.

► Recent news of the state legislature of Virginia voting to ban capital punishment struck a chord with John O’Connor, OFM, and longtime parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, where he serves as pastor. In the early 2000s, St. Francis Parish, as part of its justice and peace advocacy ministry, launched a public campaign to advocate for an end to capital punishment in the state of Virginia. “One of the largest daily newspapers in northern Virginia wrote a major editorial applauding and supporting the efforts of this campaign,” said John, who at the time was serving in his first assignment as pastor of the parish from 1991 to 2005. “It is with a great sense of celebration that 20 years later parishioners now see their efforts come to fruition. Their campaign included circulating a petition and making cards available after Masses that parishioners could sign and send to their state legislators encouraging them to vote to end capital punishment,” added John, who marked 50 years as a Franciscan friar in 2018.

Russel Murray, OFM, is recommending to friars and partners-in-ministry a virtual seminar, “Living Green Mission,” about the Church’s evangelizing mission. Offered in four languages, the May 3 to 7 seminar features speakers from Belgium, Fiji, Ireland, Italy, and the Philippines.  The registration deadline is April 17. When he was stationed in Rome, Russel established a relationship between the Order’s Secretariat for Missions and Evangelization and SEDOS, a forum open to all Roman Catholic Institutes of Consecrated Life that commit themselves to a deeper understanding of global mission. “Every year, SEDOS offers a fabulous seminar on an important topic related to the Church’s evangelizing mission. The upcoming seminar would be very enriching for HNP friars, who can participate from wherever they are since it is being offered virtually,” said Russel, vice president for mission integration at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York.

► On Presidents Day, Feb. 15, three former presidents of Siena College – Hugh Hines, OFM, Kevin Mackin, OFM, and Kevin Mullen, OFM – joined Dr. Chris Gibson, president of Siena since July 2020, in a virtual conversation with alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. Some of the alumni stayed on long after the hour program was over to thank each of the friars for their service as Siena president and the influence they had on their lives. The trio of past presidents joined senior “Saints” to talk about the history of the presidency at Siena, as well as their own experiences – from their biggest accomplishment to what they miss most about Siena, according to Mike Utzig, senior associate director of Siena’s annual fund. “During a lightning round of questions about their favorite foods, movies, and books, Fathers Hugh and Kevin Mullen went with ‘The Godfather,’ while Kevin Mackin chose ‘Titanic,’” said Utzig. During the conversation, each friar paid respect to past presidents Edmund Christy, OFM, Brian Duffy, OFM, and Matt Conlin, OFM.

(Image courtesy of Julian Jagudilla)

Julian Jagudilla, OFM, founder of the Migrant Center of New York, participated in several recent events to stand in solidarity with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.  On Feb. 27, he was at the “Rally to Rise up Against Hate” in Foley Square in lower Manhattan and, on March 6, he participated in “Stand Up Against Asian Hate,” a demonstration held in the borough of Queens. Julian was quoted in an article in the Asian Journal about the attack in February on Noel Quintana, a volunteer at the Migrant Center. A Zoom discussion on the issue is being planned for April 6, according to Julian, who said, “It will help us try to make sense of what has been going on.” Information about the Zoom meeting will be provided on the Facebook page of the Migrant Center.

► Earlier this month, Daniel Horan, OFM, assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, presented a lecture, “Seeking Hope in a Time of Fear,” as part of the Faith and Culture in Conversation Speaker Series of Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. On March 17 at 8 p.m. EDT, Dan is delivering this year’s Margaret Brennan Institute lecture, “What Would Merton Tweet? Finding Spiritual Intimacy in a Socially Distant World,” sponsored by the IHM Sisters. The institute was founded in the name of Sr. Margaret Brennan who was often called a “prophetic leader among Catholic women religious and prophetic theologian.” Dan’s lecture will be live-streamed for free. Registration information can be found online or on Dan’s Facebook page.

Patrick Fereday painting the new food pantry in Butler. (Photo courtesy of Paul Chelus)

Patrick Fereday, OFM, is creating a new space for the food pantry at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Butler, New Jersey. The ministry, currently based at the parish office, will be moved to the former St. Anthony of Padua School building, which is no longer in use. Patrick, director of maintenance for the parish and the Province retirement house – St. Anthony Friary – next door, is converting two adjacent rooms on the first floor of the school into the food pantry. He constructed a rectangular opening on the wall connecting the rooms and installed a countertop into the wall that will serve as the distribution point for volunteers and recipients. The new pantry should be open in April. Patrick, who commemorated his 25th anniversary as a Franciscan in 2016, said that he and his team are planning to convert the former school building into a community center.

► Like most friars, Kevin Cronin, OFM, who has lived at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey, since 2008, is acclimating to a different kind of Lenten season during the pandemic. But unlike most friars, it is the first Lenten season in nearly three decades that Kevin is not on the road providing parish missions – which is an enormous change for someone who has spent more than half his friar life giving missions and retreats across the country as a member of the Franciscan Ministry of the Word. “It is the first time in 27 years that I haven’t preached at four to six Masses every weekend kicking off missions – usually five consecutively that each run from Saturday to Wednesday and include preaching at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. daily,” said Kevin. “It is a huge change from the hectic routine of packing, unpacking, and sleeping in a different bed each week, and to be ‘on deck’ 24/7.” While he misses the passion of mission preaching, he says he “kind of enjoys doing Lent a bit differently.” In January, Kevin had to isolate at the Butler friary while recovering from COVID-19, which he believes he contracted while helping at a parish the month before. “Thank God, it was a mild case. The friars took great care of me,” said Kevin, who is not completely sedentary for Lent. He has been ministering since Feb. 7 at three parishes on Long Island and will continue through April 11, Divine Mercy Sunday. “It’s always great to help brother priests who deserve winter breaks, and to be in parishes where people have gotten to know me,” said Kevin.

The front page of the recently-produced Bethany Ministries newsletter. (Graphic courtesy of Bethany Ministries)

Peter Chepaitis, OFM, and Sr. Anna Tantsits, IHM, have published their annual Bethany Ministries newsletter. Called “The Story of 2020,” it describes the shift in their ministerial and personal lives after the novel coronavirus broke out. The newsletter highlights their “Neighbors Eating Together” dinners, monthly meetings with local pastors, health challenges, participation in a Black Lives Matter vigil, the celebration of the feast of St. Francis, and new ways to preach and connect. “The hidden gift of 2020 was a deeper trust in God, even as we saw how fragile both society and Church institutions were and felt the limits of our aging and the lessening of our energy,” they wrote in their newsletter message. “Our prayer, personally and with others, has become more important, even essential. As our external ministry decreased, we have been financially supported by generous donations and bequests.” Peter, a resident of Middleburgh, New York, who co-founded Bethany Ministries in 1995 with Sr. Anna, said the newsletter is a little late due to pandemic-related delays. It and past newsletters are available on the Bethany Ministries website under Resources/Newsletters.

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

  • Expansion of St. Anthony Shrine’s Women’s Medical Clinic
  • Addition to the friary in Butler, New Jersey
  • Profile of silver jubilarian Steven Patti, OFM
  • A tribute to Michael Blastic, OFM

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