Holy Name Province members who have been approved for solemn profession this year -- Jim Bernard, Steve Kuehn, Aaron Richardson (Photos from Provincial archives)

Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe recent activities of Holy Name Province friars, highlighting their personal projects as well as events at friaries and ministry sites. Among them is the new citizenship of a friar in Virginia, the approval of three friars for solemn profession, the appointment of two friars as general visitors, and a new book authored by a friar.

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 Provincial Council announced last month that James Bernard, OFM, Stephen Kuehn, OFM, and Aaron Richardson, OFM, have been approved for solemn profession this year. Among the other topics discussed at the March 24 meeting of the Provincial Council were statements of outreach to the LGBTQ community, the “Laudato Si’” Action Platform – a seven-year Vatican initiative– and memorial Masses for four friars whose funeral Masses could not be celebrated during the COVID-19 shutdown last spring.
Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, released an Easter letter to all HNP friars in which he reflected on the significance of the Paschal Mystery in relation to the 1985 song, “The Power of Love,” and the importance of love in today’s world. “The fractures in our world and in our lived experience are deep. Divisions exist everywhere in the political, social, economic, and religious spheres,” Kevin said. “The tragedy of a worldwide pandemic has brought before us terrifying reports of illness, suffering, and death throughout the world. Racial and ethnic hatred directed at African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and newly-arrived immigrants continues to be manifested in speech and in violent actions. Mother Earth and her abundant gifts are abused, forgotten, and disregarded.” He went on to say in the letter, “At times, it appears as if our world is out of control. Something has to change. Healing needs to take place. New life must be born. It is precisely at this moment that ‘the power of love’ can and does take root.”

Julian Davies, OFM, editor of The Provincial Annals, has requested that friars submit descriptions for the next edition on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their ministry and fraternity. “We are looking to publish a historical piece in this year’s Annals about how ministries and friars adapted to the virus,” said Julian, who is stationed at Siena College in Loudonville, New York. “The submissions need not be long, but they should include information about the shutdown, live-streaming efforts, reopening, and special community arrangements.” Julian said that although the deadline is May 1, extensions will be would be granted if anyone needs more time. Submissions should be emailed to Julian.

► On April 5, Edgardo Jara, OFM, became a naturalized citizen of the United States. He was interviewed and took the oath of allegiance at a ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland. “It was a nice way to begin Easter,” said Lalo, a native of Costa Rica. “Unfortunately, with Covid-19 restrictions, I couldn’t have an official picture.” Lalo, who is stationed at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in northern Virginia, entered religious life in 2010 and professed his first vows as a Franciscan friar in 2013.

Abraham Joseph with Sr. Jean Schmidt, BVM,  in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Abraham)

Abraham Joseph, OFM, is working toward graduating this spring from Loyola University Chicago, where he is completing his masters in social work with a focus on leadership and development of social services and migration studies. During his time at the university, he had the opportunity to meet Sr. Jean Schmidt, BVM, chaplain for the Loyola Ramblers, the men’s basketball team. In summer 2019, Abraham participated in multiple celebrations of Sr. Jean’s 100th birthday. The nun became a media sensation during the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament when the underdog Ramblers advanced to the Final Four. It was then that the sports world declared Sr. Jean as the Loyola superfan who was bringing her beloved team divine intervention.

► Earlier this month, a bench used by Mychal Judge, OFM – the FDNY chaplain killed in the line of duty in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center – was presented to the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum. The bench formerly belonged to Judge’s twin sister, the late Dympna Jessich, and spent the last five years at an Episcopal monastery in Rising Sun, Maryland, according to Sister Teresa Irene, a Carmelite nun there.

► Information about electronic evangelization and the installation of solar panels on the property, along with a Holy Week message, were part of the April 2021 issue of the Mt. Irenaeus e-newsletter. In “Making All Things New,” Kevin Kriso, OFM, guardian of Holy Peace Friary at Mt. Irenaeus, described how the Mountain community expanded its use of digital communication during the last year. “Now Zoom and Facebook Live have allowed us to reach, in real-time, people who cannot be physically present – and we have even moved beyond that,” Kevin said. “A wonderful group of talented and committed people has jumped on board with us to actively pursue new, creative ways to participate in and shape our ministry,” he added. Dan Riley, OFM, president/animator of the Mountain, offered a Holy Week Reflection in the newsletter (above). The spring 2021 issue of the print version of the Mt. Irenaeus newsletter, which was released this month, is dedicated to two strong supporters of the Mountain community who died this year – Raymond Dee and Dennis DePerro.

► On March 23, Immaculate Conception Parish and several other faith organizations in Durham, North Carolina, collaborated with the local health department to offer a vaccination day at Peace Missionary Baptist Church. Approximately 500 COVID-19 vaccinations were provided for the congregations and networks of the participating churches, all of which serve primarily Black and Latino communities. Hugh Macsherry, OFM, one of the volunteers who welcomed those who came for the vaccination, said, “Although Immaculate Conception is not named individually, we are part of the NCCLO (North Carolina Congress of Latino Organizations) community organizing network in North Carolina, which is mentioned in the article.” A photo was posted on the Durham Health Department Facebook page.

John O’Connor, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Virginia, is featured in an article, “A Renaissance Friar,” in the April 2021 issue of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. The article describes John’s diverse life as a friar – spanning 53 years in administration, parish ministry, work at St. Bonaventure University, service as a fire chaplain, and his parish ministry which he describes as most satisfying. “It is being there for people at the best of times, at the most difficult of times, and all kinds of times in between – but especially to be there with them at the most difficult,” John said in the article, which describes special projects and roles that have included his service as the Province’s director of real estate – supervising the construction of the 63-story building in New York City – and as the provincial minister and executive assistant to the OFM Minister General for financial development. St. Anthony Messenger is published by Franciscan Media – which is affiliated with St. John the Baptist Province.

A flyer describing books  written by Fran Pompei. (Graphic provided by Fran)

Francis Pompei, OFM, has written a new book that he says “will spiritually and practically help believers and non-believers, from the young to seniors, find answers to most of the questions that plague them.” This fourth in a series of books – titled “The ‘Roman’ Catholic Church Cult Vs. Spirit-led Catholicism” — can be purchased through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. “They are all based on what Jesus taught, said, and did; they give specific answers, what to do and how to do it. The reader will have an opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit and Jesus guiding and speaking to you from beginning to end,” said Francis, who lives in Syracuse, New York. In 2019, he released a book titled “The Most Important Book You Will Ever Read.”

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

  • Franciscan Pilgrimages planned for 2022
  • Book by James Sabak, OFM

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