Carlos Wagner renews his vows in Chicago, Ill. (Photo courtesy of ???)

Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas 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 a podcast interview, a video welcoming back parishioners, the announcement of an upcoming book, an appointment as chair of a committee of the Buffalo diocese, a presentation on Christian-Muslim relations, and the renewal of vows by simply-professed friars.

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 met on April 28 via Zoom, as they have done for more than a year. One of the main topics of discussion was the document, “HNP Guidelines for Joining a Friar Community after Fully-COVID-19 Vaccinated.” At the meeting, Council members also discussed, among other topics, the approval for two friars — John Aherne, OFM, and Javier Del Angel De Los Santos, OFM to pursue higher studies, a summary of the spring ESC meeting, and a fossil fuel divestment proposal submitted by the HNP Finance Directorate. The next Council meeting will be held in person at Holy Name College on May 27 and 28.

► Last week, the St. Camillus community in Silver Spring, Maryland, held an intercultural Mass in celebration of the completed renovation of the parish’s shrine to Mary. The garden that surrounds the statue of the Blessed Mother is dedicated to the memory of Christopher Posch, OFM, who was serving as pastor when he died last summer.

► An interview with John O’Connor, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Virginia, was featured in a podcast of the Diocese of Arlington. In the 40-minute conversation, John describes what it means to be Franciscan and what influenced him to become a friar, as well as his many ministerial experiences – from building a skyscraper on West 31st Street in New York City, to his work at St. Bonaventure University.

► Since he stepped down from the interprovincial postulancy team last year, Charles Miller, OFM, has been working part-time at St. Luke Institute in Silver Spring as part of the spirituality and assessment teams. “This fall, Saint Luke plans to transition from a residential program to an intensive day program and move to downtown Silver Spring, leaving the old Washington Theological Union and Trinitarian building on New Hampshire Avenue,” said Charley, who lives in the lively Maryland suburban city just outside of Washington, D.C. “The programs will continue with some adjustments. The Institute has been doing a lot of vocation candidate assessments, as well as its traditional residential recovery programs.”

► As parishes around the country join other communities and organizations in loosening physical distancing rules that have been followed for more than a year during the pandemic, Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Florida, released a video on Facebook last week showing the friars welcoming back their parishioners. While seated in a pew in the church, Michael Jones, OFM, Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, Henry Fulmer, OFM, and Zachary Elliott, OFM, removed their masks to put their smiles on full display, and to express to parishioners how much they’ve missed their presence and how excited they are to have them return to Mass in person.

The cover of Dan’s new book.

Daniel Horan, OFM, announced earlier this month that his latest book will be released this summer. Titled “A White Catholic’s Guide to Racism and Privilege,” it is published by Ave Maria Press. “Taking seriously the persistent calls of women and men of color over the centuries to white folk to do the hard and necessary work of educating themselves, talking to other white folk about the realities the white community too often ignores or dismisses, and confronting the sins of systemic racism and white privilege in our white supremacist society, this book is personal, substantive, and accessible. A labor of love and pain, this book is aimed primarily at my fellow white Catholics but ought to resonate with audiences beyond it,” Dan says of his new book – for which the publisher is working on resources for parish and classroom adoption. The book can be preordered wherever books are sold. Dan recently delivered three lectures: “Beyond Laudato Sí: Embracing the Challenge of Franciscan Eco-Spirituality in the Age of Pope Francis” on April 14 at Gonzaga University; “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Climate Justice: Urgent Explorations of Global Climate Change and the Consistent Ethic of Life” on April 22 at Mercyhurst University, and “Discernment, Vocation, and Formation in the Thought of Pope Francis” on April 28 as a keynote speaker at the Conference of the National Association of Vocation and Formation Directors of Canada. On May 6, Dan, the Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, released the last episode of season 8 of The Francis Effect Podcast.

► On April 16, Daniel Dwyer, OFM, was recognized by the administration of Siena College with the Matthew T. Conlin, OFM, Distinguished Service Award. Dan, a 1974 graduate of Siena, is an associate professor of history at the college, where he has taught since 1995. He holds a master of arts degree in history from the College of St. Rose in Albany, a master of arts degree in theology from the Washington Theological Union in Silver Spring, Maryland, and a Ph.D. in history from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dan, who is a chair of the Academy of American Franciscan History and a member of the Mormon History Association, has written essays that have appeared in the Journal of Mormon History, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and The Provincial Annals. Currently working on a book that details his involvement with Mormon history, Dan’s passion for travel has included accompanying students to Cuba, The Netherlands, Russia, Arizona, and New Mexico. Since professing his first vows in 1983, Dan has served in a variety of ministry roles, including general visitor to the Province of Ireland. Matthew Conlin, OFM, who died in April 2011, was president when Dan began his freshman year at Siena. Information about Dan’s awards, articles, and professional experience can be found on Siena College’s website. Due to COVID, the award presentation ceremony may be delayed until the fall.

Frank Critch, OFM, and John Aherne, OFM, of St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, were pictured in an article in The Bergen Record newspaper about the new use for the building that formerly housed the parish school. This fall, the building will become home to a STEM academy for pre-school children. “We believe it will be a place that makes children and their families feel welcomed and excited about the future,” Frank said in the April 26 article.

► The 40-page spring issue of The Franciscan Store’s brochure – featuring dozens of crosses, medals, friar recipes, notecards, rosary beads, books, and statues of Saints Anthony, Clare, and Francis – was released in April. David Convertino, OFM, HNP executive director of development, and Michael Reyes, OFM, director of The Franciscan Store, encourage those seeking unique religious items and, at the same time, who want to support the work of Holy Name Province, to order online or by phone. “Remember, every purchase you make helps us feed and clothe the poor, as well as provide diapers and formula for mothers and infants in need. When you finish shopping, you have just begun clothing, diapering, and feeding infants, as well as providing food and services to so many who come to us for help each day,” the friars said.

Ross Chamberland, OFM, of St. Bonaventure University, was appointed by Michael William Fisher, the bishop of Buffalo, to chair the Continuing Formation Committee of the Presbyteral Council – of which Xavier Seubert, OFM, also stationed at SBU, is a member. Ross recently completed a graduate certificate in financial success for nonprofits from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Ross also led a recent week-long Zoom conference, “Rebuild My Church: Sacramental Imagination and Priestly Leadership for the 21st Century,” for the presbyterate of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Michael Calabria, OFM, gave an April 29 Zoom presentation titled “The Art of Christian-Muslim Relations.” “One of the obstacles in Christian-Muslim relations today is a persistent narrative of conflict between the two faith communities, one that is intensified by contemporary geopolitics,” said Michael, who is director of the five-year-old Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University. “Historians of art and architecture tell a different story, however – a story in which materials, ideas, and aesthetics flowed freely between Christians and Muslims in Islamic lands, and between Islamic lands and Western Europe,” Michael explained. “Using selected works of art and architecture, this presentation showed the deep and abiding cultural connections between Christians and Muslims through the ages.”

► Last month, around the Province and around the world, simply-professed friars professed their yearly vows. Among them were Jim Bernard, OFM, of Boston, Massachusetts, and Aaron Richardson, OFM, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – who are scheduled to profess their solemn vows this summer – as well as the simply professed friars in Chicago, including Jason Damon, OFM, John Neuffer, OFM, Richard Phillip, OFM, Carlos Wagner, OFM, and Steven Young, OFM.

“A View from the Window,” John Anglin’s blog. (Graphic from the blog)

► After a brief respite from his blog, “A View from the Window,” John Anglin, OFM, published a new entry and said on Facebook that his blog will have a new focus. The recent entry of the St. Petersburg, Florida, resident is titled “Moving Out and Moving Ahead Cautiously.”

► The spring 2021 issue of The Franciscan Anthonian magazine highlights an assortment of HNP friars displaying God’s love at work through their ministries. As part of an article about elder friars, the cover shows a photo of retiree Peter Ahlheim, OFM, a resident of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey, who dedicates time to painting. Another feature article, titled “Witnessing the Plight of the Migrants,” describes the work of Emmet Murphy, OFM, and other friars at the Arizona-Mexico border. An article, “The Amazing Call of God,” features the life and work of Edgardo Jara Araya, OFM. Richard Husted, OFM, wrote an article, “Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick,” in which he describes the powerful experiences of God’s healing power. An article, “Ministering to the Elderly, Sick and Dying,” describes the ministry of Patrick Sieber, OFM, from the beginning of his Franciscan life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to his ministry with the dying. The magazine is published three times a year by St. Anthony’s Guild, the 97-year-old ministry of Holy Name Province. The magazine is not available online.

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

  • Tribute to Michael Blastic, OFM
  • Priestly ordinations on May 29 and June 12
  • Summer assignments of student friars
  • The profession of first vows by the novices scheduled for July 2

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