Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars and feature celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, contact the friars by phone or email, connect with the HNP Communications Office, or visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned.

To provide news briefs for future articles, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

From the Administration
Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, and Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, returned last weekend from Ireland where they participated in the spring meeting of the English-speaking Conference. Details about the discussions are available in a story in the Franciscan World section of this newsletter issue. Next week, they will be participating in the April Provincial Council meeting in New York City.

Upon learning that the general ministers of the four main branches of the Franciscans asked Pope Francis to allow their communities to elect brothers to positions of leadership, Kevin said the following: “This is a significant matter for all friars, and I am very happy to read that this recommendation is being advanced. Its importance is heightened by the fact that at two recent chapters – our Province’s in 2014 and the Order’s in 2015 – this issue was discussed.” An article on describes the April 10 meeting held by the pope with General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, and the general ministers of the Capuchin, Conventual and TOR Franciscans.

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, reminds friars to return by April 14, their ballots nominating friars to the office of Provincial Council. He also encourages friars to sign up to attend the “Living ‘Laudato Si’” retreat, being held this summer in San Juan Bautista, Calif., and asks them to review this updated flyer.

The Provincial Office will be closed for the Easter holiday on Friday, April 14 and Monday, April 18. The Provincial Administration wishes friars and partners-in-ministry a blessed Easter.

► John Aherne, OFM, Aaron Richardson, OFM, and Juan Turcios, OFM, were among the friars from the Blessed Giles and St. Joseph communities in Chicago who attended “Priesthood in Religious Life Today: Searching for New Ways Forward,” a conference sponsored by the Center for The Study of Consecrated Life at the Catholic Theological Union at Chicago. The April 6 to 7 event featured a host of keynote speakers, including Cardinals Joseph Tobin, CSsR, of Newark, N.J., and Blase Cupich of Chicago, as well as several workshop presentations, including Daniel Horan, OFM, who gave a talk titled “The Spirituality of Priesthood in Religious Life.” More than 225 religious men and women from a host of communities attended the event, said John, who provided a photo showing some of the friars who attended.

► Two friars stationed at Siena College were elected last month as officers of the board of the American Academy of Franciscan History. At the spring meeting, held at San Luis Rey, Calif., Brian Belanger, OFM, was elected vice president, and Daniel Dwyer, OFM, president.

► Thomas Cole, OFM, led a meeting of the provincial archivists last month. Five of the seven archivists from the U.S. OFM provinces participated in a Conference on Religious Order Archives, meeting at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., from March 28 to 31, said Tom who has served as the Province’s archivist since 2014. “We spent one day at Catholic University of America for a conference on The Fate of Religious Order Archives” Tom said. “The following day was spent in presenting the state of our own archives to each other and sharing our common challenges and hopes as archivists. A major focus of our time together was the preparation of a report for the Provincials on how we might move together, as archivists, in the Reconfiguration process.”

► The postulants returned recently from the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis., where they participated in the 2017 Interprovincial Postulancy Workshop. Photos were posted on April 8 on the HNP Postulants Facebook page. Last month, the postulants participated in workshops given by Daniel Grigassy, OFM, and Dominic Monti, OFM, at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md.

► The simply professed friars living at St. Joseph Friary in Chicago renewed their vows during morning Mass on April 12. The friars renewing their vows were Javier Del Angel De Los Santos, OFM, Wilmer Abel Garcia, OFM, Abraham Joseph, OFM, Aaron Richardson, OFM, Roberto Serrano, OFM, Angel Vasquez, OFM, and Jay Woods, OFM, of Holy Name Province, and Brothers John Boissy, OFM, and Eric Seguin, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province. Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province presided and received their vows, and Fr. Leslie Hoppe, OFM, and John Ullrich, OFM, were witnesses at our profession. The simply professed friars asked other friars and partners-in-ministry to “please keep us in your prayers during the coming year, that God will continue to guide us in following Christ, in the footsteps of St. Francis.” Photos were included on the post-novitiate’s Facebook page.

► An article about Daniel Horan, OFM, appears in the April 2017 issue of St. Anthony Messenger in the magazine’s “Followers of St. Francis” series. Titled “Running the Good Race,” it describes Dan’s Franciscan journey and how his passion for his hobbies eventually became part of his ministry. “Writing is something that just sort of happened to me, rather than something I set out to do,” said Dan, who has written numerous articles and books. “I have never felt drawn to writing for writing’s sake, nor am I interested in writing fiction. Writing has always been an expression of where faith and life meet for me, and I’m grateful to be able to share that with others.” On Good Friday, Dan, an assistant professor of systematic theology at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, will be speaking at St. James Cathedral in Seattle, Wash. Information about this event and others can be found on the Daniel P. Horan Facebook page.

► On June 10, the late Mychal Judge, OFM, will be inducted into the Irish American Hall of Fame at a ceremony taking place in Chicago. “More than 400 nominations were submitted from July through September 2016 from individuals all over the world,” according to a story posted on the English-speaking Conference website. Mychal lost his life serving as chaplain to the Fire Department of New York on Sept 11, 2001.

► Last week, three HNP friars attended a three-day meeting in Chicago of friars from six U.S. provinces to discuss “Ite Nuntiate: Guidelines for the New Forms of Life And Mission in the Order,” which can be downloaded from the General Curia’s website. They were Joseph Kotula, OFM, and Daniel Riley, OFM, of Mt. Irenaeus in Western New York, and Jim McIntosh, OFM, of Philadelphia.

► Francis Pompei, OFM, of Buffalo, N.Y., visited Butler, N.J., last weekend to meet with members of the Franciscan Mystery Players of Morris County, N.J., which performed its Mystery Play at St. Anthony of Padua Church on Palm Sunday. “Francis met with the 16 teens and nine adult advisors who make up this group,” said Rich Wisneski, a leader of the group who last year wrote a story for HNP Today titled “New Jersey Mystery Players Present 300th Lenten Program.” “Fr. Francis also spent time with the current and past adult advisors who have helped to keep this ministry on the road for the last 30 years,” said Rich. “He started the Morris County group 29 years earlier and they have performed 310 times since then. During that time, 150 teens have participated in this ministry. The Morris County group is one of 10 that have been started by Francis over the years, many of which are still active.” More information about the Mystery Players can be found at A photo taken by Jeff Pikor shows Francis with some of the teen members of the Franciscan Mystery Players of Morris County, N.J., at their performance at St. Anthony of Padua Church.

► Joseph Rozansky, OFM, the Province’s director of post-novitiate formation, reports that Christian Seno, OFM, has been chosen by the Pastoral Counseling Department faculty of Loyola University in Baltimore, Md., to receive the annual Jack Compton Award. “This award is given to a master’s program student each year who displays evidence of pastoral presence and promise as an emerging leader in the field of pastoral care and counseling. The Rev. Dr. Jack Compton, one of the early founders and chair of the Pastoral Counseling Department, was a Lutheran pastor who retained a strong pastoral identity that was integrated into his academic work. His pastoral presence conveyed compassion to all he served, combined with the ability to be direct in speaking to issues of justice,” according to Thomas Rodgerson, director of the M.A. in spiritual and pastoral care program. “Each year, the faculty nominates one M.A. student who meets or exceeds the following criteria, with approval of the entire faculty at one of our faculty meetings,” according to a staff member of the university. Christian, a resident of Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., will receive the award on May 19.

► A United Kingdom-based Lenten program has proven popular at St. Mary’s Parish in New Jersey, according to an article in The Beacon, the newspaper of the Paterson, N.J., Diocese. “People have been loving 40 Acts,” said Frank Sevola, OFM, pastor, in the story titled “Pompton Lakes Parish Faithful Perform Acts of Kindness Every Day During Lent.” “St. Mary’s has been trying to push people from seeing Lent as giving up something to a service mentality. This has been a simple way do to that.”

► James Vacco, OFM, pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany, N.Y., led a parish mission the weekend of March 25 at St. Stephen’s Church in Grand Island, N.Y. On April 6, he was quoted in an article titled “Has Easter Taken a Backseat to Christmas?” that appeared in Western New York Catholic. “No one likes to talk about death, but people like to talk about birth,” suggested Jim, who teaches about religious texts and Catholic Franciscan Heritage at St. Bonaventure University. “No one likes to talk about suffering, but we like to talk about the humor of parents taking care of the infant and staying up all night. The adult story is not that cute or entertaining. So we focus in on the child, but we don’t focus in on the adult.” Jim views Easter as being the more important of the two holy days in the Catholic faith. “If it wasn’t for Easter, there wouldn’t be Christmas,” he said, admitting that it sounds like a very odd statement. “When we think of someone who’s famous, if we were to tell their life story or tell something about them, we would start, ‘They were born in wherever and they were raised in wherever. Then they became king, president, whatever it might be.’ But for the Christian community, those infancy narratives were an afterthought, because their experience of Jesus was risen from the dead. If it wasn’t for that experience of Jesus risen from the dead, there wouldn’t be a Christianity.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by April 19 – always the Wednesday before publication. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future coverage in HNP Today include:

  • The experiences of two friars serving as general visitors
  • National Religious Brothers Day
  • Profiles of Russell Becker, OFM, William McConville, OFM, and other friars marking anniversaries of profession

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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