Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars, featuring their 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 Provincial Administration
A report on the Provincial Council’s July meeting was distributed to friars on July 30. It included updates on discussions about the potential Macon, Ga., ministry, staffing of the University of Georgia’s Catholic Center, and meetings and proposals regarding the reconfiguration of the U.S. provinces. Also emailed to friars by the Provincial Administration was information about how to assist in living out the Franciscan commitment to peace by supporting the recent Iran nuclear agreement. Questions can be directed to Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, and the HNP Communications Office, at 646-473-0265.

► A new book by John Anglin, OFM, is close to publication. Last week, John — a member of HNP’s Ministry of the Word — said on his Facebook page, “The Wandering Friar,” “I sent final edits of my next book to the publisher. Stay tuned for the release date of Following Jesus in the Footsteps of Francis.”

► Last month, Michael Calabria, OFM, director of St. Bonaventure University’s Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, attended a conference titled “The World of St. Francis of Assisi,” in Siena, Italy. SUNY Geneseo, Meredith College, and the University of Portland sponsored this event. At the July 16 to 20 conference, Michael presented a paper titled “Seeing Stars: Islamic Decorative Motifs in the Basilica of St. Francis.” Highlights of the conference, he said, included a plenary lecture by Fr. Michael Cusato, OFM, distinguished professor of Franciscan history at SBU, titled “The Franciscan Fascination with the Future,” and a tour of Franciscan Siena led by Dr. William Cook, distinguished professor of history at SUNY Geneseo.

► David Convertino, OFM, returned on July 25 from a 10-day trip to East Asia with General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM. They visited Franciscan communities in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and spent time with HNP’s Pius Liu, OFM. Photos and videos can be found on The Office of Development’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. As the journey concluded, David wrote, “From the smiling faces of the Poor Clares in Hong Kong to the beautiful chanting of the brothers in Taipei, this has truly been an enlightening experience. We are truly blessed to witness the spirit of St. Francis alive around the world.”

► Thomas Gallagher, OFM, spoke twice last week about the friars’ 25th anniversary at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish, Hartford, Conn., where he is pastor. He presented a twilight retreat on July 27 and the following day spoke at the Summer Nourishment program, a series of talks and lunch after the 12:05 p.m. Mass. The Hartford parish is one of four ministries where Franciscans began serving in 1990. The others are Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New York City, the Franciscan Center in Greensboro, N.C., and St. Paul Parish in Wilmington, Del.

► Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, is leaving this week for California to attend the Order’s interprovincial brothers convocation. He and other HNP friars will be participating in the Aug. 10 to 15 meeting that will involve roughly 70 friars.

► Gerald Hopeck, OFM, spent July in Italy participating in a retreat as preparation for his solemn profession. He was with two OFM friars from Santa Barbara, one from Sacred Heart, two from Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, two from Papua Guinea, and one from England, as well as six Conventual friars. The retreat took place in four locations in Italy — Rome, Greccio, Assisi and La Verna. On Aug. 22, Gerald will profess his final vows as a Franciscan.

► Daniel Horan, OFM, of Boston, is going to the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Assembly in Charlotte, N.C., as one of the speakers and from there, will travel to Houston to speak to the deacons of the archdiocese. “The Franciscan charism of itinerancy in action for sure,” he remarked recently on his Facebook page.

► Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, and Jud Weiksnar, OFM, blessed bicycles at Saturday’s Flying Bison Lawn Fete for St. Patrick’s Food Pantry, part of the Franciscan Ministries of Buffalo. It was a very successful fundraiser, said Jud, guardian of St. Patrick’s Friary. He was impressed “that from the time the doors opened at 2 p.m. until they closed at 7 p.m., there was a constant flow of people through the Flying Bison Brewery. Nineteen baskets and prizes were bid on in a silent auction. A local ensemble composed of musicians who have played with jazz greats entertained the crowd with three sets of classic jazz tunes.” Greg and Jud did a Blessing of Bicycles between sets, as many of the attendees were members of Slow Roll Buffalo, a bicycling phenomenon that recently was featured as the cover photo of The New York Times online edition. “Many of the attendees came just for Flying Bison beer, but got caught up in the fun of the lawn fete and stayed to listen to the music, take chances in the 50/50 or silent auction, and learn about the food pantry,” said Jud. “While it’s not confirmed yet, there may also be a fundraiser for Franciscan Ministries of Buffalo in September — Sausagefest at Larkinville which would not be the wurst thing that ever happened.” Photos of Saturday’s event can be found on the Franciscan Ministries of Buffalo Facebook page.

► An article about the late Mychal Judge, OFM, was published on the front page of the July 30 issue of The Bergen Record. Titled “Growing support for 9/11’s St. Mychal,’” the piece includes comments from people who knew the friar who died on Sept. 11. Among them are Michael Duffy, OFM, who delivered the eulogy at Mychal’s funeral, Christopher Keenan, OFM, who succeeded Mychal as chaplain of the Fire Department of New York, and Ronald Pecci, OFM, who presented the homily at Mychal’s wake service.

► Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM,  participated in a two-day meeting of the provincial minsters of the English-speaking Conference. In two weeks, he will join the provincial council members of the American OFM provinces at a meeting in Illinois.

► Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, returned this week from a visit to Cuba, where he took a group of missioners. For the last year, Paul, the Province’s secretary for missionary evangelization, has been working to broaden mission trip opportunities for friars and laypeople. The trip to Cuba was from July 24 to Aug. 3.

► Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., was quoted in a recent article in The Catholic Standard, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Washington. The story describes how the friars and their partners-in-ministry are embracing the message of Pope Francis’s encyclical through a wide variety of programs that advocate for the poor and for the environment. “Care for creation, justice, and respect for life all really fit together. They are part the seamless garment, a consistent ethic of life,” said the friar, who chairs the Province’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate.

► Daniel Riley, OFM, invites friars and friends of Mt. Irenaeus, where he is director, to attend the Mountain’s 30th anniversary celebration on Sept. 19 and 20. Information as well as photos from past decades of the Mountain’s life can be found in the July 2015 issue of the Making all Things New e-newsletter.

► Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Greenville, shared photos of the picnic held at the parish on Aug. 2 that, he said, was enjoyed by many. “A terrific time was had after all the Masses. I built a 100-foot long water slide carved from the earth and the kids had a ball. They kept running around to the top and sliding.  The event included horseshoes to water balloon toss to dancing to eat the donut off the string contest — and it goes without saying, great food.”

► Vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, is pleased to report that the General Minister has shared his direct support for the creation and growth of organic discernment communities within Holy Name Province through a video statement. “I would encourage this province and other provinces to pursue this organic approach, to make sure that our communities — no matter where they are, no matter who is living there — make others feel welcome,” he said. Recently the community at the 31st Street friary in New York City unanimously voted to host an “organic discernment community” at the friary that would invite men in discernment to evening prayer, dinner and community conversation with the friars on two days of any given week. More information about the growth of organic discernment communities within Holy Name Province will be shared in a future issue of HNP Today.

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by August 12, always the Wednesday before distribution. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future coverage in HNP Today include:

  • Profiles of silver jubilarians Kevin McGoff, OFM, Khoa Nguyen, OFM, and Christopher Posch, OFM
  • Meeting of provincial council members of the seven American U.S. provinces
  • Reception of novices on Aug. 15 in Wisconsin

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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