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, email the friars, contact 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
A report on the November meeting of the Provincial Council was distributed to friars last week. It includes information about the Nov. 13 to 16 guardians and pastors meeting, dates of 10 upcoming regional days, Pope Francis’ message for the first World Day of the Poor, the care of elder friars, renovations to the Butler, N.J., friary, and reports of committees and directorates. A summary of the guardians and pastors meeting was emailed on Monday.

► The vocation ministry team, especially Basil Valente, OFM, director, and Ben Simpson, is grateful to regional vocation directors, Hugh Hines, OFM, Michael Johnson, and Tony LoGalbo, OFM, and to all the friars at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, for hosting a discernment retreat during the first week of Advent.  The three-day retreat that celebrated “Franciscan vocations and Franciscan discernment in the 21st century,” and was attended by five men considering Franciscan life, concludes the Province’s vocation retreat schedule for fall 2017. “Just as God guided St. Joseph with faith hope and charity, to become the humble guardian of Jesus, the friars at St. Anthony Shrine guided five young men — during the first week of Advent— as they gathered in Boston to consider the question: Is God Calling Me to Become a Franciscan Friar of Holy Name Province?” said Basil. The visitors – or discerners – came from Darian, N.Y., Philadelphia, Pa., and five towns in Massachusetts.   Photos and information, including reflections by Frank Sevola, OFM, and Tony LoGalbo, OFM, are available on the Be a Franciscan Facebook page. Tony began his reflection by speaking of St. Francis of Assisi’s idea to put an essential consideration at the beginning of his Rule or Way of Life: “The Rule of the Friars Minor is to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Basil said he “gives special thanks to our regional vocation directors: Hugh, Mike and Tony and to the many other friars at the Shrine who made the weekend very special; Frank, the guardian, Paul Bourque, OFM, Gregory Day, OFM, Daniel Murray, OFM, Joseph Quinn, OFM,Damian Park, OFM, and Ronald Stark, OFM, for their inspired reflections and homilies during the retreat.”

► A reflection for Advent by Christian Seno, OFM, was published last week by Franciscans International, where he is advocacy and outreach assistant. The piece, which can be found on FI’s website, uses the four women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew to reflect on contemporary human rights issues that disproportionately affect women.

► Before the Nov. 29 Franciscan Cup basketball game between Siena College and St. Bonaventure University, the friars from St. Bernardine of Siena Friary hosted the SBU friars, president and guests. Guardian Mark Reamer, OFM, provided two photos, one showing F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, president of Siena, with Dennis DePerro, president of St. Bonaventure, and another picture of David Blake, OFM, of SBU. Among the other friars who travelled from Western New York to Albany, N.Y., for the game were Ross Chamberland, OFM, and Francis Di Spigno, OFM. David Blake and Mark – as guardians representing the provincial minister – accepted the cup back from St. Bonaventure, which won last year’s game. St. Bonaventure University won this year’s game as well, with a final score of 75 to 55. “I presented the cup to the captains of the St. Bonaventure team and to David,” said Mark.

► Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, is organizing a variety of trips through the HNP Franciscan Missionary Union, of which he is associate director. He asks that friars who would like to participate in either the April 15 to 22 or the Nov. 4 to 11 trip to Cuba to contact him at Paul is organizing a total of five trips to Cuba for 2018 as well as two trips to Morocco and a pilgrimage to Italy for college students. Information about the mission trips can be found on

► On Nov. 27, Dominic Monti, OFM, was the guest speaker at the monthly Theology on Tap series at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va. “Dominic was very informative and, as always, he went beyond presenting a history lesson and made Francis and his early followers come to life,” said John Alderson, OFM. “As Dominic spoke, it was easy to imagine being part of the group of Francis’ first followers. An important point was the fact that the first friars not only followed Francis, but they also had a major role in defining what this community would be. We walked away reflecting on the role we all have, as friars, in not only living the Franciscan way of life, but also shaping it and putting our own stamp on what it means to be Franciscan.” The following week – on Dec. 2 – Dominic, who is stationed at St. Bonaventure University, visited Clemson, S.C., where he gave a talk to students involved in Clemson University’s campus ministry.

► Richard McFeely, OFM, guardian of Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., asks that friars who are planning to attend this year’s Christmas Mass and luncheon at the Province’s skilled nursing home RSVP by Dec. 8 to MaryAnne Babb at 973-962-7200. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, will celebrate the 11 a.m. liturgy.

► Daniel Horan, OFM, returned recently from London where he gave two talks — “Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis at More House on Dec. 3 and Thomas Merton: His Life, Work, and Witness at the Meditation Centre, London, on Dec. 2. Last month, he presented “The Grace of Encountering the Family of Creation: Lifelong Formation in the Age of Laudato Si,” daylong workshop at the Religious Formation Conference Annual Convention, Milwaukee, Wisc., and “Fear: The Enemy of Christian Discipleship,” at The Paulist Center in  Boston, Mass.  On Dec. 8 and 9, Dan is attending the meeting of the Franciscan School of Theology Board of Regents at the University of San Diego, Calif.

► Ignatius Harding, OFM, and parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., participated in the 34th Annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Nov. 21 at the Jewish Congregation of Adat Reyim in Springfield, Va. Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Christians were among those in attendance. The service began with a “call to unity and thankful praise” by Rabbi Bruce Aft. Leaders from the faith communities led services while adult and youth choirs sang songs of peace together. Around the theme of “Rebuilding Hope,” faith communities enjoyed an evening of prayer, song and fellowship.

► Archbishop Roberto González, OFM, and Alfonso Guzman, OFM, recently concelebrated a Mass in Puerto Rico for the repose of the soul of Michael McDonnell, OFM. “The Mass was attended by a small group of former parishioners of Santa Maria de Los Angeles Parish, where Michael was pastor when Holy Name Province was in Puerto Rico,” said Alfonso. “Everyone remarked on Michael’s simplicity as a friar and his love for Puerto Rico, which he visited every year.”

► An article about the stained glass of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston was published on Dec. 1 in BostonGuide. The piece, titled “Boston Accent: Downtown‘s Hidden Gem,” includes a photo of Brian Cullinane, OFM, who has a stained glass workshop at the Shrine where he creates windows filled with birds and flowers and other images. His work is visible all over the world – from Ireland to Zimbabwe. “I do joyful images, and I hope they bring people peace and joy.”

► Casey Cole, OFM, has announced that he has written a book. It will be titled “Called:What Happens After Saying Yes to God” and will be published by Franciscan Media, based in Cincinnati. In a video posted on Dec.1, he describes his excitement about the project. Casey’s videos can be found on his YouTube channel, Breaking in the Habit, and on his blog.

► John Anglin, OFM, is returning from El Salvador, where he spent six days with Unbound, a Catholic lay organization based in Kansas City that invites people to sponsor children and needy adults in 18 different countries around the world. He departed on Nov. 29 with several Unbound leaders as well as other priests. “This is an awareness trip so that we preachers might experience first-hand how this wonderful organization operates. Please keep me in your prayers,” said John, before leaving the United States. “At the end of the trip, we will have Mass at the chapel where Archbishop Oscar Romero was killed. That will be a real privilege for me.” Information about Unbound can be found on John’s Unbound outreach page.

Topics that will be included in future issues of this newsletter include

  • Celebration of 100th birthday of a friar
  • Retiree Bart McMahon, OFM
  • 2018 jubilarians

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

Editor’s note: The format of Friar News Briefs lists, in alternating issues, shows names organized by friars’ last names, in ascending (A to Z) order, followed — in the next issue — by names listed in descending (Z to A) order.

Related Links