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 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 December meeting has been emailed to Holy Name Province friars. The document summarizes the topics discussed on Dec. 15 and 16. They include three articles about the Church and society, fraternal life plans, the recent meeting with leaders of Mt. Irenaeus, ministry audits, potential new fraternities-in-mission, updates about committees and directorates, the move of the Province’s post-novitiate program, and upcoming events, including next month’s inauguration of the Ringwood, N.J., friary as a Provincial House of Prayer. The next Council meeting will be held Jan. 18 and 19 at St Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. Information was also recently distributed to friars about (1) submitting recollections about serving in Brazil and (2) sharing comments about the “Signs of the Times” essay written by Vincent Cushing, OFM. The next issue of the Provincial newsletter will be distributed Jan. 13. Articles are posted throughout the week in the Provincial News section of  The archives go back nearly 10 years, to January 2006.

An article by F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, titled “Embracing What is Ours to Do: Bonaventure and a Franciscan Education,” has been published in the December 2015 issue of Franciscan Connections: The Cord – A Spiritual Review. It is an adaptation of the inaugural address that Ed gave Oct. 2, 2015 at Siena College, where he is president. The publication of the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, made its debut in March.

Artist David Haack, OFM, is helping to construct a series of displays for the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., that illustrates the history of the congregation. A photo of the first, which shows the first convent and Rev. Mother Teresa O’Neil, is displayed next to the reception desk of St. Elizabeth Motherhouse. A link to David’s website can be found on the Artisans and Authors page of

David Hyman, OFM, chair of the HNP African Ancestry Committee, encourages friars to publicize the Feb. 12, 2016 vocation retreat to young men at their ministries by displaying an informational flyer. He also invites friars and partners-in-ministry to the Province’s commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. — a noon Mass on Jan. 17 at Holy Name of Jesus Church in New York City.

FDNY chaplain Christopher Keenan, OFM, took part in a campaign organized by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to encourage Congress to pass the Zadroga Health and Compensation Act. Named after NYPD officer James Zadroga, the bill provides healthcare for first responders and survivors of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Following 9/11, Chris — who succeeded the late Mychal Judge, OFM, as chaplain — was one of the many who spent months sifting through dust and debris searching for human remains at Ground Zero. The programs funded by the Zadroga Act will allow him to track his lung and thyroid conditions. A photo of Chris holding a sign that reads “14,000” — the number of firefighters and EMTs to whom Chris ministers — was posted on Mayor de Blasio’s Facebook page on Dec. 14 as part of a series showing the people who benefit from programs created by the act. After Congress voted to pass the act, a second photo of Chris and others affected by the bill appeared on the page — they held signs that read “thank you.”

Richard McFeely, OFM, guardian of Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J., hosted a Christmas luncheon on Dec. 21 for residents and guests. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, celebrated a morning liturgy before the party. The festivities also included a visit from Santa Claus. Rumor has it he looks a lot like Thomas Cole, OFM. Photos from the party were posted on the Province’s Facebook page.

Kevin Mullen, OFM, joined F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, and Michael Harlan, OFM, to send Christmas greetings to Siena College alumni. In a video recorded at the college’s Christmas party hosted in the Province’s San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street in New York City, each friar shares best wishes with the Siena community.

On Dec. 22, Mark Reamer, OFM, and the friars of St. Bernardine of Siena Friary, where he is guardian, are hosting a gathering before the annual Franciscan Cup basketball game. “All the friars of the Northeast have been invited,” said Mark. “The friars will gather on the court before the game where Kevin Mullen, OFM, will receive the cup from Ed Coughlin, whose school won last year’s game. The game will be televised in New York State thanks to Time Warner Cable and during half time, Kevin will be interviewed on TV. At the end of the game, the friars will gather around Kevin as he presents the cup to the winning team.”

On Dec. 7, Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor of St. Francis Parish in New York City, welcomed sisters from the St. Francis Province of the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart to lunch at St. Francis Friary in New York City. A photo of Andrew with the sisters was posted on the Province’s Facebook page. During the last year, the community has celebrated its 150th anniversary. The community’s founders came to America in 1865, when the pastor of St. Francis Parish asked a community of Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Italy to send sisters to America to teach in areas where the immigrant population was growing.

A reflection by Daniel Riley, OFM, about the evolution of Mt. Irenaeus and the objectives of the Franciscan mountain retreat appears in the Winter 2015 newsletter of Mt. Irenaeus, which marked its 30th anniversary this year. A PDF of this print newsletter as well as back issues of the monthly e-newsletter can be found on Mt. Irenaeus’s website.

On Dec. 10, the student friars at Holy Name College, Silver Spring, Md., hosted Br. Tomas Gonzalez, OFM, from San Felipe de Jesus Province in Mexico. Br. Tomas was accompanied by Amanda Lyons, from Franciscans International, who had invited him to speak on the problem faced by migrants in Mexico and Central America, especially on the southern border of Mexico. Photos were posted by Christian Seno, OFM, in the Holy Name Province JPIC Facebook group.

Emeric Szlezak, OFM, celebrated his 98th birthday last week. The oldest friar in the Province was feted on Dec. 17 by the friars of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he has lived since 2005.  A photo of Emeric was posted on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.

A photo of Juan De La Cruz Turcios, OFM, appeared in a National Catholic Reporter article titled “Vatican Affirms Religious Brothers, says Lay Men and Women Exercise Priesthood.” The Dec. 14 story shows Juan praying in 2013 with immigration reform advocates in Washington, D.C.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Jan. 6, always the Wednesday before distribution. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. The next issue of this e-newsletter will be published on Jan. 13.

Topics planned for future coverage in HNP Today include:

  • Essay by Joseph Nangle, OFM, about the concept of American exceptionalism
  • The Province’s gathering next month for friars under 55 years of age
  • 2016 jubilarians
  • Priestly ordination of Michael Reyes, OFM, on Jan. 16

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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