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
The new edition of the directory is now online. The 2015-16 HNP Directory in included in the Friars Only section of Printed copies will be distributed by Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, later this month.

Those friars planning to attended the Dec. 21 Christmas celebration at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., are asked to contact guardian Richard McFeely, OFM, by Dec. 18. Friars interested in participating in the interprovincial retreat, being held from Jan. 4 to 8 in New Mexico, are reminded to register by Dec. 21.

Committee Updates
The annual Provincial celebration of the Martin Luther King holiday will be held at Holy Name of Jesus Church on West 96th Street in New York City. Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, representing the Provincial and Council, will be the presider and homilist at the noon Mass on Jan. 17. Lawrence Ford, OFM, pastor, will host the event. Friars are invited and encouraged to attend, according to David Hyman, OFM, chair of the African-Ancestry Committee, which is sponsoring the event. “It is our hope, as well, that all our Provincial ministries, on that weekend, will in some way acknowledge and celebrate the ‘dream’ of Dr. and Coretta Scott King, given the concerns in the nation, such as the events in Charleston, S.C., and Ferguson, Mo.,” said David. “Mentioning them signals a broad spectrum of issues and reminds us there is more than enough to address.”

Student friars Dennis Bennett, OFM, and Christian Seno, OFM, attended a candlelight prayer vigil at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Md., to pray for the victims of the recent shooting in San Bernardino, as well as for all victims of gun violence in the United States. “We also saw this as an important opportunity to pray with the community, our sisters and brothers of various faiths, and to show support to those who may experience backlash from the increasingly polemical political dialogue in this country,” said Christian. “The gathering included representatives from various Muslim communities, Episcopalians, UCC, Methodists, Hindus, Bahais, and others. The overarching message was one of peace, a desire for deepened relationships with our sisters and brothers of different faiths, and a rejection of all forms of violence, including Islamophobia.”

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, was among those who attended the Dec. 2 Medicus Christi, Ltd., event on the campus of Siena College, where he is president. The organization held an awards reception to honor several of its earliest supporters. Medicus Christi was founded more than five years ago by a graduate of Siena College, physician Joseph Marotta, who wanted to help people in Africa with their medical needs. Marotta and his team are working to create a hospital in Ghana called the Franciscan Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Center, nicknamed The F.O.R.C.E. Hospital. Photos of last week’s event can be found on Medicus Christi’s Facebook page. On Dec. 9, Edward will join Provincial Minister and former Siena president Kevin Mullen, OFM, at Siena’s Christmas party at the Province’s San Damiano Hall in New York City.

The Province’s executive director of development, David Convertino, OFM, welcomes friars to use the “Mercy in My Pocket” booklet of daily prayers for the Year of Mercy, which began Dec. 8. The resource can be obtained through the Office of Development’s website.

Thomas Conway, OFM, was quoted in a recent article about the Lazarus Ministry of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, which provides funerals and burials for the homeless, the poor and abandoned infants, regardless of their religion, nationality or economic status. In “Abandoned but Not Forgotten: The Lazarus Ministry,” published Nov. 27 in the New Boston Post, he said “I was struck by the poignancy of the whole thing. There were many images of the Virgin Mary and Child around, with moving music about belonging to God, and even Julie Ogden stood nine months pregnant as she did the readings. But in the middle of this scene were three abandoned infants. They were lost before they even had a chance to live their lives. It was as if God were saying, ‘they belong to me now.’” Tom appears in a photo with a group of pallbearers from BC High School. Richard Flaherty, OFM, and Barry Langley, OFM, also appear in photos. Julie Ogden, the Shrine’s managing director, said those being buried are “not without inherent dignity. We want to make sure there is someone celebrating their life.”

Holy Name Province’s Ministry of the Word has been “off and running with its Advent missions and retreats,” according to Kevin Cronin, OFM. At St. Jerome Catholic Church in Philadelphia, Kevin gave a series of missions that were attended by 80 people in the morning and 300 in the evening, and a special program at the parish’s school was attended by 450 children. John Anglin, OFM, has given missions at St. John Neumann Parish in Cape May, N.J., and St. Luke’s Parish in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., Roderic Petrie, OFM, traveled to St. Anthony Parish in Yulan, N.Y., and Daniel Lanahan, OFM, is leading a special Year of Mercy kick-off week at Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish in Wayne, N.J. “Every mission of ours always focuses on the mercy of the Lord,” said Kevin. “Franciscan preachers have proclaimed this mercy since the time of St. Francis, proclaiming God’s infinite Divine Mercy and our need to be forgiving of each other. In the words of Pope Francis, ‘Let the Church always be a place of mercy and hope, where everyone is loved and forgiven.”

After a severed pig’s head was left at a Kensington, Philadelphia mosque on Dec. 7, Fred Dilger, OFM, Jim McIntosh,OFM, and Sr. Leslie Birks, OSF, visited the mosque to show St. Francis Inn’s support for Kensington’s Muslim population. They brought a gift of holiday cookies to be shared with the children there.

Three HNP members — Eufemio Dimas, Aaron Richardson, and Angel Vazquez — were among the novices who received their habits on Dec. 6 at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. Lawrence Hayes, OFM, the Province’s secretary for formation and studies, and Joseph Rozansky, OFM, director of post-novitiate formation, participated in Sunday’s ceremony. Photos of the event can be found on the novitiate’s Facebook page.

Kevin Downey, OFM, is quoted in a story publicizing a concert at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., where he is pastor. Catholic singer-songwriter and speaker, Steve Angrisano, is leading a three-part Advent reflection series at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Triangle, Va., beginning Dec. 13.

Last week, the Muslim Student Association of Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., presented a program in response to the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and subsequent examples of Islamaphobia. Daniel Dwyer, OFM, has “a cameo appearance” in the film that was shown as part of the educational event on Dec. 2.

Daniel Horan, OFM, has posted several new installments of his “Understanding Laudato Si’” video series on YouTube. The most recent is titledPolitics, Economy and Science.” Dan’s videos and news about his events can be found his Facebook page.

On the day before Thanksgiving, Bishop Dennis Sullivan of the Diocese of Camden, N.J., celebrated Mass for the inmates at the Camden County Correctional Facility. Hugh Macsherry, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, was one of the local clergy who accepted an invitation to concelebrate with the bishop and stayed for lunch with other guests and some inmates. “It was great to have a Franciscan present,” said Sr. Mary Lou Lafferty, OFS, who coordinates the prison ministry.

Timothy Shreenan, OFM, will be offering an Advent presentation on Dec. 12 titled “A Shoot Shall Spout: Advent and the Jesse Tree.” It is scheduled for noon at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City. On Dec. 8, the parish on 31st Street is offering a talk titled “The Opening of the Year of Mercy” by spiritual writer Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM. Information about both, which are part of St. Francis Parish’s Advent events, can be found on the parish website.

An article by Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, of New York City was published in the fall 2015 edition of Human Development Magazine, a quarterly journal published by Guest House. It is titled “Keeping Mercy Flowingand can be found on page 48.

Christopher VanHaight, OFM, was interviewed about the feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Dec. 4 issue of “Raleigh to Rome,” a news video series from the Diocese of Raleigh, N.C. Since 2014, Christopher has been pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, N.C. “We’re supposed to remember that God’s love and care for us is not accidental. He loves each and every one of us. The grace he gave to the blessed mother is a grace that he wishes for all of us – that we should all leave behind sin, be holy and share in eternity,” he said.

On Dec. 1, a memorial Mass for John Van Hook, OFM, who died last month, was celebrated at Siena College, where the deceased friar had lived for nearly 60 years.

A letter to the editor by Jud Weiksnar, OFM, was published Dec. 6 in the Buffalo News. It was titled “Reliance on Fossil Fuels is Antithesis of Progress” and was one of two letters to the editor published by the Buffalo News that day by Franciscans.

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by Dec. 16, 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:

  • Commemorations of the Dec. 12 feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
  • Essay by Joseph Nangle, OFM

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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