Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars, featuring 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 summary of the discussions held by the Provincial Council at their February meeting was distributed to friars on Feb. 27. The document includes information about a financial report, chapter planning, the spring fraternal days, the 2018 synod of Bishops called “Young People, The Faith, and Vocational Discernment,” and the work being done by the Migrant Center of St. Francis Church in New York City.

A reminder to complete the Communications Office’s survey about the HNP Today newsletter, along with a reflection by Brian Jordan, OFM, was provided to friars through an e-bulletin.

Two friars from Siena College – Dennis Bennett, OFM, and Sean O’Brien, OFM – returned on Feb. 26 after accompanying a group of 12 Siena students to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. The service trip was arranged by Siena’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy. “During our first three days, we spent our mornings teaching English at the Batahola Community Center in an urban neighborhood in Managua,” said Dennis. “The afternoons were spent on cultural awareness activities: we visited an indigenous village and learned how they support themselves through pottery-making (we also got to try to make our own pottery); we spent time in Ciudad Sandino at another community center, learning how they have organized the youth and young adults of the community to pressure the city to make changes to benefit women and children; we also went to the city of Granada, where we had an experience at Café Sonrisas, a restaurant that employs deaf and blind people. We met the owner who told us how he developed the idea for the restaurant, talked about the challenges he faced, and encouraged us to never give up on helping people. On Thursday, we travelled to Sontule, a remote village four hours north of Managua in the heart of the mountains. We visited a women’s collective and heard about their experiences during the contra war of the late 1980s. We then began painting the village’s school. We spent that night in people’s homes in Sontule. The next morning, Friday, we finished painting at the school, and then visited the collective’s coffee farm, where we learned how much goes into making coffee for export to places like the USA. We then travelled back to Managua, and spent Saturday enjoying some cultural excursions to an active volcano, an artisanal market, and a swim in a volcanic lake. We arrived back at Siena on Sunday night.”

On the morning of Ash Wednesday, Anthony Carrozzo, OFM, is giving a Lenten retreat at the Franciscan Center in Tampa, Fla., reflecting on the prayer of St. Augustine. The former provincial minster lives at St Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg.

►Ross Chamberland, OFM, a staff member of St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, was a member of a panel last week that presented to youth ministers from across the country. “My role was to present on diocesan ecclesiology,” said Ross. “I enjoyed that very much as I earned my first graduate degree in ecclesiology. I was asked to participate because of my affiliation with the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, where I serve as the national training advisor.” The conference, titled “Diocesan Development,” was held in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.

A summary of the 2016 activities of Bethany Ministries has been posted on its website. Peter Chepaitis, OFM, has been operating the program with Sr. Anna Tantsits, OHM, since 1995. Information about their activities can also be found on Facebook, on the page called the Franciscan Ministry of the Word at Bethany Ministries.

Last month, a video of William DeBiase, OFM, describing his baking project was posted on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry. In it, William describes both what he enjoys about baking and the types of bread that he bakes.

On Feb. 26, Daniel Horan, OFM, presented a workshop titled “Fear: The Enemy of Christian Discipleship” at the 2017 Religious Education Congress in Los Angeles. He posted a video of the presentation on his YouTube channel. An interview that Dan did with Franciscan Media can be found on its Facebook page.

►Brian Jordan, OFM, chaplain of St Francis College in Brooklyn N.Y., was featured on Feb. 20 in The Daily Beast in an article about his work with undocumented immigrants. Titled “The Priest Who Helps Illegal Immigrants,” the article describes the ways that Brian and the friars are helping undocumented immigrants in New York City.

►Joseph Juracek, OFM, chair of the Chapter Planning Committee, reports that friars whose names were advanced by the Fraternal Life in Mission Directorate for membership on committees and who will fulfill specific functions at the Chapter were approved by the council. In addition, the preliminary schedule was discussed and its direction was endorsed. The theme of the Chapter is “Pilgrims, Not Strangers.”

The January-February 2017 issue of Mt. Irenaeus’s e-newsletter includes a 1994 photo of Joseph Kotula, OFM, and Daniel Riley, OFM, taken during the raising of the House of Peace. The e-publication also includes a reflection titled “Finding New Life in Scripture” by Dan and several photos by Joe.

Several HNP friars appear in photos in the March edition of Padres Trail, the newsletter of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province. On page 5, a photo showing participants in the Feb. 16 to 17 meeting of communication representatives from the seven United States OFM provinces includes Jim McIntosh, OFM, and a photo of friars who participated in an interprovincial meeting of vocation directors includes Basil Valente, OFM.

►Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, recommends reading a blog post on the Franciscan Action Network’s website that is written by Bob Tocha from St. Camillus Parish, Silver Spring, Md. The piece, titled “Quid est Veritas? (What is Truth?)” was posted last week on the blog that is titled “Acting Franciscan.” 

►Andrew Reitz, OFM, accompanied the young adult group of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, New York City, where he is pastor, on its annual retreat. He celebrated Mass during Feb.10 to 12 gathering, held at Mount Alvernia Retreat Center, a Franciscan ministry in the Hudson Valley near Wappinger Falls, N.Y. Several photos were included in the Feb. 26 parish bulletin of the church on West 31st Street, with a report by Maria Hayes of the HNP Communications Office, who also attended the retreat.

►Jud Weiksnar, OFM, guardian of St. Patrick Friary in Buffalo, N.Y., announced last month that the St. Patrick Thrift Store on Clinton Street was closing on Feb. 20. “With the upcoming move of the friars out of St. Patrick Friary, this has been a time of transition in many ways. After so many years in the Hydraulics neighborhood, these changes can be difficult. However, we are confident that the Holy Spirit is leading us in new directions.” Jud reports that the food pantry, which moved from the friary to a new location a five minute drive away, “has transitioned well.” The Provincial Administration announced in June 2016 that it would be selling the building that houses St. Patrick’s Friary and some of its ministries, and that the friars would move to a new location in Western New York.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by March 8 – 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:

  • Profiles of friars marking 25- and 50-year anniversaries of their professions
  • Experiences of two friars serving as general visitors

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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