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 summary of the Provincial Council’s January meeting was distributed to friars on Jan. 30. It includes information about a discussion of “The Gift of Administration: New Testament Foundations for the Vocation of Administration Service” by Donald Senior, as well as updates about the Revitalization and Reconfiguration Process, the Extraordinary Chapter taking place from May 29 to 31, Commission for the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition, upcoming Provincial retreats, a summary of a CARA survey/study about Catholic women in the United States, and reports from several HNP committees.
 A report on the results of the survey about the R&R process was sent to friars last week. A total of 492 friars from the US-6 provinces completed the survey.
 The first of 10 regional days was held on Feb. 6 at St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, N.J. The friar gatherings continue until the end of March at ministry sites around the Province.

► On Jan. 15, Patrick Sieber, OFM, participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Nonviolent Action at Lockheed Martin, King of Prussia, Pa., with a group that protests military action and the manufacturing of weapons. He has done this several times nearly every year since 1978. “God willing, the next will be on Good Friday,” said Patrick. “Inspired by King’s resistance to militarism and his non-violent direct action, this witness enables me to be hopefully a better preacher of the good news, and it enables me to have some ‘skin in the game’ – the willingness to suffer a little for peace and justice [hoping that people will see that we are willing to risk a little for peace]. We’re not just talking it, but walking it, and after all this time I cannot not do it!” He added, “It is hard to explain my motivation. My job is to say Mass, and it is worthwhile and wonderful, but my liturgy is in the witness. It always feels like I spent a day in prayer, a week in retreat every time I go out. I believe that this is what the creator has in mind for me – where I am supposed to be in these moments.”

► A Lenten reflection written by Christian Seno, OFM, was recently published by Franciscans International, where he is advocacy and outreach assistant. “This reflection uses the Seven Last Words of Jesus as a meditation on the current situation facing millions of our migrant and refugee siblings,” he said. “Titled ‘Seven Last Words – Seven Acts: Reflection and Responses to Global Migration,’ this prayerfully offers several concrete actions that all Franciscans can engage in to show support and solidarity for those currently undergoing migration.”

► Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and Br. Sam Nasada, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, took part in the Feb. 3 to 6 Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C. On the final day of the gathering, hundreds of participants went to Capitol Hill to meet with their respective members of Congress and advocate for a wide range of issues, among them TPS and DACA. “At noon, both Sam and I joined in a prayer vigil in support of the DREAMers,” Jacek said. “We prayed the rosary in front of the Capitol asking God and the Blessed Mother to touch the hearts of our elected officials and give them moral courage to protect the DREAMers and their families.” Sam, Jacek and a Franciscan sister from Wisconsin also went to the office of Rep. Paul Ryan and presented hand-written cards calling on Ryan to do “what is just and right.” “Attending the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering with a friar from another province filled me with gratitude, joy, and an appetite for more joint justice and peace advocacy efforts,” said Jacek. “Besides being a rich fraternal experience, it is a powerful fraternal witness.” A local Latino television station highlighted the vigil and included a short interview with Jacek.

► On Jan. 21, Joseph Nangle, OFM, celebrated a Mass of Recommissioning for Franciscan Mission Service at the chapel at Theological College in Washington, D.C. “Recommissioning has been one of the three ‘pillars’ of Franciscan Mission Service since its founding in 1985 by our then-provincial Finian Kerwin, OFM, and the legendary Dutch missionary, Fr. Anselm Moons, OFM,” said Joseph. “They insisted that serious preparation for overseas ministry, the actual mission experience in Third World settings and, in particular, the resulting call to ‘reverse mission’ in the U.S. – that all three dimensions were essential to this program. The formal recommissioning liturgy highlights this third and most important phase of the mission experience. So, on Jan. 21, four young women, recent returnees from Guatemala, Jamaica, and Bolivia, publicly professed to continue to follow God’s call to mission now in the United States. Their personal mission statements and the recommissioning rite itself were most impressive for all who attended. In particular, I was gratified to hear the phrase ‘women with Franciscan hearts’ used several times to describe their motivation in continuing the mission experience. The Franciscan mission charism continues in them and in all aspects of this organization. Holy Name Province has every right to be proud of this long-standing and still vibrant movement. Both financially and with personnel, we have assured that Franciscan Mission Service would continue to send generous women and men to poor areas of the world and accompany them as they use those overseas experiences to effect change in our affluent realities.” Information about the Mass as well as about other FMS events and programs can be found in the current issue of the Franciscan Mission Service e-newsletter, which was distributed on Jan. 29.

► Dominic Monti, OFM, was in Denver, Colo., from Jan. 19 to 21 to chair the annual meeting of the board of the Commission for the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition (CFIT).  “The Commission spent a considerable amount of time discussing the future role of CFIT with members of a task force of the English-speaking Conference, of which Dominic is a member, focusing on a better tie-in of its work with initial and ongoing formation,” said Dominic. During the meeting, several items were discussed, he said, including 1) progress made with uploading the early Franciscan Sources onto the CFIT website, 2) the status of volumes I and II of Francis of Assisi: Early Documents as well as Clare of Assisi: Early Documents are now fully available to the public, and 3) an improved “search” function allows the user to isolate words and phrases in the writings of Francis, the writings of Clare, the lives of Francis by Bonaventure.  A new Franciscan Heritage volume is “in the works,” according to Dominic, who said that “HNP friars will receive a copy of Sr. Mary Beth Ingham’s Understanding John Duns Scotus within the next several months.

► Photos taken by Joseph Kotula, OFM, can be found on the website of Mt. Irenaeus in Western New York, where Joseph is stationed. The photo collection, “Nature’s Corner,” was announced in the January/February 2018 issue of the Mountain’s e-newsletter.

► The latest book by Daniel Horan, OFM, is available in both English – “Daybreaks: Reflections for Lent and Easter” (Liguori Publications, 2018) and Spanish, “Un Nuevo Comienzo: Reflexiones Diarias Para Cuaresma y Pascua” (Liguori Publications, 2018). “For the time being, at least the English edition is available on Kindle, too,” said Daniel, who lives in Chicago. “The idea for the book came from the publishers who approached me two years ago with the invitation to do this project. They publish an annual series of books for Advent and Lent and invite a Catholic author to write daily reflections for the liturgical season. I was honored to be asked, given the esteemed list of previous authors including Ron Rolheiser, Dianne Bergant, Paula Darcy, among others. The audience for the book is everybody interested in a short reflection to start or end the day during Lent and Easter. It is written for modern, busy people. There has been a lot of positive responses, more so at this time for my Advent book, which came out last fall, but I’m humbled by the kind remarks people have shared. I enjoy writing as part of my ministry of education and popular preaching because it allows for the sharing of faith, ideas, and experience with such a diverse audience. You never know who you might connect with via print.” Information about Dan’s writing and speaking engagements can be found on his website,, as well as his Facebook page.

► On Jan. 26, Michael Harlan, OFM, gave the invocation at the 2018 Alumni Hall of Fame and Reunion Celebration of his alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas College. Michael, who graduated from the school in Sparkill, N.Y., in 1978, is a member of STAC’s board of trustees. The event was held at the Palisades Conference Center. Ten years ago, in January 2008, Michael was inducted into St. Thomas Aquinas College’s Alumni Hall of Fame.

► Ignatius Harding, OFM, a member of the HNP Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, recommends reading a statement written by Fr. Elias Mallon, SA, who prepared an information packet that attempts to educate people about the international legal situation of Jerusalem and the position of indigenous and international religious leaders on the state of affairs in the Holy City. Fr. Elias provides U.N. resolutions on the status of Jerusalem dating back to 1947. Ignatius, who is stationed in Triangle, Va., says the information might be of interest to both friars and to laypeople.

► When the city of Philadelphia erupted with joy on Sunday night after the Eagles upset the New England Patriots to win their first Super Bowl, friars and their partners-in-ministry were celebrating. Stephen DeWitt, OFM, Michael Duffy, OFM, and Ramon Razon, OFM, watched the football game with members of the St. Francis Inn Ministry team, including the Franciscan Volunteer Ministers. Also watching the game in Philadelphia was John C. Coughlin, OFM, and a group of students from DeSales Academy in Macon, Ga., who are serving at St. Francis Inn this week. Because Philadelphia had “for years and years been in a drought without team victories, this was a wonderful event,” said Michael, guardian of Juniper Friary in the Kensington neighborhood. “The whole town was electric during the last two weeks and to have the Eagles win was glorious,” Michael said he was impressed with the attitude of Nick Foles, the quarterback who won Super Bowl LII MVP. A few years ago, when he decided to return to football, Foles said, “I knew as a person, the more growth I would have, the more opportunity to glorify God and trust in him, was to go back and play football because of everything I had encountered,” Foles said. “It took a lot more faith to go back and play than if it would have gone the other direction. Either way, I would’ve been fine. I know I would’ve trusted in God.”

► Julian Davies, OFM, asks that reports on 2017 events at Holy Name Province ministries be submitted to him by May 1 for use in the next edition of The Provincial Annals. Stories should be sent to Julian at or by postal mail to him at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. High-resolution photos are also requested.

► Casey Cole, OFM, of Chicago, launched a new season of “Catholicism in Focus” on Jan. 29. “Catholicism in Focus” seeks to provide Catholics with a little more clarity about various topics regarding their faith. This season, Casey will address topics such as “Does God suffer like we do?” and “What’s the difference between a religion and a cult?” The first two videos – “How Late Can I Come to Mass?” and “How to Read the Gospels (Narrative Approach)” – are available on his YouTube channel, “Breaking in the Habit.” New videos are scheduled to be posted each Monday.

► In conjunction with the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., Todd Carpenter, OFM, and Paul Santoro, OFM, are hosting a vocation program on Feb. 17. The morning of reflection being held at St. Joseph Church in Orlando, Fla., is for men and women ages 18 to 40 who might feel called to religious life as a priest, deacon, sister or brother. The morning will begin with Mass at 9 a.m. and will include a presentation and a discussion. Information about other vocation events can be found on

► Scott Brookbank, OFM, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., was among the many who watched the Super Plunge XIV on Super Bowl Sunday. Photos of him as well as of the 134 people who jumped into the cold Atlantic Ocean to raise money for the St. Francis Community Center and the local high school swim teams were posted on Facebook. The event was St. Francis Community Center’s 14th annual Super Plunge Sunday, said staff member Lori Dudek, adding that “the water temperature was 37 degrees and the air temperature was 42.”

Topics that will be featured in future issues of this newsletter include:

  • Profiles of friars marking their golden and silver jubilees of profession in 2018
  • A friar being honored as a volunteer of the year
  • Recent service trips to Haiti taken by two parishes

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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