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
A report about the Provincial Council’s February meeting was emailed last week to friars. It contains information about a discussion the councilors had about “The Name of God is Mercy,” the book by Pope Francis, as well as updates about an assortment of agenda topics: formation and studies, parishes and property, spring regional days, legal matters, the recent visit by the Order’s definitor general, the Franciscan Interprovincial Team’s work,  and reports from several HNP entities: the JPIC Directorate, and the African Ancestry and Wellness committees.

The Center for Arab and Islam Studies at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York recently received commitments for gifts totaling $70,000Michael Calabria, OFM, the center’s director, said, “The generous gifts from the community have had and will continue to have a tremendous effect on promoting education and scholarship in the areas of Arab and Islamic Studies, a mission inspired by St. Francis’ encounter with the Sultan in 1219, and which is critical today for global citizenship.” The center opened last year.

Eric Carpine, OFM, offered a reflection titled “Brokenness” at the Feb. 13 retreat of the Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents. Held at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, the gathering included participants from four states who have lost children to death. Eric’s reflection “beautifully spoke to the brokenness each of us struggles with every day,” said Diane Monaghan, founder of the Emmaus Ministry. “It was a beautiful perspective on the pain that we carry constantly, the hope that gets us through, and the knowledge that some day we will be whole again.” Other friars based at the Shrine, including Thomas Conway, OFM, executive director, also participated in the retreat.

In a video posted earlier this week on his blog Breaking in the Habit, student friar Casey Cole, OFM, describes the historical development of the three branches of the Franciscan Order. To help tell the story, he interviewed Michael Blastic, OFM, and Br. Paul McMullen, TOR. “Many have asked me to explain the difference between the groups and I have always resisted,” Casey said. “While each group is definitely different and I could probably make some generalizations about many of them, there are also exceptions to each generalization and overlaps to difference. Because the groups developed organically over time, it’s hard to make clear distinctions between them; we’re all Franciscan… just a slightly different thread of the same cord.”

On the weekend of Feb. 27, HNP Development Director David Convertino, OFM, is scheduled to lead a Franciscan Challenge at St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J. This initiative, launched in autumn 2012, raises funds from parishioners and other friends of the Province for the support of student friars, senior friars and the Province’s ministries. In the Feb. 21 parish bulletin, Frank Sevola, OFM, pastor, said, “We will welcome Fr. David and other friars who will make the presentation and tell our ongoing story. Last year St. Mary’s Parish raised over $88,000 for the Franciscans! Fr. Richard (Husted), Fr. Gonzalo (Torres), Fr. Joe (Juracek) and I are very grateful to you for your generous support of the friars.”

Earlier this week, Francis Di Spigno, OFM, and Kevin Kriso, OFM, guardians of two friaries in New York’s Southern Tier — St. Bonaventure University and Holy Peace — distributed a joint statement of the Mt. Irenaeus and St. Bonaventure friar communities on the Catholic/Franciscan mission of St. Bonaventure University to the university community. To explain the genesis of this statement, Ross Chamberland, OFM, Dominic Monti, OFM, and Kevin led a panel discussion about the friaries’ relationship to the SBU community as the local representatives of the University’s sponsoring body — Holy Name Province.  They also discussed the implications of the University’s Catholic-Franciscan mission for its life and culture.  

Robert Frazetta, OFM, guardian of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., reports that the earthquake that struck northern New Jersey on Feb. 18 was felt and heard by him and others in the friary. “I heard a loud ‘boom’ about 8 p.m. that made me think that something had happened upstairs, maybe that someone had fallen. I was in my room at the time and my initial thought was that an explosion had occurred, so I checked the floors of the building and checked with Patrick Fereday, OFM, who lives at the friary down the street, and learned that he, too, had felt shaking. “Officers began to investigate after reports of a loud noise came in around 8 p.m.,” Butler police reported via Facebook. A 1.6-magnitude earthquake struck around 8:15 p.m. with an epicenter about a half-mile from Butler and a mile from Bloomingdale, Jessica Turner, a USGS geophysicist based in Golden, Co., said Thursday night, according to a media outlet.

A celebration of the life of the late Angelus Gambatese, OFM, is planned for 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 28 at St. Stephen of Hungary Church in New York City. It will include a Mass followed by a reception in the school auditorium.

Daniel Horan, OFM, is presenting two workshops at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, being held Feb. 25 to 28. Their titles are “Incarnation Anyway: The Spirituality of Why God Became Human” and “The Name of God is Relationship.”

Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, is in Dublin, Ireland, this week at a meeting of the executive committee of the English-speaking Conference. News about the ESC can be found on its website and on social media.

On Feb. 18, Provincial Councilor Joseph Nangle, OFM, spoke to a gathering of Provincial Office staff members — friars and laypeople — about the justice and peace initiatives of Holy Name Province as well as other Franciscan entities. He described the work done by specific ministries such as New York City’s St. Francis Breadline and Philadelphia’s St. Francis Inn, and also described the advocacy work done by the Franciscan Action Network and Franciscans International, among others. The lecture was part of a ongoing education series for staff members.

On Sunday, James Sabak, OFM, led a discussion called “Lent in Drama and Literature” for the 20s/30s Young Adult Group of Anthony Shrine, Boston. Photos can be found in the HNP Young Adult Ministry Facebook group.

A group of students from Siena College is spending a week at St. Francis Inn where they are serving the poor. Dennis Tamburello, OFM, is serving as the spiritual chaperone for this service trip organized by Siena’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy.

Allan Von Kobs, OFM, reminds friars that applications for the Benevolence Trust are due no later than April 1. “Kindly review the guidelines and forms as found on the HNP website,” he said. “You will note that the Benevolence Committee has provided an entirely new format. Applications should be sent electronically to” Questions should be referred to Allan in the Provincial Office.

Last week, Jud Weiksnar, OFM, participated in several gatherings of leaders of justice, peace and integrity of creation in Burlington, Wis. “From Monday through Wednesday morning, we gave a workshop for the novices of the Interprovincial Novitiate, including Eufemio Dimas, Aaron Richardson, and Angel Vasquez, of Holy Name Province. It was based on the OFM publication ‘Pilgrims and Strangers,’ and dealt with the integration of JPIC into our friar life,” said Jud, who is stationed in Buffalo, N.Y. “Each of the animators presented on a different chapter of the publication. The workshop was well received by the novices, and in their feedback some wished they had even more time to discuss JPIC. From Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning, the animators and Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, representing the provincials, met to discuss a variety of topics related to JPIC, including how to implement the mandates of the 2015 General Chapter. ‘Laudato Si’’ was a common topic both at the workshop and the meetings. We discussed how to integrate JPIC throughout initial and ongoing formation. Priorities for the coming years include the issues of mining and extractive practices, immigration, hunger, and presence in areas of conflict. We also discussed how to implement the Order’s theme for the year 2017: ‘Brothers and lesser ones who walk toward justice, peace and the integrity of creation.’” Photos of these events can be found in the HNP JPIC Facebook group.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by March 2, 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:

  • Profiles of Ignatius Harding, OFM, and other friars commemorating jubilees of profession

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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