Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name Province friars, featuring 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
The Provincial Administration is preparing a series of six fraternal gatherings for the members of the Province. From Feb. 5 through April 6, friars will meet at sites from New England to Florida to discuss issues related to elder care, fraternal ecology, the Order’s plenary council document, a presentation by the HNP Racial Action Committee, and the Revitalization and Restructuring Process. All HNP friars in active ministry were asked to register by Jan. 21 for one of the gatherings.
Highlights of the Provincial Council’s January meeting were distributed last week by Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM. It included information about discussions on the homy delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr. on Nov.17, 1957  titled “Loving Your Enemies,” updates on the Franciscan Education Initiative in New York State, the closing of Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., the winter fraternal gatherings, the Revitalization and Restructuring Process, and an interim report on the progress of the Fraternal Ecology process. The Council’s next meeting is Feb. 19 to 20.
The inaugural issue of Friars Forward, a newsletter produced by the communication representatives of the six provinces participating in the Revitalization and Restructuring Process was distributed last month to friars around the country. This new publication is meant to provide news as well as human interest information before and after the interprovincial Chapter of Mats being held this summer.

► Student friar Angel Vazquez, OFM, has graduated from Denmark College in Chicago, Ill. He passed the Illinois State barber licensing exam on Jan. 28.

► St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School in Greenville, S.C., was selected by the student council of St Joseph Catholic School, also in Greenville, as the recipient of this year’s Spirit Week fundraising. One of the main events of Spirit Week, which ran from Jan. 18 to 25, was a color run and cookout on the St. Anthony campus organized by the SJCS student council. Despite a chill in the air, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon filled with fun and fellowship, according to St. Anthony communications manager Susan Cinquemani, who said that “runners and walkers of all ages participated in the joy-filled and very colorful event.” Among the participants were Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor, and Roberto “Tito” Serrano, OFM, an intern at the parish. Photos of the event, provided by Cinquemani can be found on the Facebook pages of St. Anthony of Padua School and the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.  St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School was presented with a check for more than $41,000 at a halftime ceremony during a basketball game at SJCS that concluded Spirit Week.

James Scullion, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., gave the blessing on Sunday at the 15th annual SuperPlunge into the Atlantic. The event – held every year on Super Bowl Sunday – raises money to benefit the St. Francis Community Center and the swim teams of Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin. Close to 150 participants took the plunge and were home in plenty of time for the big game. The water temperature was 36 degrees that day and the air was not much warmer – just 43 degrees.

Steven Patti, OFM, and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh, N.C., welcomed a refugee family to its community on Jan. 17. The family of seven – five children and their parents – arrived in Raleigh from the Democratic Republic of Congo after ring life in refugee camps in Tanzania and Rwanda for nearly 20 years. After an exhausting three-day journey, they arrived tired but relieved, according to the St. Francis of Assisi Parish website. St. Francis partners with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to bring refugee families to Raleigh. “Simply-put, refugees are displaced people who have been forced to leave their country of origin and cannot return home safely, owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion,” said parish staff member Tricia Henry. “They have completed the lengthy process required to enter the United States legally. Our parish community greets the new families and volunteers to ensure they have everything they need to settle into their new home. Our focus then shifts to helping the family thrive with a support circle to help them find jobs, have a smooth transition into school, and join a church community. St. Francis volunteers visit with them, help with medical appointments, and assist with registering for school.”

► Last week, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, met with the provincials of the other five OFM provinces participating in the Revitalization and Restructuring Process. He and the leaders of Assumption BVM, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart, St. Barbara, and St. John the Baptist provinces gathered in Albuquerque, N.M., from Jan. 28 to 30 to evaluate various aspects of the revitalization and restructuring initiative. Friars across the country voted on this initiative last May at chapters held at each of the six provinces.

Robert Menard, OFM, campus chaplain at Clemson University in northwest South Carolina, was quoted in a recent article in the Anderson Independent newspaper titled “Religion on Clemson University’s Campus: Roadblocks Remain in Interfaith Dialogue.” “In our predominantly secular culture, there is a silent agreement that we don’t talk about religious, or if we do, we only talk about it in terms of practical acceptance,” he said in the article. “We don’t see how the values fostered by our various traditions have the capacity to allow us to work together and to be motivated toward making a better world.”

Pius Liu, OFM, of Taiwan, turned 98 years old on Jan. 24. The friar who professed his first vows as a Franciscan in 1956, said in an HNP Today article two years ago that his “secrets of enjoying relatively good health up to now are the following: the grace of God, early sleeping and early rising, regular and reasonable meals and persevering daily physical exercises, as well as practicing humility, gratitude and joy.”

► On Jan. 25, Michael Harlan, OFM, delivered the invocation at the 2019 Alumni Hall of Fame and Reunion Celebration of his alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas College. New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who had received an honorary from the college at its May 2018 commencement, was a special guest at the reunion celebration, which was held at the Park Ridge Marriott in New Jersey. Michael, 1978 graduate of the Sparkill, N.Y., college, serves on the STAC’s board of trustees.

► The St. Bonaventure University friary hosted its first spring semester gathering of the SBU Men’s Discernment Fraternity on Jan. 29. Participants gathered for a 4:30 p.m. Mass at the friary chapel, where Kyle Haden, OFM, presided and preached. “We were later joined by additional students (who couldn’t make the Mass due to class times) for a wonderful dinner. Twenty students were with the friars for a great evening of worship, reflection, feasting, and fraternity,” according to Ross Chamberland, OFM, assistant vice president for student engagement and a regional vocation director, who provided photos of the event. The group included all of the HNP members who live at the Bonaventure friary as well as two friars from Mt. Irenaeus – Kevin Kriso, OFM, and Joseph Kotula, OFM.

Francis Di Spigno, OFM, participated in Panama in the Capital – a day-long World Youth Day event in Washington, D.C., with Amanda Naujoks, director of St. Bonaventure University’s San Damiano Center for Pastoral and Liturgical Ministry. Nearly 20 St. Bonaventure students participated in the Jan. 26 event. “This was a one-day World Youth Day event held ‘locally,’ rather than going down to Panama,” said Francis, executive director of university ministries at SBU.

Casey Cole, OFM, announced last week that he has begun a video series titled Understanding the Mass. He said on Facebook that the videos will explain what the liturgy means and why we call it the “source and summit.” Along with student friar Tito Serrano, Casey also produces a podcast series called “Everyday Liminality.” News about Casey’s projects can be found on his Facebook page.

John Anglin, OFM, wrote on his blog, The Wandering Friar, a description of a recent retreat for senior friars held in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he lives. In a piece titled “I Have Done What Is Mine to Do: May Christ Teach You What Is Yours to Do,” John, a member of HNP Ministry of the Word, describes the Jan. 28 to 31 retreat, as well as his thoughts on aging.

John Aherne, OFM, is teaching Irish step dancing. An announcement in the bulletin of St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., where he is stationed, invites all to “kick up their heels and learn to dance a jig or two in time for St. Patrick’s Day. John’s five-week class is a great opportunity to meet some friends and share a few laughs. No previous dancing experience is required, says the bulletin announcement. All you need are some comfortable shoes and a willing spirit!” The course is being taught on Tuesday evenings from Feb. 12 to March 12.

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

  • Profiles of friars marking 50-year and 25-year jubilees of profession in 2019
  • A recent visit by a friar to the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Impact of the government shutdown on ministries

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

Editor’s note: The format of Friar News Briefs lists, in alternating issues, names organized by friars’ last names, in ascending (A to Z) order, followed — in the next issue — by names listed in descending (Z to A) order.

Related Links

“Friar News Briefs” – Jan. 23, 2019, HNP Today

“Ministry of the Word: Into the Future with Holy Name’s Tradition” — Dec. 18, 2017, HNP Today

“General Minister Encourages Creation of Organic Discernment Communities” — Sept. 2, 2015, HNP Today

“Greenville’s St. Anthony of Padua School Completes New Building” – June 5, 2013, HNP Today

“Friars Take Part in Polar Plunges to Raise Awareness, Funding” – Feb. 10, 2016, HNP Today

“HNP Ministries Tackle Super Bowl Activities” – Feb. 5, 2014, HNP Today