Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas 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
The Provincial Council members are meeting this week in New York City. Their agenda included hosting a listening session on Tuesday morning for friars concerned about the presidential transition. Roughly 25 people participated. In the Council’s letter inviting the friars, the goal for the session was expressed as follows: our hope is that this session will allow the leadership of the Province “to hear the minority and/or immigrant voices of our Province and to understand better how those friars have been affected by the election as well as by life in a majority-white Province.” The listening session was hosted in response to concerns expressed to the Council specifically about the need to respond to difficulties faced by minority and/or immigrant friars in our Province, that have been exacerbated by the current political climate in the United States.

Eight friars from Holy Name Province attended the first of two interprovincial retreats in Arizona last week. John Anglin, OFMWilliam Beaudin, OFM, Robert Frazzetta, OFM, Michael Joyce, OFM, Joseph Kotula, OFM, Kevin Kriso, OFM, Richard McFeely, OFM, Daniel Riley, OFM, and Basil Valente, OFM, appear in a photo submitted by Basil. The theme of the gatherings is “Change for the Sake of God’s Reign.”

Earlier this month, several HNP members participated in an interprovincial gathering of friars involved with caring for the sick, aged and retired friars. They were Joseph Cavoto, OFM, Robert Frazzetta, OFM, Joseph Hertel, OFM, and Richard McFeely, OFM. This meeting is one of several being held by members and staff of OFM provinces who work at similar ministries across the United States. Next month, vocation directors and ongoing formation directors as well as communication representatives from across the country will meet to discuss how to execute their roles on an interprovincial scale.

►Brian Jordan, OFM, celebrated a baccalaureate Mass before the winter commencement ceremony on Jan. 9 at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N.Y., where he is director of the college’s campus ministry. A story titled “St. Francis College Winter Graduates Celebrate Year, Look Toward Future” said that Brian honored the memory of the college’s president, Brendan Dugan, ‘68, who died in December “by reminding those in attendance that it was Dugan who stressed the importance of holding a Baccalaureate Mass immediately before Winter Commencement. Brian said that Dugan believed in the importance of everyone coming together to pray, no matter their religion, as a way to express the unity of the entire St. Francis College family.”

Several media outlets mentioned the late Mychal Judge, OFM, in their coverage of the life of NYPD detective Steven McDonald, who died on Jan. 10 after living 30 years since being shot and paralyzed in in the line of duty. In The Daily Beast’s Jan. 15 story titled “The Cop Who Forgave His Killer,” writer Michael Daly described the impact that the FDNY chaplain had on McDonald beginning with when “into their lives strode a figure in sandals and a brown Franciscan robe who had a joyful smile and voice as if out of Steven’s better dreams. Fr. Mychal Judge recited a prayer that he himself had learned at St. Francis Preparatory School in Brooklyn.” The writer said that after the injured policeman left the hospital in a motorized wheelchair, “he remained able to breathe only with the aid of a ventilator as he embarked on a decades-long enactment of the principles in the Prayer of Saint Francis. He spoke at schools about the importance of forgiveness and made pilgrimages of reconciliation to Northern Ireland and the Middle East.” Daly is the author of The Book of Mychal, published in 2008. The New York Times obituary of McDonald, titled “Steven McDonald, Paralyzed Officer who Championed Forgiveness, Dies at 59,” wrote of McDonald making “trips to Northern Ireland in the cause of reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants, accompanied by Fr. Mychal Judge, the chaplain of the New York City Fire Department. Fr. Judge was killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center when debris rained down on him while he was ministering to victims.”

On Jan. 13, Christopher Keenan, OFM, along with close to 30 other priests, concelebrated the Mass of Christian Burial for NYPD detective Steven McDonald at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. McDonald, who died on Jan. 10, gained fame and respect for the inspiration he gave during the 30 years he lived as a quadriplegic after being injured in the line of duty. Christopher said of the death of McDonald, who he knew through his role as FDNY chaplain and through the involvement both men had with the 9/11 Walk of Remembrance, “I am sad but grateful that he is with Mychal and the Risen Lord. The Mass was quite a wonderful testimony and a great sendoff. The homily was beautiful as were the readings.” The homily was given by Msgr. Seamus O’Boyle, a cousin of McDonald’s wife Patti Ann.

In an article published Jan. 15 in the Independent Mail newspaper of Anderson, S.C., Daniel McLellan OFM, described the upcoming expansion of St. Andrew’s Church in Clemson, S.C., where he is pastor. “The chapel can now accommodate 280 people, but that isn’t big enough to handle all of the retirees and university students and employees who have streamed into the city over the last decade,” said Dan in “Clemson Church Gearing Up for Expansion.” St. Andrew will stay right where it is, Dan said. “The parish has acquired surrounding properties to repurpose for parish programs and/or be incorporated into planned new building and parking footprints. The church has been looking for land since before I came here in 2012, but we never found a site that was suitable,” said Dan, who oversees the parish with help from Clemson University campus minister Bob Menard, OFM.”

►Sean O’Brien, OFM, and Dennis Tamburello, OFM, returned this week from Haiti where they chaperoned 15 Siena College students for the annual service trip to St. Gabriel’s School. “The school was founded by Pierre-Louis Joizil, a native Haitian and a graduate of Siena College. It is a middle/high school that enrolls from 7th to 13th grade. We spent the week teaching English to all grades.” Sean is associate director of Siena’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy and Dennis, who provided a photo, is professor of religious studies.

In anticipation of the presidential inauguration, student friar Ramon Razon, OFM, recommends a Novena for Peace and Justice created by religious and lay partners. This group collaborated “to help the people of God, especially those affected by the impact of legitimized and normalized marginalization and exclusion in the past 18 months leading to this day, to enter into the wellsprings of prayer, reflection and discernment. Our hearts are set on peace and justice, and we stand before God’s desire to bring peace and justice into our relationships and to all of God’s creation.” The novena can be found on

►James Scullion, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., joined parishioners in saying farewell and thank you to Connie Becraft, who retired Dec. 30 from her position as director of St. Francis Community Center. In an article in The Monitor newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton, N.J., Jim said he came to know Becraft as both a parishioner and through her work at the center. “Connie’s work has touched many people of different faiths [as well as people with no faith tradition],” Jim said. “She has a great passion for her job, a great concern for the poor and outcast, and has embodied the teachings of Jesus and the vision of St. Francis of Assisi.” Of her presence in the parish and center alike, Jim added, “I think people see her as a compassionate leader.” A photo in the article shows Jim addressing Becraft, who worked at the center for 33 years, during a prayer service honoring her commitment.

On Jan. 14, student friar Christian Seno, OFM, and others from Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., joined parishioners from St. Camillus Church and hundreds of immigrants for a rally in support of immigrant rights. “Now, more than ever, we are called to show solidarity with marginalized voices, including immigrants, people of color, women, and other minorities,” he said on the HNP JPIC Facebook page, where he posted photos.

This weekend, vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, is hosting a discernment weekend with the friars in St. Petersburg and Tampa, Fla.  Also this weekend, associate vocation director Gonzalo Torres-Acosta, OFM, will be speaking at all the Masses at Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, N.C. Next month, Gonzalo and administrative coordinator Benjamin Simpson will join Stephen DeWitt, OFM, for a retreat for high school students on Feb. 2 at Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, N.J. The following weekend, the African Ancestry Committee will host a vocation retreat for Black Catholic men at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md. Later in the spring, Basil and Gonzalo will join the friars of St. Anthony Shrine in hosting a “Come and See”/Discernment Weekend in Boston from April 21 to 23. More information about upcoming vocation events is available on

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Jan. 25 – 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:

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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