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 January meeting has been distributed to friars. It describes a conversation about a recently-released document of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life as well as discussions about possible new fraternities-in-mission after Chapter 2017, a report from the Franciscan Interprovincial Team, this summer’s interprovincial reconfiguration meetings, the new House of Prayer in Ringwood, and other items.  The Council members will meet next on Feb. 16 and 17.

Biographies of the 11 friars who died last year are posted on the Development Office’s website. Titled Franciscan Lives Well Lived,” this campaign presents biographical information about Albert Aldrich, OFM, Richard Biasiotto, OFM, James Czerwinski, OFM, Roy Gasnick, OFM, Robert Gavin, OFM, Capistran Hanlon, OFM, Cassian Miles, OFM, John Van Hook, OFM, Thomas Vigliotta, OFM, Allen Weber, OFM, and Rayner Williams, OFM.

Peter Chepaitis, OFM, has had a season “of wonderful experiences in different states and with different people,” he said recently on his Facebook page. Last week, after Masses in Newport and Herkimer, N.Y., he and Sr. Anna Tantsits, IHM, visited an inmate at a prison in nearby Marcy, N.Y., and then had supper with some old friends in Mohawk, “where I had left my violin and changed into my ‘prison visiting’ clothes (no metal zippers or suspenders, etc.). During the previous week, we attended a funeral for an old friend on Monday, and visited and anointed someone who seemed close to death in the afternoon (he is now recovering!). On Tuesday, I covered a daily Mass for Fr. Matt, the local pastor, so he could take a free day. On Thursday, I drove to the Bronx to meet with the Friars in my Emmaus Fraternity of Friars who live singly, then drove to Butler, N.J., to stay with the community there. On Friday, I drove to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J. to play at Mass for my brothers who are sick and visited with a wonderful friar with whom both Anna and I had done parish missions, then I drove back to Middleburgh. On Monday, I rested.”

On Jan. 22, Thomas Cole, OFM, the Province’s archivist, noticed an article in The Record about a building in East Rutherford, N.J., formerly owned by the Province that may be converted into a residence and annex for the Egyptian government’s mission in the United Nations.

Student friar Casey Cole, OFM, posted on his blog last week an interview with Patrick Tuttle, OFM, of Greenville, S.C., about the Year of Mercy. “Not only has Patrick personally shown me great mercy over the years, he was the first friar that I met when I was in college and has been a tremendous influence in my life, inspiring me to be a better Christian, to take leadership in the Church, and to eventually join the Franciscans,” Casey wrote on his blog, Breaking in the Habit. “As a spiritual mentor, follow Franciscan brother and close friend, I wanted to get his take on what this year could mean for me training for the priesthood and for all of us Christians. We came up with three things worth sharing: forgiveness, joy and confession.”

John C. Coughlin, OFM, hosted representatives of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry at the University of Georgia Catholic Center last week. A photo taken at Mass was posted on the UGA Catholic Center’s Facebook page.

David Convertino, OFM, led a Franciscan Challenge fundraising event at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston this weekend. It is part of a series of fundraising events held at ministries of the Province.

The friars of Long Beach Island, N.J., are planning to participate in this year’s Super Plunge on Feb. 7. Kevin Daly, OFM, will jump into the chilly Atlantic Ocean, and James Scullion, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, will give the blessing at the 1 p.m. event that raises money for St. Francis Community Center.

Julian Davies, OFM, asks that friars begin compiling information for the 2016 edition of The Provincial Annals. He has set a deadline of April 15 for ministry updates to be submitted to him for inclusion in the annual publication.

A new book by Kyle Haden, OFM, was published this month. Titled “Anti-Catholicism in American History: A Reinterpretation — Human Identity Needs Theory and the Bible Riots of 1844,” it examines the tumultuous and dangerous religious and social landscape of antebellum America and vividly demonstrates the religious and social constructs that helped define “true American identity,” as this was understood by the Protestant majority and experienced by the influx of new Catholic immigrants of that time. Kyle “offers an energizing prescription for today’s debates around inclusion and exclusion,” according to the book’s description. The book can be purchased through the Franciscan Institute website. Kyle is assistant professor in the School of Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure University.

Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, is returning from Burlington, Wis., on Thursday after having co-facilitated a discernment meeting at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate.

David Hyman, OFM, chair of the HNP African Ancestry Committee, reminds friars to continue publicizing the Feb. 12 to 14 vocation retreat being held in Wilmington, Del., for black men aged 18 to 40. Interested attendees are asked to contact Paul Williams, OFM, pastor of St. Joseph Church where the weekend event is being held.

On Jan. 20, Kevin Kriso, OFM, led a meeting of the HNP Young Adult Ministry Committee whose members are working to enhance the value of the HNP Young Adult Facebook group. The committee members discussed inviting people — both friars and laypeople — who work with young adults to join the group and also creating videos that can be posted in the Facebook group.

Pius Liu, OFM, of Taiwan, reached his 95th birthday on Jan. 24 and celebrated the milestone with several groups of people. He professed his first vows as a Franciscan friar in 1956 and in 2014 commemorated 60 years as a priest.

The members of the board of the OFM English Speaking Conference’s Secretariat for the Retrieval of the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition (CFIT) gathered for their annual meeting from Jan. 22-23 in Denver. HNP friars present at the meeting were Dominic Monti, OFM, (chair), Kevin Mullen, OFM, (provincial liaison with the ESC), and Gary Maciag, OFM (executive director of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities). At the top of the agenda was how best to enhance and publicize the organization’s website. “Over the past year, many early Franciscan sources are gradually being added to the website (under the Resources tab), so it is now possible for users to view the writings of Francis and Clare online, even from tablets and smart phones,” reports Dominic. “Over the next several years, more sources will be uploaded to the site. The board also discussed forthcoming books in the CFIT Franciscan Heritage series. Members heard reports from the Franciscan School of Theology (California), the Franciscan Institute of St. Bonaventure University, AFCU, and the Franciscan Federation, as well as European initiatives, and discussed how best to coordinate efforts to publicize our Franciscan tradition. Although weather in Denver was clear and sunny, travel home for the HNP members was unfortunately delayed and disrupted by the blizzard affecting the East Coast.”

The most recent “Signs of the Times” essay, “America’s Sense of Exceptionalism,” written by Joseph Nangle, OFM, was reprinted in the Jan. 22 issue of the weekly reCap newsletter of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph. A list of the essays that have been published so far is available on

In this month’s issue of the e-newsletter Making All Things New, Daniel Riley, OFM, offers an in-depth look at the life and ministry of Mt. Irenaeus, and he and Kevin Kriso, guardian, offers a new year greeting by video.

On Jan. 18, Patrick Sieber, OFM, joined members of the Brandywine Peace Community to publicly protest the production of weapons at Lockheed Martin in King of Prussia, Pa. The demonstrators defied the frigid temperature to take part in the annual tradition, holding up signs with messages like “Unarmed truth, unconditional love.” Pat said that “approximately 30 brave souls held Lockheed Martin accountable and 12 of us changing King’s quotes were arrested and await a court hearing.”

Earlier this month, 10 students and two chaperones from Siena College went on the fourth annual service immersion trip to St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Fontaine, Haiti. The Jan. 5 to 12 trip was sponsored by Siena’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy. Among the student participants were five freshmen, three juniors, and two seniors. The chaperones were Dennis Tamburello, OFM, professor of religious studies, and Edward “Batman” Travis, assistant director for services, Facilities Department. “The purpose of the trip was to teach English for several days at St. Gabriel’s, and to experience the people and their culture,” said Dennis. “For all of us, the trip was life-changing, as we encountered people who live in dire poverty, yet manifest a joy that is often lacking in our own society. We felt that we received from them far more than we gave.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Feb. 3, 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:

  • HNP Ministry of the Word meeting
  • Profiles of 2016 jubilarians
  • A “Signs of the Times” essay by Michael Calabria, OFM

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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