Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications 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
Highlights of the Provincial Council’s January meeting were distributed on Jan. 27 to HNP friars. The report contained feedback obtained at the recent listening session that was held last month to enable HNP leaders to hear the minority and immigrant voices of the Province. It is also provided information about the task force on the fraternities and ministries in Boston and in New York City, the Revitalization and Restructuring (R + R) Process, a report from Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, on his recent visits to ministries in Georgia and the Carolinas, the intersession, and updates on the recent meetings of friars involved with senior friar care as well as the FMU directors. The next Provincial Council meeting is on Feb. 21 and 22.
Friars are reminded to submit Chapter proposals by Feb. 15 and to register by Feb. 3 for the one of the spring regional days.

Provincial Councilor William Beaudin, OFM, will be teaching a course next month at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. The March 2 to 30 program, titled “The Book of Exodus: Pattern of Our Lenten Pilgrimage,” will explore the second book of both Jewish and Christian bibles in order to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the Church’s 40-day pilgrimage to Easter according to the informational booklet. Information about all courses offered at St. Francis of Assisi Parish was recently announced on its website. Further information can be obtained by calling the church at 212-736-8500.

St. Paul Parish in Wilmington, Del., has reserved a bus to transport people to St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., so they can attend the priesthood ordination of Mario Gómez, OFM, and Edgardo Jara, OFM, on Feb. 18. According to information that Todd Carpenter, OFM, pastor, posted on Facebook, the bus “departs the church at 8:30 a.m. and returns around 4:30 p.m. The cost is $25 per person to help cover the cost of the bus. Space is limited. Please call the rectory or Fr. Todd to reserve a seat as soon as possible.”

On Monday,  F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, president of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., issued a statement in response to President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order that suspended entry to the United States by individuals from select countries.  He said, “the executive order issued January 27 by President Trump, which immediately suspends entry to the United States by individuals from select countries, is an affront to America’s most cherished ideals,” he said, adding “The president’s executive order should be rescinded immediately. It does not reflect the history or ideals of our nation, our diverse religious heritages, or our colleges and universities.”

►Frank Critch, OFM, is at St. Francis Inn, Philadelphia, this week with a group of students from Mount de Sales Academy, Macon, Ga., who are volunteering at the soup kitchen. Frank has worked at the academy since Fall 2015.

On Jan. 29, postulant Troy Hillman and student friar Christian Seno, OFM, along with several Franciscan Volunteer Ministers attended the 2017 Interfaith Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. They participated, Christian said, “to learn about engaging and dialoguing with our brothers and sisters of diverse faiths to build community and affirm our common good.” Photos were posted on the Holy Name Province JPIC Facebook page.

Also on Sunday, Daniel Horan, OFM, delivered the 2017 Aquinas Lecture in Salt Lake City. It was titled “Learning from Thomas Merton About Living Laudato Si’.” This month, he will be presenting two talks at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Information about Dan’s work can be found on the Daniel P. Horan Facebook page where he recently announced that after four years, he is concluding his writing of columns for America magazine, which is undergoing a change in format.

►David Hyman, OFM, asks that friars continue to publicize the Province’s vocation retreat for Black Catholic men being held from Feb. 10 to 12 in Maryland. “We welcome men to register up to the time of the weekend despite the fact that the flyer says otherwise,” said the chair of the HNP African Ancestry Committee.

On Sunday evening, Jim McIntosh, OFM, participated in a demonstration at Philadelphia Airport that protested the president’s executive order forbidding refugees from nine countries to enter the United States. “It is in times like these that I feel forced to stand with the alienated and excluded. Trump’s order is both un-Christian and un-American,” said Jim, who is stationed at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia and who noticed the demonstrators upon returning from visiting family out of the country. “I was struck by how diverse the crowd was. There were oldsters and children; Christians, Jews, Muslims, and, I presume, a few atheists; whites, African-Americans, Asians, and everything in between. Although the mood of the crowd was anger at Trump’s order, there was no violence or problems that I could see.”

►Dominic Monti, OFM reports that the Commission for the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition (CFIT) held its annual meeting on Jan. 20 and 21 in Denver. All but two of the 18 members of the commission attended. Dominic, who is stationed at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, is chair of the commission; other members of Holy Name Province at the meeting were F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, president of Siena College, the organization’s treasurer, and Gary Maciag, OFM, executive director of the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities. This spring, CFIT will publish a new Franciscan Heritage volume through Franciscan Institute Publications, the first in that series to appear in more than four years. This will be a new volume by Sr. Mary Beth Ingham titled Understanding John Duns Scotus.“This book will be somewhat longer than the earlier Heritage volumes, as it will take major elements of Scotus’ thought and contrast them against the approach of Thomas Aquinas on the same topics; this is important, as Aquinas has tended to dominate mainstream Catholic thinking,” said Dominic. “The early Franciscan sources available on the CFIT site have greatly expanded. The new format is designed to work on mobile phones and tablets and has a search function. Friars working with Secular Franciscans and adult education groups can find brief four-page digests of some significant articles available for download under the “Custodians of the Tradition” page. DVD presentations of some ‘classic’ presentations given over the past 20 to 25 years by some noted Franciscan scholars are also available for purchase on the site, under ‘Retrieving the Tradition.’” All users must register to access these documents on the CFIT site. Information about CFIT can be found on the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition Facebook page and Twitter.

On Jan. 28, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., participated in the Polar Bear Plunge in the Potomac River organized by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network to help raise funds for local grassroots efforts on climate justice. Jacek, chair of the HNP Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, is a member of the Franciscan Action Network’s board and is guardian of St. Camillus Church-Friary in Silver Spring, Md. The first time that Jacek participated in a polar bear plunge for climate change awareness was in 2011. Earlier in the month, Jacek shared a “powerful video that was brought to my attention by one of my fellow parishioners. It is just a few minutes long but it’s so powerful and relevant to our Franciscan efforts to preach the Gospel and the message of mercy and inclusivity.” The video was made at a public school in Montgomery County, Jacek said, and shares how stereotypes affect children.

The friars of St. Bernardine of Siena Friary in Loudonville, N.Y., released a statement on Jan 31 in response to the executive order issued by President Trump on Jan. 27.  It begins, “As Franciscan friars, we are committed to upholding the sacred dignity of every human being. Over the past several days, in reaction to the executive order issued by President Trump, we have heard the pain and fear expressed by some we minister to and with. We stand in solidarity with them. We strongly oppose this executive order and ask the president and his administration to rescind it immediately. Closing our country’s borders to immigrants and refugees based on their ethnic origin and religious beliefs is an act of cruelty and hate.” The text was written as a collaboration by the friars, said Mark Reamer, OFM, guardian. The full statement can be found on Siena College’s website.

Two student friars ­–­ Ramon Razon, OFM, and Christian Seno, OFM – have developed a social media campaign to address immigration issues, saying that the executive order that the president recently signed will adversely affect immigration into the United States. Their Jan. 26 letter to friars and friends says, “Today we are launching a social media campaign to raise awareness and to advocate for our immigrant, migrant, and refugee brothers and sisters.” Ramon and Christian hope that this campaign will serve to remind people that welcoming the stranger is part of our call as disciples of Jesus Christ, who said, “whatever you did for one of these least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25). Information about the campaign and photos of participants can be found in the Holy Name Province JPIC Facebook group.

►Frank Sevola, OFM, and several staff members of St. Mary’s Parish, Pompton Lakes, N.J., where he is pastor, attended the last of four meetings of the Catalyst Learning Group on Millennial Discipleship. “Its members met with teams from nine other parishes around the U.S. for these sessions, where they listened to speakers on the subject of attracting and engaging the millennial generation, reviewed relevant materials and shared ideas and insights with each other, while developing action plans for their own parishes,” According to a story published on The Beacon newspaper, “This [Catalyst Learning Group] has helped St. Mary’s get a handle on what the future holds for us and who is the future. It’s also important to keep the pews filled,” said Frank, who attended previous programs on millennial discipleship..

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Feb. 8 – 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:

  • Advice from friars about living a long life
  • Presentations of the HNP Francis Medal

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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