Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below feature activities of Holy Name friars, including their celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, contact the friars by phone or email, or connect with the HNP Communications Office.

To provide news briefs for future issues of HNP Today, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

John Alderson, OFM, was thanked for his ministry to Bishop Timon–St. Jude High School through an announcement posted on the website of the Buffalo, N.Y., school. “Over the past five decades, Fr. John has had a significant impact on the lives of thousands of Timon students as a teacher, guidance counselor, mentor and friend,” it says. “Fr. John returned to the Timon faculty in 2010 after serving in parish ministry in New Jersey. He has, again, been a favorite teacher of students and parents alike.” The information was also posted on the high school’s Facebook page.

Last weekend, Louis Canino, OFM, hosted a group of nearly 30 people at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, Stoneville, N.C., for the Province’s annual JPIC Local Contacts retreat. Louis and two volunteers of the nine-year-old ministry participated in discussions about methods of advocating for justice and peace initiatives.

Ross Chamberland, OFM, Jeffery Jordan, OFM, and Michael Reyes, OFM, had lunch last weekend with General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM. The three HNP friars are in Italy this month for a retreat before they profess their solemn vows on August 23. The Conventuals hosted them for lunch at the Sacro Convento, where Fr. Michael joined them for the meal.

The Province’s director of development, David Convertino, OFM, distributed a message on July 18 asking those who want to “become a part of the spirit of peace that is the call of St. Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan friars to text or email this phrase to “everyone you know, all your family and friends: ‘Lord, make us instruments of your peace.'” Past messages can be found on the Development Office website.

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, and Gary Maciag, OFM, were part of a recent meeting of the Research Advisory Council for SBU’s Franciscan Institute that determined and announced a three-year schedule of symposia and workshops. Information is posted on the St. Bonaventure University website.

Reflections by Mt. Irenaeus friarsJohn Coughlin, OFM, Joseph Kotula, OFM, Kevin Kriso, OFM, and Daniel Riley, OFM, appear in the July 9 issue of the ministry’s newsletter. The reflections focus on the new chapter of Franciscan Mountain Retreat. They can also be found on the website of the Western New York ministry.

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, announced on July 11 that Carolyn Croke was promoted to the position of executive secretary in the Provincial Office, replacing Theresa Bartha who retired May 31. Croke, who has worked since 2007 as administrative coordinator in the HNP Vocation Office, can be reached at 646-473-0265 ext. 309.

A column titled “Community of Creation by Daniel Horan, OFM, was published in the July 21-28 issue of America magazine. In it, he talks about the special place he has in his “heart for the beauty of deciduous forests. The green trees and shrubs, the rolling hills and glacial valleys, the clear blue lakes and streams illustrate for me the truth of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poetic vision, inspired as it was by the Franciscan John Duns Scotus, that ‘the world is charged with the grandeur of God.’”  On July 19, Dan gave a talk titled “St. Francis Pope Francis and Franciscan Spirituality” in Richardson, Texas.

Robert Lentz, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., is featured in an article in Sojourners magazine titled “An Iconic Faith.” The piece by Patricia Zapor says “Franciscan Brother Robert Lentz is a contradictory blend of traditional and tradition-challenging. That same surprising mix could be said to typify his contemporary approach to the ancient art of iconography.” The article describes the personal, religious and creative sides of his life and includes photos of icons as well as of Michael Reyes, OFM, who studies with Robert. The magazine, whose theme is “Faith in Action for Social Justice,” can be found online.

Erick Lopez, OFM, is accepting registrants for the Province’s Sept. 5 to 7 Spanish Vocation Retreat at Holy Name College, Silver Spring, Md. He can be reached at 301-434-8400 and Detailed information about the retreat – including a flyer – published in the May 28 issue of HNP Today gave Aug. 1 as the registration deadline.

Jim McIntosh, OFM, was quoted in The Boston Globe’s July 17 story titled “A Prayer is only a text away at St Anthony Shrine.” Jim, who this spring started the service for texting prayer requests to the friars of the Arch Street community, said that he decided to create a texting service “specifically tailored to St. Anthony because of texting’s popularity especially among younger members.” The following day, the Globe article was mentioned on NBC’s Today show.

A note from Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, distributed on July 18 notified HNP friars that they will soon be receiving fraternal letters of obedience to become members of a specific friar fraternity. Though the roles differ, Kevin emphasized that “what is common to all of us is that we are called to live in fraternity and to share our lives with our brothers.” He followed this communication with an email on July 21 that provided suggested discussion questions about the article “Wake Up the World! Conversation with Pope Francis about the Religious Life” that the Provincial Council recommends be read by all friars.

Over the last few weeks, farewell receptions for many friars have been held at ministries around the Province. Among those being honored were Sean O’Brien, OFM, who is leaving Tampa, Fla., and moving to Siena College,Christopher VanHaight, OFM, who is leaving Paterson, N.J., for Durham, N.C., and Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, who is moving to Holy Name of Jesus Church Friary on New York City’s Upper West Side.

To mark the ninth anniversary of the friars’ arrival at Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla., a collage of friars who have been stationed at the Tampa parish was created and shared last week through a parish e-newsletter and social media. Andrew Reitz, OFM, was the first pastor, serving from 2005 until 2011. Other friars pictured includeRoch Coogan, OFM, Zachary Elliott, OFM, Barry Langley, OFM, Juan Turcios, OFM, and George Corrigan, OFM, the current pastor.

Joseph Rozansky, OFM, director of the Order’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, encourages friars and their partners-in-ministry to plan commemorations of Nov. 29 – the 35th anniversary of naming of St. Francis as the patron of those who promote ecology. In a letter dated July 15, he wrote, “I ask that you consider using these materials on or around Nov. 29, as a way to remind people of the critical situation that we face in our world today in regard to the environment. John Paul II called all of us to ‘ecological conversion,’ Benedict reminded us that the earth is our home and that we need to protect it, and that this task should happen not only within the Church, but in the public sphere as well; and Pope Francis, in the spirit of Francis of Assisi, has made love for God’s creation a cornerstone of his message. Although no date has yet been announced, the pope is currently working on an encyclical that will deal with the environment. Please consider preparing a commemoration of this date for later this year. If possible, plan it in cooperation with the Franciscan family in your area, and with your ecumenical and interreligious contacts as well. Francis of Assisi continues to fascinate and attract people to his way of living the Gospel. Let’s take advantage of this fact, and of the enormous goodwill generated by Pope Francis, and use this celebration as a way to promote dialogue and a common respect and concern for our Sister Mother Earth.” A website called Franciscans for Ecologylaunched earlier this year — provides images, prayers and reflections, as well as the 1979 declaration by Pope John Paul II.

St. Bonaventure University has announced that Peter Schneible, OFM, assistant professor of biology, will oversee the administration of a grant received from the National Science Foundation that will help recruit talented students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. The five-year grant of nearly $600,000 will allow the university to provide more need-based aid to talented students who might otherwise be unable to attend the university, according to information on the SBU website. “St. Bonaventure has always taken seriously its role as a mentoring community so this program is a perfect fit for us,” said Peter, who will serve as principal investigator. Information about the Discovery Within Community program to recruit for the fall 2015 freshman class is available from Peter at and 716-375-2538.

On July 12, James Scullion, OFM, pastor of St. Francis Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., participated in the annual blessing of the Fleet,” an interdenominational event. A photo of James on a Coast Guard cutter with other faith leaders was posted July 13 on the Facebook page of St. Francis of Assisi Parish.

An article about Jud Weiksnar, OFM, was published by the Philadelphia Inquirer in the July 10 issue. The story, titled “Departing pastor leaves legacy of quiet activism in Camden,”  describes how “the mild-mannered priest fought politely but assertively for the Cramer Hill section of the city. He spearheaded the restoration of Von Nieda Park, once labeled one of the most depressing parks in the country, ministered individually to countless parishioners and empowered a community of middle school students to push City Hall for promised changes to their neighborhood. Hugh Macsherry, OFM, the new pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, said Jud was “a great mentor in terms of showing how to take our faith outside the church and into the community. He will be tremendously missed.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by July 30, always the Wednesday before the newsletter’s publication. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future issues include:

  • Simple profession of Abraham Joseph, OFM, on August 2
  • Meeting in Wisconsin from Aug. 3 to 6 of administrations of all OFM provinces in United States
  • Reception of new novices on Aug. 15

 Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas