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
Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, distributed a letter on July 8 urging friars to recognize “that the current context of our world has a profound impact upon the way we choose to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the 21st century,” referencing the “senseless loss of life in Istanbul, Dhaka, Bagdad, Orlando, Falcon Heights (Minnesota), Baton Rouge and Dallas.” He said that Franciscans “must now more than ever, choose peace and we must witness to the value of non-violence.” Recommending that friars respond now to the violence and injustice that is occurring, Kevin proposed that each HNP fraternity “begin to pray, reflect, discuss and plan how they can celebrate our annual Franciscan Feast of the Portiuncula on Aug. 2 in a manner that promotes forgiveness, healing, justice and peace.”
Friars are asked to submit to the Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, by July 14 any changes to member lists of HNP committees and directorates. The information will be included in the 2016-17 HNP Directory.

►John Aherne, OFM, George Camacho, OFM, and Edgardo Jara, OFM, are in Italy participating in the traditional solemn vows retreat. A photo of them with the 15 other retreat participants was posted July 4 on A video of John speaking in front of St. John Lateran Church in Rome was posted July 6 on the Be A Franciscan Facebook page. John, George and Edgardo plan to profess their final vows as Franciscans on Aug. 27.

An article about Mathias Doyle, OFM, who died last month, is included in the July 2016 issue of the Mt. Irenaeus e-newsletter. The piece, “Celebrating Freedom in Christ and Remembering Fr. Mathias,” by Dan Riley, OFM, animator of Mt. Irenaeus, includes a photo taken in 1989 that shows Mathias and Dan. The issue also includes information about the May visit of the Provincial Council to the Mountain, the acceptance of Mountain companion Jason Damon into the HNP Postulancy program, and the Sept. 16 to 18 celebration of Dan’s 50th anniversary as a friar.

St. Anthony Messenger magazine features Mario Gomez, OFM, in the July 2016 issue’s “The Followers of St. Francis” series.  The article describes Mario’s work at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he served as director of the Latino ministry, a program that has grown through the years. “The Peruvian Franciscan is sensitive to the needs of immigrants in the United States, which flows out of not only his own firsthand experience as an immigrant, but also his faith,” says the article titled “All Are Welcome.”  Next month, Mario, who worked at the Shrine until last month when he moved to Durham, N.C., will be ordained a transitional deacon.

►Daniel Horan, OFM, presented three keynote addresses at the Secular Franciscan USA Quinquennial Congress held June 30 to July 4 in St. Louis, an event that attracted roughly 620 people. Their themes were “Mercy and Minority in the Franciscan Tradition” and focused on the “signs of the times” respectively, “Poverty and Creation” (Friday), “Violence and Peacemaking” (Saturday), and “Racism and Xenophobia” (Sunday), according to Dan, who provided a photo taken by Robert Stronach, OFS. In the weeks preceding, Dan participated in other events around the country. They included the Catholic Theological Society of America conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from June 9 to 12, where he delivered an academic paper titled “The Fundamental Theology of Bernard Cooke.” Dan also taught a June 9 to 12 course at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago on Christology titled “God Became Human, Not Because of Sin.” He gave a keynote lecture for Felician Service, Inc., on June 15 for an annual leadership conference in Chicago titled “Engaging in Merciful Leadership and Service in the Franciscan Tradition” and gave a retreat from June 19 to 22 for the Benedictine Monks of St. Mary Abbey in Morristown, N.J., on “Engaging Laudato Si in Faith and Action.” Dan will be teaching a course from July 17 to 23 at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry titled “Rereading Thomas Merton for the 21st Century”

Four friars are participating in the Province’s 2016 JPIC Local Contacts Retreat, being held July 15 to 17 at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, N.C. They are David Hyman, OFM, who is stationed there, as well as Joseph Kotula, OFM, of West Clarkesville, N Y., Robert Menard, OFM of Clemson, S.C.,  and Jim McIntosh, OFM, of Philadelphia.

The late Mychal Judge, OFM, was the subject of a July 5 American Facebook post. The description of the first recorded casualty of Sept. 11 is an excerpt from the recently published book, Faith Under Fire: Dramatic Stories of Christian Courage by Matthew Archbold.

►William McIntyre, OFM, asks for assistance in locating statues for the new St. Anthony Parish near St. Peter Claver Church in Macon, Ga., where he is pastor, Williams asks that any friars or partners-in -ministry who know of available small — roughly three feet — or large – four to five feet in height — statues of St. Anthony of Padua to let him know by email.

On June 19, St. Francis Inn held a block party for guests and residents of the Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia, an annual event since 1990. A description of the festivities, with photos — including one of a former Franciscan Volunteer Minister Steven Patti, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh, N.C. — was published in the June 2016 issue of The Pilgrim newsletter.“We served 500 chicken dinners to our guests,” according to the St. Francis Inn Facebook page. “After the meal was over, many people stayed for a couple of hours of music and dancing. We had entertainment and games for the children. The DJ for the event was our Franciscan brother Patrick Tuttle, OFM, from Greenville, S.C. We are very grateful to our volunteers and benefactors for making this event possible for our guests.”

In June, Matthew Pravetz, OFM, was named a dean of pre-clinical sciences at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y. According to his brother, who like Matthew is a physician, one year ago, New York Medical College Alumni Affairs awarded him with the prestigious Distinguished Service Award. “Unbeknownst to him, I flew from South Africa for the award dinner and gave a short presentation of his life as priest and professor,” said Michael Pravetz in an email to the Communications Office. “At the end of last year, he was promoted to full professor with lifetime tenure ­— a feat reached by only a handful of academics. Last week, he was appointed dean of the Medical College. His over three-decade association with NYMC has impacted generations of medical students. As a physician myself working in South Africa, I am well aware of his highest reputation internationally — for which I am very proud. This year, during his January visit here, he presented the first Grand Rounds for the academic year at the world famous Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital — where the first heart transplant was performed by its namesake in 1967.”

►Ramón Razón, OFM, reports that the LGBT and Young Adult ministries of St. Francis Assisi Parish in New York City welcomed 40 guests to a screening of “Making a Killing: Guns, Greed, and the NRA” on June 29. “Participants in small discussion groups expressed mixed feelings of frustration, anguish and hope. Everyone agreed that viewing ‘Making a Killing’ is important in shaping the conversation on gun violence. Many observed that the film tackled the complex circumstances of the victims and survivors who had to confront dismissive and oppressive political methods that dismantle their efforts towards any sensible gun reform. The discussion groups echoed the challenge of being able to show inclusive concern and love towards our families and communities as an anchor to any action against gun violence. Some felt that the tipping point has not yet arrived because of what they perceived to be the complicit and complacent response of citizens after gun-related tragedies are reported in the national news. Some participants stressed the role of young people in carrying out the message of peace in the issue of gun violence, which they said is always a Franciscan priority. The YA and LGBT planning committee offered the participants an on-line access to the materials and other resources provided by Brave New Films, which they can use to start conversations, petitions and advocacy in their families and communities: God and Guns, an inter-faith initiative to train faith leaders to acquire the skills and tools to mobilize their faith communities responding to gun violence, was also offered to the participants. God and Guns will take place in the fall and is initiated by Rev. Amy Butler at the Riverside Church. More information is available online.”

►Joseph Rozansky, OFM, and John Ullrich, OFM, were mentioned in a cover story in the July 7 issue of SJB News Notes, the newsletter of St. John the Baptist Province.  “At the Provincial Friary in Chicago, They’re Expecting a Full House,” describes the expansion that is underway at St. Joseph Interprovincial Friary in Chicago, where Holy Name’s post-novitiate formation program is moving this fall.

►Patrick Tuttle, OFM, was pictured in the June 24 issue of the Greenville Journal with students from St. Anthony School, who celebrated the beatitudes this year with a special program. “Each class chose one of the beatitudes to study,” said Susan Cinquemani of the school’s mission advancement team. “Preschoolers worked on being peacemakers. First grade collected canned goods for the parish food pantry to serve the hungry. Sixth graders studied all eight beatitudes and created a globe to illustrate the beatitudes all around the world. These lessons continued through all the grades. Children talked about being selfless, about learning to be humble, and showing respect for all people. The activity culminated in a program featuring songs and activities that embraced these Beatitude messages. Each student received a special T-shirt to remind them of goodness in a continuing way. The project was supported by a grant from the National Black Catholic Congress.” More information about St. Anthony’s activities can be found in the school’s newsletter, which was recently updated with a new format.

The Vocation Office staff is pleased to announce that 10 men have been accepted to the Province’s postulancy program by the HNP Board of Admissions. According to Basil Valente, OFM, vocation director, “this is significantly higher than the national average as reported in the annual CARA Report, which said that more than two in three superiors of U.S. based religious orders reported no new postulants in 2015. One in seven reported one new entrant and one in five reported two or more.”   The HNP Vocation Office staff is “particularly thankful to the regional vocation directors and to all the friars for their wonderful witness and ministry with those discerning a vocation with the Franciscans,” he said. Basil and his staff submitted a 20-page vocation year-end report to the Provincial Administration earlier this month. Information about the HNP Vocation Office can be found on the Be a Franciscan website and Facebook page.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by July 20 — 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:

  • Jubilarian profile of Francis Di Spigno, OFM
  • First profession of vows on August 2
  • An update from Dominic Monti, OFM, about membership trends of the Order of Friars Minor

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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