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 Administration
Two letters from Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, were emailed to friars earlier this month. The first is a message for the Lenten season and the second is a reflection on the “Common Good” that, he said, does not “break open new ground” but shares “thoughts with one hope in mind: that they may invite other brothers to initiate their own conversations.”

The seventh in the “Custodians of the Tradition” series offering four-page summaries of aspects of Franciscan heritage is available in the Friars Only section. The Ongoing Formation page contains the March resource titled “A Franciscan Language for the 21st Century” by Br. William Short, OFM, as well as the other installments in the series.

► Franciscan Media is publishing a series of Lenten reflections by student friar Casey Cole, OFM. They appear each Friday on the Franciscan Media website and Facebook page. More of Casey’s work can be found on his blog, “Breaking in the Habit.”

► On Feb. 25, members of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla., attended the 5th annual parish gala, Havana Nights, an evening of dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Photos of attendees, including George Corrigan, OFM, pastor, as well as Zachary Elliot, OFM, Daniel Kenna, OFM, and Michael Reyes, OFM, can be found on the parish’s Facebook page.

An article in the spring issue of The Fortes, the publication of Bishop Timon – St. Jude High School, describes two alumni who are leading Franciscan universities – F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, who has served as Siena College’s president since 2014, and Dennis DePerro, who will assume the presidency of St. Bonaventure University on June 1. Ed graduated from Timon High School in 1966 and DePerro graduated in 1977. Information about the75-year-old high school in Buffalo, N.Y., can be found on its website and on its Facebook page.

“Of the 16 missions presented by the Franciscan Ministry of the Word this Lent, the winner is Florida,” said Kevin Cronin, OFM. “Six of the 16 missions will be in the Sunshine State, given by John Anglin, OFM, and Daniel Lanahan, OFM, who loves to work with the ‘snowbirds.’ Next is New York, with three on Long Island; one in Middleburgh by Peter Chepaitis, OFM, and Sr. Anna Tantsits, IHM. New Jersey will have three – one in our former friar-parish of Wyckoff, given by me. There will also be one mission in Hilton Head S.C., and one at our University of Georgia in Athens, by Dan.” Information about the MOW schedule is available on the Ministry of the Word website.

► On Saturday, Thomas Gallagher, OFM, served as grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day parade held in Hartford. Thomas has been pastor of St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish in Hartford since 2008. A photo was posted on the parish’s Facebook page.

► Gregory Gebbia, OFM, and Robert Sandoz, OFM, are featured in the current issue of The Anthonian Franciscan magazine, the quarterly publication produced by St. Anthony’s Guild. The spring 2017 issue also includes stories by Russell Becker, OFM, Octavio Duran, OFM, and Patrick Fereday OFM.

► A photo album of the anniversary celebration of The Dwelling Place of NY that was held on Feb. 23 at the Province’s San Damiano Hall in New York City shows board member Michael Harlan, OFM, as well as David Convertino, OFM, Andrew Reitz, OFM, and others involved with the residence for women. The Dwelling Place of NY was established in 1977 by five members of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y.

► On March 7, Joseph Kotula, OFM, gave a talk titled “Contemplative Prayer: the Experience of a Franciscan Friar” at the Olean, N.Y., Meditation Center. The event was covered by the Olean Times-Herald. Joe has lived at Mt. Irenaeus, roughly 15 miles east of Olean, since 1989.

► A photo of Jacques Lapointe, OFM, distributing ashes appeared in the March 2 issue of the Boston Herald in a piece by Raymond Flynn, former mayor of Boston and former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, called “Ash Wednesday Brings Sign of Hope to Come.”

► Hugh Macsherry, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, N.J., is quoted in an article reporting on a press conference held by religious leaders in Camden who showed their support for undocumented immigrants. According to the article, “[Fr. Hugh] said that President Trump’s rhetoric on building a wall between Mexico and the United States, and questions about the future of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program or Dream Act – which saw 700,000 youth who were brought illegally into the United States as children being granted work permits and protected from deportation – has led to a feeling of concern. ‘There is a lot of pain from our people,’ he said. ‘Tears are flowing from their eyes and their hearts.’”

► On the weekend of March 3, historian Dominic Monti, OFM, presented information to the HNP postulants about the history of Holy Name Province as well as the people, places and stories involved with the community’s development. Information as well as photos of the postulants’ activities and programs can be found on the HNP Postulants Facebook page.

► Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, is one of 35 religious leaders who signed a letter “welcoming the Republican resolution on climate change, introduced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Rep. Ryan Costello (PA-6), and 14 other Republican members of Congress. Signatories of the letter, organized by the Friends Committee on National Legislation, include prominent voices from Evangelical, Baptist, Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, and other religious communities,” according to a news release. “This resolution affirms the impacts of climate change, acknowledges that human activity has contributed to these changes, and calls on Congress to work constructively on solutions.”

► On Feb. 24, John O’Connor, OFM, at the request of the pastor, gave a retreat at Holy Family Parish, Dale City, Va., for 25 clergy and lay leaders from one of the larger diocesan-staffed parishes in the Arlington, Va., Diocese. His topics included “characteristics of good leaders, leadership as it translates into effective ministry and a spiritual basis for effective leadership in ministry,” said John.

► The interprovincial post-novitiate community had a Lenten Day of Recollection on March 4 at St. Joseph Friary in Chicago, reports Joseph Rozansky, OFM. “It was presented by three of the solemnly professed students from Blessed Giles community here in Chicago: John Aherne, OFM, and Juan de la Cruz Turcios, OFM, as well as Br. Colin King, OFM, from St. John the Baptist Province.” Joe is vicar of St. Joseph Friary and director of the HNP post-novitiate formation program.

► The Siena College men’s basketball team had an impressive season this year, making it to the championship of the MAAC tournament before losing by one point in overtime. Basil Valente, OFM, who is a member of the Siena board of trustees, provided photos as well as a video of the basketball game that took place on March 6. “Although we lost the tournament by just one point in exciting overtime play, I’m proud to be a Siena graduate and a member of the board of trustees. The Siena team played well and the college can be proud of our many accomplishments in sports, academic and Franciscan service. Go Saints!”

► Christopher VanHaight, OFM, reports that a gathering was held on March 5 at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, N.C., that included more than 1,300 Latinos, Muslims, refugees, immigrants, their families and supporters. They gathered to affirm Durham as a city of inclusion. The event, which was not a protest, was hosted by the N.C. Congress of Latino Organizations and Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods), and was reported on by the News Observer newspaper “As one of the founding members of Durham CAN, Immaculate Conception Church was glad to host the event,” said Chris, pastor of Immaculate Conception since 2014. “As the church with the largest Hispanic population in all of Durham, located near downtown and with a seating capacity of 1,000, we were a natural choice to be the hosts. As a member of the Durham CAN Clergy Caucus, I participated in the action by outlining for those in attendance some of our next steps, including hosting at Immaculate Conception several ‘Know Your Rights’ information sessions and power of attorney clinics for those fearing deportation. It was important to get public commitments from local officials that they will do everything legally possible to protect our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by March 22 – 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:

  • The experiences of two friars serving as general visitors
  • 2017 Provincial Chapter
  • Profiles of Russell Becker, OFM, Eric Carpine, OFM, and other friars marking anniversaries of profession

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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