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, 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 letter from Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, about the process of revitalization and restructuring of Franciscan life in the United States was distributed on Friday to all HNP friars. With it was a letter and materials to be discussed at house chapters.
The 2014-15 HNP Directory has been updated and put on the Friars Only section of the Provincial website. It includes changes in friar contact information since the book was printed last year.

A reflection by student friar Casey Cole, OFM, is scheduled to be published on March 30 in a blog series of Lent reflections by millennials. Each day, a different young Catholic shares a reflection to be posted on the Franciscan Mission Service, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Millennial blogs.

►Angelo Gambatese, OFM, appears in a photo in the slideshow that accompanied a March 5 article in The New York Times about the death of Cardinal Edward Egan, archbishop of New York. The photo was taken in January 2009 when Cardinal Egan visited St. Stephen of Hungary School on New York City’s Upper East Side, where Angelo was pastor of the parish. The Province’s director of communications, Jocelyn Thomas, also appears in the photo.

►Daniel Horan, OFM, of Boston, gave two talks at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress last weekend. They were titled: “Incarnation Anyway: The Christology of St. Francis and Thomas Merton” and “Franciscan Spirituality Today: A New Way of Seeing the World.” On March 12, he gave a lecture at King’s University College in London, Ontario, Canada, titled: “Connecting to Faith and Spirituality in the Digital Age: A Franciscan Perspective.” Earlier in the month, Dan was in New Jersey and in Florida. He presented a keynote speech at the assembly of the U.S. region of the Voluntas Dei secular institute in Newark, N.J., from March 6 to 7. From Feb. 28 to March 4, he gave a Lenten mission at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Pensacola, Fla. Photos taken at these events can be found on Facebook. On March 23, Dan, a resident of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, is scheduled to speak to the post-novitiate formation community of the Capuchin Province of St. Mary in Jamaica Plain, Mass.

A drawing of Daniel Hurley, OFM, was posted on the Mt. Irenaeus Facebook page on March 13 to mark the five-year anniversary of the friar’s death. The page also shows photos of Louis McCormick, OFM, and Daniel Riley, OFM, leading gatherings across the United States. Podcasts by Dan Riley, along with online meditations and event information, can be found on the website of the 30-year-old Franciscan mountain retreat.

►Michael Johnson, OFM, pastor of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, has recently added several posts to his blog, Reflections of a Franciscan Gardener. The March 10 entry is titled “Why I Stopped Writing and Why I Began Again.”

During a Latino retreat held last week at St. Camillus Parish, Erick Lopez, OFM, collected written commitments from whose who plan to participate in the Lenten Fast for Climate Justice on March 16. “At the end of the retreat, 191 people had signed and made a commitment to participate in the fast,” said Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, who provided photos.

►Kevin Mackin, OFM, returned to Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, N.Y., for the inauguration of Anne Carson Daly as sixth president of the college. Kevin, who now lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., was president until spring 2014.

►Jeremiah McGinley, OFM, of Butler, N.J., participated in the annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities at St. Anne’s Parish, Fair Lawn, N.J. He has served as master of ceremonies for this parade for 25 years, since he was vicar of St. Anne’s Parish when it was staffed by Holy Name Province.

►Cassian Miles, OFM, has concluded his role as proofreader for the Province’s newsletter. Since 2005, when he retired as HNP Communications Director, Cassian has reviewed the text of HNP Today articles, bringing to the attention of the communications staff errors in punctuation and spelling, as well as recommendations regarding the publication’s content. Cassian, currently a resident of Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., served as the Province’s director of communications for more than 35 years. “Fr. Cassian’s wisdom and insights have been extremely valuable, as has his attention to detail,” said Jocelyn Thomas. “He kept his focus on our main audience – the friars – encouraging us to publish relevant news and to always research – to ‘dig’ – for details.  During his 60 years as a friar, Cassian has seen communication methods change and he’s kept up with the times. Maria (Hayes) and I are very grateful for his advice and support.”

►John O’Connor, OFM, returned from Rome on Friday where he discussed finances and fundraising with leaders of the Order. “The purpose of my visit was threefold,” said John, a resident of Triangle, Va., “(1) to meet with General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, and the General Definitorium to discuss the role of and need for fundraising in the Order, (2) to meet with the directors of the major departments in the Curia such as the director of formation for the Order, the director of the office of the missions, the director of JPIC, Joseph Rozansky, OFM, to discuss specific funding needs, and (3) to meet with the new rector and administrators of the Antonianum, our Franciscan Pontifical University, to discuss fundraising efforts for the university. It was a good series of meetings.”

►Andrew Reitz, OFM, led a mini-retreat on March 12 at the novitiate of the Franciscan Sisters of Peekskill, N.Y. His visit took place during National Catholic Sisters Week. A photo of Andrew, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, appeared on the Facebook page of the Peekskill Sisters and was shared on the Province’s Facebook.

As a means of spreading the Franciscan message through social media, vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, and his assistant, Benjamin Simpson, have started a series they’re calling “Vatican Twosday.” Every Tuesday, they are sharing a series of quotations and reflections that explore the documents and teachings of the Second Vatican Council through a Franciscan lens. These posts on the Be A Franciscan Facebook page are marked with the hashtag #VaticanTwosday.  Basil and his team are also finalizing plans for several upcoming vocation events, including a March 20 “Come and See/Discernment Weekend” in Boston and a Lenten reflection with Bishop Howard Hubbard at Siena College on March 31.

On March 13, Jud Weiksnar, OFM, of Buffalo appeared on HuffPost Live to participate in a discussion about the achievements and criticisms of Pope Francis on the second anniversary of the pope’s election. Jud, guardian of St. Patrick’s Friary and a former pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, N.J., spoke about the Franciscans’ focus on economic justice and other issues.

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by March 25, 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 include:

  • Profiles of jubilarians Christopher Keenan, OFM, and James Patrick Kelly, OFM
  • The reenactment of a medieval Palm Sunday procession on March 28 in New York City, at which Xavier Seubert, OFM, will serve as commentator 
  • A recent Year of Consecrated Life event that John Aherne, OFM, helped arrange

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas