Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars, featuring 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 report of the Provincial Council’s March meeting was distributed to friars on Thursday. It included information about the Council’s visit on March 14 to Create, Inc., the multi-service, non-profit corporation in Harlem founded in the late 1960s by Benedict Taylor, OFM. It also provided updates about the Council’s discussions about regional days, the Making Sense document, Chapter 2017 planning, the Franciscan Interprovincial Team, the evaluation process for the Province’s fraternities-in-mission, initiatives of several HNP committees and directorates, and the approval for solemn profession on Aug. 27 of three friars: John Aherne, OFM, George Camacho, OFM, and Edgardo Jara, OFM.
The Provincial Office will be closed on Good Friday, March 25, and on Easter Monday, March 28.

Last week, on the morning of  St. Patrick’s Day, staff members of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston were treated to a step dance by John Aherne, OFM. After giving the Irish blessing, he performed a traditional Irish dance that was captured on video. A few days later, the video appeared on an Irish news website, as well as on and

Last week, Ross Chamberland, OFM, of Allegany, N.Y., gave a parish mission titled “Family: the Heart of Mercy” at Holy Family Parish in Hicksville, N.Y. He preached at the Sunday Masses on March 13 and gave talks from Monday through Wednesday to varied groups. They included daily presentations to the religious education and parochial school students, and talks to the parish staff and the parish school community.

►Peter Chepaitis, OFM, John Coughlin, Thomas Murphy, OFM, Ramon Razon, OFM, and Michael Reyes, OFM, are featured in the winter 2015/2016 issue of The Anthonian Franciscan magazine that was published earlier this month. The more than 80-year-old St. Anthony’s Guild publication describes the friars in articles titled “Bethany Ministries,” “Becoming a Better Minister,” “New Director of the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia, Athens,” “Through the Franciscan Lens,” and “My Franciscan Journey.” The Anthonian can be found at HNP ministry sites as well as on the e-media page of the Guild’s website.

Student friar Casey Cole, OFM, posted a video on his blog last week titled “Voting as Catholic.” He discusses aspects of “being Catholic in a political world” and invites viewers to leave comments on his Facebook page.

From March 5 to 12, John C. Coughlin, OFM, accompanied seven students from University of Georgia, where he directs the Catholic Center, to the Arizona-Mexico border on an alternative spring break trip. “The focus of the trip was immigration and during the trip in Ajo, Ariz., the group walked along the migrant trail and left gallon jugs of water as part of a humanitarian effort,” said David Briones, a UGA staff member who provided a photo of John and students in the desert. “John had a powerful encounter with two migrants that were found in the desert. In all, the Catholic Center at UGA sent 28 students to Arizona-Mexico Border, El Salvador, Cuba and Philadelphia for ASB trips.”

The March 2016 issue of St. Anthony Messenger featured Kevin Cronin, OFM, of Butler, N.J., in its “Follower of St. Francis” series. In the piece titled “Loving God Gladly,” Kevin’s early interest in becoming a Franciscan is described, as is his work as a member of the Province’s Ministry of the Word. “I always wanted to be a preacher, to share the Good News of Jesus, or as Pope Francis would call it, the Joy of the Gospel. Because I love Jesus — I went to daily Mass (on my own) since second grade — I wanted to be able one day to talk about him and share him.” This is the second time this year that a person affiliated with Holy Name Province was featured in this series. In January, Katie Sullivan, director of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, was featured in a piece titled “Love … Lived in Service.”

A video series by Daniel Horan, OFM, was recently included in a list of five stand-out resources about “Laudato Si'” compiled by National Catholic Reporter. “Through 14 episodes, each roughly 15 minutes, the Franciscan friar walks his audience through ‘Laudato Si’,’ highlighting key excerpts on the screen as he places the encyclical in our modern, everyday context,” according to the article. “The YouTube series can stand alone for personal or group reflection, or serve as a supplement to another ‘Laudato Si” program.”

On March 6, Laetare Sunday, the display case on the first floor lobby of St. Anthony Shrine was dedicated in honor of the women religious who have served and continue to serve the Archdiocese of Boston. “These religious women, through their dedication and courage, have been essential to the history and growth of the Catholic community of Boston,” said the Shrine’s bulletin. “To celebrate and preserve this history, John Jaskowiak, OFM, has created more than 100 authentic habits of different religious communities. The Shrine is proud to honor these religious women who founded schools, colleges, hospitals, orphanages, and a myriad of social serve agencies and to preserve a moment in history.”

A blog post by Michael Johnson, OFM, titled “Lesson Learned from Holding Hands” was posted this week on the Facebook page of St. Camillus Parish, Silver Spring, Md., suggesting that those who are dealing with aging, illness or loss may appreciate its message. “Today we begin our journey into Holy Week with Palm Sunday and recall our Lord’s suffering,” said Michael, pastor of St. Camillus. “May my friend’s reflection make tangible, even in times of loss, diminishment, and suffering that God is at work. Our ability to perceive this depends on reflection, our perspective and having faith in the providence of a loving and merciful God.”

Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, returned earlier this week from Western New York, where he had participated in a meeting of the St. Bonaventure University Board of Trustees.

The postulants were part of the Inter-Franciscan Formation Program’s March gathering at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, N.Y. “It is a cooperative group of Franciscan formation directors who provide programing twice a year — in November and March — for men and women in Franciscan formation,” said Ronald Pecci, OFM, director of the postulant program. “The Province has been part of this program for more than 15 years and I have been the coordinator of the program for the past six. It generally brings together about 50 formation directors and their men and women in formation. The Atonement friars at Graymoor have been gracious hosts of this program for more than 20 years.”

Earlier this month, vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, and Ross Chamberland, OFM, a regional vocation director, visited the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis., where “they enjoyed the presence of the Holy Spirit through prayer and fraternity with their fellow friars from around the globe,” according to the Vocation Office’s Facebook page, which shows a photo of Basil and Ross with Holy Name Province’s novices: Aaron Richardson, OFM, Angel Vazquez, OFM, Eufemio Dimas, OFM. Ross is director of St. Bonaventure University’s Lateran Center for Catholic Identity and Formation. Photos of scenes and activities at the novitiate can be found on the novitiate’s Facebook page.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by March 30, 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:

  • Profiles of Daniel Riley, OFM, and other friars who are marking jubilees of profession
  • Solemn profession of three friars on Aug. 27
  • Pilgrimage opportunities

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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