Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas 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 articles, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

From the Provincial Administration

The fifth of six fraternal gatherings was held earlier this week at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center, Stoneville, N.C. The last gathering of this series is set for March 11 and 12 in Hartford, Conn.
The date of the 2015 jubilee celebration has been scheduled for June 24 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. Details about the event, when final, will be shared with the friars.

►David Convertino, OFM, executive director of St. Anthony’s Guild, proudly introduced the latest issue of The Anthonian magazine, distributed last week, by highlighting the work of his brothers. The cover of the Winter 2014-15 issue shows Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and Benedict Taylor, OFM, who are featured for their work with climate justice and with Project CREATE, respectively. Also included in the issue are the community of Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa, Fla., the “Franciscan Journey” of Christopher Coccia, OFM, and the ordination of Ross Chamberland, OFM, and Jeffery Jordan, OFM. Photos by Octavio Duran, OFM, complement the articles. As part of his fundraising work for the Office of Development, David was in Triangle, Va., this weekend for a Franciscan Challenge, the third held this year. Next weekend, he will be at St. Anthony’s Parish, Butler, N.J., and the following weekend, March 14 and 15, he be at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. Details about the annual appeal can be found on website of the HNP Development Office.

►Thomas Conway, OFM, director of St. Anthony Shrine, reports that members of Pipefitters Local 537 Boston are volunteering their time and expertise at the Shrine to retrofit the existing building steam and chill water systems. “With the cooperation and backing of mechanical contractor E.M. Duggan Company, and pipe suppliers Metropolitan Pipe and Supply and the Charles D. Sheehy Company, the 537 Fitters are working on the first mechanical renovation to the church and friary since they were built in 1954, employing all the latest techniques for layout, fabrication and installation,” according to a recent post on the Shrine’s website. Thomas, along with Christopher Coccia, OFM, the Shrine’s mechanical supervisor, and Debby Hawes, facilities manager, thanked the men for their “dedication and craftsmanship.” All of their time was donated, Tom said.

►Julian Davies, OFM, editor of The Provincial Annals, is assembling material for the 2015 issue, covering events of 2014. He asks that friars and ministry directors “please send reports of your ministry electronically to by May 15. Be sure to include pictures. Your cooperation is appreciated.”

►William DeBiase, OFM, of Philadelphia, has produced an e-book containing a series of reflections for the weekdays of Lent. “Lent: Reflections” can be ordered on Amazon. William has authored several additional e-books, including “Lent: A Time of Hope.”

Photos taken on Ash Wednesday by Octavio Duran, OFM, were among those featured in Catholic News Service’s Ash Wednesday gallery on Facebook. Andrew Reitz, OFM, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, appears in them alongside Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who distributed bread and ashes with the friars of St. Francis Breadline this year.

Last Thursday, Daniel Horan, OFM, gave a reflection titled “The Last Words of Jesus: A New Look at Lent” at St. Anthony Shrine, where he is stationed. On Saturday, he began a five-day retreat in Pensacola, Fla. Information about his upcoming events can be found on Dan’s website.

►Daniel Kenna, OFM, was pictured in the Tampa Tribune in an article titledFaithful Mark Solemn Ash Wednesday.” The story, published on Feb. 18, said “parishioners and workers from across downtown packed Sacred Heart Church on Florida Avenue for midday Mass and spiritual preparation for Easter.” Daniel has been stationed at Sacred Heart Parish since last summer.

►John Maganzini, OFM, of St. Anthony Shrine, was recently contacted by a former member of the 11th armored cavalry (Blackhorse), the unit in which John served from 1968 to 1969 while in Vietnam. The member is a historian who is writing a book on the unit during the Vietnam War. John said he “has been asked to contribute to the writing of the book. There are many questions to reflect on,” including questions about how he found God in the midst of the “hell of war,” and how he realized his call to enter the Franciscan Order. During the same week, John was asked to be part of a meeting with shrine staff and representatives of veterans’ services to discuss the possibility of a ministry to veterans at the Shrine. This initiative would help veterans use the shrine’s present services/ministries and seek other ways that the shrine might minister to their needs. Since his discharge, John has remained a member of the 11th ACR Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia. “This week was certainly a week of reflection to another time in my life,” he said.

►Russel Murray, OFM, attended the annual meeting of the OFM Commission for Dialogue as a member and as a presenter. The gathering was held from Feb. 16 to 20 at the Istituto di Studi Ecumenici S. Bernardino, a branch faculty of the Antonianum in Venice, where Russel lives. He spoke on ecumenical dialogue in the United States. “After a brief introduction to the U.S. Christian landscape, I reviewed the historical development and achievements of dialogue and identified the major challenges it faces as it enters the 21st century. I concluded my presentation with some brief reflections on how dialogue might not simply confront, but also shape that future.”

On May 1, former Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, will be honored by the Franciscan Mission Service at its 25th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C. John, guardian of St. Francis Friary in Triangle, Va., has served as a member of FMS’s board of trustees since 2009.

An op-ed piece by Steven Patti, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Raleigh, N.C., was published Feb. 28 in the Raleigh News Observer. The article, “For a Moment at the Mosque, Faiths Unite,” provides Steve’s reflections about his trip to a mosque with students from The Franciscan School. “For a moment at the mosque, amid all the turmoil and the mistrust and fear in our land, we saw a coming together of two faith traditions, our own local culture of encounter that included respectful dialogue and listening, and also a lunch that our hosts prepared and served for us. I was happy that our students were following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, who himself looked to Jesus, as one who looked for ways of peace, dialogue and reconciliation, in a world that longs for all of those.”

Ministry of the Word member Francis Pompei, OFM, reports that he is busy, as he is every year at this time, with giving retreats and traveling to Franciscan Mystery Players presentations. Among his stops are New Jersey, Erie, Pa., and several towns in Upstate New York. Francis, who founded the Mystery Players in 1976, believes that the program provides a way for teenagers to find Jesus Christ.

The Province’s Ongoing Formation Committee had its first “in person” meeting of the year last week and focused its discussions on long-range planning, friar retreats, realignment and commitments from the 2014 chapter, according to Robert Sandoz, OFM, the new chair. Members of the committee include Lawrence Hayes, OFM as Council liaison, John Frambes, OFM, Christopher Keenan, OFM, Sr. Kathleen Moffatt, OSF, and Kevin Tortorelli, OFM.

On March 28, Xavier Seubert, OFM, guardian of St. Francis Friary in New York City, will lead a commentary titled “Palm Sunday, 1190, Chartres: A Performance” in Manhattan. A medieval procession will be reenacted in the chapels and spaces of The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art at Fort Tryon Park. Registration can be completed online, through the Adult Education section of the website of St. Francis of Assisi Church.

Despite the unusually cold weather that the South has been experiencing, the recent Lent programs at University of Georgia’s Catholic Center have been well attended, according to Thomas Vigliotta, OFM, director. “Our weather here has left us shivering with the cold. We had sleet this evening that may turn to snow,” said Thomas on Feb. 26. “Despite the weather, our Lenten service had well over 2,000 attendees. Masses, stations and scripture groups are a good barometer. We are pleased.” The center began its weekly Lenten Soup and Bread series, “a way to gather to eat lightly and to hear a member of our community talk about how they have experienced God and how Jesus has walked with us.” The first speaker, Lou Perno, is a longtime member of the center’s finance committee. His talk was well attended, Tom said.

►Jud Weiksnar, OFM, was mentioned in The New York Times article titled “Buffalo Embraces Winter Chill” that describes the city’s newest outdoor ice skating rink at Canalside, a 21-acre park on the waterfront. Jud, who has been stationed in Buffalo since last summer, said he has been skating almost daily at the rink, often in his habit. “Buffalo’s great in the summer, but there’s something to look forward to in winter now, too,” said Jud, guardian of St. Patrick Friary, in the article that was published March 1 in the travel section.

On March 24, Paul Williams, OFM, will co-lead an evening program at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, Pa., called “Interfaith Dialogue: Life Events.” He and two other faith leaders will discuss events including birth, baptism, bar/bat mitzvah, marriage, death and burial to discover shared values. The program is at 7 p.m. at the center.

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by March 11, 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:

  • Development Office’s Franciscan Challenge events
  • Profiles of jubilarians Glenn Humphrey, OFM, and Christopher Keenan, OFM