Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars and feature celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, email the friars, contact 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
 The Provincial Councilors met on April 24 and 25 in New York City. Among the topics discussed were chapter four of Pope Francis’s new apostolic exhortation titled “Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad),” the spring English-speaking Conference meeting in London, the Revitalization and Restructuring process, the upcoming Extraordinary Chapter, the Chapter of Mats Under 10 being held in 2019, and reports from Provincial directorates.

Last month, friars involved with Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation initiatives from the six U.S. OFM provinces participating in the Revitalization & Restructuring process met at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago to discuss migration. According to Jud Weiksnar, OFM, chair of the Province’s JPIC Directorate, at their April 18 to 19 gathering, the attendees focused on the topics of refugees, sanctuary and how to bring a positive message on immigration to our political process. The issue of migration has been identified by the Order as one of its three JPIC priorities worldwide. Elena Segura of the Archdiocese of Chicago gave a presentation on the Pastoral Migratoria, a successful leadership formation initiative in the immigrant community of Chicago. Ashley Feasley, director of the USCCB’s Office of Migration Policy, Skyped in to discuss migration issues, as did Fr. Tom Smith, OFM Conv,. on the topic of Franciscan hospitality to migrants. The attendees – including Julian Jagudilla, OFM, Aaron Richardson, OFM, Christian Seno, OFM, and Juan Turcios, OFM – also discussed the role of JPIC in friar life. Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office for JPIC, and the other animators will be consulting with the formation secretaries on the integration of JPIC values throughout initial formation. The meeting was the next step in the process of trying to better unify the JPIC work of the U.S. provinces, according to Jud. Information about JPIC issues can be found in the Justice and Peace section of

On April 29, Michael Tyson, OFM, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination with a Mass in Siena College’s chapel. “Mike preached a beautiful homily on being connected to Jesus, not only today, but throughout his 50 years of priesthood and 55 years living as a friar,” said Mark Reamer, OFM, guardian of St. Bernardine of Siena Friary, who provided photos. “Mike is a great example of preaching the Gospel always, using words only when necessary.” Mike, who was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 16, 1967, has been stationed in Loudonville, N.Y., since 2014.

An article by Ramon Razon, OFM, titled “Hope and Solidarity: Tools Against the Opioid Epidemic” appears in the spring 2018 issue of The Pilgrim, the newsletter of St. Francis Inn Ministries in Philadelphia. Ramon described a recent visit from representatives from SOL Collective and Angels in Motion who have been organizing initiatives to address the opioid crisis. A photo shows Stephen DeWitt, OFM, and Michael Duffy, OFM. On May 4, St. Francis Inn is hosting a resource-sharing and networking event for organizations involved in fighting the opioid epidemic. Its goal is engage various voices and expertise from organizations that are actively seeking solutions to the multi-faceted issue of the opioid epidemic.

►Kevin Kriso, OFM, and the HNP Young Adult Committee, which he chairs, are planning a retreat for leaders of Franciscan young adult ministries. It is being held June 29 to July 1 on the campus of Siena College outside Albany, N.Y. Other friars who are part of this committee are John Aherne, OFM, Michael Johnson, OFM, Sean O’Brien, OFM, Andrew Reitz, OFM, and James Sabak, OFM. The event’s objectives include sharing best practices and enabling young adults to experience a Franciscan college campus, as well as to meet other Franciscan young adults.

An editorial by Brian Jordan, OFM, about the dangers faced by construction workers was published in the April 26 issue of the New York Daily News. “Construction workers build our homes, our schools, our hospitals, our bridges, our roads, our military, our office buildings, even our houses of worship, yet when they are injured or killed on the job, that sacrifice normally goes unmourned, if not unnoticed by the larger city,” he wrote in the piece titled “A Solemn Prayer for Safety in Construction: 10 Years of the Hardhat Memorial Mass,” in which he shared the story of several workers who were killed last year. In New York City, construction workers who were killed on the job during the past year were remembered during the 10th anniversary memorial Mass for Deceased Construction Workers that Brian celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral that Thursday afternoon. He is chaplain for the union construction workers of New York City.

Friars and laypeople are invited to Franciscan Common Ground on May 19 in New York City. The theme of the event is “Finding a Franciscan Voice on Migration” and the keynote speaker is Fr. David Couturier, OFM Cap., executive director of the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University. Those seeking information or to register are asked to call 212-736-8500 or to email Julian Jagudilla, OFM, director of the Migrant Center at Church of St, Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street, at The event, which begins at 9:30 a.m., will “be a day of reflection, sharing and networking that will aspire to find concrete ways to put Pope Francis’ four mileposts of action (welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating) into reality,” said Julian.

On April 29, Daniel Horan, OFM, gave a presentation at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y., called “Martin, Malcolm and Merton: The Work for Racial Justice and the Responsibility of Catholic Spirituality.” It offered insight into the way Thomas Merton read, reflected on, and was challenged by the lived example and written legacies of King and Malcolm X during the 1960s Civil Rights movement. Merton, in turn, developed a spirituality of resistance that called for Christians – especially white Christians like himself – to embrace a spirit of conversion to see the many ways they, too, were complicit in the reality of structural racism. The previous week, Dan gave a lecture at Ignatius College Preparatory School in Chicago as part of the school’s “Ignatian Values Day” event. It was titled “Thomas Merton: Becoming a Person of Dialogue.” Information about Daniel’s presentations can be found on his Facebook page.

The Franciscan Mission Service honored Ignatius Harding, OFM, on April 27 with the Anselm Moons, OFM award. Close to 200 people filled St. Francis Hall in Washington, D.C., on Friday evening for the annual World Care Celebration at which Ignatius was recognized for his 40 years of ministry in Bolivia. Kristen Nalen, a former missioner, and John O’Connor, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., where Ignatius is stationed, co-presented the award.

At a meeting last month, Roberto González, OFM, archbishop of San Juan, encouraged Puerto Rico’s fiscal control board to declare a moratorium on bond payment. An article titled “Puerto Rico’s Archbishop Pushes Debt Jubilee” quotes Roberto as saying “no debt should be paid until Puerto Rico sees positive economic growth, a reduction in child poverty, and the island rebuilds from the hurricane,” referring to Hurricane Maria, which hit the island last September.

“The long-term overall goal is to improve and stabilize the health of homeless women and increase their capacity to live independently and contribute to society,” said Thomas Conway OFM, executive director of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, on the Shrine’s website, about a $500,000 grant awarded to the Shrine. The funding from the Cummings Foundation will enable the Shrine to expand its Women’s Health Clinic by 35 percent. In a Boston Herald article, Tom said, “The type of clients we are servicing really require a lot of time. They have extremely complex situations, multiple medical issues, abuse issues, mental-health issues. We are doubling the amount of time we spend with them. All of these women suffered a lot of trauma. It is important they are in a place where they feel safe.” Tom said.

“Called: What Happens After Saying Yes to God” by Casey Cole, OFM, has been so successful that it’s now gone into its second printing just a month after its release, according to Franciscan Media, the publisher. The book has proven popular both as a vocational resource and as a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a young friar, said Franciscan Media staff member Kelly Sundberg. Information about Casey can be found on his website,

Topics that will be featured in future issues of this newsletter include:

  • Reflection on Pentecost by Charles O’Connor, OFM
  • Summer assignments of student friars
  • Profile of silver jubilarian Russel Murray, OFM
  • Concert and art exhibition being held in Hartford on June 16

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

Editor’s note: The format of Friar News Briefs lists, in alternating issues, shows names organized by friars’ last names, in ascending (A to Z) order, followed — in the next issue — by names listed in descending (Z to A) order.

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