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
Last week, the Provincial Council distributed a report to friars about its May 4 meeting. It described St. Anthony Shrine news, the June 15-16 guardians/pastors meeting, the Margate house, a new ministerial possibility, a recent meeting of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry Board, and the English-speaking Conference’s Social Media Guidelines.
The Administration also notified HNP members that an updated version of the HNP Directory has been posted in the Friars Only section of the HNP website.

Fr. Bill’s Bake Sale “was on the road again,” according to the Facebook page of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry which provided photos of William DeBiase, OFM, selling his baked goods. On May 6, Bill and several helpers from the FVM were “with the wonderful, kind and generous senior citizens of Corpus Christi parish in Willingboro, N.J.”

On April 29, Francis Di Spigno, OFM, St. Bonaventure University’s executive director of university ministries, moderated a forum that focused on racial tensions in the United States and the frustration and anger that arose on Tuesday after a student sent a racially charged message on Twitter about the disturbing situation in Baltimore. The forum was co-sponsored by SBU’s University Ministries, Student Affairs and First-Year Experience. A message from SBU president Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, was posted on the university’s Facebook page: “This is, most significantly, an opportunity for our student body to have an open and respectful conversation about these volatile and sensitive issues that have plagued the nation for so long. The only value incidents as ugly as these have is if they begin dialogues that lead to meaningful change. That can start tonight at St. Bonaventure.” A follow-up event was held the following week, on May 7.  Its purpose, according to Sr. Margaret, was to give students an update on what “we will be doing differently during the summer and next year” to act on what was heard at the forum.

►Michael Duffy, OFM, guardian of Juniper Friary in Philadelphia, and the staff and friars of the St. Francis Inn Ministries hosted a volunteer appreciation Mass and celebration on May 3. Photos of the afternoon of Thanksgiving were posted on the FVM Facebook page.

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, attended New York Medical College’s May 8 Convocation of Thanks, a program established by Matthew Pravetz, OFM, through which students show their gratitude to the families of people who donated their bodes for education. Michael represented the Province, the family of the late Matthew Conlin, OFM, who donated his body to the medical school. Several photos were taken after Friday’s program. On Monday, Michael drove Matthew Conlin’s cremains to Siena College, where a prayer service and burial was held at a nearby cemetery. “I was grateful that I could attend the convocation and witness the wonderful sharing by the medical students, through presentations, poetry, music and art,” said Michael. “It was a very inspiring service, particularly to hear the students express their deep gratitude for each of the persons who donated their bodies, for their study and research. It was evident that in their death, Matt Conlin and all the other donors continued to share their life, especially with young people in their preparation as future doctors.” Mark Reamer, OFM, guardian of the St. Bernardine of Siena Friary, welcomed visiting friars to dinner on Monday.

A new statue of the late Mychal Judge, OFM, will be unveiled and dedicated in East Rutherford, N.J., on June 14. The program will take place at 1:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Park at the corner of Hackensack and Hoboken streets, across from St. Joseph Church where Mychal had served. Mychal, who died on Sept. 11, 2001 after the attack on New York City’s World Trade Center, was stationed at St. Joseph’s Church twice — in the 1960s and the 1970s.

On May 7, Robert Lentz, OFM, and his apprentice Michael Reyes, OFM, presented a workshop about icons at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston. Information about the meaning behind Robert’s art can be found on his website and on his Facebook page.

Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, is in Assisi, Italy, at the General Chapter for the next month with leaders of more than 100 OFM provinces from 120 countries. Also at this General Chapter are Provincial Councilor Brian Belanger, OFM, who is serving as a delegate-at-large, and former Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, who is serving on a three-man committee that will compile the final chapter report. Information about the May 10 to June 7 chapter is being distributed daily by the Order of Friars Minor through emails. Significant moments will also be live streamed on the Order’s website.

Provincial Councilor Joseph Nangle, OFM, departed for the Holy Land on Sunday. He said he “will be part of a large delegation from Pax Christi USA attending the quinquennial meeting of Pax Christi International, to be held this week in Bethlehem.” The organization is commemorating its 70th anniversary from May 13 to 17. Joe has served Pax Christi as the USA Ambassador of Peace.

►Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, participated in a pilgrimage involving 50 people from the parish. The May 8 to 11 journey included visits to the shrines in Montreal and Quebec, Canada: St. Joseph’s Oratory, St. Anne De Beaupre and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape. In a message in the May 3 parish bulletin, Andrew said that he wanted to “thank the Filipino Committee that has worked so hard in putting this pilgrimage together.”

Several friars are traveling to Italy later this month, where they will visit towns important to Franciscan history while filming videos for vocation and development purposes. “My hope, from the vocations perspective, is to let people know about the inspired Franciscan stories and invite people to identify with Francis’s life and his connection to the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said vocation director Basil Valente, OFM. “In sharing the many Franciscan stories, including those stories of Saints Clare, Anthony and Bonaventure, I hope to establish a ‘spirituality of place,’ allowing for a profound religious vocations experience, a profound connection to the life of Francis, that helps one’s discernment to the consecrated life.” David Convertino, OFM, Octavio Duran, OFM, and Thomas Hartle, OFM, will travel with Basil to various sites, including Venice, San Francesco del Deserto, Padua, Assisi, Gubbio, Bagnoregio, La Verna and Florence.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by May 20, 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 James Nero, OFM, and Andrew Reitz, OFM
  • St. Francis Inn’s new building

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas