Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars, featuring 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

  • The Franciscan Interprovincial Team — the three friars coordinating the renewal and reconfiguration of the U.S. provinces — reminds friars that the survey sent to them earlier this month must be returned by May 20. The purpose of this nine-question document is to gather information to assist in the deliberations of the U.S. provincials and their councils at this summer’s meeting as well as to prepare for the 2017 provincial chapters.
  • The provincial ministers of the OFM provinces of the United States joined other Franciscans and religious in encouraging President Barack Obama to visit Hiroshima during his visit to Japan later this month. On May 10, the president agreed to visit the site devastated by a U.S. atomic bomb in 1945. Kevin Mullen was among the provincial leaders who signed the May 9 letter.
  • The HNP Provincial Council members will be gathering next week at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York for its monthly meeting.

John Aherne, OFM, participated with St. Anthony Shrine’s 20s/30s Young Adult Group in Boston’s 48th Annual Walk and Roll for Hunger earlier this month. They walked 10 miles to raise money and awareness to eliminate hunger. John, who has been leading the Shrine’s 20s/30s group for the past year, posted on Facebook last week a job description for a new director of the 20s/30s Young Adult Ministry, a position the Shrine is seeking to fill.

Last week, student friars Dennis Bennett, OFM, Casey Cole, OFM, and Abraham Joseph, OFM, visited several of the Province’s southern ministries, stopping at six parishes and two universities, and visiting 23 friars along the way. They spent time with kindergarteners and college students, parishioners and Poor Clares, as well as with their brother friars who serve in the South. Casey chronicled the trip on his blog,

On May 8, Michael Calabria, OFM, presented a paper at the Eastern-International Regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Pittsburgh. Titled “The Real Value of Islamic Art,” itused Islamic art to highlight the geographic, ethnic, cultural and confessional diversity of the Islamic world. On May 11, he presented an expanded version of this paper at the Buffalo Religious Arts Center. On May 24, he will present a paper at Nazareth College’s conference on Nature and the Environment in World Religions. That paper, titled “The Flowering of India: a Mughal Manifesto for Environmentalism,” discusses “Mughal aesthetics as a reflection of Qur’anic and Islamic environmentalism,” said Michael, director of St. Bonaventure University’s Center for Arab and Islamic Studies.

►David Convertino, OFM,
Octavio Duran, OFM, Thomas Hartle, OFM, and Basil Valente, OFM, have returned from a two-week pilgrimage in California. The friars visited the Serra Retreat Center, LA Cathedral, Mission San Luis Rey, Mission Santa Barbara and Mission San Bonaventura, all highlighting the vocational journey and mission of St. Junipero Serra, said Basil. “The important focus of our journey was to see what Serra’s mission challenges us to accomplish in the 21st century, especially as we try to follow the Gospel message on our own journey (our mission) as Franciscans, or as people called to be Franciscans, while continuing in the great steps of the inspired Franciscans who have gone before us: Serra, Bonaventure, Bernardine of Siena, and Clare of Assisi.”

The Development Office is working on a new website which, according to executive director David Convertino, OFM, will be launched within the next few weeks. The new site, called FriarWorks, will focus on showing what the friars of Holy Name Province accomplish through their ministries, highlighting the impact those ministries have on the lives of the laypeople the friars serve.

Information about the late Daniel Hurley, OFM, was included in a recent newsletter of St. Bonaventure University’s Seraphim Legacy Society. “You can help Fr. Dan’s legacy continue at the university through support of the Fr. Daniel Hurley, OFM, and Robert Hurley Scholarship. Established by Ms. Alice Hurley in 1986 as a way to honor her brothers, the scholarship continues to provide much-needed financial aid to deserving Bona students.” Information about the Seraphim Society can be found on the Leadership Giving Societies page of the St. Bonaventure website.

►Julian Jagudilla, OFM, is making final preparations for the daylong Franciscan Common Ground migration conference being held on Saturday in New York City. Details about the May 21 program, organized by the Migrant Center of St. Francis of Assisi Parish on West 31st Street, can be found on the FCG website.

►Edgardo Jara, OFM, is in the Holy Land participating in a 10-day pilgrimage led by Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and organized by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation. He said he “joined this pilgrimage because I want to walk through those places where Jesus walked, and to understand and experience Jesus’s culture, land, food, etc. Also, I want to have my own perspective and experience about the cultural, social, political and religious reality here in the Holy Land.”

On May 13, National Catholic Reporter published an essay that Brian Jordan, OFM, wrote with an AFL-CIO leader about the 125th anniversary of “Rerum Novarum,” or “On the Condition of Labor,” the encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891. The piece, titled “Catholic Social Teachings Call to the Dignity of Creation,” begins by telling readers “This memorable encyclical officially ushered in the transition in Catholic Social Thought from a basis in agrarian economy to the understanding of the industrial evolution throughout the world through manufacturing and other industries.” The writers explain the threefold effect that “Rerum Novarum” has had. Brian and his co-author, Denis Hughes, also describe four major concerns regarding the future of labor unions. Brian is chaplain at St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N.Y., and chaplain to the New York City union construction workers.

A reflection by Jim McIntosh, OFM, titled “The New Life of Spring,” was published in the April 2016 issue of The Pilgrim, the monthly newsletter of St. Francis Inn ministries in Philadelphia. In it, he describes how “our religion incorporates the patterns of nature found here in the North,” writing “As Franciscans, we tend to be acutely aware of God’s creation around us. I once heard a teacher explain the link between Franciscans and nature in a way that made a lot of sense. It’s not that we worship nature in itself, but rather it’s as if all of nature was translucent. What we see is the glory of God shining through and reflected in nature.” Past issues of The Pilgrim can be found at

On May 8, Dominic Monti, OFM, spoke at the commencement ceremony of St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa.  He said, “I believe I was asked by the president, Fr. Malachi Van Tassel, TOR — who was  student of mine in my Washington Theological Union days — as the theme of this year’s commencement was ‘Franciscan Presence.'”  Photos of the 165th commencement, at which Dominic was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters, can be found on the university’s website.  The following week, from May 12 to 14,  Dominic attended the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at the University of Western Michigan.

Last week, Ronald Pecci, OFM, director of the HNP Postulancy Program, took the postulants to ministries in northern New Jersey. He and James Bernard, Nicholas Carbuto, Steven Kuehn, Adolfo Navarro, and Mitchel Ortiz visited Holy Name Friary in Ringwood as well as St. Bonaventure and St. Mary’s parishes in Paterson and Pompton Lakes respectively. “We also visited cemeteries in Butler, Totowa and Ringwood, which had special significance because recently historian Dominic Monti, OFM, gave presentations to the postulants about the Province’s history so the men were familiar with the names of many deceased friars.”

►Ronald Pecci, OFM, Joseph Rozansky, OFM, and John Ullrich, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., attended Franciscan Mission Service’s World Care Celebration on May 13.  The event was held at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by May 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 in HNP Today include:

  • Profiles of Francis Di Spigno, OFM, Lawrence Ford, OFM, and other friars marking their silver jubilees of profession
  • Next month’s guardians and pastors meeting
  • A reflection by Philip O’Shea, OFM, about life at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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