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
During the past two weeks, the Provincial Office has sent information to friars about several topics. The announcements, distributed through e-bulletins, were about the Order’s General Chapter, taking place May 10 to June 7 in Assisi, as well as about the group photo from the Provincial Chapter and a spiritual director position in Raleigh, N.C.

►Lawrence Anderson, OFM, George Corrigan, OFM, Fred Dilger, OFM, Thomas Gallagher, OFM, and Ronald Pecci, OFM, are among the friars pictured in the new photos on the homepage of The photos portray Holy Name Province members involved in various types of ministry.

In a recent post on his blog “The Wandering Friar,” John Anglin, OFM, of St. Petersburg, Fla., offered thoughts on his 44 years of priestly ministry.

On April 22, Michael Calabria, OFM, passed his dissertation defense at the University of Exeter’s Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. His dissertation is titled “’The Foremost of Believers:’ the Egyptians in the Qur’an, Islamic Exegesis and Extra-Canonical Texts.” Michael, recently authored an article for the Journal of Religion and Film (v. 19/1) titled “The Movie Mogul, Moses and Muslims: Islamic Elements in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments (1956).” He is now serving as the director of the new Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University.

►George Camacho, OFM, and Ramon Ramoncito, OFM, graduated on May 16 from Loyola University in Baltimore.

The Province’s development director David Convertino, OFM, is in Italy with vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, as well as two other friars — Octavio Duran, OFM, and Thomas Hartle, OFM — visiting places important to their Franciscan heritage. Yesterday, they traveled from Padua to Assisi. Information, along with photos and videos, can be found on two Facebook pages: The Franciscans and Be A Franciscan.

►Daniel Dwyer, OFM, has been named to the editorial board of the Mormon History Association’s Journal of Mormon History. He will be attending the annual Conference on Mormon History, “Mormon Culture, Cultural Mormons” being held June 4 to 7 in Provo, Utah. Dan is an associate professor of history at Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y.

A photo of Zachary Elliott, OFM, appeared in the Tampa Tribune’s May 16 article titled “Parishioners Rededicate ‘Coffin Storage Building’ at Tampa Cemetery.” A recent post on the Facebook page of Sacred Heart Parish, where Zachary is stationed, said “Over the last year, a group of dedicated volunteers across multiple parishes has worked hard to restore and revitalize the historic St. Louis Cemetery in downtown Tampa. From clean up, to headstone restoration, to rebuilding the coffin storage building, they’ve done a wonderful job. Thank you to all who contributed their time and effort!”

Two residents of Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J. — Thomas Ennis, OFM, and Cassian Miles, OFM — were among the brothers, priests and sisters marking significant anniversaries of religious life who were recognized on May 16 by the Diocese of Paterson, N.J., at a Mass at St. Mary Church in Passaic. Thomas is marking 50 years as a friar and Cassian is marking 60. An article appeared in the May 21 issue of The Beacon, the diocesan newspaper. On June 24, the Province will offer a Mass to honor the friars marking 50 and 25 years as Franciscans.

►Daniel Horan, OFM, of Boston, gave a retreat last weekend at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, Calif., for Secular Franciscans. On May 24, he said on his Facebook page, “It was an honor and privilege to lead a retreat for more than 100 wonderful sisters and brothers, some of whom traveled from as far as Seattle to join us!” Information about Daniel’s future commitments can be found on his website.

A reflection by Kevin Kriso, OFM, guardian of Holy Peace Friary, about his 25 years as a Franciscan is included in the May 2015 issue of Mt. Irenaeus’s newsletter. Also in that issue is a reflection by Daniel Riley, OFM, director, as well as photos of Joseph Kotula, OFM, and the late Daniel Hurley, OFM, in a series titled “Celebrating 30 Years.”

On May 16, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, celebrated Mass and presented the homily at the Order’s General Chapter for the English-speaking friars. On May 26, he and the other friars participating in the chapter attended an audience with Pope Francis. On Thursday, John O’Connor, OFM, the Order’s executive assistant for development, is giving a presentation about fundraising.

In a reflection published on the blog of the Franciscan Action Network, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, chair of the Province’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, wrote about the similarities between Franciscan and Native American spirituality. He uses three stories in “A Homily for Justice for Native Americans and Care for Creation” to illustrate his theme. Recently, Jacek recommended to friars and partners-in-ministry an article about Blessed Oscar Romero that appeared in The New Yorker magazine.

The New York Medical College Alumni Association gave Matthew Pravetz, OFM, a distinguished service award at a dinner on May 17 in New York City. The event program describes Matthew as a native New Yorker who has been an educator for 50 years. After receiving his undergraduate degree from St. Francis College, Brooklyn, Matthew received master’s degrees from Long Island University and New York Medical College. He is director of NYMC’s body bequeathal program, which, the alumni dinner program says “is of major importance for the mission of the medical school to effectively train young doctors to provide informed and empathic medical care for the thousands of patients that they will treat.” On May 8, the college’s annual Convocation of Thanks, an event launched by Matthew nearly 30 years ago, was held.

A message from Robert Sandoz, OFM, president of Christ the King Prep School in Newark, N.J., was distributed by the high school on May 18. Titled “Keep the School Growing,” it talks of completing “our eighth year of educating students in the greater Newark area. Even more exciting for us is the fact that we will have our first group of alumni graduating from college! This is the goal of Cristo Rey schools: our students will graduate from high school AND college.” He talked of the 100 percent college acceptance rate, the progressive academic curriculum, the hours of professional business experience that is given to students, and the hours of community service provided by the students to local organizations.

►Jud Weiksnar, OFM, guardian of St. Patrick Friary, Buffalo, N.Y., has created a new Facebook page called Franciscan Ministries of Buffalo that provides that provides information and photos of four ministries founded by friars and Secular Franciscans at St. Patrick’s Parish, later St. Rita and St. Patrick. They are the St. Patrick Food Pantry, St. Francis Thrift Shop, Ministry to the Poor, and Summer Fun. These ministries have come together in a new entity and are now operating under the direction of a board comprising Jud and several laypeople. “Day-to-day operations remain essentially the same under the direction of dedicated, competent, and faithful laypeople who have been serving the poor for years,” said Jud. “However, the business side of things is now in the capable hands of the board and the not-for-profit group BCOME, the Buffalo Collaborative Opportunities & Management Enterprises, Inc. This new arrangement allows the lay leaders, friars and volunteers to concentrate on helping those in need, while the financial, technology, administrative, and development aspects are handled by professionals. There are many advantages to doing things this way.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by June 3, 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 Andrew Reitz, OFM, and Xavier Seubert, OFM
  • Celebration of the 10th anniversary of St. Francis Springs Prayer Center
  • St. Francis Inn’s new building

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas