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 Provincial Council met last week from May 23 to 24 at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. Among their discussion topics were strengthening fraternal relations, dates for provincial visitation, fall 2016 house chapters, personnel issues, an evaluation process for the Council, and updates from the Franciscan Interprovincial Team and several directorates.

Last month, several friars stationed at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, departed on overseas trips organized by the Franciscan Missionary Union. From May 18 to 28, John Aherne, OFM, traveled led a two-week mission trip to South Africa with students from various Franciscan universities and colleges. From May 21 to 28, Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, led another mission trip to Cuba with worshipers from the Shrine and students from various Franciscan schools. Photos have been posted on the FMU Facebook page.

The General Definitorium has appointed Michael Calabria, OFM, as the Order’s new General Assistant for Dialogue with Islam. He succeeds Fr. Ruben Tierrablanca, OFM, who will be ordained to the episcopate on June 11. “As General Assistant, Michael will provide the Order’s General Administration with advice and guidance concerning interreligious dialogue and relations with Islam, and to promote activities aimed at promoting such dialogue and relations on behalf of the Order,” said Russel Murray, OFM, the Order’s General Animator for Evangelization. “What is new to the role is that Michael will not be doing this alone. He will serve as president of what I have termed a Special Commission for Dialogue with Islam, which will be comprised of four friars including Michael, as well as additional advisors, who will be engaged on an ad hoc basis. He will also serve as vice president of the Order’s broader Commission for Dialogue, for which I serve as president.” The Special Commission plans to work on several projects, including preparing events to commemorate the 800th anniversary of St. Francis’ encounter with Sultan Malik al-Kamil, the development of materials for initial and ongoing formation on the importance of dialogue with Islam, and an international resource director for friars and other Franciscans engaged in dialogue with Islam.

►Frank Critch, OFM, and William McIntyre, OFM, participated in the May 21 consecration of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Ray City, Ga., the newest church in the Diocese of Savannah. William, pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish in Macon, provided this report: “The friars first baptized two young men in Macon, Ga., in 1540, and last weekend, a friar-bishop consecrated a new church named for another friar — St. Anthony of Padua. It was the first parish named by Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv. Bishop Hartmayer reminded the overflowing congregation that St. Anthony’s intercession not only finds lost items, but can help find lost faith! More than 400 people celebrated Mass there for the first time on May 21. That day, three small mission churches became one parish. The next day at the first Sunday Masses, there were more than 50 First Communions. The bishop returned Monday for Confirmation. Parishioners brought refreshments and desserts as guests feasted on Mexican salad bowls. Parishioners not only contributed food — they contributed to the building of the new church which includes a large gathering space, a social hall with a kitchen, offices, and classrooms that will be finished in the fall. A parishioner donated the land. Food was sold after Masses for three years and Latino parishioners did the masonry work and dry wall and painting. This helped unite the new parish and help lower the cost of the building project. The experience reminded me of Acts 2:43-47. The church awaits two St. Anthony statues which the friars of St. Peter Claver are hoping to provide — one three-foot statue for the daily Mass Chapel and a larger statue, which will be outside facing the church entrance.” The event was covered in a story by called “A Dream Come True in Georgia.”

►Stephen DeWitt, OFM, is helping to organize the next “Juntos Como Hermanos” conference for friars in Hispanic ministry. It will be held at Oct. 10 to 13 at Mount Alvernia Retreat Center in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., roughly 75 miles from New York City. Information about the interprovincial gathering is available on a flyer that Stephen provided.

►Daniel Dwyer, OFM, and Mark Reamer, OFM, celebrated Mass on May 20 in Siena, Italy, for the Feast of St. Bernardine with the archbishop of Siena. Mark provided a photo taken in the basilica dell’osservanza, also known as the Church of St. Bernardine, which overlooks the city of Siena. Dan and Mark were there as part of Siena College’s pilgrimage to Franciscan Italy that took place from May 18 to 30. “The purpose of the pilgrimage is to share our Franciscan tradition and Catholic identity of Siena College with our partners-in-ministry,” said Mark. “We have 43 pilgrims including faculty, staff, and administration, and their traveling companions.” Also on the trip were Lawrence Anderson, OFM, and Dennis Tamburello, OFM.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., welcomed Henry Fulmer, OFM, to the community last week with a video posted on Facebook in which Henry, shown with his dog, Gavin, greeted the parish.

►Mario Gómez, OFM, graduated last week from Boston College, where he received a master of divinity degree. In August, he will be ordained a deacon.

The late Alexus Mulrenan, OFM, was mentioned in a recent article in Western New York Catholic. Titled “Little Portion Friary Lives Out Mission of Serving Homeless,” the article tells the story of how Little Portion Friary in Buffalo was opened in 1982 by Alexus and Deacon John Gainey. The mission was “to create an organization to allow the homeless to live in dignity and allow volunteers to share their gifts with those in need.” The temporary shelter serves 20 men and eight women for 11 months of the year and is staffed by a team of 100-plus volunteers.

►Daniel Riley, OFM, and the friars of Mt. Irenaeus are hosting two weekends of transformation at the Franciscan Mountain Retreat in Western New York. They are scheduled for June 10 to 12 and August 5 to 7. Information can be obtained through Michelle Marcellen at 716-375-2096 or

Last month, Gonzalo Torres-Acosta, OFM, hosted an evening of prayer and dinner, as part of the Province’s regional vocation program, on May 19 at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J.

On May 18, Patrick Tuttle, OFM, received the Chief’s Award for “Outstanding Support” from the City of Greenville, S.C., Police Department during its annual awards dinner. He was surprised with the award by Chief Ken Miller, who is Catholic, before 150 officers and staff members at the SawMill Banquet Center. Patrick has served the department for seven out of his 10 years in Greenville. “I was being recognized for outstanding support during the period following the fatal shooting of a young officer by a Greenville gang member,” said Patrick. “My role is providing a measure of companionship, peace and stability around the challenge of seeing what are often the struggles of the human family. We support emergency event times, critical incident stress de-briefings, and marriage and administration support.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by June 8, 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, and other friars marking silver jubilees of profession
  • Next month’s meeting of guardians and pastors
  • The June 23 jubilee celebration in New York City

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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