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
Several updates from the Administration were provided to friars over the last week. They included (1) information about the Jan. 6 to 7 gathering for friars aged 55 and under, (2) a reminder to guardians to submit Fraternal Life Plans to Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, by Dec. 1 and (3) reflection questions from Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, about a General Chapter document titled “Going to the Peripheries with the Joy of the Gospel – Frates et Minores in Nostra Aetate.” Friars with questions about the documents may contact Sharon Berrios in the Provincial Office at 646-473-0265.The Provincial Office is closing at 1 p.m. on Nov. 25 for the Thanksgiving weekend.
Committee Updates
The HNP Ongoing Formation Committee has arranged to post videos from the fraternal gatherings on the Friars Only section of the Provincial website. The videos include (1) a talk by Michael Blastic, OFM, on itinerancy and mission, (2) a video on changes in Holy Name Province after Vatican II with Roderic Petrie, OFM, Ronald Stark OFM, and Vincent Cushing, OFM, and (3) a video with several of student friars on their hopes for the future as Franciscans.The committee has also included a video of friars discussing “Laudato Si’,” the controversy it has caused in different areas of life around the world, and how what the encyclical suggests impacts business in a global sense.
The Young Adult Committee invites those interested in sharing resources about ministering to young adults, as well as sharing their ministry activities, to join the committee’s Facebook group: HNP Young Adult Ministry.

Raphael Bonanno, OFM, of Boston, took nine people to China as part of a group of 30 with a tour agency from Cambridge, Mass. “It was an educational experience for most but a pilgrimage for me, given our OFM and Holy Name Province connections with China for centuries and with Shashi in particular for decades, since Fr. Leo Ferrari arrived in 1915, a hundred years ago this year,” Raphael said. “We visited Beijing, the capital; Yichang, the start of a four-day cruise on the mighty Yangtse River; the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydro-electric plant in the world; the city of Chungking with a population of 33 million (the size of Canada, in people); then the famed terra cotta army; and finally the city where East meets West, Shanghai. The trip lasted from Oct, 14 to 28. One traveler described China as ‘wall to wall people.’ Its population now stands at 1.35 billion.”

On Nov. 15, St. Paul Parish in Wilmington, Del., celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Franciscans arrival, combined with a celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Divine Providence, patroness of Puerto Rico. “That feast, along with the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is a big day here,” explained pastor Todd Carpenter, OFM.  The celebrations began Friday evening with a concert by troubadours from Puerto Rico, who sang traditional Puerto Rican songs for more than two hours. “On Sunday, Lawrence Hayes, OFM, celebrated our 10:30 a.m. Mass,” said Todd. “Parishioners were delighted to see Fr. Larry again. The church was packed with about 700 people. It was a great celebration. In his homily, Fr. Larry asked the parishioners how many friars they could name who have served at St. Paul’s during the past 25 years. They named many of them very quickly,” Todd reported. “After the Mass, the celebration continued with a festive dinner in the school hall. Various dance groups and choirs provided the entertainment. It was a great weekend! The only regret from the parishioners was that Fr. Larry couldn’t stay longer.” More details about the celebration will be included in a future issue of HNP Today.

Student friar Casey Cole, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., is featured in an article from the Desert News National newspaper about the study of science in seminary classrooms. The article begins with information about Casey and includes photos of the classroom and professor. Information about Casey can be found on his website, which includes links to his blog and Facebook.

On the weekend of Nov. 21, development director David Convertino, OFM, led a Franciscan Challenge fundraiser at the Church of the Assumption in Wood-Ridge, N.J. Richard Mucowski, OFM, pastor, hosted the event. Next month, David will be at St. Francis Parish in Raleigh, N.C., and at St. Francis Chapel outside Albany, N. Y., for similar fundraisers. Information about the Franciscan Challenge as well as about the “Give 5 for Food” social media campaign can be found on the Development Office’s website.

On Nov. 15, Edward Flanagan, OFM, presided at the profession of four new members of the Secular Franciscan Order at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C. A photo was posted on the monastery’s Facebook page.

Daniel Horan, OFM, announced last week on Facebook that “in addition to teaching a one-week course on Christology at Catholic Theological Union at Chicago this June, I’ve been invited to teach a one-week course on ‪‎Thomas Merton at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry in July.” Information is available on Boston College’s website.

Julian Jagudilla, OFM, encourages those interested in workers’ rights to attend the Labor Rights program in New York City on Dec. 7 offered by the St. Francis Migrant Center, of which he is director. Information about the public forum, celebrating International Human Rights Day and the 25th anniversary of the International Convention on the protection of migrant workers and their families, can be found on St. Francis of Assisi Parish’s website. The Migrant Center was established two years ago.

Brian Jordan, OFM, requested that during the first week of Advent all of the Province’s houses of worship, education centers and outreach programs consider the following excerpts from the first chapter of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si’,” titled “What Is Happening to Our Common Home?” For the first Sunday of Advent (Nov. 28-29), Brian encourages friars and partners-in-ministry to adapt these excerpts in homilies, intercessions of faith, education classes, Advent reflections or comments within pastoral ministry: “1) Pope Francis addresses what is happening in what he describes as ‘our common home’ in the opening chapter of this encyclical. 2) Pope Francis reminds readers that the climate is a ‘common good, belonging to all and meant for all.’ 3) Noting that a ‘very solid scientific consensus’ indicates that we are presently witnessing a ‘disturbing warming’ of the climatic system, Pope Francis warns that climate change ‘represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity’ and calls on the public to ‘recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.’ The pope calls all of humanity to take action to protect Holy Mother Earth. Let us pray for the successful deliberations of this monumental conference beginning Nov. 30 in Paris, France.”

The HNP Young Adult Ministry Committee has created a Facebook group called HNP Young Adult Ministry. Kevin Kriso, OFM, chair of the committee, suggests that friars and partners-in-ministry interested in sharing resources and news about the young adult activities at their ministry join the group.

Neil O’Connell, OFM, was honored on Nov. 14 at the annual Central Harlem Deanery Senior Recognition Brunch at St. Mark the Evangelist Church in New York City as one of the deanery’s outstanding seniors for 2015. He and another honoree represented St. Joseph of the Holy Family Church, where Neil is priest in residence.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, led a JPIC Multicultural Retreat the weekend of Nov. 7 for parishioners involved with justice, peace and integrity of creation work at St. Camillus Parish. It was held at Camp St. Charles in Maryland. Parishioner Karen Simon provided a photo of the participants.

A reflection by Daniel Riley, OFM, was published in the November Making All Things New e-newsletter of Mt. Irenaeus, where he is director. It is titled “Giving Thanks for the Land.”

Two HNP novices — Eufemio Dimas, OFM, and Ángel Vázquez, OFM — appear in videos that can be found on the Interprovincial Novitiate’s Facebook page. In this video series, the novices introduce themselves and share a short reflection.

Robert Sandoz, OFM, has provided a link to a new video about Christ the King Prep School in Newark, N.J., where he is president. Titled “The School that Works,” the video describes the maturity of the students and the corporate work study program in which all participate. Images of Robert and Gregory Gebbia, OFM, the dean of students, can be seen in the video.

On Oct. 27, Raymond Selker, OFM, was one of four people from Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light who testified in support of Senator Michael Barrett’s bill 1747 related to carbon pricing and rebate at the State House of Massachusetts. “The bill would reduce the reliance on imported fossil fuels and assist those who are likely to be impacted by such an important environmentally friendly method of conservation and by the reduction of CO2,” said Raymond. According to analysis by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, a bill similar to S. 1747 would have direct beneficial impacts for the poor and middle class, which comprise about 60 percent of the Commonwealth, with only the top 40 percent slightly impacted by bill 1747. The testimony was offered in front of the joint committees on telecommunications, utilities and energy. “We were the eighth group to testimony that Monday afternoon, with an additional 40 groups to follow,” said Raymond. “Even though we each prepared separately, each person who proceeded me pointed directly to Pope Francis’ encyclical, ‘Laudato Si’.’ Since that was the case, I decided to share my experience of working in the petroleum industry in Pennsylvania prior to becoming a Franciscan. At that time, Pennsylvania developed a model program for all underground storage tanks of petroleum products. However, that Commonwealth waited until the last possible moment to do so. With Massachusetts leading the charge in healthcare and other important issues, why not take bold steps in leading the way here? If what we are here to support today encourages the rest of the country to go even further, that’s true leadership. I went on to say that Pope Francis has shown true leadership too in ‘Laudato Si’.’ He also encourages us to look at the world as an interconnected ecology of people, resources, technology and the Earth. He encourages lively and bold conversations. In conclusion, I offered my support for such a practice of carbon pricing and rebates based on moral and socio-economic grounds.” Ray, a resident of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, provided a photo.

Jud Weiksnar, OFM, guardian of Buffalo’s St. Patrick Friary, is in Rome this week for the bi-annual meeting of the JPIC Animation Committee. “The other members are from Spain, Nicaragua, Chile, Australia and Zimbabwe,” he said. “The big topics here are the Parish Climate Talks (COP21) and ‘Laudato Si’,’ as well as the issues of hunger and mining.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by Dec. 2, 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:

  • An essay by Vincent Cushing, OFM, as part of the “Signs of the Times” series
  • Reflection about the Year of Mercy by John Frambes, OFM
  • Presentation of Francis Medal by the friars of St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in North Carolina

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

Related Links