Friar News Briefs

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars and feature celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, email the friars, contact 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 Administration
Summaries of the Provincial Councilors monthly meeting and the annual 2018 HNP Guardians and Pastors meeting – both held on Nov. 15 – have been distributed to friars by Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM. A photo of the participants was taken outside the venue in St. Petersburg, Fla., where the annual gathering was held.
All HNP friars are invited to the annual Christmas party at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., on Dec. 21. The festivities will begin at 11 a.m. with Mass celebrated by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, followed by a holiday luncheon. Friars planning to attend are asked to RSVP by Dec. 10 to either Richard McFeely, OFM, guardian, by email, or by phone to staff member MaryAnne Babb at 973-962-7200 ext. 100.

► Information compiled by the late Flavian Walsh, OFM, about the history of New York City’s St. Francis of Assisi Church is being shared in the parish’s weekly Sunday bulletin as part of its 175th anniversary, which will be celebrated in 2019. The most recent – part 6 in the series – describes Eugene Dikovich, OFM, the sixth pastor of St. Francis Church. Flavian, who died in 2012, served as pastor from 1985 to 1987.

► Patrick Tuttle, OFM, Steven Kuehn, OFM, and John Aherne, OFM, are among friars from around the Province who preached recently in connection with National Vocation Awareness Week, which was Nov. 4 to 10. Steve, who addressed congregants at St. Francis Church in Triangle Va., said he spoke about vocations because he feels “passionate about encouraging men and women to consider if God might be calling them to religious life.” One of the messages – from the keen advice of Ignatius Harding, OFM – was to encourage the congregation to promote vocations, especially if they notice someone in their family who might be discerning. “I spoke about my story of having served 12 years in the military to now starting my fourth year with the friars. I think that resonated with some of the people who are part of this parish just outside of the Marine Corps Base,” said Steve, who lives in Chicago. “It is important for student friars to be able to speak about vocations, if they feel so inclined. I know I certainly appreciated the opportunity and the experience. I had not previously talked about vocations in a forum like that and I found the reaction of the listeners to be quite positive, probably because speaking to a military crowd provided an immediate connection.”

► Timothy Shreenan, and William Beaudin, OFM, are presenting a program in the upper Church of St. Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street in New York City on Dec. 13 titled “Giving Voice to our Advent Longing: Solemn Sung Vespers.” The 6:30 to 8 p.m. program includes an introduction to the Advent season, and will address the Jewish and Christian dimension of the psalms being sung and the music being performed. On Dec. 15, William is leading an Advent Afternoon of Prayer in the Province’s San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street. Information about both events can be found on the Current Adult Education Classes section of the parish website.

► Mark Reamer, OFM, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, Joseph Nangle, OFM, and Ignatius Harding, OFM, as well as four postulants, attended the Franciscan Action Network gala in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 15. The event recognized three organizations with which FAN partners on a regular basis in its advocacy work on immigrant and refugee issues. The gala marked FAN’s 10th anniversary. Lay leaders from St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md., also attended the event. Among those recognized that evening were Joe Nangle and Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, and Holy Name Province for establishing FAN. “Founders of FAN and many of the original staff braved wintery weather to celebrate the past 10 years of advocating with the Franciscan family for justice on Capitol Hill and across the country,” said Mark, a member of the FAN Board of Directors. “It was great to see the many members of Franciscan families come together to celebrate the good work that FAN has accomplished these past 10 years. Since the beginning, Holy Name Province has played a large role in helping to encourage FAN’s voice – with Joe, Jacek and me serving as members of the board.” Mark said the program paid tribute to three organizations that work hard to advocate with and support our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers. “Their message of welcoming the stranger and caring for those in need aligns perfectly with FAN’s mission. The original idea for the Franciscan Action Network came as a result of a challenge by Franciscans International and the representatives of each of the six different branches of the Franciscan family,” Mark said. “These entities called for all of the different branches of the Franciscan families to come together and present a unified voice in Washington, D.C.” One of the early leaders was Sr. Margaret Mary Kimmins, an Allegany Franciscan sister who had served on the board of Franciscans International. Margaret Mary, along with Russ Testa, the JPIC director for Holy Name Province, helped to provide early leadership for FAN as president and interim director. “Over the past 10 years, FAN has grown into a well-established organization in D.C. becoming a dependable Franciscan voice for justice in our nation’s capital. FAN advocates for many issues close to Franciscans, with a special emphasis on peacemaking, care for creation, poverty, and human rights,” Mark said.

► Frank Sevola, OFM, and Thomas Conway, OFM, are hosting a St. Bonaventure University alumni Mass and reception on Dec. 13 at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, where they are guardian and executive director, respectively. This Friars Reception will include a conversation with Dennis DePerro, president of St. Bonaventure University

On Nov. 17, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, participated in the D.C. Meeting of Popular Movements, giving a presentation on the Judeo-Christian faith perspective on the issue of land and environmental justice. The following week, Jacek participated in the annual gathering of the members of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Animation Committee of the Order of Friars Minor.While there, he stayed at the Franciscan monastery in Panewniki/Katowice, Poland. On Nov. 24, Jacek wrote on Facebook: “In less than two weeks, thousands of people from around the world will be arriving into Katowice for the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24), organized by the UN on Climate Change (UNFCCC). [The Franciscan] JPIC office in Rome is involved in several events around this critically important issue.” On Nov. 23, Jacek, as a member of the JPIC Animation Committee, and Dr. Aleksandra Kardaś met with a group of 45 Polish friars andformation students for a joint presentation and dialogue about climate justice. Kadras has a Ph.D. in physics and is a specialist in atmospheric radiation transfer and atmospheric processes and phenomena. She is also the editor of the website, which educates the Polish public about the causes, consequences and necessary measures in response to climate change. “It has been delightful to be back in my home country, to enjoy the warm hospitality of my Polish Franciscan brothers, and to be involved in seeking new, creative ways to move forward on the path of ecological conversion,” said Jacek, who posted photos courtesy of the JPIC office in Rome. Prior to his travels to Poland, Jacek was in Guatemala in October for the 3rd Franciscan Missionary Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean.

► Through a recent email to friends of the Province, David Convertino, OFM, HNP’s executive director of development, invited all to use the reflections in a new edition of “Advent in My Pocket” to take a spiritual journey through the season. This resource can be ordered online. “Using Advent in My Pocket is a great way to begin the day with a simple reflection for each day of Advent. Each reflection then follows with an action thought that brings someone into your mind and heart,” said David. “You can then pray for this person, or thank God for bringing this person into your life.”

► Ross Chamberland, OFM, was featured in the Nov. 16 issue of The Bona Venture, the student newspaper of St. Bonaventure University in Western New York, where Ross has been stationed since 2014.  The article, titled “Unsung Hero: Fr. Chamberland,” describes his varied roles and dedication to building and strengthening campus resources for students. The article said, “It is obvious that Chamberland is dedicated to the students. He often takes a post on the bench across from the Café LaVerna, smoking a cigar and reading the newspaper, ready to greet and speak to anyone who passes by.” The writer added, “His example is a testament to the values that St. Bonaventure stands for and how they can be lived out.” In July, Ross’s ministry with traveling performing shows was featured in this newsletter in a story called “Finding Faith Under the Big Top: The Circus Chaplain.” 

Topics that will be featured in future issues of this newsletter include:

  • Profile of retiree Edward Flanagan, OFM
  • Elementary schools affiliated with the Province

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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