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
A new format of the Friars Only section of the HNP website was made live last week. It provides a variety of resources categorized by new names for easier access. Friars with questions about the website or suggestions about documents that can be included are requested to contact the HNP Communications Office. Another section was recently updated: the Who We Are section now includes a page titled “Looking to the Future.”

The Provincial Administration encourages friars to share thoughts about the first essay in the Province’s “Signs of the Times” series. The reflection, written about Pope Francis, is posted on Comments should be sent to so they can be shared internally with the friars.

The Province’s fourth fraternal gathering in the fall series is being held this week at St. Francis Spring Prayer Centers in Stoneville, N.C. The last is scheduled for Nov. 20 to 22.

Committee Updates
The HNP African Ancestry Committee is planning a vocation weekend for February. The event, “Come & See Introduction Weekend: Developing Possible Vocations for Friar Life,” will be held at St. Joseph Parish in Wilmington, Del., and is open to men of African descent between the ages of 18 and 40. Information can be found on The committee members request that friars encourage men in their ministries to consider attending, said committee chair David Hyman, OFM.

John Aherne, OFM, of Boston, and George Camacho, OFM, of Loudonville, N.Y., participated in the TCI New York Marathon on Nov. 1. “Running the marathon was a tremendous experience. George and I were warmly welcomed to the friary at 31st Street,” said John, a native of New York City. “We prayed with Joe Cavoto, OFM, and Basil Valente, OFM, and then went out to have some dinner. It was a great experience of fraternity. It was also fun knowing that some of the friars — like Daniel Murray, OFM, and Dennis Wilson, OFM — were tracking us using the New York Marathon app. Knowing that other friars were ‘watching me’ helped me keep my pace up when I was tempted to slow down! I’ve often found a lot of parallels between running and my spiritual life. In both cases, so much of the ‘work’ is done on my own: alone, in the silence of the morning, when it’s just me, my God, and the road underneath my feet. Those times are often energizing and uplifting, sometimes difficult and dreary, but they are necessary. Without them, it would be impossible to run the long haul, to finish the race. Without those solitary moments and a little bit of discipline, I wouldn’t have been able to experience the joy I felt on those New York City streets as I ran with 50,000 of my brothers and sisters, all of whom spent hours running and wheeling and walking on their own as well. Alone, we do the work so that together, we experience the joy and take the city by storm.” Photos of John and George were posted last week on the Province’s Facebook page.

On Oct. 27 and 28, Louis Canino, OFM, and David Hyman, OFM, of St. Francis Springs Prayer Center went to parochial schools to talk about St. Francis. “We gave a half-hour dramatic presentation to more than 1,200 students in the Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem area,” said Louis, who founded the center in 2005. “The 5th graders also came to the center for a presentation about ‘The Canticle of Creation.’ It was incredible to see the response of the kids. I’ve never seen 1,200 kids so well behaved and so engaging.”

Ross Chamberland, OFM, and vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, visited the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago last week to meet with the president, Fr. Mark Francis, to discuss the graduate degree opportunities at CTU, so the vocation team could convey those opportunities to men in discernment. “During the day, we had a chance to meet with the president, various administrators, faculty members and friars,” said Basil. “They not only explained the graduate programs and offerings in great detail, but they provided a welcome tour of the newly-renovated CTU campus. I’m impressed with Catholic Theological Union and its degree programs, and I’m eager to convey the many educational opportunities to our men in discernment.” Since last fall, Ross has directed the Lateran Center for Catholic Identity and Formation at St. Bonaventure University.

Casey Cole, OFM, Javier Del Angel De Los Santos, OFM, Abraham Joseph, OFM, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, Joseph Rozansky, OFM, Christian Seno, OFM, and other friars from Holy Name College attended the Franciscan Action Network’s annual Cardinal McCarrick Awards Celebration, held Nov. 5 in Washington, D.C. Provincial Councilor Joseph Nangle, OFM, was also at the event, which recognized the Rev. Fletcher Harper for his environmental work. Photos of the festivities can be found in the Holy Name Province JPIC Facebook group.

Development director David Convertino, OFM, presented a Franciscan Challenge fundraiser at St. Patrick-St Anthony Parish in Hartford the weekend of Oct. 30. Two guardians of HNP residences for senior friars helped lead the event: Robert Frazzetta, OFM, of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., and Richard McFeely, OFM, of Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.

Christopher Dunn, OFM, fire chaplain in Lima, Peru, participated in the annual conference for the Federation of Fire Chaplains held in Florida from Oct 18 to 22. This year’s training conference was centered on the theme “Leadership in the Storm,” he said, adding, “There were 145 participants from the USA, Canada, and Peru.” Chris, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Lima, was named a master level chaplain after completing more than five years of service and more than 130 hours of specialized training.

At its fall meeting, held Nov. 5, the board of directors of CREATE Inc. elected Lawrence Ford, OFM, guardian and pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Friary and Church, New York City, as a member. Benedict Taylor, OFM, founded CREATE Inc. in 1975 to serve persons in Harlem returning from incarceration and addiction treatment. Currently, CREATE serves more than 750 clients, including outpatient healthcare, women, homeless young adult men, senior citizens and the hungry.

Daniel Horan, OFM, of Boston, gave several presentations recently. They include a lecture for Religious of the Sacred Heart and 2015 Switgall Lecture at the University of San Diego on Nov. 9. The following day, he gave a lecture titled “Thomas Merton: A Mystic and Prophet for our Time” for the USD faculty and staff symposium. On Nov. 1, he delivered a lecture at the Assumptionist Center in Brighton, Mass., on Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si.” Dan spent Nov. 2 to 5 at Holy Name College while recording an 18-lecture DVD series about St. Francis and Pope Francis for Now You Know Media. A “behind-the scenes’ video about the filming can be found on his YouTube channel.

Michael Johnson, OFM, pastor of St. Camillus Parish in Maryland, recently narrated a video summarizing the community’s many activities in 2015 in gratitude for Thanksgiving. “Here at St. Camillus, we have much to be thankful for this year,” he said. “The visit of the Holy Father inspired many of us to be a Church in mission. These are just some of the new ways we’ve sought to be that Church this year.” Michael shared activities including missions to Mississippi, St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, a Lakota reservation in South Dakota, and Nicaragua; youth activities at St. Francis International School; food assistance programs, such as St. Camillus Food Pantry, which served more than 10,000 families last year; ministry to the Langley Park mission; community organizing; parish retreats and missions; assisting victims of domestic violence; visits to prisons; retreats for married couples; a contemplative photography group; and Bible studies offered in many languages.

On Oct. 23, Jeremiah McGinley, OFM, of Butler, N.J., and six parishioners were inducted into the St. Anne School Hall of Fame in Fair Lawn, N.J. For Jeremiah, this was in recognition of his long interest in the school, his presence, and his frequent visits, especially his Friday visits to each classroom. Jeremiah assists regularly at St. Anne Parish on both weekdays and Sundays. The Buffalo native spent 20 years at the parish, which the Province maintained until 2005.

As part of his role as digital media director for the U.S. provinces of the English-speaking Conference, Jim McIntosh, OFM, is overseeing work to create a Franciscan app. He expects to be able to launch it later this month, near the start of Advent.

On Nov. 1, Dominic Monti, OFM, was honored at St. Bonaventure University in commemoration of his 50 years as a Franciscan friar. He renewed his vows at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Feast of All Saints Mass at the University Chapel. Relatives joined in the celebration of the former SBU president and HNP Provincial Vicar, one of 12 friars who marked the 50th anniversary of profession in 2015. Dominic was unable to attend the Province’s June 24 Jubilee Mass in New York City celebrated due to an injury.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, is one of five people featured in the November-December issue of Bethesda Magazine. The article, “Green Giants,” profiled the Green Award winners and describes Jacek, guardian of St. Camillus Friary in Silver Spring, as “an outspoken advocate for environmental issues in Maryland and beyond.” It quotes Joelle Novey, director of the local branch of Interfaith Power & Light, a national group that organizes religious leaders to fight climate change, who has worked with Jacek on many state and local environmental issues. Novey says Jacek “regularly references St. Francis of Assisi, the 13th century Catholic friar known for his teachings on nature and the environment — especially his message about the interrelatedness of creation and the responsibility of human beings to be mindful about the natural world. Father Jacek has definitely taken St. Francis out of the birdbath,” she added, referring to birdbaths often adorned with St. Francis’ image. “He’s determined to get that legacy out there because I think he feels there has been a diminishment of that message.”

An article about Francis Pompei, OFM, of Buffalo, N.Y., was published in the Oct. 29 issue of the Catholic Sun, the newspaper of the Syracuse, N.Y., diocese. In “Father Pompei Helps Parishioners Train Their Brains,” the parish mission that Francis gave in Oneida as well as the friar’s goals and themes were described. “By developing a personal relationship, becoming Jesus’ friend and disciple allows us the ability to experience the adventure of life, Father Pompei pointed out, ‘It’s not enough to go to Church. You have to experience Christ yourself. This is not magic. It’s a relationship, one where you will experience Jesus in everyday life. It’s a dialogue, not a monologue.’” The article also described Fran’s experience working with teenagers as the creator and director of the Franciscan Mystery Plays.

Last month, Daniel Riley, OFM, director of Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat in Western New York, led a weekend retreat at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Paradise Valley, Ariz. Participants of the retreat, titled “Love Poured Out,” reflected on “finding joy in the love and intimacy that God has with us and all creation in Jesus Christ,” according to the center’s fall event catalog. Information about the retreat center where William Bried, OFM, is vicar, can be found on its website.

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by Nov. 18, 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:

  • Updates about the Franciscan Missionary Union
  • Celebration of 25 years of Franciscan presence at New York City’s Holy Name of Jesus Parish
  • Priestly ordination of Michael Reyes, OFM, in January

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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