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
The Province’s fall fraternal gatherings are beginning this week. The first two of seven are being held at the Mercy Center in Madison, Conn., and at St Francis Retreat House in Easton. These discussions will focus on the reconfiguration of the U.S. provinces. The gatherings will also include presentations and discussions about wellness, justice, peace and integrity of creation, and an assessment of current fraternities. Last week, the Provincial Administration emailed to friars a report on the October Provincial Council meeting. It included updates about new guardians, formation, the spring regional gatherings, the timeline for the revitalization and restructuring process of the U.S. provinces, recommendations from the HNP Sick and Retired Directorate, and the gathering in January of friars under the age of 55. The next Provincial Council meeting is Nov. 9 to 10.

Thomas Conway, OFM, participated in the Oct. 14 Dignity U Wear event in New York City. He described its significance in a message in the Oct. 18 bulletin of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, where he is director. “An important part of the work here at the Shrine is partnering with other nonprofit organizations,” said Tom. “On Wednesday of this week, I went to New York City to attend the annual fundraiser for Dignity U Wear. It is a Jacksonville, Florida-based nonprofit whose mission is to distribute brand new clothes to other nonprofits across the country. Those nonprofits, in turn, distribute the clothing to the homeless and needy. About a year ago, St. Anthony Shrine was instrumental in facilitating Dignity U Wear’s entrance into Boston. St. Francis House has also been a key partner in this work with us. So far, $ 1.2 million in new clothes has come to Boston through this arrangement. For some of the homeless, these articles of clothing are the first pieces of brand new clothes that they have ever worn. Some of the people sitting around you at Mass at the Shrine don’t look homeless or poor only because they have received clothes provided by this operation. From Chapter 25 of Matthew’s Gospel, ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’”

A photo of William DeBiase, OFM, and Jim McIntosh, OFM, serving soup at St. Francis Inn appeared in a recent article in the Philadelphia Star titled “Giving Kensington its ‘Daily Bread.’” The reporter described the “good-hearted nature” of the staff members, the way food and funding are received, and the approximate number of meals served annually by this soup kitchen — 150,0000 — since it was established in 1979. “St. Francis Inn is a social outreach organization where we live among people who may be described as marginalized or lacking the economic advantages of middle class,” said Michael Duffy, OFM, who has been part of the Inn’s team since 1987.

Michael Harlan, OFM, helped organize the 13th annual gala of the Dwelling Place of New York held Oct. 15. The Provincial Secretary is a member of the board of the shelter for homeless women that was founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany in 1977. Photos of the 2015 fundraiser, held at St. Cyril and Methodius Church Hall in New York City, can be found on the shelter’s website.

Daniel Horan, OFM, is in Santa Barbara, Calif., this week giving a retreat titled “In the Footsteps of Thomas Merton: Contemplation and Social Action in a Postmodern World.” On Oct. 25, he gave a public lecture about Thomas Merton at Mount Savior Monastery near Elmira, N.Y.

An article about the late Mychal Judge, OFM, appears in the Oct. 23-Nov. 5, 2015 issue of National Catholic Reporter. The article, “The Joys of Mychal Judge: Some See Sainthood in 9/11 Chaplain’s Larger-than-Life Spirit,” describes Mychal’s role on Sept. 11 and his ministry to the families of the victims of TWA flight 800, which exploded shortly after taking off from John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, N.Y. in 1996. The article also summarizes Mychal’s life and personality. Michael Duffy, OFM, who delivered Mychal’s eulogy at the 2001 funeral of the slain fire department chaplain, is quoted as saying “Mychal just loved people. He loved them in a way and manner that they felt they were his best friend and he felt the same about them.”

Earlier this month, Paul Keenan, OFM, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., served as retreat director for the Secular Franciscan community from Long Beach Island, N.J. From Oct. 9 to 11, he presented talks focusing on the Year of Mercy that will begin this December. His presentations explored the themes of mercy, forgiveness and hope through the lens of the writings of both St. Francis and Pope Francis. The retreat was held on the grounds of the Spirituality Center on Neumann College in Aston, Pa.

On Oct. 18, Francis Kim, OFM, welcomed the postulants to his farm, St. Francis Village in Hardwick, N.J. With the group, who visited ministries in New York and New Jersey, were Ronald Pecci, OFM, director of postulants, and Christian Seno, OFM, a formation student, who provided a description of the visit. “On the last day of the trip, we visited Francis Kim’s sustainable farming ministry. I was amazed by the scale and the creativity of this ministry. Francis operates the approximately 90-acre property with a handful of lay volunteers from the Korean community in New York and New Jersey. They grow various crops, such as lettuce and an assortment of peppers, which they then sell to support various causes. Most of the work is done by the volunteers, and we were given the opportunity to help out on the day of our visit. After celebrating Mass in the morning, we rolled up our sleeves and began to help: chopping wood, collecting dried chili peppers, cooking lunch, and even laying the foundations of what will become a patio. For each task, I was amazed by Francis Kim’s ingenuity and creativity — plastic tubing doubled as a level while an old trailer now functions as the dryer for racks of chili peppers. Furthermore, the engagement and commitment of the lay volunteers was inspiring. Francis Kim’s farm and the other ministry sites we visited epitomized Holy Name Province’s innovative approaches ministry and service.”

Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, was presented with the Gov. Hugh L. Carey Award on Oct. 17 by the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, N.Y. In a letter printed in the event’s program, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “I join in congratulating Father Kevin Mullen and [executive director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center] Siobhan Dennehy as you recognize their many years of accomplishment, charity and public service in New York State and to the Irish American community.” Photos can be found on the museum’s website.

Daniel Riley, OFM, invites friars and laypeople to Mt. Irenaeus’s annual action. Reservations are being accepted for the Nov. 7 event, which will be held at the Premier Banquet Center in Olean, N.Y. Mass will begin at 5 p.m. followed by the auction at 6 p.m. For reservations, contact the Mountain office at 716-375-2096. The ticket cost is $60 per person and includes cocktails and food, according to the Mountain’s October e-newsletter. “The proceeds from the annual auction cover an important portion of the Mountain’s operating budget and help fund myriad improvements and expenses. Most recently, auction proceeds helped fund the resurfacing of the chapel’s structure and window replacement.”

The Greenville, S.C., Journal featured Patrick Tuttle, OFM, in an Oct. 15 article titled “Soul Man.” The reporter wrote the “Franciscan friar and pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, is a well-known figure in Greenville, both for the traditional brown habit he wears and the work he does to improve the lives of residents of the impoverished neighborhood surrounding his church. Those neighbors are literally living the Gospel,’ he said. ‘The Gospel calls for a simplistic lifestyle, and they have that. They teach us about dependence on God because they don’t have much else.’”

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by Nov. 4, 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:

  • Essays about social justice themes
  • Celebration of 25 years of Franciscan presence at Hartford’s St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish and New York City’s Holy Name Parish
  • New role of Russel Murray, OFM
  • Priestly ordination of Michael Reyes, OFM

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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