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 the HNP Communications Office at

From the Provincial Administration
A letter from the Franciscan Interprovincial Team was distributed to friars last week. It notified them that last month’s gathering of the seven OFM provincial administrations has set the direction for entering Phase II of the national planning process for reconfiguration and that a packet of materials, with a revised version of the four models, will be provided this month for use at upcoming regional and local community meetings. Highlights of the September meeting of the Provincial Council, held Sept. 15 and 16 in Silver Spring, Md., are being prepared for distribution to friars this week.
Committee Updates
Wellness NewsFlash:  Matthew Pravetz, OFM,  chair of the HNP Wellness Committee, submitted information about shingles. He encourages friars and laypeople to read the report, which offers details about the painful rash resulting from an infection with a virus that causes chicken pox. The Wellness Committee’s last update was published in the Sept. 2 “Friar News Briefs” and was about foot care.

A new book by John Anglin, “Following Jesus in the Footsteps of Francis: A Guide to Living a Franciscan Spirituality for Everyone,” is available for purchase online. “If you are interested in Franciscan spirituality, I have tried to summarize it in simple fashion,” John said in a Facebook post. “Friars may want to recommend this book to parishioners, students, and the like. It expresses our spirituality in terms that all can understand.” Information about John’s work can be found on his Facebook page, The Wandering Friar.

Thomas Conway, OFM, executive director of St. Anthony Shrine, reports the Boston ministry was featured in a full-page article published in the Steamfitter Union’s national publication, UA Journal. The article focused on the work volunteers from Pipefitters Local 537 did to renovate the Shrine’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems that dated back to the Shrine’s opening in 1954. When the systems began to fail, Tom spoke about the Shrine’s predicament at the Sunday Mass. The president of Pipefitters Local 537 and Kevin Sheehan, a former mechanical contractor who has attended Mass at the Shrine for seven years, volunteered to make the repairs to the 200,000-square-foot facility for half of the $1.5 million cost.

In a blog entry posted Sept. 11 on the Office of Development’s website, David Convertino, OFM, wrote about the shortest line in the Bible, “Jesus wept,” (John 11:35) saying that this verse is one of the most powerful and poignant. David said, “God has given us powerful passions. We can celebrate life even in death. We grieve. We laugh. We weep. And in all our emotions, we can remember, recall and relive our memories. As we remember and recall the horrific tragedy of Sept. 11, we look back and remember in dread, we live now with the memories of those who have died, and we must be firmly resolved that these horrors of terrorism never happen to anyone, anywhere again. Within our remembering today, there is weeping, deep loss and many tears, but there is always and forever, love. Always from tears to love… always to love.”

On Oct. 2, F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, will be inaugurated as the 11th president of Siena College. The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. in the Alumni Recreation Center on the campus of the Loudonville, N.Y., college.

Frank Critch, OFM, William McIntyre, OFM, and Paul Santoro, OFM, are settling into life in Macon, Ga. William, the new pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish, said the friars have been meeting the people in the community and “the new parish has been very welcoming.” The three friars will be attending a parish picnic on Sept. 20 to welcome the Franciscans. Though the parish officially contains 300 to 400 families, William said, more than 1,000 people attend Mass on weekends.

Two Boston newspapers quoted several friars last month in their coverage of the announcement by Pope Francis that priests should treat women who have undergone abortions with forgiveness and compassion during the Church’s Holy Year of Mercy. Brian Cullinane, OFM, and Richard Flaherty, OFM, were quoted in the Sept. 2 article in the Boston Globe titled “Pope Francis Expands Absolution for Abortion.” In the Boston Herald’s story, “Boston’s Catholic Clergy Laud Abortion Stance,” Brian said, “The pope is constantly looking for ways for people to be at peace with the Church. … We are not living in the Middle Ages, where everything is sin, damnation, condemnation.”

Francis Di Spigno, OFM, participated in the Sept. 11 prayer service at St. Bonaventure University, where he is executive vice president for university ministries. Photos of him along with other participants — students, staff members and visitors — can be found on St. Bonaventure University Ministries’ Facebook page.

The late Capistran Hanlon, OFM, and Martin Hanhauser, OFM, were featured in the summer 2015 issue of Siena News, the college’s magazine for alumni and friends. Both friars spent many years at the college — Capistran teaching sociology and Martin, mathematics.

A presentation on Sept. 30 by Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, titled “Understanding and Living ‘Laudato Si’” is one of many commemorations of the feast of St. Francis planned by HNP ministries. Lawrence will speak at 7 p.m. in San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street in New York City.  Like other parishes, St. Francis of Assisi Parish is planning a week of commemorations in honor of the Franciscan Order’s patron saint.

“Sainthood is a complicated and sometimes controversial subject,” said Daniel Horan, OFM, of the late Mychal Judge, OFM, and Junípero Serra in a column titled “Who is a Saint” in America magazine. “The significance of formally enrolling someone in the canon of saints is disputed, and the role of finances and ecclesiastical politics has over the centuries cast a shadow of incredulity over the proceedings.” Daniel, a resident of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, is publishing a video series about “Laudato Si’.” The first episode is available on his YouTube channel.

Julian Jagudilla, OFM, invites all to the Second Indie and Foreign Film Festival sponsored by the Migrant Center of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, of which he is director. Information about the Sept. 14 to 18 series can be found on the parish’s website.

On Sept. 10, Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, of Buffalo, N.Y., attended the White House Convening of President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge with Dr. Cynthia Zane, president of Hilbert College, where he serves as chaplain and assistant professor of liberal studies. “President Obama’s initiative works with institutions of higher education to commit to interfaith and community service programming. The meeting at the White House complex was attended by university and college presidents and chancellors from the U.S. and overseas, as well as some ambassadors, since the U.S. State Department was also invited to participate by the United States Education Department’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. I came away with some new insights. It was a great experience.”

Brian Jordan, OFM, Xavier Seubert, OFM, and Brian Smail, OFM, are teaching courses at St. Francis Parish Adult School in New York City, They are, respectively, “‘Laudato Si’’ – Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment: a Moral Call to Action,” “The Cosmic Christ in the 21st Century,” and “Building with Living Stones: Certified Program for Franciscan Faith Formation, Part 1.” Information about these as well as about workshops offered this fall can be found on St. Francis Parish’s website.

This month, Christopher Keenan, OFM, a chaplain with the Fire Department of New York, celebrated several Masses in observance of those lost on Sept. 11, 2001. The first was on Sept. 6, before the annual Sept. 11 Walk of Remembrance, and the second, which is attended annually by firefighters, was on the morning of Sept. 11. Both were offered at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Photos  taken at the  Walk can be found on the Facebook page of the 2015 Walk of Remembrance.

Pius Liu, OFM, of Taiwan, attended a special Mass on Aug. 22 for the Solemnity of the Queenship of Mary, Patroness of the Chinese Province in Taiwan, and the priestly ordination of Fr. Francis Yeh, OFM in Tahsi, which he thought “would be a hard hit typhoon day, yet it turned out a brightly sunny day without wind or rain, like the rainbow, a sign of peace between Noah, all mankind and God. (Gen. 9:12). Guests accordingly packed the church and corridors, a capacity of about 300 seats.” Pius provided several photos.

Jim McIntosh, OFM, has been adding updates for the USFranciscans website and Facebook page. Recently,  he posted information about the history of the Franciscan friars in the United States. The document was written by Dominic Monti, OFM.

Donnon Murray, OFM, of Tokyo, appears in a video made recently about the marriage program with which he has been involved for many years. “The interview was taped in Japan by a man from Ireland by the name of Neil Day. He is very active in gathering people who are interested in preserving and spreading the Faith of the Gospel to overcome the worldwide anti-Gospel secularization. For that reason, he has shown an interest in Marriage Encounter and the ensuing 25 programs initiated by the founder of Marriage Encounter, Fr. Gabriel Cavo, who belongs to an Institute called Diocesan Labor Priests. Their charism is the promotion of ‘vocations’ to all walks of life,” Donnon explained. “Those programs come under the umbrella of FIRES, an acronym for Families, Intercommunication, Relationships, Experiences, Services, meaning that when you have families that intercommunicate, the members will have good relationships which engender good experiences, which in turn enable them to truly be of service to others.” Donnon said he has been working with the founder of Marriage Encounter for the past 43 years. “He is now in a retirement home in Spain, and has asked me to be his representative in Asia, Europe and South America. I would like FIRES to be known and utilized in America, as it is in other countries. CFM has asked me to go to India in October to introduce the Sons and Daughters Encounter and to the Philippines in October to introduce the Eucharistic Encounter, two of the 25 programs.” An article about Donnon’s work in Japan was published in HNP Today in 2009.

Student friar Ramon Razon, OFM, has begun a yearlong pastoral internship at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City. According to a recent announcement in the parish’s bulletin, Ramon is looking forward to learning how to minister effectively “from the people with whom he will be working and find ways to celebrate his learning moments with the entire community.”

Vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, and his team are preparing several events for men considering joining the Franciscan Order. They are finalizing plans for a Come and See/Discernment weekend Oct. 2 to 4 in New York City and are preparing two similar events in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Nov. 20 and at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, the weekend of Dec. 4. Associate vocation director Gonzalo Torres-Acosta, OFM, is also planning a pizza dinner for men in the Pompton Lakes, N.J., area who are interested in the friars on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. Joining him are Richard Husted, OFM, Joseph Juracek, OFM, and Frank Sevola, OFM. Also on the weekend of Oct. 3, the friars of St. Anthony Shrine will make an appeal for vocations. Among the friars assisting with vocation efforts there are John Aherne, OFM, Thomas Conway, OFM, Greg Day, OFM, Barry Langley, OFM, Daniel Murray, OFM, and Gene Pistacchio, OFM. In New York City, friars assisting with vocation initiatives include Michael Carnevale, OFM, Joseph Cavoto, OFM, David Convertino, OFM, Julian Jagudilla, OFM, Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, Andrew Reitz, OFM, Xavier Seubert, OFM, and Timothy Shreenan, OFM. Details about these and other vocation events are available on

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by Sept. 23, 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:

  • Anniversary of friars’ 10-year presence at Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa
  • Irish American Heritage Museum’s Hugh Carey Gala on Oct. 17 that is honoring Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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