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 for future articles, email information to the Province’s communications staff at

From the Provincial Administration
As Puerto Rico struggles with a massive debt crisis, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, encourages friars and laypeople alike to support Archbishop Roberto González, OFM, and other faith leaders as they call for a jubilee year, freedom from debt, relief for their citizens, and an economy that serves and invests in people first. The faith leaders’ statement is available in English and Spanish, and action alerts are provided in both English and Spanish. Resources were provided to friars through an e-bulletin.

The Provincial Office will be closed on Monday Sept. 7 in commemoration of Labor Day.

Committee Updates
The Province’s Franciscan Life in Mission Directorate met on Aug. 27 at the Provincial Office. Members, under the leadership of Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, discussed the upcoming fraternal gatherings and possible new ministerial opportunities.
Wellness NewsFlash: Committee chair Matthew Pravetz, OFM, submitted information about foot care and sandal safety. He encourages friars and laypeople to read the report, which offers tips and a helpful website for treatment of a contagious condition. The Wellness Committee’s first NewsFlash, published in the June 24 “Friar News Briefs,” was about eye safety.

Scott Brookbank, OFM, is giving a two-week workshop for the novices at the Interprovincial Franciscan Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. Scott served as guardian of the novitiate until August, when he moved to Athens, Ga., for an assignment at the UGA Catholic Center.

Michael Calabria, OFM, director of the new Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University, was among the people and programs recognized on Aug. 30 as part of an opening Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated Aug. 30 by Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, N.Y.  Other events included a salute to Dr. Patrick Panzarella for his 50 years of service as a faculty member, and a picnic for the campus community.  Photos of Sunday’s event can be found on St. Bonaventure University Ministries’ Facebook page.

Student friar Casey Cole, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., has launched a new Facebook page called Casey Cole, OFM, that serves as a way to share photos, videos and reflections about life as a student friar. On Aug. 29, he announced that, in commemoration of the 250th post on the Breaking in the Habit blog, he has also launched a website.

Farewell messages from Frank Critch, OFM, and William McIntyre, OFM, were published in the bulletins of the parishes where they had been stationed before moving to Georgia, where they are beginning assignments this month at St. Peter Claver Parish in Macon. Both expressed their sadness at leaving their parishes and their enthusiasm and hope for the Province’s new ministry.

Kevin Cronin, OFM, of Butler, N.J., recently completed two weeks of service at St. Agnes Cathedral, Rockville Centre, Long Island, N.Y. During that time, he celebrated Mass three times for a liturgy that is broadcast on TelecareTV. The Mass is aired three times daily. “I had one of the Sunday Masses at 11 a.m., which is usually considered the bishop’s Mass and is televised live,” he said. “When he’s out of town, one of the other priests does it.” One Saturday night, Bishops William Murphy of Rockville Centre and Robert Guglielmone of Charleston, S.C., joined Kevin and the other priests for dinner. Kevin also assisted for two weeks at St. Ignatius the Martyr in Long Beach, N.Y., one block from the Atlantic Ocean and the boardwalk that was destroyed and rebuilt following Hurricane Sandy. “I filled in for the pastor and was there for the feast of St. Clare. St. Ignatius has many Secular Franciscans,” he said. “I also spent ten days at Saints Phillip and James Church in St. James, N.Y., filling in for the pastor. “This has been an extended ministry of the Ministry of the Word, which shows fraternal priestly support and enables busy parish priests to go on vacation and retreats. It also helps us support ourselves during the summer months when missions are a rarity.”

William DeBiase, OFM, is on the cover of the Summer-Fall 2015 issue of The Anthonian. His ministry has been one of “wearing different hats” — from being a missionary in Japan to running bake sales in Philadelphia and serving the poor at St. Francis Inn. This issue of The Anthonian also features the friars and community of Mt. Irenaeus, works of art depicting Bl. Oscar Romero, articles about Franciscan history and heritage in Italy, and the Franciscan journey of John Alderson, OFM. Content was written by David Convertino, OFM, Thomas Hartle, OFM, and Ramon Razon, OFM, among others, and photos were taken by Octavio Duran, OFM, who serves on the editorial and design staff, along with Russell Becker, OFM, and Frank Maurovich.

On August 20, Russ Testa, director of the Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, led a daylong retreat for the staff of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., on the invitation of pastor Kevin Downey, OFM. The purpose was to delve deeper into Pope Francis’s recent encyclical “Laudato Si’” (“On Care For Our Common Home”) and strategize plans for a parish- and school-wide launch of the various themes and challenges presented in “Laudato Si’.” The retreat, held at St. John Paul the Great Catholic High School in Dumfries, Va., came on the heels of a fruitful July presentation at the parish by Casey Cole, OFM, wherein the parish launched its “Year of the Encyclical,” according to Rob Goraieb, the parish’s coordinator of Franciscan action and advocacy. “This encyclical is way too important to just be put into action by our Care for Creation Committee,” Kevin said. “The plan is to promote and invite staff and parishioners to act on ‘Laudato Si’’ from all areas of the parish and school.”

Michael Duffy, OFM,  Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and Juan Turcios, OFM, welcomed the 2015-16 Franciscan Volunteer Minsters last month to three sites — Philadelphia, Silver Spring, Md., and Camden, N.J. Photos from the group’s orientation retreat at Loyola University in Maryland were posted on the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry’s Facebook pageChristopher Posch, OFM, is serving as a mentor to Jacek.

Daniel Horan, OFM, is in Big Sur, Calif., this week leading the annual retreat for the Camaldolese Monks of the New Camaldoli Hermitage. The event, titled “The Monastic and the Mendicant: The Franciscan Influence on Thomas Merton,” was held from Aug. 29 to Sept.2. Last month, he spoke at various events in southern states. They included a lecture titled , “Introducing Laudato Si: Franciscan Themes and Prophetic Call” for the Catholic School educators, staff, and administrators of three schools in Dallas, Texas, on Aug. 14 and a lecture titled “To Serve, Not to be Served: Exploring the Meaning of Ministry,” for parish ministers at St. Joseph Church in Richardson, Texas, on August 15. In North Carolina, he spoke at the Franciscan Center in Greensboro, on Aug. 20 about “The Sacrament of Creation: St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis’s Laudato Si,” and from Aug. 21 to 23, led a retreat for the Secular Franciscans of Greensboro, titled “Living our Franciscan Tradition Today: Prayer, Franciscan Spirituality, and the Significance of Pope Francis,” at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville. Photos of many of Dan’s speaking engagements can be found on his Facebook page.

As digital media director for the U.S. provinces, Jim McIntosh, OFM, has published several articles on They include information about this year’s gathering of friars interested in Hispanic ministry, scheduled for October; the General Minister’s interview with Catholic News Service regarding the upcoming canonization of Bl. Junipero Serra; and information about the 2016 interprovincial retreat, “On the Road to Emmaus.”

John O’Connor, OFM, and other members of the Washington Theological Union Board gathered on Aug. 24 to celebrate the mission and work of the WTU, which formally concluded its decades of educational ministry. Recently Daniel Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, acknowledged through a letter the contribution of the WTU to theological education and formation in the United States. “On behalf of ATS member schools and staff, especially Debbie Creamer who has worked these past few years with the final details of closing, I am writing to express our appreciation for the unique contribution this school has made across the many decades since its founding,” said Aleshire. “WTU President Vincent DePaul Cushing, OFM, served as the first Roman Catholic president of the ATS and further served the association in the education of seminary presidents, attention to governance issues and, at a more personal level, by chairing the search committee that resulted in my election as executive director in 1998.”

Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, is starting a grief support group at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one and have been grieving for more than 90 days. The group will meet from Sept. 15 to Nov. 2. Information is available in the Aug. 15 bulletin.

Daniel Riley, OFM, invites friars and friends to the 30th anniversary celebration of Mt. Irenaeus of which he is director. The Sept. 19 festivities will include music, prayer and refreshments. Information can be found on the Mountain’s Facebook page.

News for the next issue of HNP Today e-letter is requested by Sept. 9, 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:

  • Profile of silver jubilarian Christopher Posch, OFM
  • National Convocation of Brothers
  • Events honoring Pope Francis before and during his U.S. visit
  • 25th anniversary of several HNP ministries

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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