Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below describe activities of Holy Name friars, featuring 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 Administration
Last week, a letter from Kevin Mullen, OFM, about the Revitalization and Restructuring Process was distributed to HNP friars. In it, the Provincial Minister describes his satisfaction with several outcomes of the recent meeting of the seven U.S. administrations of OFM provinces. In August 2017, the provincial administrations of the seven provinces will select one of two reconfiguration options for a vote by all the friars in 2018.
The fourth in the “Custodians of the Tradition” series offering four-page summaries of aspects of our Franciscan heritage is available in the Friars Only section of The Ongoing Formation page contains the September resource, “The One Thing Necessary: Seeing Chapter IX of the Third Order Regular Rule through the Lens of the Teachings of John Duns Scotus” by Sr. Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ, as well as the other installments in the series.

Last week, after John Aherne, OFM, and Juan Turcios, OFM, moved into Blessed Giles Friary in Chicago, a story about their arrival was published in SJB News Notes, the weekly newsletter of St. John the Baptist Province. “Chicago Welcomes Holy Name friars” includes photos of Juan and John. This week, a Facebook page called Franciscan Interprovincial Post-Novitiate US was created to share news about the post-novitiate friar community.

A quote from Xavier De La Huerta, OFM, of Philadelphia, was published in the July-August 2016 issue of The Pilgrim newsletter of St. Francis Inn ministries. “In an era of smartphones, Facebook, tablets and Twitter, how do we find the time and energy to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying?” said the friar who since early August has been recovering from a stroke. “What is the Holy Spirit sharing with us about the violence that is happening in our daily lives? We misunderstand each other and lose touch with the love that is possible. God has close friends like St. Francis and St. Clare. We are not much different.”

On Monday, Stephen DeWitt, OFM, celebrated a Labor Day Mass for more than 150 janitors and their families at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J. This was the second Labor Day Mass to be held by 32 BJ Service Employees International Union in Paterson. During the liturgy, Steve blessed a mop and broom, tools of the trade, and stated that he believes that the Church and the labor movement “have equal goals when it comes to making sure that everyone has what they need to live a decent life.” A story about the Mass, “For Janitors, A Labor Day Mass to Celebrate Their Work,” was posted on

Three friars — John Frambes, OFM, Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and Joseph Rozansky, OFM – helped create the resources that were recently compiled by the Catholic Climate Covenant which can be found on the CCC website. The resources, meant for homilists and bulletins, will help integrate the rich insights of “Laudato Si’” and Christian care for creation into Sunday Mass, said Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. These resources are available in English and Spanish.

An article about the friendship of the late Mychal Judge, OFM, who died on Sept 11, 2001, and Steven McDonald, the New York detective who was shot in 1986, was published by on Aug. 29. “The 68-year-old Franciscan priest’s death was the first to be documented that morning, and the photo of rescue workers carrying his body through the rubble became one of the most iconic of that tragic day,” said the article. “His life’s work of comforting the poor, those with HIV/AIDS and the grieving or injured like McDonald was something the detective wised to celebrate after Father Mychal’s Death. ‘He was close to God,’ McDonald says, ‘and a man of peace.’” McDonald and a friend, John Bates, created the Fr. Mychal Judge Walk of Remembrance that is held every year on the Sunday before Sept. 11. New York City’s WPIX reported the 2016 event in a story called “FDNY Chaplain Killed Reading Last Rites on 9/11 Honored During Remembrance Walk” and showed Christopher Keenan, OFM, who leaders prayer at firehouses and police precincts along the walk route.

►Richard Mucowski, OFM, and the friars and staff of Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J., are planning an anniversary celebration of the parish’s 90th anniversary. A Mass, celebrated by Kevin Mullen, OFM, is scheduled for Oct. 9.

On August 28, Timothy Shreenan, OFM, of St. Francis of Assisi Parish led a tour of The Cloisters museum in New York City for members of the St. Francis Young Adults. “Fourteen people took part,” he said, adding that “Most of them attended the 9:30 a.m. Mass and then we all went up on the subway. Rather than take them through the entire museum, I focused on a ‘few of my favorite things.’ Afterward, the group went to a local restaurant for brunch. Many of the participants remarked how much they enjoyed it — for some it was their first time to The Cloisters.” Tim provided a photo taken by Angelo Alcasabas.

On Sept. 26, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City will introduce a new exhibition titled “Jerusalem 1000 – 1400: Every People Under Heaven.” The exhibition “will illuminate the key role that the Holy City played in shaping the art of the period from 1000 to 1400,” according to the Met’s website. This exhibition is especially significant because some of the 200 works of art that will be displayed include loans from Jerusalem’s religious communities — including the Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land — that have never been shared before. In an article in The Holy Land Review, Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM, describes how Xavier Seubert, OFM, who has a longstanding relationship with The Met’s Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, introduced the Met’s curators to Br. Haroutioun Samouian, OFM, a friar from the Custody of the Holy Land who is living at St. Francis Friary in New York City. Br. Haroutioun escorted the curators around Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and introduced them to friars who helped them gain access to some of the items included in the exhibition.

In Greenville, S.C., the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School community enjoyed a special evening on Aug. 1 at Fluor Field, Greenville’s baseball stadium. “More than 300 people came out for the St. Anthony School Family and Friends Night at the Greenville Drive,” said Susan Cinquemani, the school’s communications director. “The event included on-field activities and recognition with St. Anthony students and staff, the first pitch by Fr. Patrick Tuttle, OFM, and a beautiful performance of the National Anthem by the St. Anthony Mixed Choir.” Photos were posted on the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic School Facebook page.

Vocation director Basil Valente, OFM, is in St. Petersburg, Fla., this week, leading the vocation megaconference, “Lesser Brothers on a Vocation Journey of Mercy.” Approximately 31 members of the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchins, Conventuals, Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, and the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order Regular are present. As president of the English-speaking Conference Committee of Vocation Directors, Basil has worked with vice president Erick Pilarcik, OFM, and secretary-treasurer Luis Aponte-Merced, OFM, to organize the conference. “Our goal is to support and enliven each other’s work while bringing about renewal and fresh impetus to the witness of Franciscan presence and vocational ministry around the world,” Basil said. Today, General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, gave a talk titled “Lesser Brothers on a Vocation Journey of Mercy.” Other speakers include Daniel Horan, OFM, who will speak on “Spirituality and the Strategic Use of Various Media Channels to Promote Vocations,” and Br. Moises Gutierrez, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, who will present on “Celebrating Franciscan Diversity in Vocational Ministry: Encouraging Men of Varied Ethnic Backgrounds.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Sept. 14 — 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:

  • An update from the Secular Franciscans at Mt. Irenaeus, West Clarksville, N.Y.
  • One-year update from the Province’s newest ministry in Macon, Ga.
  • A recap of the Vocation Megaconferences

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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