Friar News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The updates below feature activities of Holy Name friars, including their celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, contact the friars by phone or email, or connect with the HNP Communications Office.

To provide news briefs for future articles, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, president of Siena College, and Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, will co-host a Christmas reception for Siena friends and alumni on Dec. 8 at the Province’s San Damiano Hall in New York City.

The guardians of the St. Bonaventure University and Siena College friaries — Francis Di Spigno, OFM, and Mark Reamer, OFM — participated in a friendly bet over the 2014 Franciscan Cup basketball game on Nov. 19. They both agreed that the guardian of the team that lost would wear a sweatshirt showing the winning team’s logo. Since Siena won 73-70, Francis wore the Siena sweatshirt. The event was “a great celebration of the Franciscan bond between St. Bonaventure University and Siena College, and our common Franciscan heritage and tradition,” said Francis. “We were honored to have with us Mark and Julian Davies, OFM, a longtime faculty member of both Siena College and St. Bonaventure University. I think the fact that Ed Coughlin was announced as Siena’s new president that morning united the two schools even more. Ed has a great love for Bona’s and Bona’s has a great love for Ed. He will be greatly missed, but it’s good to know that he’s still in the family.” At the end of the game, the friars gathered at center court to represent their schools. “Fran explained the schools’ connection and offered words of congratulations,” said Mark. “I echoed his appreciation for our student athletes and extended heartfelt gratitude to St. Bonaventure for the gift of Ed Coughlin. And there was applause for Ed. One of the Bona’s students held up a sign during the game that said ‘Br. Ed likes Bona’s better.’ Ed humbly suggested that it was probably his nephew, who is a Bona’s student. The next morning, Fran wore the Siena sweatshirt that Julian and I presented him the night before. Fran gave us a Bonaventure sweatshirt to bring to Ed.” Also at the game were friars from Mt. Irenaeus and the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry.

Peter Fiore, OFM, was recognized at the Oct. 30 Fr. Fiore Foundation dinner at Siena College. The event, held at the newly named Serra Manor, honored the first three English professors to receive grants from the Fr. Fiore Endowment, established by William and Betsi McGoldrick in Peter’s name. A photo of Peter with the recipients was provided by Siena’s communication office.

A video about Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New York City was produced recently by a student at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. The footage highlights the food drive run by the Secular Franciscans and includes an interview with Lawrence Ford, OFM, pastor. 

Earlier this year, the novices participated in a workshop on etiquette, presented by Br. Scott Obrecht, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, and Amy Motyka, a certified etiquette teacher. “The workshop was very well organized, interactive and informative,” said the novices in an update from the Burlington, Wis., novitiate. “The presenters definitely did their job of teaching why manners matter. The skills learned have benefited all of us.” Abel Garcia was pictured serving dinner to the novices in a photo taken by Christian Seno.

Last week, Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, emailed to friars the draft of the 2014-2015 HNP Directory, asking them to review their contact information. He and the HNP Communications Office staff are working toward producing the new directory before Christmas.

The latest book by Daniel Horan, OFM, Postmodernity and Univocity: A Critical Account of Radical Orthodoxy and John Duns Scotus (Minneapolis: Fortress Press), was released this week. It is a scholarly monograph that examines the Radical Orthodoxy theological movement’s (mis)use of the thought of Scotus, said Dan. The book “is geared primarily toward other theologians and philosophers, so it may not be of interest to the same general audience as my other books. One never knows.” Last month, he presented two academic papers at the annual American Academy of Religion conference in San Diego, held Nov. 21 to 25. The titles of the papers were: “Planetarity and Imago Dei: Postcolonial Insights for Theological Anthropology” and “The Pope, the Poverello, and Postmodernity: Evangelical Poverty as a Strategy of Power According to Francis of Assisi and Michel Foucault.”

Julian Jagudilla, OFM, was quoted in a Nov. 11 article, “Mother Cabrini, Saint of the Green Card,” that appeared in The Daily Beast. He celebrated a Filipino Mass in English and Tagalog for the feast of Mother St. Frances Xavier Cabrini at her shrine in Fort Washington, N.Y., located over a villa where she had worked with poor immigrants. Four other Masses in Spanish, English, Haitian-Creole and Italian also honored the patron of immigrants. Julian, who is from Manila, spoke about the need for comprehensive immigration reform and the work the Migrant Center at St. Francis Church in New York City has done to aid poor immigrants.

Former Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, will be honored at the Franciscan Mission Service’s 2015 World Care Benefit and Celebration, scheduled for May 1 in Washington, D.C. The keynote speaker will be Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras.

In November, the postulants participated in the annual weeklong inter-Franciscan formation program at the Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, N.Y. There, they met Poor Clares, TOR friars and sisters, friars of the Atonement, Capuchin friars and other members of the Franciscan family. Photos of this and other postulant activities can be found on the program’s Facebook page. Ronald Pecci, OFM, is director of the program.

Francis Pompei, OFM, led a memorial service on Nov. 24 at the Veterans Administration Center in Buffalo, N.Y., for Michael Putich, OFM, who died Sept. 16. The service was held and organized by the people Mike worked with at the VA, including those from the special palliative care and hospice unit, the chaplains’ office, doctors from the ICU, and others who knew him. Roughly 40 people, including Michael’s sister Dolores, attended the service that included prayer, testimonies about Mike, and music performed on bagpipes and drums, said Jud Weiksnar, OFM, guardian of St. Patrick Friary. Jud said, “Many of us in Holy Name Province did not know Mike in the same way that the doctors, staff, patients and families at the VA did. What Dominic Monti, OFM, said in Mike’s obituary letter was very accurate: ‘These past few years… Mike appeared to have truly discovered his ministerial niche. It was indeed moving to hear from so many of the physicians and nurses at the VA who turned out for Mike’s wake and funeral about the tremendous impact he had made there. Mike related well to all kinds of people in very stressful situations.’ Those sentiments were magnified at the memorial service. People used words like ‘incomparable,’ ‘the best,’ and ‘irreplaceable.’ Fran and I thanked the people at the VA for bringing out the best in Mike.”

Last month, Basil Valente, OFM, visited St. Petersburg and Tampa, Fla., to meet with regional vocation directors Frank Critch, OFM, and Paul Santoro, OFM, and to meet with a variety of candidates interested in applying to Holy Name Province’s postulant program. He also worked with the Franciscans there to organize a Come and See and Discernment Retreat in 2015 at St. Anthony Friary. “It was inspiring to witness the delight and engagement from the friars as they welcomed potential candidates to the friary communities,” said Basil. “I’m especially grateful to these friars for their openness to welcome our men in discernment.” Frank and Paul periodically meet with and host candidates for “Discernment Evenings with the Friars in Tampa” that include prayer, dinner and discussion. This weekend, Basil and associate vocation director Gonzalo Torres-Acosta, OFM, as well as Gene Pistacchio, OFM, and the friars of Boston, will host six candidates at a Come and See and Discernment Weekend at St. Anthony Shrine. “Gene, Christopher Coccia, OFM, Gregory Day, OFM, Richard Flaherty, OFM, John Hogan, OFM, Daniel Horan, OFM, John Maganzini, OFM, Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, Philip O’Shea, OFM, Joseph Quinn, OFM, and Ronald Stark, OFM, have been especially instrumental in the planning of this important weekend event,” said Basil. “All of the friars at Arch Street have been tremendously welcoming, and each is eager to spend time with the men who are here, considering our way of life.” In addition to having six men at a serious stage of discernment, there is a waiting list of nearly one dozen other men who are already signing up for upcoming retreats, said Basil, who added that “many of them are well along the path of serious discernment.”

News for the next HNP Today e-letter is requested by Dec. 10, always the Wednesday before distribution. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future issues include:

  • Commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the HNP friars arrival in Lima, Peru
  • A special Mass at St. Stephen of Hungary Church, New York City, on Dec. 7
  • Priestly ordination of two friars on Jan. 3

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas