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
Highlights of the Provincial Council’s December meeting were distributed to friars last month. The Dec. 16 document includes information about the Provincial visitation, a report on the recent meeting of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, the spring 2017 regional days, the December phone conference of the U.S. provincial ministers about the Revitalization and Restructuring (R&R) process, the listening session being held by the Province for minority and immigrant friars on Jan. 17, a new policy regarding copyrights secured by HNP friars, as well as personnel and property updates.

The sixth in the “Custodians of the Tradition” series offering four-page summaries of aspects of Franciscan heritage is available in the Friars Only section. The Ongoing Formation page contains the December resource “Francis of Assisi: ‘Theologian?’” by Fr. Thaddée Matura, OFM, as well as the other installments in the series.

The Provincial Office will be closed on Jan. 16 for the Martin Luther King holiday.

►Brian Belanger, OFM, was recently appointed assistant general visitor of the Province of Arantzazu in Spain, serving as visitor for the Custody of Santa Maria de la Esperanza, also known as the Caribbean Custody. He will visit the friars of three islands – Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic – this month and in February, and will submit a report to the province for use during its chapter this spring.

Last month, Ross Chamberland, OFM, successfully defended his doctoral dissertation and earned a doctor of education and executive leadership from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. “My dissertation research was an effort to use contemporary leadership theory to retroactively assess the leadership of church figures from the past who have been recognized by the tradition as great leaders,” said Ross, who is stationed at St. Bonaventure University. “My hope in the work I’m doing is to be able to develop formation models for leadership development inside of religious and priestly formation programs. My coursework was mostly in the area of executive leadership in higher education.”

“In a lot of ways, it’s like they gave us Christmas,” said Thomas Conway, OFM, after St. Anthony Shrine in Boston received a surprise just before the holiday – a donation from a long-time worshipper who gave the church on Arch Street the proceeds from a winning $100,000 lottery ticket. “It’s very touching and generous,” Tom said. As ABC News said in its report titled “Anonymous Donor Leaves $100K Lottery Win to Boston Church,” “everyone is giddy with appreciation” at this “ministry for the masses.” Tom, executive director of the Shrine since 2011, was quoted in several media outlets that reported on the story of generosity. A list was posted on the Shrine’s website.

►Kevin Cronin, OFM, provided photos of an evening of Advent prayer, “Waiting in Joyful Hope,” at St. Ignatius Martyr Church in Long Beach, N.Y. Kevin offered a similar prayer service in St. Joseph, Demarest, N.J, along with two missions with the theme of “Preparing the Way of the Lord…Waiting in Joyful Hope” at St. Kilian Parish, Farmingdale, N.Y., and at St. Peter Parish, Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The one in Poughkeepsie “was very unusual,” said Kevin, who lives in Butler, N.J. “They hadn’t had a mission in ages. One third of their worshipping community attended,” adding that the “average attendance is 20 percent and 25 percent, which is very good, but 33 percent is exceptional. People are hungry for the Lord, the Word and the true spirit of Christmas.”

►Javier Del Angel De Los Santos, OFM, was recently featured in the #FriarFriday series on His reflection, titled “Nativity: Receiving and Encountering Others” focuses on the question, “What does it mean to ‘get ready to receive Jesus on Christmas’ if he already came more than 2,000 years ago?”

Friars who are professed less than five years are gathered this week at the Province’s friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., for discussions and fraternity. The SPUFY friars are led by two mentors – Michael Duffy, OFM, of Philadelphia, and Steven Patti, OFM, of Raleigh, N.C.

Provincial Councilor Robert Frazzetta, OFM, has been named to the interprovincial retreat committee, one of nearly 10 groups involving friars and staff members from the seven OFM provinces across the United States. The committee will develop the topics and list of speakers for the national retreats. In general, one topic per year will be chosen so as to bolster unity as a national fraternity, with arrangements being made with individual provinces to host the retreats in locations accessible to those friars. Robert is guardian of St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J.

After starting the new year with a SiriusXM radio interview, Daniel Horan, OFM, posted an entry on his Dating God blog with links to other recent conversations with media outlets. The author and theologian is also promoting his latest book God is Not Fair and Other Reasons for Gratitude. Information about Daniel’s writing and speaking engagements can be found on his Daniel P. Horan website and Facebook page.

This spring, Julian Jagudilla, OFM, director of the Migrant Center of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City, is leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Those interested in participating in the April 20 to 30 trip should contact him before Jan. 30 at

Mt. Irenaeus and its Mountain in the Home program were featured in an article published Jan. 2 on the front page of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle newspaper. Photos of Kevin Kriso, OFM, guardian of Holy Peace Friary, as well as others involved with the Mountain in the Home program are included in the story titled “St. Bonaventure Alumni Bring Beloved Retreats Home.”

►James McIntosh, OFM, national social media director for the OFM provinces of the United States, has made several changes to the home page of – adding friar-written blogs as well as FAQs. He has also added a calendar to the front page of the Friars Only section.

On Dec. 20, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, celebrated Mass at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J. Among the guests attending the liturgy and festive luncheon that followed were friars from throughout New Jersey and New York who wanted to commemorate the holiday with the residents of the Province’s skilled nursing home. Photos were posted on the Franciscans of Holy Name Province Facebook page.

►Joseph Nangle, OFM, said he was pleased to hear that Marie Dennis was named Person of the Year for 2016 by National Catholic Reporter.  “In the editorial naming Marie  their “Person of the Year,”  NCR got it exactly right, calling her “an unimposing woman whose life’s dedication to peace-building has resulted in an unprecedented conversation at the highest levels of the church.” The Reporter goes on to say that as co-president of Pax Christi International she has long known that making peace in today’s world requires not only new ways of acting but also new ways of seeing and thinking. Marie is well known to many friars of the Province. A lay Franciscan, she earned a masters degree in theology from the Washington Theological Union and more recently gave one of the keynote addresses at our General Chapter in 2015.   The photo used in NCR shows Dennis in front of Assisi House in Washington, D.C., the intentional Catholic household where she has lived since its founding. On Jan. 15, Joe will represent the Provincial Council in Durham, N.C., celebrating Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Each year, a different ministry hosts the Province’s commemoration of the slain civil rights leader.

►Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, returned on Jan. 3 from Italy where he led students from the University of Georgia in Athens on a pilgrimage to historic sites. Among other places associated with Sts. Francis and Clare, they visited Assisi, Greccio, and Rome. They left the United States on Dec. 26. Paul is director of the Franciscan Missionary Union.

A 2017 Mt. Irenaeus wall calendar, with photos taken by Daniel Riley, OFM, director of the Franciscan Mountain retreat in Western New York, is available for purchase. The Mountain’s website offers information about ordering the calendar.

On Dec. 10, Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, gave a presentation on “Laudato Si’” as part of a Catholics of Color Workshop at St. Charles Borromeo Church in New York City. The workshop, with between 40 and 50 people attending, “examined the local impact of climate change and practiced storytelling as instruments of advocacy,” said Kevin, who lives at Holy Name of Jesus Friary in New York City. The Franciscan Action Network was among the workshop’s sponsors.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Jan. 11 – always the Wednesday before publication. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future coverage in HNP Today include:

  • The gathering of SPUFY friars – HNP members who are solemnly professed under five years
  • The Province’s annual formation intersession program
  • Martin Luther King Jr. commemorations

Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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