Friars’ Holiday Festivities

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

Holy Name Province ministries are celebrating the Christmas season with traditions, parties, music and meals.

In St. Petersburg, Fla., the friars began the season with a family-style Thanksgiving dinner, according to Roy Gasnick, OFM, held after friars and guests filled the chapel for 10:30 a.m. Mass. The four public rooms of the first floor of the friary were decorated byJohn Capozzi, OFM, vicar, who decked the halls for Christmas just a few days later, according to Roy. Roy wrote a description of the season titled, “Holiday Season at St. Petersburg: A Funeral, Two Provincial Meetings and Three Festive Holidays.”

The friars of St. Paul Friary in Wilmington, Del., had a busy Advent. In addition to parish festivities commemorating the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the parish had its annual Advent retreat on Dec. 4.

The friars also celebrated an Advent fraternal day with prayer and a trip to Longwood Gardens, the botanical gardens in nearby Pennsylvania decorated beautifully for Christmas, according to Todd Carpenter, OFM, pastor of St. Paul Church. The following evening, friars went to Philadelphia to enjoy a performance of “White Christmas,” he said.

In Manhattan, the friars of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Midtown thanked their staff with a Dec. 9 dinner attended by 135. Pastor Jerome Massimino, OFM, dressed as Santa Claus, with help from Tony LoGalbo, OFM, and Timothy Shreenan, OFM, who greeted guests at the door. Those who attended included Michael Carnevale, OFM, Patrick Fitzgerald, OFM, Robert Gavin, OFM, Hugh Hines, OFM, Vincent Laviano, OFM, Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, Brian Smail, OFM, Alan Thomas, OFM, and Kevin Tortorelli, OFM. The party was arranged by Ed Trochimcuck, the parish’s director of volunteer ministry.

christmas-rNext door, the Provincial Office staff participated in a tree-trimming party on Dec. 14, followed by a holiday lunch, organized by Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM. A photo taken of the group was posted this week on the Province’s Facebook page as a Christmas greeting.

The friars and staff of Church of St. Mary on Broadway in Providence, R.I., held their annual Christmas party on Dec. 13 in a meaningful and reminiscent location, according to Frank Sevola, OFM, pastor and guardian.

“This year’s party was pretty special,” Frank said, “because it was held in the former friars’ dining room and living room atop the Hampton Inn at 58 Weybosset St. The building served as St. Francis Chapel and Friary for 11 years. The penthouse floor hasn’t changed much since becoming a function room for the hotel, and the views are just as beautiful as ever.”

The friars, families and friends will continue Christmas commemorations through the season. In St. Petersburg, the friars will commemorate the New Year with a full day of activities, which Roy describes as “counter cultural.” It includes a day of prayer and recollection, a day of atonement and thanksgiving, and a day to pray for vocations for Holy Name Province. “It is a graceful, grateful and gracious way to end one year and to begin the New Year,” he said.

Whether ministries are pausing to remember the birth of our savior, or celebrating the season of giving, Christmas is always an especially holy and festive time at Holy Name Province.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.