Friars Honored for Service in College Ministry

Maria Hayes Friar News

As the 2012 academic year came to a close, several friars working in campus ministry were honored for their service.

On May 12, Daniel Riley, OFM, of Mt. Irenaeus, West Clarksville, N.Y., received an honorary doctorate degree from St. Michael’s College, Burlington, Vt., a school run by the Society of St. Edmund.

Several years ago, one of the Edmundite priests visited the Franciscan Mountain Retreat with the interest of using the community as a model to inspire St. Michael’s to form a place for spiritual formation and growth on campus. Since then, Daniel has partnered with St. Michael’s to organize retreats for young people and priests on campus as well as at Enders Island, Mystic, Conn., bringing with him the spirit of the Mt. Irenaeus community. He has also served as a consultant as St. Michael’s builds its own retreat facility on Lake Champlain.

“I am very, very grateful,” Dan, in photo, said of his recognition. “This has been a wonderful experience with a wonderful group of people. There is a strong and hopeful culture for education at St. Michael’s.”

Dan was honored for “being a man of deep faith and commitment to Catholic higher education, and a renowned spiritual guide for young people,” according to a news release distributed by SBU from which he graduated in 1964.

On May 4, Kevin Mullen, OFM, president of Siena College, hosted the school’s annual Faculty-Administrator Reception and Dinner. Among those honored was Brian Belanger, OFM, director of international programs, who received the James Knust Excellence in Administration Award.

“In this office, we try to assist the students who are willing to take the step out of a small world into a big world,” Brian said in a video produced by Siena. “That’s a measure, not only of success, but for happiness in the long run, and it’s very much in line with the Franciscan tradition — to help break open a world for them that they probably didn’t know existed before, to help them come into contact with the other, to help them come into contact with difference and see all human beings on the same footing.

“We bring the message of Francis to them and help them to see that every human being is loved by God, no matter how different he or she may be,” he continued. “Kevin, the cabinet, and Linda Richardson, my supervisor, have been supportive of this endeavor and this initiative, and have given me every opportunity to expand and explore. I have a terrific staff that is really passionate about this work. I think we work together as a great team.”

Daniel Dwyer, OFM, professor of history, was among four Siena College employees recognized for 25 years of service at the Loudonville, N.Y., school.

“I think the thing that has kept me here, above everything else, is the students,” he said in a video produced by the college. “Over the years, they are what has kept me going. I enjoy going to work every morning. It’s a lot of fun.”

In the video, Daniel, who graduated from Siena in 1974, mentions changes that have taken place since he began working at the college — buildings, blackboards, and technological advances among them. He also gave thanks to mentors and friends he has met at Siena, including Hugh Hines, OFM, Blaise Reinhart, OFM, and John Van Hook, OFM.

“So many people have made this like a family,” he said.

At its April 16 Spring Honors and Awards Ceremony, St. Bonaventure University recognized five employees who are retiring this year, including David Haack, OFM, professor of visual and performing arts, and Robert Struzynski, OFM, of Mt. Irenaeus. The school also recognized 43 employees who marked employment anniversaries this year, including David Blake, OFM, professor of sociology, and Michael Calabria, OFM, professor of modern languages, who were each recognized for ten years of service.

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.