Friars Share Ideas at Leadership Training Workshop

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Friars committed to developing their leadership skills met earlier this month as part of the Province’s ongoing formation program. The seven friars participated in a pastoral leadership workshop at Holy Name College here that was organized by Mark Reamer, OFM, and led by Fr. Robert Duggan of the Archdiocese of Washington.

The participating friars, who came from as far away as Tampa, Fla., and represented diverse experiences, provided positive feedback about the June 7 to 9 program. Comments included compliments about the “helpful and relevant books,” “the fascinating theory and stimulating ideas,” “the good conversation and continued learning that dinner provided,” “trust that contributed to a high level of sharing,” “and the value of being able to share as a peer, rather than a pastor.”

The friars who participated were Thomas Conway, OFM, George Corrigan, OFM, Vincent Cushing, OFM,Lawrence Hayes, OFM, Joseph Nangle, OFM, Steven Patti, OFM, Frank Sevola, OFM, and Jud Weiksnar, OFM.

“It was a great group of friars who are committed to ongoing formation, assessment and development of our leadership abilities,” said Mark. “In addition to talking about Bowen Systems Theory as a way to understand ourselves as leaders, we read two books in preparation for the workshop: Failure of Nerve by Ed Friedman andLeaders Who Last by Margaret Marcuson. Leaders Who Last is an introduction to Bowen Systems Theory.

Failure of Nerve is a bit more complex, yet provided for some lively discussion around the conference room table at HNC,” said Mark. “These two books, along with input and facilitation by Fr. Bob, provided the content of the workshop. In particular, since many of the friars who participated are in transition, one session was devoted to transitions — leaving one ministry well, and thoughtful ways of entering into a new ministry — especially as the leader of the ministry. We also learned from one another as Jud presented a case study based on his experience of leadership as a pastor at St. Anthony’s in Camden, N.J.”

The attendees were “very grateful to the friar community of Holy Name College for their gracious and welcoming hospitality,” he added.

Vincent led the friars in prayer one evening and “provided a thought-provoking homily on Francis of Assisi and the integration of Francis’ conversion story which was formative throughout his life,” Mark said.

Fr. Duggan said, “It was great working with such interested and smart people who were interested in strengthening their leadership abilities to bring forth the Franciscan charism within the Church.”

The friars’ next leadership workshop is scheduled for Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 in Margate, N.J. Guardian John Capozzi, OFM, said the friary can accommodate 13 friars for the program.

Participants in the fall program are asked to read Resilient Leadership by Fr. Duggan and to put together a genogram. Information can be obtained through Mark by phone (919-847-8205 ext. 224) or email (

The other recent leadership programs offered by the Province focused on mentoring and parish administration.

— Jocelyn Thomas is the Province’s director of communications.