Friars Under Age 55 Make Recommendations for Strategic Plan

Francis Gunn, OFM Around the Province

ASTON, Pa. — Friars under the age of 55 recently engaged in a series of conversations as part of the Province’s strategic planning process. The meetings were held Jan. 5 at the Franciscan Spiritual Center here and on Jan. 21 at St. Francis Church on West 31st Street in New York City. 

The meetings were facilitated by Stephen Yank, a former Augustinian friar who studied at Washington Theological Union and teaches leadership training and planning for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.

The friars reviewed results from last fall’s CARA Preference Survey of friars. They spent a lot of time discussing preferences expressed by friars under 55, compared to those in three other age groups. The survey found that while fraternal life is important for most friars, those under 55 strongly emphasized fraternal, spiritual and prayer life in the friaries.

Friars under 55 also expressed a strong interest in serving the poor and marginalized, pursuing training for new ministries, and moving to different locations in the Province. Lively discussion also focused on how to serve young adults, reach out to the poor and marginalized, and do multi-cultural ministry.
Both days concluded with table discussions and formulation of proposals to add to the strategic plan. The proposals will be submitted to the Province’s Visioning and Planning Committee.

The overall spirit of both gatherings was positive. Friars expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work together and engage in important discussions about the Province’s future.

Shown in photo, from left to right, are Joseph Macaluso, OFM, Cidouane Joseph, OFM, Francis Di Spigno, OFM, and Dennis Tamburello, OFM.

 Fr. Francis is pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church on West 96th Street in New
York City.