From the Provincial Minister’s Desk

John O'Connor In the Headlines

The reflection below is one in a series written by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, about his observations and experiences as leader of Holy Name Province. The previous installment appeared in the March 5 issue.

Dear brothers and partners-in-ministry,

I returned to New York earlier this week from a very productive and enjoyable meeting of the provincial ministers of the English-speaking Conference.  Our Province hosted it, as this was my last meeting with the ESC provincials. We met in St. Petersburg with rooms and meals provided at our St. Anthony Friary community. I want to thank Jim Toal, OFM, guardian, and the friars at St. Anthony’s for being such gracious hosts. The provincials were very impressed with the friars’ generosity.

We met each day at a nearby hotel in a conference room that could accommodate us. We began the week with a meeting of the U.S. provincials to discuss further collaboration in the design and placement of our postulant and post-novitiate formation programs. Several friar directors of formation — including Dominic Monti, OFM — joined us for that discussion.

On Tuesday, we were fortunate to have Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez join us to talk about the commission founded by Pope Francis to reform the Vatican Curia. Cardinal Rodríguez chairs that commission of eight cardinals. A detailed description of his meeting with us can be found in this newsletter.

Other topics covered during the week included:

  • A report on the recent Plenary Council of the Order, held in Warsaw, Poland, in November
  • Preliminary plans for the Order’s General Chapter in summer 2015
  • A proposed ESC gathering of lay brothers in summer 2015
  • Various reports from ESC committees and commissions

The week was not all business. As in past meetings, we provincials spent part of a day sharing our experiences and challenges, as well as positive developments in our provinces and difficulties we have encountered. We find these sharing sessions very helpful and affirming.

All in all, the week was a nice mix of business and fraternity. I am going to miss these ESC gatherings and the chance to spend time with my brother provincials.

I am coming down the home stretch with a little more than five weeks to go before the end of my term. As I mentioned in a previous issue, I am attempting to visit as many of the ministries and fraternities as possible while at the same time firming up my plans for “life after provincial.”

I wish all of you a blessed Easter. See you around the Province.

 Fr. John, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the 15th friar to serve as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. His term concludes in June at the 2014 chapter.