A dozen-and-a-half Holy Name Province friars are celebrating their birthday this month – among them four nonagenarians, with Mario Di Lella, OFM, earning the distinction of the most senior of the group after celebrating his 96th birthday on March 8, followed by Claude Lenehan, OFM, whose milestone 95th comes on March 23; Hugh Hines, OFM, who marks his 91st on March 31, and Daniel Lanahan, OFM, who hits his milestone 90th on March 27.
Mario lives at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Florida, but don’t tell him it’s a retirement house. He lives a life of prayer ministry, especially praying for men who are discerning Franciscan vocation. Mario recently participated in the first Interprovincial Vocation Weekend Retreat for a group of discerners hosted by the National Vocation Office at the St. Petersburg friary. During a post-dinner gathering, Mario, the former campus minister at Georgia Tech, provided an authentic and inspiring presentation called, My Franciscan Journey: A Spiritual Reflection.
Among many ministerial assignments, Claude was part of HNP’s Ministry of the Word team for more than two decades – preaching at parish missions and retreats across the country – and he provided marriage counseling ministry to couples for 10 years. Claude has seen the inside of a jail cell, not as a prison chaplain, but as an inmate – when in June 1982, he was arrested during an anti-nuke march in Manhattan. The following year, he spent two days in jail for his participation in a peaceful protest at the Rotunda in Washington, D.C. Claude, who lives at St. Lawrence Friary and Retreat Center in Beacon, New York, spent a significant amount of time in peace and justice causes as a self-described hands-on practitioner of civil disobedience.
Although he lives in retirement at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Massachusetts, Hugh is also involved in vocation ministry as a Local Vocation Director for the new national office. In a recent installment of the Province’s SAR Directorate Aging with Grace video series, Hugh summed up his friar life and life in retirement with one word – thanks. He credits a high school homeroom teacher for encouraging him to take a college scholarship exam, which resulted in acceptance to Siena College, where he met the friars. His wide range of ministries have included parish work, service at the St. Francis Inn soup kitchen in Philadelphia, and teaching at the high school and college levels. Hugh returned to Siena to teach for seven years and to serve as president for 13 years.
Daniel’s diverse ministry life has included many years of seminary work with friars in formation, during which he led retreats, days of reflection, and prayer weekends. He spent years in pastoral and sacramental ministry at parishes, and as a member of the Ministry of the Word conducting parish retreats and missions. Daniel is also an author, among his works a book called When God Says No – The Mystery of Suffering and the Dynamics of Prayer.
The group of octogenarians and septuagenarians celebrating a birthday this month are Gabriel Scarfia, OFM, who celebrates his 86th on March 16 and who recently moved to the St. Elizabeth Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, located across from St. Bonaventure University; Edwin Robinson, OFM, who reached his milestone 80th birthday on March 1 and has been a member of three provinces on three continents during his friar life; Francis McHugh, OFM, who will mark his 78th on March 19 and who was appointed in early 2021 to serve as co-spiritual assistant for the Secular Franciscan Order; Richard McFeely, OFM, his 77th on March 3, who was guardian of the Province’s former skilled nursing care facility and is a Local Vocation Director for the National Vocation Office; Joseph Rozansky, OFM, his 74th on March 9, the guardian of St. Joseph Friary and a member of the formation team at the Interprovincial Post-Novitiate in Chicago, Illinois; Joseph Juracek, OFM, his 72nd on March 1, who serves as videographer for the SAR Directorate Aging with Grace series, and Steven Pavignano, OFM, his 72nd on March 19, a parochial vicar of St. Peter Claver Church in Macon, Georgia.
The other brothers on the March birthday list includes Patrick Fereday, OFM, his 68th on March 28; Rodolfo Ramon-Cabrera, OFM, his 67th on March 1; Gonzalo de Jesus Torres, OFM, his 58th on March 12; Eddie Caro Morales, OFM, his 54th on March 24; Michael Reyes, OFM, his 48th on March 10; Juan de la Cruz Turcios, OFM, his 43rd on March 25, and the youngest of the group who celebrated his 24th birthday on March 12, Jason Peterson, OFM.
Blessings and all good to those celebrating a March birthday. Happy birthday, brothers!