Holy Name Friars Concelebrate Mass with Pope

HNP Communications In the Headlines

Nearly two dozen Holy Name friars participated in the pastoral visit by Pope Benedict XVI last week in New York and Washington.

Fifteen friars were among the thousands gathered for Mass with the pope at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on April 19.  They appreciated the opportunity to join with the Holy Father in the Eucharist; the priests concelebrated the Mass.

Michael Harlan, OFM, said he feels extremely blessed to have been able to participate in the liturgy, especially since it was the first time a pope has celebrated Mass in the cathedral.

“It was a great experience to be part of such a special gathering of men and women religious, priests, deacons, bishops and cardinals in one historic setting – and all committed to serving in the Church and world. There was such an unbelievable atmosphere of joy, hope and gratitude in our coming together to celebrate our faith in the presence of our Holy Father.”

Michael, like the other participants in the 9:15 a.m. Mass, arrived at the cathedral just before 7 a.m. to secure a seat and pass through a security check at a nearby hotel.

Dominic Monti, OFM,
 Provincial Vicar, said was struck by the optimistic note of the pope’s homily and warmth of his presence.

NationalsPkLRG0452Some Holy Name friars attended the April 20 Mass at Yankee Stadium. Among them were Siena College faculty members Julian Davies, OFM, who served as a Eucharistic minister, and Linh Hoang, OFM.  Several Siena students attended the gathering of young Catholics on Saturday at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers. The bicentennial of four dioceses including New York was highlighted during the Mass.

Among the two dozen invited guests who spoke to the pope at Ground Zero the following morning was Dymphna Jessich, the twin sister of Mychal Judge, OFM, who died at the World Trade Center while performing last rites on a firefighter on Sept. 11.  Jessich was accompanied by Christopher Keenan, OFM, who said that it was his first time back to “the pit” where he had helped dig for remains with the firefighters in 2001 after the attack on the WTC.

Christopher, who replaced Mychal as  chaplain to the FDNY, said that “the gift of the tradition we have inherited was incredibly alive and believable in the culture that we inhabit.  It was something you experience rather than explain, a profound gift of real presence with his prayer and concluding our Blessing of St. Francis.”

After being introduced by Cardinal Egan to the pope as Mychal’s sister, Dymphna said, “I bring you the greetings of the Fire Department of New York and the Franciscans,” according to Christopher.

Before arriving in New York on April 18, Pope Benedict celebrated Mass at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The April 17 event was attended by thousands including a group of Holy Name friars from the area. Daniel Horan, OFM, provided the photo above; he is shown at the right of the top row of friars.

A student of the Washington Tehological Union, Rev. Steven Bell, CSP, sang as the lead cantor for the Papal Mass at Nationals Stadium.