Holy Name Province Prepares to Welcome Pope Francis

Maria Hayes In the Headlines

Pope Francis’s journey to the United States has been eagerly anticipated by people of all faith traditions. As he prepares for his five-day visit to Washington, D.C., New York City and Philadelphia, Holy Name Province friars and their partners-in-ministry are joyfully welcoming the message the pontiff will bring to the United States.

Washington, D.C.
Laypeople from several ministries will be playing a role in the Sept. 23 Canonization Mass of Blessed Junípero Serra. St. Camillus Parish’s director of music Tracy McDonnell will perform with the choir, and Pequette Schwerin, a laywoman from St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va., will serve as a Eucharistic minister.

“The excitement for the pope’s visit is building here,” said John O’Connor, OFM, guardian of the Triangle friary.

Friars who will concelebrate the Wednesday afternoon Mass include Julian Davies, OFM, and Mark Reamer, OFM, of Loudonville, N.Y., and David McBriar, OFM, of Raleigh, N.C. Others who will be attending include Kevin Cronin, OFM, of Butler, N.J., Daniel Grigassy, OFM, of Baltimore, Michael Harlan, OFM, of New York City and Kevin Mackin, OFM, of Florida, as well as simply professed friars and the postulants.

Jud Weiksnar, OFM, of Buffalo, N.Y., will also be in Washington while the pope is there. On Sept. 24, he will watch the pope’s 9:30 a.m. address to Congress from the West Front steps of the U.S. Capitol. Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, won the ticket through a drawing held by New York Senator Charles Schumer’s office, but because he is unable to attend, Greg gave the ticket to Jud.

New York City
After speaking with Congress on Thursday morning, Pope Francis will visit St. Patrick’s Church and the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington before flying to New York City. That evening, he will attend vespers at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan will be among the religious in attendance. This service is closed to the public.

On Friday, Sept. 25, the pope will visit the United Nations and make an address to the general assembly before participating in a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.

When he pays a visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, N.Y., four clients from the programs of CREATE, Inc. will be there to personally greet him. Two residents from CREATE’s recovery and homeless program will meet Pope Francis when he gathers with refugees, immigrants and other disadvantaged persons served by Catholic Charities and affiliated agencies.

CREATE’s executive director and HNP affiliate Ralph Perez, a Secular Franciscan, was invited to take part in a special video prepared by the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York to welcome Pope Francis to the city.

“The video has Ralph greeting the pope in the name of CREATE and its ministries and then proclaiming the words of Matthew 25:35, the passage where Christ proclaimed, ‘For I was hungry and you fed me. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison and you visited me,’” said Benedict Taylor, OFM, founder of CREATE. “Ralph’s welcome in the video is the last of the presenters, keeping ministries taking place in Harlem in Our Holy Father’s mind. The video will be shown to Pope Francis shortly after his arrival in New York City.”

After the papal visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels School, he will process through Central Park to Madison Square Garden, where he will celebrate Mass half a block from St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street. West 31st Street is one of many Manhattan streets that will be closed to traffic during the pope’s visit.

On the morning of Sept. 26, the pope will depart New York and fly to Philadelphia. An hour after he lands, he will travel to the Cathedral of the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, where he will celebrate Mass. William DeBiase, OFM, and Michael Duffy, OFM, of St. Francis Inn, will be among those attending. Afterward, the pontiff will visit Independence Mall and the Festival of Families on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The next morning, Pope Francis will begin his day with meetings with bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. After a visit to Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families and will visit with the event’s organizers, volunteers and benefactors before departing for Rome.

Those who can’t see the pope in person will be supporting him through prayer. In Boston, Raymond Selker, OFM, will serve as lead speaker for a Sept. 23 Prayer Vigil Supporting Pope Francis’s Call for Climate Action organized by Massachusetts Interfaith Power and Light, and supported by the Franciscan Action Network and the Global Catholic Climate Movement. The event will be held at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

In Durham, N.C., Immaculate Conception Parish will host an Interfaith Prayer Vigil for the Care of Our Common Home on Sept. 24 in honor of and in solidarity with Pope Francis’s visit to Congress and the UN. Guests from the Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Christian faiths have been invited to share about care for creation from the perspective of their own faith tradition.

A group from St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., will be among those participating in a multi-faith prayer convergence called Light the Way on Sept. 24 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, several blocks from the U.N. “The multi-faith convergence will include prayers from diverse traditions, music and participatory rituals,” according to the parish bulletin.

Some friars around the Province have volunteered to speak to the media about Pope Francis. They include Michael Calabria, OFM, director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York.

Friars and partners-in-ministry who plan to attend or hold events related to the papal visit are invited to send information and photos to the HNP Communications Office at communications@hnp.org.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province. Research was provided by Jocelyn Thomas.

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