Interprovincial Postulancy Welcomes 14 Men

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

The new postulants with provincial ministers Mark Soehner, Jack Clark Robinson, Kevin Mullen and Jim Gannon after the recent ceremony.  (Photo courtesy of Carlos Portillo)

SILVER SPRING, Md. – A group of men from diverse cultural, educational and employment backgrounds was welcomed into the 2019-20 postulancy program last month by provincial ministers, vocation directors, and friars from Holy Name College and St. Camillus Friary.

The program from the welcoming of the new postulants. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Portillo)

The 14 postulants, ages 22 to 45  — representing  all from the six U.S. provinces participating in the Revitalization and Restructuring Process — were accepted into the program at an Aug. 22 ceremony appropriately held at the Holy Name College chapel – which is almost a replica (size-wise) as the Portiuncula, the small church within the Basilica of St. Mary of Angels in Assisi whose name is derived from the small parcel of land on which it was situated.

 The postulants have “a wonderful diversity, “ according to Charley Miller, OFM, a member of the postulancy leadership team. “They come from several Christian traditions, and a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds,” he said.

Kevin Mullen preaching to the new postulants and assembled friars. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Portillo)

In his homily based on Jeremiah and Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, reminded the new postulants that their Franciscan call builds on their core vocation as baptized Christians. He said that it “doesn’t separate us from other Christians, but calls us to stand with them and for them.”

Charley said that Kevin pointed out that the postulants’ future as friars would be quite different from what existed in the past and what currently exists, and that they would not be alone as builders of that future Church and Order.

Three of the newly welcomed postulants led the music liturgy, and the celebration ended with 40 voices strongly and passionately singing, “We Are Called.”

The tau crosses symbolizing Franciscan life presented to the new postulants by their provincial ministers. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Portillo)

After the ceremony, the new postulants each were asked to proclaim a single word that, for them, sums up the meaning of Francis. Descriptions included “radical,” “peace,” “joyful,” “disciple,” “helper,” “universal,” “devoted,” “compassion” and “fraternity,” according to Charley.

Among the 2019-20 postulants are:

  • from Holy Name Province: Daniel Cruz of Atlanta, Georgia, Tyler Grudi of Hershey, Pennsylvania, Kevin Hamzik of Broadview Heights, Ohio, James Kernan of Syracuse, New York, Chukwuma Raphael Obadike of New Jersey, and Christopher Phillips of San Francisco, California.
  • from Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Province: Daniel Samsel of Brecksville, Ohio, is continuing his postulancy.
  • from Our Lady of Guadalupe Province: Patrick McPhee of Syracuse, New York,
  • from Sacred Heart Province: John Dement of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • from St. Barbara Province: Jean Luis Guerrero of Los Angeles, California, and Joan Perez of San Jose, California.
  • from St. John the Baptist Province: Tim Amburgey of Lynchburg, Ohio, William Compton of Tampa, Florida, and Phillip McCarter of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mark Soehner presents a tau cross to one of the new postulants, symbolizing his incorporation into the formation program. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Portillo)

In addition to Kevin, other provincial minister participants at the ceremony included Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, Jim Gannon, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province, and Mark Soehner, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province.

In addition to Charley, the postulant team comprises John Gutierrez, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, director, Walter Liss, OFM, and Romel Perez, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province.

Earlier in August, 11 men were received into the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate, the phase of Franciscan formation that follows postulancy.

  • Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.