SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Province’s intersession gathering took place at Holy Name College here from Jan. 3 to Jan. 6. It was a time for postulants, novices and simply-professed friars to connect with each other through discussions, both formal and informal.
The first day of arrival was a time to relax and be with each other (we had a time to play board games, Nintendo Wii and just enjoy each other’s company), and for some of us, it was our first meeting. There were 16 of us who participated as formation students: Erick Lopez, OFM, Cidouane Joseph, OFM, Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, Daniel Horan, OFM, Stephen DeWitt, OFM, Dwayne Fernandes, OFM, Edgardo Zea, OFM, Frank Critch, OFM, Mario Gomez, OFM, Jeffery Jordan, OFM, Michael Reyes, OFM, Gerald Hopeck, OFM, George Camacho, Brian Taberski, Alexander La Point and Geoffery Muga, a Kenyan student. The formation teams from Boston, Wilmington, Del., and Silver Spring, and Dominic Monti, OFM, Provincial Vicar and secretary of formation, were a great addition to the discussions.
Melina Rudman, from St. Patrick- St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Conn., facilitated the second day, giving a presentation on “Servant Leadership.” We are called to be lesser ones within our ministry through listening, guiding with an open heart through contemplation and following the example of Christ and Francis in living a life worthy of our calling. Placing the other first in our call as friars connects us to each other in fraternity, ministry and community.
Fr. Quinn Conners, O. Carm., the prior of Whitefriars Hall in Washington, D.C., presented on the third day. Quinn is known to the friars at Holy Name as a facilitator for the workshops on sexuality at the beginning of each academic year.
Fr. Conners’ topic for the intersession was “Boundaries in Life and Ministry.” The sub-topics for discussion centered on the importance of boundaries; their definition and descriptions. In further developing the topic we discussed boundaries in our personal life and in ministry. There was an emphasis on the struggles and challenges that exist in observing these boundaries and reflecting on our own times when boundaries were crossed both professionally and personally. This was an insightful and much needed presentation, and the atmosphere within the group was one of openness and honesty.
Our Provincial Minister, John O’Connor, OFM, facilitated the final discussion on the state of the Province. He presented the strengths and challenges that face us, now and in the future. John discussed the General Chapter, the proposals of our last Provincial Chapter and how we are growing towards the Provincial Chapter in 2011.
John continually emphasized the good that is occurring in the Province and the need to face the challenges and the newness of ministry that awaits us. He placed particular emphasis on the vows and how we are called to live these out in faith and in love. John’s honesty in his presentation gave much food for thought and prayer.
The intersession continues to be a time for the men in initial formation as well as the formators to come together and be one in prayer and fraternity. This was the first time for the intersession to occur at Holy Name College. For those on internship, it was a welcome home, for novices a time to see their new home in the near future and for the postulants, an opportunity to see the others who are in formation and connect and hopefully form new friendships and fraternity.
For us at Holy Name College, it was wonderful to be in our own beds. The staff members here at the college, especially Joe, Juana and Carlos, were wonderful and made everyone feel welcome. Many thanks to the formation team in developing this program and to Dominic for his leadership.
— Br. Mario, who joined Holy Name Province as a postulant in 2005, is a resident of Holy Name College. He is pictured above.