James Bernard, Steven Kuehn and Aaron Richardson Approved for Presbyteral Ordination Set for April 29

HNP Communications HNPNow

Holy Name Province has approved James Bernard, OFM, Steven Kuehn, OFM, and Aaron Richardson, OFM, for ordination to the priesthood.

The Most Rev. Roberto Gonzalez Nieves, OFM, archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will preside at the Presbyteral Ordination scheduled for 12:00 p.m., Saturday, April 29, 2023, at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland.

An invitation to the Mass was sent to the HNP community by Michael Harlan, OFM. Family members and friends of the three friars, as well as parishioners of St. Camillus, are also invited to attend this joyous occasion.

For those unable to attend in person, the Ordination Mass will be live-streamed at https://www.youtube.com/@stcamillusparish/streams. A celebratory reception will be hosted at the Camilla Room immediately following the Mass.

About the Ordination Candidates


James Bernard

James, who has a master of divinity degree from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, Illinois, first encountered the Franciscans when he was living in New York City and became a volunteer with the St. Francis Breadline at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street, where he attended Mass and eventually grew more involved in other ministries and developed friendships with many friars – all of which served as a catalyst to him joining the Province in August 2015. After completing his year-long pastoral internship at St. Anthony Shrine in preparation of solemn profession in 2021, James spoke passionately about fraternity in an article in the HNP newsletter.

“I can’t say enough about the love and respect I have for all my brothers. I am constantly amazed not only by their diverse backgrounds, talents, innovation and courage, but also by their loving compassion, generosity and humility. As a member of this fraternity, I encounter Christ and find joy, challenges, love and support – all part of living the Gospel and living a servant life for others,” said James, who prior to joining the friars was in the banking and finance industry.

He has a bachelor of arts degree in financial planning from Grove City College in Pennsylvania, a graduate degree in banking from the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania, and accreditation as a mortgage professional from the School of Mortgage Banking in Washington, D.C. A common thread in James’ ministries has been working with people when they are at their most vulnerable, serving in hospital and prison chaplaincy.

Steven Kuehn, OFM


Steven Kuehn

Prior to joining the friars, Steven, a native of Annapolis, Maryland, attended the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played lacrosse and earned a bachelor of science degree in systems engineering. He went to flight school in Pensacola, Florida, and served as a Navy aviator, disclosure analyst, and catapult officer. While stationed in San Diego, California, and D.C., he volunteered at food pantries and was involved in fellowship programs, prayer and bible study groups, and young adult and other ministries. His active life in the Church drew him to religious discernment, and after attending a Mass of solemn profession on the West Coast and “come and see” retreats at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Massachusetts, Steven decided to change course after 12 years of service in the U.S. Navy.

In an interview in 2021, when he professed his solemn vows, Steven, who also has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland, had said, “The biggest thing (about being Franciscan) is reaching out to those in need. It doesn’t matter who, where or what. It’s important to be there to provide encouragement for those who are struggling.”

He continued in the article, “When I think about St. Francis, the most meaningful thing to me is brotherhood to all and the common bond that we share as people, as brothers and sisters. This was important to Francis, who reached out to lepers and those living on the edges of society,” added Steven, whose service in pastoral, outreach, and chaplaincy ministries has touched the lives of many living on the margins.


Aaron Richardson

In his early exploration of religious vocation, Aaron knew what he was looking for – to grow deeper in connection with others through a life of service, and to minister alongside members of a fraternal community. All it took was one week of volunteering at HNP’s St. Francis Inn soup kitchen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to discover that both were possible as a friar. In an interview at the time of his solemn profession, Aaron had said, “Working with the poor is a priority for the Franciscans – and that was very appealing to me. That first experience at St. Francis Inn was a revelation – the service and compassion for the guests, the fraternity shared by the friars, the life of prayer. I didn’t want to leave when the week was up!”

Aaron worked in stage set construction and as a theater actor after graduating in 2008 from George Mason University in Virginia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. His acting work included roles in “Oklahoma,” Agatha Christie murder mysteries, and “A Christmas Carol.” He later switched jobs to an office position with a government contractor. But the passing of his grandfather in 2014 was a turning point in the Long Beach, California, native’s life. Having had fallen away from the Church, seeing the packed church at his grandfather’s funeral triggered a desire for community, connection and service to others.

He came full circle when he returned to the Inn for his internship in preparation for solemn profession. While there, he tapped into his creativity. With the dining room closed and guests picking up on-the-go meals in the courtyard during the Covid-19 pandemic, Aaron spruced up the outdoor area as he did when creating set designs, and he debuted an 8-by-12-foot chalkboard – a community canvas and living piece of art, as Aaron called it, on which guests could write inspiring and encouraging messages. The initiative instantly became a guest favorite.