Melvin Jurisich Appointed Visitor to Province

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK — Provincial Minster John O’Connor, OFM, announced to friars last week that the OFM General Definitorium has nominated Fr. Melvin Jurisich, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, as General Visitor of Holy Name Province for the Chapter of 2014. The nomination was made at the Definitorium’s Oct. 17 meeting.

Fr. Melvin, director of Serra Retreat in Malibu, Calif., since 2010, has served more than 20 years in the administration of St. Barbara Province, including a term as provincial minister from 2003 to 2009.

Fr. Mel will begin his canonical visitation of Holy Name Province in 2013 at a time to be determined with the Provincial Administration. The Oakland, Calif., native will evaluate the fraternal life and ministries of Holy Name and will serve as president of the next Provincial Chapter, being planned for one of the two HNP-sponsored colleges in Upstate New York.

Visitor’s Role
As General Visitor, Fr. Mel will interview all HNP friars to assess their personal situations and to compile a picture of fraternal life and ministry in the Province, said John. Fr. Mel is charged with highlighting issues that might need attention at the chapter. Once he begins his visitation, Fr. Mel will attend all meetings of the Provincial Council.

At the conclusion of his visitation, he will oversee nominations for provincial minister and the Provincial Council, and will write a detailed report on the state of the Province. The last general visitor to Holy Name Province was Fr. Fred Link, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, who served from 2010 to 2011.

Fr. Mel’s Background
The new visitor, 68, holds a degree in philosophy from San Luis Rey College, in Oceanside, Calif., and a master of divinity degree from the Franciscan School of Theology, of which San Luis Rey College is now affiliated. He was in the second graduating class of the FST, which recently announced its upcoming move to San Diego.

He entered the Order in 1963 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. Most of Fr. Mel’s life as a friar has been focused on educational ministry. His first assignment was to the faculty of St. Anthony Seminary in Santa Barbara, where he taught economics, religion, and American and world history. Afterward, he became rector of the seminary — at age 33, the youngest in the school’s history. Later, he became supervisor of high schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Fr. Mel left the education field in June 1988, when he was elected secretary of St. Barbara Province . He served in that position for 14 years until he was elected provincial minister, a role that gave him responsibility for the life and ministry of the 230 friars on the West Coast of the United States.

The Serra Retreat, where Fr. Mel has been stationed since 2010, was the site of this summer’s meeting of members of the provincial councils of eight provinces of the OFM English-speaking Conference.

Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province