Men in Formation Gather at Franciscan Spiritual Center

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ASTON, Pa. – More than 20 men in various stages of initial formation to Franciscan life in the Province – postulants, novices, and simply professed friars – along with their formation directors, gathered for their traditional intersession program from Jan. 2 to 5 at the Franciscan Spiritual Center here. Over the years, the program has offered a fraternal opportunity for the men in the various levels of formation to come to know one another better, said Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, adding that it also “provides a venue for workshops on material not covered during the academic year.”

For the past several years, the staff of the Franciscan Spiritual Center, located in a wing of Our Lady of the Angels Convent, the motherhouse of the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia, has welcomed the friars, Dominic said.

This year, Russell Testa, the Province’s animator for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, conducted an “Engage Franciscan Peacemaking” workshop for the participants. The Province’s formation team believed this program would help implement  the decision of the 2005 chapter to “commit ourselves to active Franciscan peacemaking at all levels, a decision re-affirmed in discussions at last year’s Chapter of Mats. Testa’s workshop focused on revealing the impact of violence in society as well as developing concrete peacemaking skills for conflict situations. A number of the ministries in the Province are participating in the same “Engage Franciscan Peacemaking” process.

On Jan. 4, Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, gave a “state of the Province” talk, followed by a discussion. The general reaction among participants was that this year’s program was an especially enjoyable and valuable one.

intercession_dph_2008LGStephen Mimnaugh, OFM, of Manhattan, said that had been looking forward to seeing his brothers in formation because he is on a pastoral year and has missed the company of his peers.

“Our topic, Franciscan peacemaking, was both relevant and engaging,” he said.  “Frequently, we use terms such as peacemaking or non-violence without giving much thought to what they mean in practical terms.  Exploring the meaning of these values among my peers brought greater clarity to how we are called to incarnate peacemaking in our ministries.”

Many of the participants stayed on at the center after the intersession for the Province’s under-55 gathering held on Jan. 5.  It was the first of two events being held this month for Holy Name friars under 55 years of age.

Pictured in photo above are:
First row: Friars Ronald Pecci, Ronald Stark, John O’Connor, Dominic Monti, William Herbst, Michael Thang’wah (Franciscan Brothers of Hope, Kenya) and Kyle Haden.
Second row: Edgardo Zea-Laura,  Erick Lopez, Cidouane Joseph, Francis Di Spigno, Joseph Macaluso, Juan de la Cruz Turcios, Fadi Azar (Custody of the Holy Land), Jeffery Jordan, Stephen Mimnaugh, Bill Long, Tyler Piccini (Province of Christ the King, Canada), Harry Monaco, Daniel Horan.
Top row: Stephen DeWitt, Paul O’Keeffe, Russell Testa, Mario Gomez, Hoang Linh Ngoc, Antonio Cornier, Percy Osorio-Palpan, Larry Anderson, Fred Dilger, Hugh Macsherry.