Michael Harlan Honored for His ‘Smile a Minute’ & Welcoming Ways

HNP Communications In the Headlines

PALISADES, N.Y. – Michael Harlan, OFM, Secretary of the Province, was honored Jan. 25 by his alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas College located in Sparkill, N.Y.

Michael, a 1978 graduate with a bachelor’s degree  in business administration, was inducted  into the Alumni Hall of Fame, along with seven others at a dinner program at the IBM Executive Conference Center in Palisades. In introducing Michael, college president Margaret Mary Fitzpatrick, SC, said, “Michael has dedicated his life to be God’s image to others through his vowed life as a Franciscan. That is some job.”

She also pointed out some of Michael’s many worthy attributes, including “a smile a minute” and “welcoming everyone into his circle.”

“For your devotion and service as a Franciscan, for your dedication and support of your alma mater as a member of the President’s Council, I am proud to induct you into the Alumni Hall of Fame,” she said.  

In receiving his honor, Michael thanked God, who, he said, was responsible for guiding and directing his life. “I feel extremely blessed.”

He also thanked his family – including his six brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and mother, Cecelia, who he said deserved to be inducted into a  “Hall of Fame for mothers.” He also fondly recalled his father, Edward, who died seven years ago. 

Gratitude for his Franciscan Brothers

He also thanked his Provincial family, many of whom traveled from as far away as Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia, and Loudonville, N.Y., to Michael’s induction. Those in attendance included: Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, Kevin Mullen, OFM, Daniel Dwyer, OFM, Brian Belanger, OFM, Dennis Tamburello, OFM, from Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y.; Ronald Pecci, OFM, the Province’s director of postulants, from the Bronx; Michael Duffy, OFM, St. Francis Inn, Philadelphia; Jerome Massimino, OFM, Alan Thomas, OFM, Steven Mimnaugh, OFM, Anthony LoGalbo, OFM, Thomas Walters, OFM, Brian Smail, OFM, Province vocation director, all from St. Francis Friary, Manhattan; Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, Washington Theological Union; Washington, D.C.; John Maganzini, OFM, St. Anthony Shrine, Boston; and Octavio Duran, OFM, of New Jersey, representing the Province Communications Office.  

Michael recalled his roots growing up in Rockland County, N.Y., where the college is located. He spoke about his ancestors coming to the United States from Ireland and Germany to settle in Rockland County. He recalled the story of their hardworking careers as caretakers for a country estate in Palisades, N.Y., and as coachmen and buggy drivers. Among his grandfather’s many jobs over the years was being a chauffeur for the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill, where he lived on the property above the garage.

Special Thanks for the Dominican Sisters

For this endearing background with these sisters who founded the college, Michael thanked them for the “witness of their lives … especially your faith, vision, dedication and commitment. I appreciate all your prayers and support over the years.”

After graduation from St. Thomas Aquinas, Michael earned a master of arts in pastoral ministry from Boston College. He attended Washington Theological Union and professed final vows in June 1987. After serving at St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, N.J., St. Francis Retreat Center in Rye Beach, N.H.,  St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, Siena College,  he joined the Provincial staff in 2005. He celebrates his 25th anniversary of religious profession this year. 

“I have been blessed with the privilege of serving in a variety of ministries as a Franciscan, and I’m grateful for all the friars I have lived and served with, and the many, many wonderful people I have met along the way.”