This Month in Provincial History

Rebecca Doel Features

Some notable April events that took place around Holy Name Province:

One Year Ago
April 10, 2011 — In its 23rd year of acting out “The Way of the Cross” as a live meditation, the Franciscan Mystery Players of Morris County, N.J., gave its 250th presentation. (On Good Friday this year, the group — one of four based in New Jersey — performed the Mystery Play, written and developed by Francis Pompei, OFM, for their home parish, St. Catherine of Siena in Mountain Lakes.)

April 15-18, 2011 — Maryland-based friar Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and several students from St. Bonaventure University were among roughly 10,000 young leaders who participated in Power Shift 2011, a national youth conference on climate change held in Washington, D.C. (Since Power Shift 2011, additional gatherings have been held in Ohio, Oregon, and Montana. A New York Power Shift will take place April 27 to 29 in Albany.)

Five Years Ago
April 13-21, 2007 — Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania, to participate in a meeting of the provincial ministers of the OFM English-speaking Conference, of which John was vice president. (This year, the spring ESC meeting of provincial ministers takes place from April 14 to 18 in San Antonio, Texas.)

April 16, 2007 — Prayer services, candlelight vigils and moments of silence were offered by Siena College and St. Bonaventure University in memory of the 32 people killed in a shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

10 Years Ago
April 21 and 28, 2002 — Farewell celebrations took place at St. Joseph’s Church in Winsted, Conn., and St. Joseph’s Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The Winsted parish was being transferred to Immaculate Conception Province and the Wilkes-Barre parish was returned to the Diocese of Scranton. (In July 2009, Louis Canino, OFM, Myron McCormick, OFM, and Francis McHugh, OFM, concelebrated a closing Mass at the Wilkes-Barre parish.)

20 Years Ago
April 3-4, 1992 — The Washington Theological Union held a symposium on “500 Years of Franciscan Mission in the Americas, Retrospect and Prospect.” (Later this month, the WTU will host its final symposium — “Celebrating the Mission” — to reflect upon the accomplishments of the union, which is concluding the majority of its programs in May.)

25 Years Ago
April 12, 1987 — A new wing to St. Francis Community Center in Brant Beach, N.J., was opened. (April marks the beginning of celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Long Beach Island center, which opened in July 1972.)

50 Years Ago
April 1962 — A 30- by 10-foot reredos, depicting saints Bonaventure and Francis, was installed in the St. Bonaventure friary chapel. The massive sculpture, which took more than a year and a half for artist George Kratina to complete, was divided into 51 pieces so it could be fired, shipped, and installed behind the main altar. According to The Provincial Annals, “It weighs 13,000 pounds, but in its final setting it does not give the impression of such weight. It appears rather to be suspended in air behind the beautiful main altar.” (In 1986, the Franciscan community moved out of what is today known as Doyle Hall, making the chapel a place of worship for students, faculty and community members.)

75 Years Ago
April 1937 — With the encouragement of Bishop Edmund Gibbons of Albany, Thomas Plassmann, OFM, president of St. Bonaventure College, sent seven friars from his faculty to establish a campus in the Capital Region. They purchased the 38-acre Garrett estate in Loudonville, and converted the family home into classrooms, offices and living space for the friar community, founding Siena College.
— Compiled by Rebecca Doel