Moving On: Reflection by a Ringwood Resident

Philip O’Shea Friar News

Larry Hayes celebrating Mass at Holy Name Friary’s chapel in December.

RINGWOOD, N.J. — From its earliest days, the Order of Friars Minor has rejoiced in its motto “My God and My All.” For us here at Holy Name Friary, the word “All” has taken on a new meaning in the last few weeks. The friary is to close, and we are to be sent to various facilities capable of caring for us and providing for those needs that are especially important to us as religious.

As our world around us is disrupted, it is very necessary to concentrate on the true meaning of God as our All. Such a concentration places all other circumstances and occurrences in the background as the presence of God takes center stage and enables us to say with the scriptures “If God be with us nothing can be against us” (Romans 8). This is by no means to deny the reality of the hurt that is present in us as our world appears to disintegrate around us. But those feelings indicate that we have not taken really seriously the meaning of our motto: Our God is our All. So long as we have God we have all that is necessary for our lives as individuals created and sustained by the Spirit of an all-powerful God.

Therefore, at Holy Name Friary, as we pack our bags, dispose of the unnecessary, say goodbye to a devoted staff and move on to wherever our new homes are to be, we do so fully aware that the change is superficial and, in reality, with God all the same.

In December, our Provincial Vicar Larry Hayes, OFM, came among us at Holy Name Friary and celebrated Mass and joined in fraternal festivities acknowledging our reality as a community and the vigor of our lives. Many friars came from the area for this Christmas celebration and many reunions took place among those of us who had not seen each other for quite a while. The staff cooperated in presenting a program centered around a meal of marvelous quality which brought happiness and confidence to us all, especially since we were about to hear of the unfortunate but necessary closing of the friary. The strength of our Fraternity on this day made clear the reality that we are truly brothers enjoying each other’s company and bearing together whatever may come our way.

God bless our fraternity, and God guide our new experience. I wish a happy New Year to all.

— Fr. Philip, a native of Massachusetts, has written reflections on a variety of topics while living at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood. The most recent, published in May 2018, was titled “Reflections on a Dying Tree.”

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