Mt. Irenaeus Travels on the Road

Jocelyn Thomas Features

West Clarksville, N.Y. — Ministers from the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat  – both friars and students – traveled to four states this fall to offer prayer and discussion to alumni and friends of St. Bonaventure University.

The Mountain on the Road, a program initiated in the early 1990s by Dan Riley and SBU’s Alumni Office was held at a variety of venues last month in Erie, Pa., and Cleveland, Ohio, and last weekend in Weston, Mass., and Stamford, Conn. Though the theme of each program sometimes varies, each Mountain on the Road event includes the same components: prayer, discussions, readings and refreshments.

The MOTR is often described as a refreshing break and is sometimes titled a “Bona Time Out.”  Its purpose is to draw together people of varied generations to share stories reconnecting spiritual journeys – within and without the Church — in the healing Franciscan tradition.

According to Dan, “It was Francis who told us that when we meet each other on the road we should ‘show ourselves as brothers and sisters to one another, we are of one family.’ ”

More than 25 alumni and friends attended the evening Mountain on the Road in Erie at the home of Michael Sullivan, SBU ’77, and his daughter Courtney, SBU ’08.

The Cleveland event – an afternoon program — was held at John Carroll University on Nov. 11.

Four student ministers participated in both the Erie/Cleveland and the New England events.  Their role, according to Dan, is to lead participants into prayer and meditation and do faith sharing from the experiences of their own growth through life.

“It was a rich time of sharing with people telling stories from their experiences and connecting their faith journeys with those of others,” he added.

Dan said that the casual atmosphere of the Mountain on the Road programs allows participants to enter a place of comfort, and to fully engage in the programs.

Student volunteer Erin Farrell said that she enjoys “seeing attendees open up and break down barriers.” She has heard many attendees comment that they could not imagine sharing openly in any other setting,

More than 50 people attended the Dec. 2 program in Stamford which is an excellent turnout, according to Mt. Irenaeus staff member Michelle Marcellin.  Among the facilitators there were Joseph Kotula, a Mt. Irenaeus team member, and Joe Flanagan, SBU’s director of alumni services.

The friars who work for Mt. Irenaeus are part of HNP’s Ministry of the Word (MOW), an apostolate chaired by John Anglin and Raphael Bonanno. The MOW team has many parish mission programs scheduled for December in locations ranging from Greenville, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., in the South to Hawthorne, N.J., and Hamburg, N.Y., in the North.  Dates of the MOW programs are shown on the group’s Web site.