National Gathering for Friars in Hispanic Ministry Set for October

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

Participants in last year's event, including

Participants at last year’s event, including Stephen DeWitt, Edgardo Jara, Erick López, Jacek Orzechowski and Gonzalo Torres. (Photo courtesy of Jacek)

WAPPINGERS FALLS, N.Y. — Friars who are interested in Hispanic ministry are invited to learn and to share ideas at the fourth “Juntos como Hermanos – Together as Brothers” conference being held Oct. 10 to 13.

This year’s national meeting — open to friars from the seven OFM provinces across the country — is taking place at Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center in Wappingers Falls, roughly 60 miles north of New York City. It will begin with dinner on Monday and conclude with lunch on Thursday.

The conference will feature as keynote speaker Hosffman Ospino, assistant professor of Hispanic ministry and religious education in the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College.

Stephen DeWitt, OFM, co-chair of the HNP Hispanic Ministry Committee, said the event accomplishes two goals.

“Fraternally, the conference presents an opportunity to get to know friars from other provinces who are doing similar kinds of work,” he said. “This seems especially important to me in light of the restructuring process that U.S. friars are undergoing. Practically, the conference provides an opportunity to share experiences about working in Hispanic ministry and the ability reflect on the work that we do. This reflection can lead to new insights and the opportunity to learn from others successes and failures.”

Friars who are planning to attend should contact Stephen at before Sept. 1. He and Fr. Joaquin Mejia, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, are organizing the event.

Last year’s gathering was “an important time for those who work in Hispanic ministry because we had the opportunity to share the blessings and struggles of our ministries as Friars Minor,” according to Edgardo Jara, OFM, who was one of five HNP friars who attended the event at San Damiano Retreat in Danville, Calif. “To learn from other friars and also to support each other is important and part of our way of life as Franciscans. The meeting was very productive because we agree on very important points. It was not only one friar speaking up, or one province; we spoke on behalf of many friars who work very hard in Hispanic ministry in the USA. Everything is possible when we are together.” 

The Hispanic Ministry meeting is just one of several interprovincial events being held in 2016. This spring and summer, friars are gathering at four sites across the country to discuss the reconfiguration and reconfiguration of the U.S. provinces. In September, friars involved with vocation work at OFM provinces will meet in Florida for a vocation megaconference.

Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.

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