NEW YORK – The discussions have finished. The decisions have been made. And the friar relocations are underway. After a five-day process of meetings, fraternal dialogue and prayer, last month the leadership of Holy Name Province completed the task of assigning friars to Provincial offices, friaries, parishes, and other ministry sites throughout the Province.
Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, Provincial Vicar Larry Hayes, OFM, and the Provincial Councilors collaborated at the special fraternal assignments meeting to determine where HNP members would be stationed. At the conclusion of this important exercise, the leadership group announced new guardians and pastors as well as directors of 11 Provincial offices.
For many friars, the assignments involve taking on new roles and relocating to different cities and towns. Friars began traveling to their new homes and fraternities, where they will share their Franciscan lives with their brothers in the Order and the people to whom they will minister and serve.
In a letter to all HNP friars, Kevin explained the process, which was very different than in previous years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We met for 15 hours over the course of five days and, in addition, each Councilor averaged about four hours of phone-time outside these meetings. I share these facts with you not to elicit kudos for the group, but rather to highlight that this kind of assignment meeting format was without precedent prior to the start of our meetings on Aug. 12,” he said in the letter.
“In the last 30 years, previous Provincial Administrations that met for a post-Chapter meeting, the Congressus could rely upon the decisions of a Provincial Chapter to assist and guide them in making assignments. They had no limit on the time for their meetings and no restrictions about friars being able to visit or travel to the places where they would be assigned,” the letter continued.
“Organizing the names of friars and assigning them to a particular place – “filling slots” – was never the goal of the fraternal assignment meetings,” added Kevin, who has served as Province leader since 2014.
The Provincial Minister said that the leadership group, aided by prayer, strove to form and establish vital and life-giving contemplative-fraternities-in-mission (CFIMs) composed of friars who, conscious of their life in God, will strive to live the Gospel each day with joy and enthusiasm.
“This hope – this dream – must now be embraced by each friar and lived by him to the fullest,” Kevin said in his letter. “In this presidential election year when politics moves to the forefront of people’s consciousness, we might do well to remember the observation of Tip O’Neill, the former congressman from Massachusetts and Speaker of the House, that ‘all politics is local.’ So, too, is Franciscan life. We are called to live our Franciscan life not in Assisi, not on Mount La Verna, nor at the Portiuncula, but rather in a local CFIM.”
Because the 2020 Provincial Chapter was canceled due to pandemic restrictions, HNP leaders met remotely from Aug. 12 to 19. With the post-Chapter meeting – when assignments are determined – also canceled, the Councilors met via Zoom video conferencing.
The Provincial Administration demonstrated its flexibility and innovation in the style and content of its meetings in order to produce results in a timely manner. “In all of this, we tried to remain faithful to two principles: first, communicating regularly while maintaining confidentiality; and second, think, speak and act with the goal of establishing good and healthy fraternities,” said Kevin.
During the fraternal assignments meeting, the Provincial Councilors realized the importance of trust, effective communication, and the need to listen, according to Kevin, who wrote in a follow-up email to friars that these three components were crucial at the meetings and to the decision-making process.
“We trusted one another to be honest and transparent in all of our conversations. We trusted our brothers to listen to our requests and share with us their ideas,” said Kevin. “We asked all the brothers to keep matters under consideration in confidence until the time when the decisions could be shared in public with the entire Province.”
The Councilors found it gratifying to hear friars consistently express their openness to respond to the needs of the Province and to serve in whatever capacity was necessary, according to the Provincial leader.
At the conclusion of last month’s series of meetings, the Councilors assigned 249 friars to 39 locations – 27 ministry sites (which include a Shrine, soup kitchen, and retreat ministry), eight skilled nursing care facilities, two Province retirement houses, and two vacation friaries. All of the assignment changes, which affect locations from New England to Florida, are expected to be completed this month.
The guardians and pastors (listed below) will serve for the next six years. Some of the locations (also listed below) have more friars than in the past because of a decrease in the number of CFIMs, which is due to this year’s departure by the Province from nine Fraternities-in-Mission as part of the Fraternal Ecology initiative.
Hartford: St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church-Friary:
Tampa: Sacred Heart Parish:
St. Petersburg: St Anthony Friary:
Macon: St. Peter Claver Church-Friary:
Chicago: St. Joseph Friary:
Silver Spring: Holy Name College:
St. Camillus Church-Friary:
Boston: St. Anthony Shrine:
Beach Haven: St Francis of Assisi Church-Friary:
Butler: St. Anthony Friary:
New Jersey (cont.)
Paterson: St. Bonaventure Church-Friary:
Pompton Lakes: St. Mary’s Church-Friary:
Allegany: St. Bonaventure Church:
Buffalo: Saints Columba-Brigid Friary:
Loudonville: St. Bernardine of Siena Friary:
New York: St. Francis of Assisi Parish:
St. Bonaventure: St. Bonaventure University Friary:
West Clarksville: Holy Peace Friary/Mt. Irenaeus:
Philadelphia: Juniper Friary/St. Francis Inn:
Durham: Duns Scotus Friary:
Clemson: St. Andrew Parish:
Triangle: St. Francis of Assisi Parish:
After their meetings, the Council also announced the names of friars who are serving as directors of the Provincial Offices:
|Secretary of the Province:||Michael Harlan, OFM|
|Treasurer of the Province:||Dennis Wilson, OFM|
|Director of Office of Development:||David Convertino, OFM|
|Secretary of formation and studies:||Lawrence Hayes, OFM|
|Director of Office for the Promotion of Vocation:||Basil Valente, OFM|
|Secretary of missionary evangelization:||Paul O’Keeffe, OFM|
|Spiritual assistant for Poor Clares:||Thomas Hartle, OFM|
|Spiritual assistant for Secular Franciscan Order:||Gene Pistacchio, OFM|
|Provincial liaison for compliance:||Joseph Cavoto, OFM|
||Thomas Cole, OFM|
|Canonical counsel:||John J. Coughlin, OFM|
Other Provincial Offices have layperson directors, including Communications, Jocelyn Thomas; Health and Wellness, Amy Stewart-Wilmarth; Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, Russell Testa; and Office of Marketing, Maria Hayes.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communication for Holy Name Province.
- “Province Announces New Leaders” – Aug. 13, 2020, HNP Today
- “Retreats Provide Friars Setting for Facing Fraternal Ecology Transitions” – March 20, 2020, HNP Today
- “Provincial Office Announces Staff Changes” – April 24, 2019, HNP Today
- “Province Hires Health and Wellness Director” – June 6, 2018, HNP Today
- “Provincial Chapter 2017 Focuses on Living as Pilgrims’” – June 22, 2017 HNP Today