New Locations, Roles for Student Friars

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

St. Joseph Interprovincial House of Formation in the Hyde Park section of Chicago. (Photo courtesy of John Ullrich, OFM)

It is a time of transition, renewal and change for a group of men studying to become Franciscans. The student friars of Holy Name Province – and those of the other U.S. provinces – have completed their studies for the year and are starting summer assignments designed to broaden their experience with Franciscan ministries and utilize their expanding skills.

“Summer ministries give guys the opportunity to put into practice the skills and studies they have picked up during the year,” said Joseph Rozansky, OFM, guardian of St. Joseph Friary, the post-novitiate house in Chicago.

“The experience gives them a chance to know different ministry sites and friars, affords them the opportunity to discern the kind of ministry they would like in the future, and provides them with a different kind of setting – usually in a smaller community – for Franciscan life,” added Joe, who also serves as assistant director of the interprovincial post-novitiate formation program.

The choice of ministries is made collaboratively, according to Joe.

“Friars from around the Province send a summary of what the simply professed might do at their sites for the summer or for the year. The student friars review the possibilities, and then we negotiate based on such factors as the type of ministry, how many guys are looking to go to a place, and calendar issues,” he explained.

The student friars who didn’t graduate this year, who have been studying at several schools – including Catholic Theological Union, DePaul University, the English Language Academy, and Saint Xavier University – will return to Chicago in late August, after the Province’s solemn profession, to resume their post-novitiate formation program.

These seven student friars stationed at the interprovincial post-novitiate house in Chicago are beginning their assignments around the country:

James Bernard, OFM, will live in Butler, N.J., and will do the CPE program at a local hospital.
Jason Damon, OFM, is serving at St. Francis Parish in Raleigh, N.C.
Steven Kuehn, OFM, is working at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, Pa.
James La Grutta, OFM, is at Sacred Heart Parish, Tampa, Fla.
Adolfo Navarro-Blanco, OFM, will be teaching at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y.
Aaron Richardson, OFM, will be at Ss. Columba-Brigid Church, Buffalo, N.Y.
Luis Manuel Rosado, OFM, is at La 72 Migrant and Refugee Center, Tenosique, Mexico.

These two friars student friars are beginning their year-long internship year:

Angel Vazquez, OFM, is working in Chicago for the summer, and will then move to St. Bonaventure University in August for an internship year.
Jay Woods, OFM, has begun a yearlong internship at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish, Hartford, Conn. (All photos of the student friars courtesy of Octavio Duran, OFM)

Two friars who live at St. Joseph Friary and are members of other provinces are also beginning their summer experiences. Br. John Boissy, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, is beginning his STIP – supervised time in the province experience, similar to an internship – at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Ariz. Br. Joshua Critchley, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, is working with friars in Toronto, Canada.

The U.S. novices of the Franciscan First Orders with Bishop Robert Barron. (Photo courtesy of St. Barbara Province)

In California, the novices are preparing for their transition. Last week, they were visited by Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, Calif., who celebrated Mass and took questions with three groups – the Capuchin, Conventual and OFM novices – at San Lorenzo Seminary, the Capuchin novitiate in Santa Inez, Calif.

Ten novices are scheduled to make their first profession of simple vows on July 2 at the interprovincial novitiate at Old Mission in Santa Barbara. That will also mark the end of their novitiate year.

The men who recently finished their postulant year in Silver Spring, Md., are taking a brief break before heading to California. Just before Memorial Day, the postulants finished their final day at Holy Name College. After a short vacation, they will begin summer classes at the Franciscan School of Theology in San Diego, Calif., before entering the interprovincial novitiate in Santa Barbara. They report to the novitiate on July 14 and, on Aug. 1, the men will be formally received as novices during the interprovincial chapter of mats being held in Denver.

 — Jocelyn Thomas is director of communication for Holy Name Province

Editor’s note: The photos of the student friars were taken by Octavio Duran, OFM.