News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK — Below are updates about some of the many activities of Holy Name friars, including their presentations, celebrations, and special ministry activities. More information can be obtained by visiting links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, by contacting the friars by phone or e-mail and by connecting with the Communications Office.

To provide news briefs for future issues of HNP Today, e-mail communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

Michael Calabria, OFM, gave a lecture on Islam and its practices on Feb. 1 at the Olean, N.Y., campus of Jamestown Community College. He spoke about values of Muslims that are shared with people of other faiths. Michael is a lecturer in Arabic and Islamic studies at St. Bonaventure University. 

Kevin Downey, OFM, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., was praised by the principal of St. Mary School, Sr. Mary Byrnes, in an article that appeared in the Jan. 28 issue of The Beacon, the newspaper of the Paterson, N.J., Diocese. The story said, “The Franciscan friars have a strong belief that every child should be offered an opportunity to have a Catholic school education, said Sr. Byrnes, who praised the financial and moral support of the parish and its pastor, Father Kevin Downey. My religious congregation is dedicated to serving the poor and, since I believe that the only way out of poverty is through education, the friars’ commitment supports my belief.”

Siena College instructor Daniel Dwyer, OFM, said that though he is “not a big sports fan, I was thrilled that the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl.” Daniel, a graduate of Tulane University in New Orleans, said it was a “good week” because the Siena Saints basketball team clinched the MAAC title the same week the New Orleans Saints won the national football championship.

John Felice, OFM, of New York, has been appointed to an international commission to study the governance of the Order. He said he knows three of the nine-member commission. “However, I know little about the issues that came up during the last General Chapter which led to the request for this commission. I attended two General Chapters as Provincial Minister and recall discussions about the number of general definitors and issues surrounding fair representation when choosing definitors.”

Lawrence Ford, OFM, gave a lecture on Feb. 16 titled “Lent: Contemporary Views of Fasting, Almsgiving and Prayer” as part of the Friars’ Forum at Holy Name Parish on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Francis Gunn, OFM, is leading a four-week course as part of the Growing in Faith Together program in the Diocese of Paterson. His Wednesday evening course is called “A Preacher Looks at 40.” GIFT is a collaborative venture in adult faith formation on the part of 14 parishes in North Jersey. The nine adult religious education courses are held at the Carnevale Center of St. Mary Parish where Francis is based. 

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, returned to New York on Feb. 6 after a trip to Peru. He accompanied the Province’s visitor, Fr. Fred Link, OFM, to HNP ministries in Peru. On Feb. 16, Michael distributed an updated schedule for Fr. Fred.

An article by Linh Hoang, OFM, appears in the February issue of New Theology Review. It is titled “The Faith and Practice of Asian American Catholics: Generational Shifts.” 

Richard Husted, OFM, reports that the Empty Bowls dinner held Jan. 23 at St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany, N.Y., raised $1,500 for the parish’s international outreach parish in Guatemala. A list of volunteers who contributed to the event appears in the Feb. 7 parish bulletin.

Thomas Kelly, OFM, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., is leading a weekend Lenten retreat called “Seek the Lord.” It will be held Feb. 19 to 21 in Newton, N.J. Information is available from Thomas at 973-785-9736.

Kevin Kriso, OFM, offers his thoughts about Ash Wednesday in the Mt. Irenaeus blog. This reflection is one of more than two dozen seasonal reflections on the Web site of Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat.

Claude Lenehan, OFM, reports that, with team couples, he is presenting four Retrouvaille weekends in February and March in Morristown, N.J., Malverne, Pa., Rockford, Il., and Scranton, Pa. Claude said that last month he attended the March for Life in Washington, D.C., where he “ran into” Mark Reamer, OFM, of Raleigh, N.C., and Ignatius Smith, OFM, of Callicoon, N.Y.

Guy Morgan, OFM, of St. Petersburg, Fla., distributed an e-mail earlier this month that supports a grassroots review of the new Roman Missal. The e-mail message, titled “What if We Just Said Wait?” asks bishops to slow down the implementation of the new Missal. The initiative, which is trying to increase its 13,000 signatures to 20,000, suggests five ways to help including discussion of the issues with Catholic friends, colleagues, and pastors.

Michael Oberst, OFM, is quoted in the January 2010 issue of Callout, the newsletter of Peaceprints Prison Ministries in Buffalo, N.Y. He describes the recent $165,000 grant received from the John R. Oishei Foundation. Michael is cofounder of Cephas, which became part of Peaceprints last year. The publication includes photos of the 2009 Hike of Hope and Christmas activities, testimonials and dates of 2010 events.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, concelebrated Mass with Bishop Robert Lynch on Feb. 14 at Sacred Heart Church, Tampa, Fla., to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the parish. Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor, will provide details on the event for a future issue of this newsletter. 

“The Way of The Cross” by Francis Pompei, OFM, will be performed Feb. 26 by the Franciscan Mystery Players at St. Mary Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J. More than 10 FMP groups present Mystery Plays around the country.

Daniel Riley, OFM, participated in the Feb. 1 phone discussion sponsored monthly by the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Sojourners. Dan, guardian of Holy Peace Friary at Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat, has been on sabbatical since October.

As part of his participation on the Province’s Communication Advisory Committee, Christopher VanHaight, OFM, is providing to the HNP Communications Office suggestions of ways to incorporate on the HNP Web site information for the Hispanic community.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Feb. 24. Topics being featured in upcoming newsletter issues include:
· Annual gathering of Ministry of the Word friars
· Solar heating at several Province friaries
· Commemorations of Black History Month
· Profiles of friars celebrating anniversaries of profession this year
· Recommended books and articles
· Lent services around the Province
· Provincial Minister’s Feb. 22 trip to Japan

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas