News Briefs About Special Activities of HNP Friars

HNP Communications Friar News

The updates below feature many activities of Holy Name friars, including their celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, contact the friars by phone or email, or connect with the HNP Communications Office.

To provide news briefs for future issues of HNP Today, email information to communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

Anthony Carrozzo, OFM, a former Provincial Minister, is leading a Holy Week retreat next month at the Franciscan Center in Tampa, Fla. Information can be found on the center’s website. Anthony has resided at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., since September.

From Feb. 9 to 14, Thomas Cole, OFM, the Province’s mission promoter, participated in the annual meeting of the OFM China Project, held in Hong Kong, with General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, General Vicar Fr. Julio Bunader, OFM, General Definitor for Asia Fr. Gabriel Mathias, OFM, and General Secretary for Formation and Studies Fr. Vidal Rodriguez, OFM. Thomas met with the Provincial Council of Our Lady of China Province (Taiwan/Hong Kong), the missionaries working in mainland China, and representatives of the Chinese friars. “This was an historic meeting in that this was the first time all entities of the China region met as a group,” said Tom. “Much of the meeting was taken up with reports on the fraternal life and ministries of the various groups of friars in the area. The large presence from the General Curia was a great source of encouragement to the friars working in the region, especially those belonging to the China Project.”

David Convertino, OFM, the Province’s development director, led Franciscan Challenge fundraising events at two parishes in recent weeks. On Feb. 21, Kevin Downey, OFM, welcomed David to St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., and on Feb. 28, Christopher VanHaight, OFM, welcomed David to St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J. Both events were well attended by enthusiastic parishioners, said David. Kevin described the need for the fundraising event in the Triangle parish bulletin: “From the time of St. Francis, we friars have had to ask for financial support and have been dependent on the generosity of the people we serve in our ministries.” He added that donations go toward three needs: educating student friars, HNP ministries, and sick and elderly friars.

George Corrigan, OFM, pastor of Sacred Heart in Tampa, Fla., is trying a new method of communicating. He is tweeting a commentary about the daily Gospel through his account, GeorgeOFM. Keeping the reflections short is a challenge, George said. “140 characters only go so far.”

Frank Critch, OFM, and others from St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., are advocating for the federal government to strategically plan the nation’s use of water, hygiene and sanitation aid to other countries. They sent a letter to their congressional representatives last month that stated: “We ask that you support House Resolution 2901, which implements significant improvements at seemingly marginal cost to the Senator Paul Simon Waters for the Poor Act of 2005. More specifically, this seems pragmatic and informative.”

Robert Frazzetta, OFM, and Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, are serving on the planning committee that is organizing the  national gathering of lay brothers. The meeting is being planned for August 2015.

Thomas Hartle, OFM, the Province’s spiritual assistant to the Poor Clares, led a retreat on March 1 at St. Mary’s Parish, Pompton Lakes, N.J. The morning program about St. Joseph included two reflections: “Joseph, a Man of Silence” and “Joseph, a Man of Dreams.”

A letter by Brian Jordan, OFM, of Brooklyn was posted Feb. 28 on the website IrishCentral, the largest Irish site in North America. The piece, titled “Leading Priest Says Gays Should be Accepted, De Blasio Should Negotiate Compromise,” discusses the St. Patrick’s Day Committee’s decision to forbid Irish gays and lesbians from marching with a banner in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision not to march in the parade.

Two volunteers from Holy Name Parish, New York City, where Daniel Kenna, OFM, is pastor, were indicted on charges of grand larceny after officials discovered the pair had stolen more than $20,000 from the parish between August 2012 and June 2013. Flavio Ramirez and Frederic Ello pled not guilty to the charges. Their volunteer duties included handling donations collected during weekend Masses and transferring the funds to a safe. Some of the stolen money was designated for the family of four-year-old Ariel Russo, a parishioner who was fatally struck by a car last June just outside the church.

Jacques LaPointe, OFM, pastor of Saint Peter Chanel Parish in Van Buren, Maine, has been named director of the spiritual program of the 2014 World Acadian Congress, to be held in Maine from Aug. 8 to 24. The French-speaking friar was chosen as the Franco-American of the year by the State of Maine, which, Jacques said, “was a fantastic experience.” Stationed in Maine for three years, he said this is the first time there has been a “specific spiritual element” to the congress. He explained that “the pinnacle of the event is the Mass on Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption, to honor the patron of the Acadians.” Last year, Jacques was inducted into the Franco-American Hall of Fame during a ceremony that acknowledged his dedicated service to his community and to his heritage.

Neil O’Connell, OFM, celebrated Mass on Feb. 21 to commemorate the late Bishop William McCormack, auxiliary bishop of New York, affiliated with St. Bonaventure University, where Neil had served as president from 1990 to 1993. The Mass was offered at the office of the National Pontifical Mission Societies, of which Bishop McCormack had been director, in New York City. At the Mass were Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, president of St. Bonaventure, and F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, SBU’s vice president for Franciscan Mission. Bishop McCormack, a 1958 graduate of St. Bonaventure University, was ordained a priest the following year at Christ the King Seminary. He died in November. The February date was chosen for the commemoration because that is the anniversary of the late bishop’s ordination, noted Neil, who works at Lehman College in New York City. Neil talked in his homily about the fact that “though the bishop did not become a friar, he was very Franciscan.”

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, reports that “thanks to the hard work of F. Edward Coughlin, OFM,and the cooperation of our local guardians and the friars, the Province has once again been reaccredited by Praesidium. This is no easy task, and I am grateful to all of you for making this possible.” Also, John said he was pleased to read the essay titled “The St. Bonaventure Basketball Experience,” that was published March 2 in the Olean Times-Herald. The article highlights many positive aspects of Western New York — where John was stationed for several years — from the perspective of a visitor attending a basketball game at SBU.

From Feb. 16 to 21, the five postulants participated in a workshop for all OFM postulants in the U.S. titled “Human Sexuality and Celibate Chastity.” Ronald Pecci, OFM. HNP director of postulancy, said, “We held the program at the novitiate in Burlington Wis., so the postulants had the opportunity to see the novitiate long before going there.” Photos taken during the workshop are posted on Facebook. A description of last month’s workshop was published in the Feb. 27 issue of St. John the Baptist Province’s News Notes.

Throughout Lent, Xavier Seubert, OFM, director of adult education at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, New York City, is offering a series of lunchtime reflections on the meaning of the cross in art. The presentations are on Fridays, from March 7 to April 11, at 12:15 in San Damiano Hall, 127 W. 31st St.

Last week, vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, distributed the first Be A Franciscan newsletter of 2014. The e-publication for men discerning a vocation to friar life includes stories about the annual meeting of HNP formation students, guidelines for discerning a vocation, and a feature by Christopher VanHaight, OFM, “Blessings and Challenges of Being a Pastor.” Brian described in his message to readers about the meaning of Lent: “Whatever form our Lenten practices take, whatever we choose to give up, may it be done in the spirit of responding to the needs of others and sharing the Gospel message of God’s unconditional love.” Brian and his assistant are finalizing plans for the March 21 “Come and See” weekend in Boston.

The Sunday radio show hosted by Patrick Tuttle, OFM, and a Furman University student was featured recently in The Paladin, the campus newspaper. One of the more popular shows since the station’s revitalization, “Tell Me Something Good” is a call-in show for questions, answers and comments about that which is “true, lasting and good.” Patrick, who has served as campus minister at Furman for more than five years, “has demonstrated comfort with the equipment and an ability to riff on the air. During one break in a recent show, he noted that he had been the CEO of a university radio station in Albany and a professional DJ for WVCR in Albany for three years.” On Feb. 23, Patrick’s classmate, Jud Weiksnar, OFM, was part of the radio program during his visit to Greenville.

Paul Williams, OFM, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Wilmington, Del., reports that the more than 125-year-old community held events each Sunday in February to commemorate Black History Month. The programs included a health screening, a presentation about the history of Negro spirituals with a soul food lunch, and “Rise Up & Rebuild,” a program based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by March 12, always the Wednesday before the newsletter’s publication. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future issues include:
•   Solemn profession on March 19 of Joseph Cavoto, OFM
•   Jubilarian profiles of Richard Mucowski, OFM, and Emeric Szlezak, OFM
•   Interprovincial friar retreat about aging
•   Ministry of the Word gathering

 Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas