News Briefs About Special Activities of HNP Friars

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

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

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

Earlier this month Russell Becker, OFM, distributed a Holy Week Guide. Produced by the Province’s Franciscan Missionary Union, the pamphlet provides prayers and reflections for each day of Holy Week.

Peter Chepaitis, OFM, has produced the 2012 issue of the annual Bethany Ministries newsletter, the summary of the life and ministry of Peter and Sr. Anna Tantsits, IHM, who operate Bethany Ministries. “We are a bit late getting the newsletter out because of ministry and the flu after Christmas. We have sent it to many people through the mail and would like to make the publication available to everyone who reads HNP Today,” he said.

Several seasonal messages from David Convertino, OFM, the Province’s executive director of development, were distributed over the last few weeks. “Lent in My Pocket” IV and V, emailed between March 1 and 9, provide reflections on Gospel readings. This weekend, David will be at St. Mary’s Church in Pompton Lakes, N.J., hosting the Franciscan Challenge, a series of receptions that offer information about Holy Name Province to attendees. David’s presentation and the friars who are expected to attend the event were publicized in the March 10 parish bulletin.

On March 4, three friars based at Mt. Irenaeus — John C. Coughlin, OFM, Joseph Kotula, OFM, and Robert Struzynski, OFM — visited the Buffalo office of New York Senator Charles Schumer. Focusing on the issue of immigration, they expressed their desire for just and compassionate reform of the country’s immigration laws based on United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and HNP recommendations. Documents from both organizations describing problems with the current immigration system and suggestions for improvement were left for the senator to study, said John.

A photo of Michael Duffy, OFM, guardian of Juniper Friary, Philadelphia, was posted on the Facebook page of The Catholic Community of St. Francis in Raleigh, N.C., after a group from the Raleigh parish volunteered for a week at St. Francis Inn.

On Jan. 31, Angelo Gambatese, OFM, pastor of St. Stephen of Hungary Church in New York City, accompanied a group of eighth grade students on a class retreat to St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J., the community where he lived as a youth. “It was a great day where he and I got to have some good conversation with the students about growing up and moving on to high school,” said Jayne Porcelli, staff member at St. Stephen Parish. “What made the day so special was that we were in the very parish where Fr. Angelo grew up. We had Mass with the St. Bonaventure community, and it was so touching to see Angelo looking out from the altar at both our students and his classmates from so many years ago. We included a trip to the nearby Great Falls for the students.”

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, notified HNP guardians last month that the 2013 guardians meeting is scheduled for Nov. 18 to 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. He asked them to mark their calendars for the annual event.

Daniel Horan, OFM, has been giving a variety of presentations recently in Maryland and New Jersey. On Monday, he presented a daylong retreat for the faculty and staff of Archbishop Curley Catholic High School outside Baltimore, Md. On March 8, Daniel presented an academic paper at a conference at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. This Friday, he will be giving an academic paper at the regional American Academy of Religion conference in Baltimore. In addition, Dan said, “The current issue of U.S. Catholic features a cover story about women theologians and includes quotes from an interview with me. Last month, America magazine invited me to write a response to the recent New Yorker article, ‘Rich Man, Poor Man: The Radical Visions of St. Francis of Assisi.’

A summary of the February meeting of the Provincial Council by Dominic Monti, OFM, Provincial Vicar, was distributed to HNP friars last week. The document highlights plans for the HNP Spring Fraternal Gatherings, which begin April 2, as well as information about personnel, properties, the general visitor, and reports from HNP directorates and committees. The next Council meeting is March 20 and 21.

Russel Murray, OFM, of Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., participated in last month’s meeting of the Order’s Commission for Dialogue with the Secretaries for the Missions and Evangelization of the African Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The Feb. 18 to 21 gathering focused on dialogue with Islam, “a religion that shares our belief in the one God,” according to the OFM website which offers a link to the letter on the importance of this discussion, composed by the participating friars. The general bulletin also offers valuable information, said Russel. Several photos are shown on the website. “The first image is of the participating friars outside the Spiritual Center of the Dimesse Sisters in outside Nairobi,” Russel said. “The second picture is of friars and local Muslim leaders inside the main mosque in Kibera, Nairobi.”

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, is traveling to Albany, N.Y., to meet with Bishop Howard Hubbard after visiting the friars in Hartford, Conn. On Sunday, he will be in Uniondale, N.Y., celebrating Mass for alumni of St. Bonaventure University.

A book co-edited by Xavier Seubert, OFM, is being produced by the Franciscan Institute. Titled Beyond the Text: Franciscan Art and the Construction of Religion, the book will include articles by various friars including David Haack, OFM, and Robert Lentz, OFM, said Xavier. He, David and Joseph Hertel, OFM, visited New York City on Monday for a meeting of the HNP Artistic Patrimony Committee in the Provincial Office.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, visited Siena College this past weekend, where he “preached at all the Sunday Masses and met individually with interested students on Monday.” Last week, he and his assistant, Carolyn Croke, finalized changes to the Join Us page of the Provincial website that include features to enable site visitors to access the electronic version of the Be A Franciscan newsletter and to become a subscriber.

An article by Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, of New York City, has been published in the March/April 2013 issue of Pastoral Review. The title is “A Meditation on the Mysterium Paschale.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by March 20 (always the Wednesday before the newsletter’s publication date). Updates about the friars and their ministries can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future issues of this newsletter include:
•   The Friar Family Reunion on April 20, being planned by Michael Carnevale, OFM
•   The blessing of the recently-built St. Anthony School in Greenville, S.C.
•   English-speaking Conference meeting

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas