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.

David Blake, OFM, received the Fr. Bob Stewart, OFM, award this month from St. Bonaventure University where he is adviser to the hockey team. David was presented the award, for giving time and dedication to the organization he serves as adviser, moderator or chaplain at SBU’s April 12 Spring Awards Ceremony. A complete list of honorees appears on the SBU website.

Michael Blastic, OFM, spoke earlier this month at the annual National Franciscan Symposium of Washington Theological Union. His presentation, “The Public Vocations of Saint Francis and St. Clare,” was given on April 9.

Christopher Coccia, OFM, will serve as vicar of St. Francis Friary in Midtown Manhattan beginning in May. Biographical information about Christopher, former guardian of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., and of Andrew Reitz, OFM, new pastor of the West 31st Street Church, appeared in the April 10 parish bulletin. According to the bulletin, Chris is “due to arrive in New York from his current assignment at St. Bonaventure University the first week of May.”

Brennan Connelly, OFM, of Boston, turns 80 today. He shares a birthday with Zachary Elliot, OFM, of East Rutherford, N.J. Other friars with upcoming birthdays include Stephen DeWitt, OFM, John Gill, OFM, and Flavian Walsh, OFM — all born April 28.

Student friar Stephen DeWitt recently began contributing to an online magazine called Blogcritics. His first submission, “Taxes, Justice and the Budget Crisis,” appeared April 8.

Roy Gasnick, OFM, of St. Petersburg, notified the Communications Office that “Mary Higgins Clark, dubbed the ‘Queen of Suspense’ of American crime writers, begins the first chapter of her latest novel in the lower church at St. Francis of Assisi on 31st Street in Midtown Manhattan. The best-selling novelist titles her 30th book I’ll Walk Alone.” Both the friar and writer are natives of New Jersey.

“How Original Was Scotus on the Incarnation? Reconsidering the History of the Absolute Predestination of Christ in Light of Robert Grosseteste,” by Daniel Horan, OFM, was recently published in The Heythrop Journal. It was previously published online in March 2010 for subscribers to the journal.

An article by Kenneth Himes, OFM, appears in the April 18 issue of America magazine. Ken, who teaches at Boston College, discussed the article, “Divided on Torture,” in a podcast available on America’s website.

Michael Johnson, OFM, pastor of St. Camillus Church, Silver Spring, Md., traveled recently to Jordan as part of St. Francis Builds, the multigenerational parish partnership with Habitat for Humanity. A video showing the activities of the participants appears on the home page of the parish’s website. The next St. Francis Builds trip is planned for El Salvador in July. Information is available from Jean Cook.

Daniel Kenna, OFM, celebrated an April 6 Mass at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, in memory of John Mahon, OFM, who died unexpectedly one month before. Dan is pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church in New York City.

Karl Koenig, OFM, asks that any friar or ministry with spare banners showing St. Francis or St. Clare consider lending or donating them to St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, N.J. “We would like to promote the Franciscan identity by having one banner of St. Francis of Assisi and one banner of St. Clare of Assisi,” he said. “They do not have to be new but in good condition.” Karl said the parish would like the banners to be 4’ by 8’ or larger. “We would like to hang them one on either side of the main alter, so there is a visual identity of us as a Franciscan parish.” Karl added: “We have begun a plan to focus more on the education of the members of the parish about Franciscan spirituality through homilies, study groups and also the formation of a Third Order Fraternity.”

Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, was in Pennsylvania earlier this week as part of his role as General Visitor for Assumption BVM Province.

Joseph Nangle, OFM, led a Justice and Peace weekend experience retreat earlier this month at St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, N.C. The April 9 and 10 program was called “Our Response to the Impact of the Recession on the Poor and the Working Poor.”

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, is traveling to Western New York for the Easter weekend to celebrate Mass for the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany at St. Elizabeth Motherhouse in Allegany, N.Y.

Mark Reamer, OFM, reported on Monday that there was no damage to the St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh, N.C., from recent tornadoes in the area. The pastor said, “A storm last week brought down several trees on the property, causing us to close school for a day due to the power lines down on the property.” The parish is looking for ways to assist those in need, which will include a special collection at all the Easter Masses, according to Mark. The center of damage caused by the April 16 twisters was in Sanford, N.C., roughly 40 miles southwest of Raleigh.

Daniel Riley, OFM, director of Mt. Irenaeus, led several Mountain on the Road events that attracted St. Bonaventure University alumni as well as family and friends. From April 8 to 10, he was in Maryland, Virginia and Boston respectively. Photos and video clips were posted on the Mt. Irenaeus Facebook page.

On April 12, St. Bonaventure University honored Peter Schneible, OFM, for his 25 years of service to the Western New York college. A photo of Peter and the other employees appears on SBU’s website. The university lauded 61 employees who marked anniversaries this year and eight employees who are retiring.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, suggests that friars use the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations on May 15 to communicate to ministry and parish members the value of a Franciscan vocation. Materials to assist with promoting this day are available through the Vocation Office.

On April 3, St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J., offered an afternoon retreat for the Latino community that began with prayers and songs of praise at 1 p.m. Christopher VanHaight, OFM, reported that as the afternoon progressed, the number of participants grew to more than 200 by the 5:30 p.m. Spanish Mass. “Our Lenten retreat for the Latino community was part of a city-wide group of Catholic churches each taking a Sunday of Lent to offer a prayer-filled experience for our Spanish-speaking parishioners,” he said. The St. Bonaventure Spanish choir joined other Paterson church choirs, and speakers from several of the churches offered prayers and spiritual guidance. The day ended after Mass with a community dinner.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by April 28 (always the Wednesday before the newsletter’s publication date). Updates about Province ministries and friars can be found on the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province Facebook page.

Topics planned for future issues of this newsletter include:
· Ordination of two friars on May 21
· Simple profession on June 11
· Music ministries of St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany and St. Anthony Shrine in Boston
· Jubilee Mass of Franciscan Sisters of Allegany
· Franciscan influences felt by partners-in-ministry with varied affiliations of Holy Name Province

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas