News Briefs About Special Activities of HNP Friars

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines

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.

Scott Brookbank, OFM, reports that the Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis., has a new Facebook page.  The page includes photos of current novices John Aherne, OFM, and Jeffrey Upshaw, OFM.

Photos of George Camacho, OFM, were posted last week on the Saint Francis International School Facebook page. George has interned at the Silver Spring, Md., school during this academic year. “Br. George helped with Spanish classes in the school as part of his ministry experience this year,” said principal Tobias Harkleroad.

David Convertino, OFM, is in Albuquerque, N.M., from April 22 to 25 participating in the annual meeting of the ESC Development Directors. David was named development director of Holy Name Province last year.

John C. Coughlin, OFM, Thomas Gallagher, OFM, Cidouane Joseph, OFM, Timothy Shreenan, OFM, Francis Soucy, OFM, Alan Thomas, OFM, Juan Turcios, OFM, and Patrick Tuttle, OFM, are some of the friars whose photos appear on the home page of the Province’s website. The images, which are replaced every three months, are chosen because they represent a variety of ministries and friars.

Photos of St. Bonaventure University staff member Francis Di Spigno, OFM, and Robert Struzynski, OFM, of Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat, were posted last week on the Facebook page of St. Bonaventure University’s The Thisness Project. Information about this initiative will appear in a future issue of this newsletter.

Michael Duffy, OFM, has posted two videos on YouTube of a warehouse fire that occurred in the early morning hours of Easter near Juniper Friary in Philadelphia, where he is guardian. In an email note, he described his reactions to the fire and the activities during the crisis as well as the positive ending, that St. Francis Inn was able to provide food to the needy, as it has done daily for more than 30 years. After being awakened after “a wonderful Easter celebration,” Michael said he, along with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministers and the St. Francis Inn team members, “were being herded toward Kensington Avenue to join about a hundred others. By now, there were literally hundreds of police cars, seemingly every fire truck in the city, hoses all over the streets, hydrants being unlocked, helicopters overhead, TV mobile units, etc. We all stood in awe watching the fury of that fire, admiring the true hero firefighters who would even approach it. We were there for about 15 minutes, when suddenly a policeman came screaming up the street, ‘Move, move!! Everybody go to Cumberland Street! It’s about to blow. It’s about to blow!’ Not wishing to stall by asking what it was that was about to blow, we all ran off. There was nothing we could do. Finally, Karen Pushaw and I decided to investigate a little. We had to walk blocks away before we could turn south toward York Street, cranes, ladders, hoses. We had to walk blocks away before we could turn south towards York Street. From that vantage point — York Street — we could see the fire equipment on every side of the building — cranes, hoses, etc. We were stopped by reporters and were asked all sorts of questions.” Michael said he was pleased that despite the crisis, the St. Francis Inn team was able to serve food later in the day. “In the middle of it all came the health inspector into the inn. He said we couldn’t serve a meal without electrical power as the food wouldn’t be hot enough. Luckily, some group had donated sandwiches the day before. So we told him. He responded well you can’t have sandwiches because there is no hot water for the “employees” to wash their hands as they make the sandwiches. Ah Ha, but they are already made! Ok, he said! We always brag that we have never missed a meal since opening Dec. 16, 1979. Yesterday was a close call! But the good Lord came through! We handed out sandwiches.”

Christopher Dunn, OFM, of Lima, Peru, has provided memorial cards marking the week of training in January before the blessing of the Mychal Judge Engine. The black and white cards show images of the late Mychal Judge, OFM, the former chaplain of the FDNY, on one side and, on the back, information about his life and about the engine training, which was featured in the Feb. 29 issue of this newsletter.

A photo of Daniel Grigassy, OFM, pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J., appears in a photo in the April 19 issue of The Beacon newspaper. It shows him with Sr. Ann Elizabeth Bolte as she celebrated her 60th anniversary of religious profession at a Mass at St. Bonaventure on March 25.

The 2010 book by the late Boniface Hanley, OFM, The Last Human Face: Fr. Franz Stock: A Priest in Hitler’s Army, was mentioned last week in a Catholic News Service story. In “Church to Consider if Prayer to Wartime Priest led to Man’s Recovery,” the reporter noted: “The Franciscan priest who wrote the only English-language biography of Father Stock was pastor of a new Jersey parish where the stricken bridegroom’s older brother, his wife and children attended Mass. When Mary G (her full name was withheld by request) called to place her brother-in-law on the parish prayer list in 1997, Franciscan Father Boniface Hanley said, ‘Pray, pray to Father Franz Stock,’ she said, and made up a holy card for them to use.”

John Heffernan, OFM, is moderating a four-session book club at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., based on the book Dating God, by Daniel Horan, OFM. The response has been enthusiastic, according to John who said he “believes the title of the book touches people in a wonderful way. I think it reaches out to people who are hopeful to understand their own relationships with God more fully.”

Kenneth Himes, OFM, an associate professor at Boston College, was one of the speakers at the Washington Theological Union’s April 20 “Celebrating the Mission” symposium. A description of the event will appear in a future issue of HNP Today. Former WTU president Vincent Cushing, OFM, served as a member of the event’s steering committee.

Daniel Horan, OFM, spent last week in Europe involved in activities related to his interest in Thomas Merton. From April 13 to 15, he was in Great Britain at the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland conference, “Raids on the Impossible: The Poetics of Nonviolence in Merton, Caputo and Haverwas.” From April 17 to 20, he was in Italy at the Assisi 2012 Interreligious Dialogue Conference. Information about the event, titled “Thomas Merton’s Franciscan Model of Interreligous Dialogue” can be found on the conference’s website.  On his way back to the U.S., he stopped at the Antonianum Pontifical University in Rome. Dan delivered two academic papers while in Europe. “Raids on the Impossible: The Poetics of Nonviolence in Merton, Caputo and Hauerwas,” at the 2012 Biennial Conference of the Thomas Merton Society of Great Britain and Ireland in Oakham, U.K.; and “Thomas Merton’s Franciscan Model of Interreligious Dialogue,” at the 2012 “Where We Dwell in Common” Conference of the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network in Assisi, Italy. More information is available on Dan’s website. An essay by Dan, “The Grammar of the Kingdom in a World of Violence: The (Im)possible Poetics of John D. Caputo,” was recently published in the book, Violence, Transformation, and the Sacred: “They Shall Be Called Children of God,” edited by Margaret Pfeil and Tobias Winright (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012). The book is available from Orbis Books, as well as from and This weekend, Dan will be preaching and signing books at all April 27 and 28 Masses at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va.

The late Mychal Judge, OFM, was in the news recently. A retired captain and longtime volunteer at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, John Timulty, contacted the HNP Communications Office with this story: Shortly before Easter, in the lower harbor of New York, there was a crane being loaded onto a barge. The load shifted somehow, trapping the captain in the wheelhouse and throwing four crew members into the chilly water. The crew was able to free the captain but there were now five people in the water. A water taxi belonging to NY Waterways happened to be in the area and saw the men. It proceeded to the scene and lowered a Jacobs Ladder, a tool specifically designed to bring people onto the ship from the water. The men were brought onto the taxi and brought to shore for treatment. The irony of the story is in the name of the water taxi being the Mychal Judge.” The April 7 issue of the New York Post reported on the event in a story titled “Barge Tips over in New York Harbor Near Statue of Liberty, Injuring Two Crew Members.”

Christopher Keenan, OFM, was one of several chaplains recognized by the FDNY on April 4 at the FDNY Foundation Dinner. In a letter to Christopher, Salvatore Cassano, fire commissioner of the City of New York, wrote: “We are proud to honor each of the six chaplains who serve the department through their ongoing guidance and spiritual counsel provided to the 16,000 uniformed and civilian members of the FDNY. The grace and dignity you bring to the department’s many ceremonies, including the recent Sept. 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary Commemorative service held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is deeply appreciated by the members and the families of FDNY.”

On April 27 and 28, Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, will be attending a meeting of secretaries of formation and studies at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis.

In commenting on the 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Lecture Series on Race and Nonviolent Social Change, Siena College president Kevin Mullen, OFM, said that Bishop Howard Hubbard “comes as a leader of the Church community, a leader of the Capital Region, a leader in our nation.” The lecture was held April 18 on the Siena College campus outside Albany, N.Y.

Neil O’Connell, OFM, attended the recent retreat for chaplains held at Mount St. Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., where Kevin Mackin, OFM, is president.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, returned to New York earlier this week after having attended the spring meeting of the English-speaking Conference provincial ministers and a symposium at the WTU. On April 25 and 26, he is participating in the monthly meeting of the HNP Provincial Council.

Jud Weiksnar, OFM, reports that St. Anthony’s Student Leaders Von Nieda Park Task Force won a South Jersey Youth Service Award for 2012. The young people will be honored in Trenton, N.J., on May 5, according to an email from the pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Camden, N.J., who shared a link with information.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by May 2 (always the Wednesday before publication date). Updates about the friars and their ministries appear on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future issues include:
· Earth Day commemorations around the Province
· Richard Trezza and John Pierce’s participation in the 100th anniversary at Holy Name Parish in Garfield, N.J.
· Graduations of Siena College, St. Bonaventure University and the Washington Theological Union
· Internships of two student friars
· Ordination on May 19 at St. Camillus Church, Silver Spring, Md.
· Fundraiser for St. Anthony Shrine

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas