News Briefs About Special Activities of HNP Friars

Rebecca Doel and 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.

Leo Clifford, OFM, and Cassian Miles, OFM, were among 28 priests commemorated on June 7 at the annual Jubilee Mass of the Diocese of Paterson, N.J. Leo, who lives at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood and was unable to attend the Mass,, lived at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, while serving as part of the HNP Ministry of the Word from 1955 to 1967. He marked 65 years as a priest. Cassian, who served most of his years as a friar in communications work — both for the HNP Communications Office and St. Anthony’s Guild — marked 50 years as a priest.

The friars of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, where David Convertino, OFM, is director, celebrated the feast of St. Anthony the weekend of June 11 and 12 with a fundraiser and ministry expo and street fair. More information about how the Shrine community and the other Provncial ministries celebrated the feast will appear in the next issue of HNP Today

The community of St. Mary’s Church said goodbye to Frank Critch, OFM, who is returning to Silver Spring, Md., after a yearlong internship at the Pompton Lakes, N.J., parish. In the June 5 bulletin, pastor Kevin Downey, OFM, wrote: “Thirty minutes before Mass, Br. Frank could be found in the church going from pew to pew hugging, kissing and chatting with everyone. His interest was genuine and his love sincere.”

Former HNP communications director Roy Gasnick, OFM, summarized and reflected on the “magnificent” reaction worldwide to the June 1 deaths of twin brothers Adrian Riester, OFM, and Julian Riester, OFM, in “The Riester Franciscan Twins Die, the World Tunes In.” Roy, who lived with the twins for three years at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., notes some of the overwhelmingly positive responses to the news stories that appeared on Yahoo!News, Good Morning America and a slew of newspapers and websites around the globe. One reader remarked: “Wow … Not very often can you read about a death and feel good inside about it. Wonderful story!”

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, distributed to HNP friars this week an order form for the 2010 Guide for the Liturgy/Roman Seraphic Calendar as well as a summary of the May 31 to June 1 Provincial Council meeting.

Daniel Horan, OFM, delivered a paper at the 2011 International Thomas Merton Society conference June 10 to 12 in Chicago. Dan wrote about the event and posted several photos on his blog, Dating God.

A recent post on the website of Mt. Irenaeus announced that Joseph Kotula, OFM, “could use some help this summer” with the grounds of the Franciscan Mountain Retreat in Western New York. Those interested in volunteering their time should contact Joe by phone at 585-973-2470 or by email

A memorial Mass for Gerald McCaffrey, OFM, who died earlier this year, will be held at noon on June 18 in New Hartford, N.Y., near Utica, at St. John the Evangelist Church. Kathy McCaffrey, Gerald’s sister, asked this information be passed along to those who might like to attend.

Jim McIntosh, OFM, recommends an article that appeared in the June 12 issue of The New York Times. “Alone in the Wilderness and the Spotlight” describes the special exhibit of Giovanni Belini’s painting, St. Francis in the Desert at the Frick Collection in New York City.

Robert Menard, OFM, participated in the Spirit of Fez, a world sacred music festival held annually in Morocco. Each morning of the June 3 to 12 gathering included a look at wisdom traditions, while “concerts and musical performances filled the air in the afternoons and evenings,” Bob said. “The Spirit of Fez,” he said, “reawakened my soul to the universal longing for peace and reconciliation and, at the same time, helped me once again appreciate the beauty and challenges of cultural and religious diversity.” He said he felt the Spirit of Fez calls out to the Spirit of Assisi. “As Franciscans, we ought not neglect to initiate, collaborate and participate in events celebrating the Spirit of Assisi, October 2011. We have something valuable to contribute to the world searching for the soul of globalization.” Bob began a sabbatical leave in early April to follow up on his interest in Christian-Muslim relations.

Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, will be participating in the Assumption BVM Province Congressus the week of June 20.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, is visiting the friars in Cape Cod this weekend and next week will be with the Sullivan County, N.Y., friars.

Peaceprints Prison Ministries, whose board includes Michael Oberst, OFM, held its annual Phoenix Awards Dinner this spring. The March 26 event was called “A Night to Remember” in the May/August newsletter of the agency, Cephas House and Prison Groups, Hope Family Services, Bissonette House, Nonviolence Ministry.

St. Clare Parish in Buffalo, N.Y., where Michael Putich, OFM, is pastor, held a fundraiser the weekend of June 11 and 12. Photos and information are posted on the parish Facebook page.

Christ the King Prep School in Newark, N.J., where Robert Sandoz, OFM, is president, held its first graduation on June 11.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Midtown Manhattan, where Timothy Shreenan, OFM, is director of liturgy and communication, has a new website. According to the parish bulletin, new features include a redesigned home page with upcoming events, news and a downloadable version of the weekly bulletin.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, has announced six new postulants for this year’s class, which begins Aug. 20 in Wilmington, Del. Details on the each postulant will follow, he said. Brian is electronically distributing the summer issue Be A Franciscan newsletter to friars this week. It will also be available for download on the Join Us page of the HNP website. Hard copies will be mailed to parishes and ministries later this month.

Three new spiritual assistants were recently appointed by Richard Trezza, OFM, the Province’s spiritual assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order . They are David Hyman, OFM, who is affiliated with the San Damiano Emerging Community in Athens, Ga., Aubrey McNeil, OFM, of Anderson, S.C., to the Our Lady of Good Counsel Secular Franciscan Fraternity of Folly Beach, S.C., and James Scullion, OFM, of St. Francis in Beach Haven, N.J.

St. Anthony’s Parish in Greenville, S.C., held its annual Juneteenth celebration a week early this year on June 11 to allow pastor Patrick Tuttle, OFM, to fufill his annual duties of DJ at the St. Francis Inn annual block party. Patrick said this year’s celebration was the “best ever.” He added that festivities included a visiting choir, a youth skit, slave songs, an African drum core, and “soul food and dancing in liberation.”

Paul Williams, OFM, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Anderson, S.C., turns 60 on June 16. Other friars commemorating milestones this month include Ronald Stark, OFM, who turned 75 on June 6 and Sean O’Brien, OFM, who turns 50 on June 25.

— Compiled by Rebecca Doel and Jocelyn Thomas