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 HNP Communications Office.

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

Brian Belanger, OFM, of Loudonville, N.Y., served as assistant general visitor for the recent chapter of the Custody of the Holy Land. A photo of him with General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, and other friars from the United States at the Custody’s chapter in Jerusalem was posted on the Province’s Facebook page.

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, vice president for Franciscan Mission at St. Bonaventure University, spoke at the school’s July 15 Mass celebrating the feast of St. Bonaventure. Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, celebrated the special Mass.

Kevin Cronin, OFM, said he spent “a wonderful week” from July 2 to 5 giving a retreat to 30 Franciscan Sisters of St. Elizabeth in Parsippany, N.J. “As you can see from the photo, it is a very international community, which made it challenging for me, interesting, and delightful,” said Kevin. “They were founded 150 years ago by a Friar Minor, Blessed Ludovico of Casoria. They remember with fondness Philip Nielsen, OFM, one of our friars in the infirmary, who was their chaplain for 20 years.”

Kevin Daly, OFM, Steven DeWitt, OFM, Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, Dennis Tamburello, OFM, and Patrick Tuttle, OFM, are some of the friars who appear in the current set of rotating photos on the home page of the Province’s website. The images are chosen to represent a variety of people and ministries.

Daniel Dwyer, OFM, of Loudonville, N.Y., attended the 48th annual Conference of the Mormon History Association at the Davis Conference Center in Layton, Utah, from June 6 to 9. While there, he was asked to serve on the book award committee that annually chooses the best new book in Mormon history. His article, titled “Evil in the Family: Mormons and Catholics Struggling with the Dark Side of Their Histories,” will appear in the fall issue of the Journal of Mormon History. Daniel will return to Utah in early August to be co-presenter at a session of the “Sunstone Symposium” at the University of Utah. His session Beyond Tolerance: ‘Holy Envy’ in a Catholic/Mormon Dialogue,” will be co-presented with Dr. Boyd Petersen, program coordinator for Mormon studies at Utah Valley University and teaches at Utah Valley and Brigham Young Universities.

William Fitzgerald, OFM, reports that Quam Bonum, the Province’s house in Falmouth, Mass., was the gathering spot for the doctors who live in the Cliff Dwellers Homeowners Association. Bill said he sponsored an informal gathering for his doctor friends. “Many of these professionals have lived in the association for many years but had never actually met, so on June 30, I invited 10 doctors and their spouses to gather for drinks and a light meal. The response was overwhelming, and everyone was very grateful for the opportunity to meet and greet their neighbors. Several doctors said they would like to have the next gathering at their homes. A good tradition may have begun.”

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, is participating in the 42nd annual Religious Brothers convention of the Religious Brothers Conference in New Orleans from July 19 to 22. The theme of this year’s convention — which he is attending with Gregory Day, OFM, Thomas Donovan, OFM, and John Maganzini, OFM — is “Brothers: Models of Charity.”

Three friars — Richard James, OFM, Barry Langley, OFM, and Emeric Meier, OFM — are being honored July 21 by St. Anthony Shrine in Boston to celebrate their anniversaries of profession. 

Paul Keenan, OFM, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., gave the opening prayers and blessing for the fleet Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 10-10 at the Edgewater, N.J., River Basin on June 30.

Daniel Lanahan, OFM, of Butler, N.J., spoke this morning at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Long Beach Island, N.J. His presentation, titled “The Experience of Vatican II: Pre-council, Council and Post Council,” is the first in a series of five talks by friars from a variety of HNP ministries in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Details about the series are available on the parish’s Facebook page.

On July 11, Robert Menard, OFM, facilitated a program “Immigration: What does it matter to the American Catholic Church?” at St. Andrew Church in Clemson, S.C. The program examined and discussed some of the biographical material in the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, and reviewed the status of the current immigration reform debate and the Church’s efforts to influence its content and passage.

Russel Murray, OFM, of Loudonville, N.Y., is leaving on July 18 for Jerusalem, where he will deliver a presentation on Jewish-Catholic theological dialogue.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, was among six who led sessions at last week’s “Trusteeship as Ministry” workshop at St. Bonaventure University. The three-day event was sponsored by the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities, whose executive director is Gary Maciag, OFM. On July 17, John is participating in a branding workshop for the leaders of the Province’s offices: communication, development, finance, JPIC and vocation.

Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., traveled to Kenya to be present at the June 13 ordination of Br. Geoffrey Muga, FMH, at a parish in Awasi, near the city of Kisumu, where Br. Geoffrey was born and raised. Br. Geoffrey spent his initial formation with Holy Name friars at Holy Name College, earning a master’s of divinity degree in May with the last class to graduate from the Washington Theological Union. Paul and Geoffrey lived together at Holy Name College when Paul was a student until he left in 2009, and then again when he returned to Holy Name College in 2011. Geoffrey’s ordination was attended by more than 1,200 people — many of them family and friends of the five priests ordained that day. “The Mass was held outside and took five hours,” said Paul. “There was lots of dancing and singing in Geoffrey’s native language, Luo. The bishop preached for one hour, encouraging the new priests and deacons to follow Christ by being messengers of the Gospel in both word and deed. After the ordination, the new priests spent two hours giving their first blessings to the friends and families and fellow priests of the Missionaries of Hope and some 275 diocesan and religious priests who attended. One interesting part of the ordination came after the bishop had completed the rite of ordination. All five of the new priests were placed in small boats with the names of their home parishes on the side, and then hoisted on the shoulders of 10 strong men who paraded them through the cheering crowds, as they gave the multitudes their blessings.”

On July 3, a reflection titled “Leading Toward Freedom” by Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, was posted on the God’s Politics blog of Sojourners: Faith in Action for Social Justice website. The Independence Day themed piece describes why every year on July Fourth, Jacek phones a friend who helped his family immigrate to the United States in 1988.

Ronald Pecci, OFM, HNP director of postulants, is at St. Bonaventure University this month serving as one of the leaders of the summer program of studies for men completing their postulant year with OFM provinces in the United States. More than a dozen men are taking courses — including one taught by historian Dominic Monti, OFM— at the Franciscan Institute. The program runs from June 24 to July 26.

The HNP Hispanic Ministry Committee, whose chair is Christopher Posch, OFM, has produced a detailed list of programs and services that HNP ministries offer for Hispanics, distributed last week to friars. Chris encourages the Province’s partners-in-ministry to make this matrix available to their communities. The committee is organizing the Province’s Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 Spanish Vocation Retreat, recently relocated from Silver Spring, Md., to Washington.

Mark Reamer, OFM, has been appointed by Bishop Michael Burbridge of Raleigh, N.C., as temporary administrator of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Raleigh, effective June 25.

James Vacco, OFM, shared in the July 7 bulletin of St. Bonaventure Parish, Allegany, N.Y., where he is pastor, information about the Province’s membership statistics. He described the fraternal gathering he had attended, saying: “The purpose of this gathering, and other gatherings of friars according to their assigned ministry, was to present to the friars of the entire Province the statistics regarding our numbers and future projections concerning how many ministries the Province will be able to staff. The Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province presently staff around 40+ ministries, including 26 parishes, two colleges, three urban ministry centers, one inner city shelter-soup kitchen, and three campus ministries.” He pointed out that the largest group of HNP friars are over 75 years old and that the next largest group — 27 percent — comprises those between 65 and 74 years of age.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by July 24, always the Wednesday before the newsletter’s publication date. Updates about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook and Twitter pages of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.

Topics planned for future issues of this newsletter include:
 Bonafest and other community events  
 Student trips to Africa led by Russel Murray, OFM, and Paul O’Keeffe, OFM  
 World Youth Day which vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, is attending 
 Simple Profession on Aug. 2 in Burlington, Wis.

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas