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.

Dennis Bennett, OFM, Casey Cole, OFM, Edgardo Jara Araya, OFM, and Ramoncito Razon, OFM, will profess their first vows as Franciscans on Aug. 2 at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, and vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, plan to attend the ceremony.

On June 24, Michael Calabria, OFM, of Washington, presented a paper at an interfaith conference on sacred texts held at Nazareth College, N.Y. His paper explored common elements in the Islamic traditions of Zulaykha (Potiphar’s wife) and Judeo-Christian traditions of Aseneth (the wife of Joseph). Both women were viewed in their respective communities as “pagan paragons of conversion and contrition.”

Michael Carnevale, OFM, wishes to thank friars who expressed their condolences following the death of his sister, Mary. “In the name of my family, I would like to thank you all for your prayers, cards, emails, calls and expressions of sympathy on the passing of my sister, Mary,” he said. “After a long illness, she is at peace. The support of the friars during this time is a great blessing and something that is another gift of our fraternity. Thank you and God bless.”

David Convertino, OFM, executive director of the HNP Development Office, distributed an appeal through email on June 25 titled “Challenges.” In the appeal, he asked supporters to “make a special donation” to help the office make its goal. “The Franciscan Challenge helps so many who are dealing with some of the toughest challenges of their lives,” David said. “Whether it be continuing to care for our sick and elderly friars, educating our future friars for ministry and, as always, continuing to feed, shelter, clothe and care for the poor who come to us daily.”

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, was named last month to the new Franciscan Institute Research Advisory Council at St. Bonaventure University. He is one of six prominent figures in Franciscan education who “will provide strategic direction with regard to research possibilities and potential publications and foster the engagement of an international network of Franciscan scholars in the ongoing work of the institute,” according to a St. Bonaventure news release.

A photo of Frank Critch, OFM, taken during the carnival held June 19 to 22 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., was posted last week on the Province’s Facebook page. Also shown in the photo was postulant Wilmer Garcia, who is spending the summer at the parish. Frank, who helped with cooking for the four-day event, noted that “the carnival was an avenue for people to get together in the parish for fellowship and fun.”

Mathias Doyle, OFM, has been elected to the board of directors of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ICCR is a coalition of faith-based — Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim — and social justice active shareholders who view the management of their investments as a catalyst in promoting justice, peace and sustainability in the world. Mathias has been the Provincial representative to ICCR for roughly 12 years.

Angelo Gambatese, OFM, pastor of St. Stephen of Hungary Parish in New York City, gave a blessing to students at the June 14 graduation of St. Stephen School on East 82nd Street. The eighth graders thanked Angelo for his guidance and wisdom throughout their time at St. Stephen’s.

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, reports that the June Update of the 2012-2013 HNP Directory will be available for friars by the end of this week on the HNP Extranet section of the Provincial website.

Daniel Horan, OFM, of Boston, presented two academic papers last month. On June 1, he spoke at the College Theology Society’s annual conference at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and on June 14, he spoke at the International Thomas Merton Society’s biennial conference at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. In May, he was reelected to the ITMS board of directors for a second two-year term. On June 7, Dan delivered the commencement address at Notre Dame High School’s graduation in Utica, N.Y., and on June 9, he spoke about Franciscan spirituality and his recent book, Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith (2012) to Central New York Secular Franciscans at Holy Family Church in Vernon, N.Y. Dan also contributed a chapter titled “Compassionate Sign of the Possible,” in the new book Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives (Franciscan Media, 2013).

Brian Jordan, OFM, was mentioned in the July 1 newsletter of the Franciscan Action Network. According to the FAN email, he joined Sr. Caryn Crook, OSF; Fr. John Duffel, assistant pastor of a Manhattan parish; Joe Fahey, a theologian who chairs Catholic Workers for Social Justice; and a rabbi, to speak on behalf of continuing New York’s ban on the “blood sport” of cage fighting. “This week, the New York State Assembly agreed not to take up the legalization bill, and FAN received a thank you for the role we played,” the newsletter read. “FAN sees this effort in the context of our peacemaking efforts.”

Christopher Keenan, OFM, reports that the first two conference call workshops sponsored by the HNP Ongoing Formation Committee, of which he is chair, have gone well. Both presenters compiled notes for friars about the discussions that took place during their phone calls. The most recent conversation, led by Joseph Nangle, OFM, was held June 28 and was titled “Where we as a Province find ourselves in today’s Church.” The series will resume in September, said Christopher.

Daniel Kenna, OFM, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New York City, gave an opening and closing prayer, and distributed the diplomas to students at the June 15 graduation of Holy Name School, its final commencement for the more than 100-year-old school. Lawrence Ford, OFM, said: “There was a great deal of high and disappointing emotions when the decision was first announced, and the whole community has moved to a more comfortable place.”

Kevin Mackin, OFM, president of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., is adjusting to the school’s summer schedule. “Our newest graduates — 627 women and men — have taken flight,” he wrote. “The departure of students and the humid mid-Hudson heat does change the complexion of our campus. After all, students are our lifeblood. I look forward to the infusion of hundreds of freshmen July 8 to 12 for summer orientation.” Meanwhile, the college will host scholars from 24 states and Europe during its annual Thomas Aquinas Philosophy Workshop. This year’s theme is “Free Will and Virtue.” Kevin is also welcoming the new vice president for academic affairs, and the new dean of student affairs. “And, as we look up the hillside of our beautiful campus, I’m excited about the transformation at our Dominican Center — a 100,000-square-foot 1927 building being transformed into a new library-living-learning center.” He continued: “A college president’s work is never done. But the change of pace in mid-summer will allow welcome opportunities to reconnect with brother friars, family and friends, and to ‘stop and smell the roses’ and reflect on life.”

Jim McIntosh, OFM, director of communications and information technology at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, reports that the shrine’s new website, launched July 1, was designed to be “clean, more modern, with a clear and easy navigation.” It offers several new features including closer linking with social media — with all posts on Facebook automatically posted on the webpage — and an easier system of donating, with every webpage except the home page offering a donate button. Jim said he created most of the design with “constant comments and feedback” from James Patrick Kelly, OFM, executive director of St. Anthony Shrine, and the shrine’s ministry and other directors. “Although I did the work, the page is really the result of a combined effort toward getting something new for the shrine.”

Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, gave a talk June 28 at the Chapter of Mats of the Missionaries of the Kingship of Christ, the Franciscan Secular Institute, at the Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Marriottsville, Md. Gene Pistacchio, OFM, of Boston, who currently serves as spiritual assistant to the U.S. Missionaries, presided at the principal liturgies at the chapter, which was held June 24 to 29. Dominic will be traveling to St. Bonaventure University later this week, where he will teach the Survey of Franciscan History course at the Franciscan Institute July 8 to 26, due to the sudden illness of Fr. Maurice Carmody, who had originally been scheduled to teach the course this year.

After completing one final short term mission trip to South Africa with the Franciscan Mission Service, Paul O’Keeffe, OFM, has chosen to return to ministry as a therapist, working in his own counseling practice in Silver Spring, Md., while providing counseling services at nearby St. Francis International School with Gerald Hopeck, OFM, and one day a week at St. Francis Parish in Triangle, Va., where Kevin Downey, OFM, is pastor.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, chair of the HNP Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, said he is pleased with the passing by the United States Senate of the immigration reform bill on June 27. “I’m very encouraged that the Senate was able to pass an immigration reform bill that offers hope and a path to citizenship to some of an estimated 11 million of our undocumented immigrant brothers and sisters in our midst. This would not have been possible without the education and advocacy efforts of so many faith-filled individuals and organizations whose determination and passion in pursuit of the common good is making a difference. We ought to be proud that Holy Name Province — its friars and partners-in-ministry — has not been on the sideline in this moral struggle. However, immigration reform still faces an uncertain future in the House of Representatives. This is why it is extremely important that as Franciscans we be even more vocal on the issue of immigration reform. In addition to preaching about it and using our various communication media, let us continue to collaborate with other local advocacy networks in mobilizing our partners-in-ministry to ensure that our representatives support a strong immigration reform with a clear path to citizenship.” Earlier in June, Jacek was quoted in two publications that reported on climate change discussions, National Catholic Reporter and US Catholic.

Christopher Posch, OFM, reminds friars to publicize the Spanish Vocation Retreat that is being held Aug. 30 to Sept. 1. The Delaware-based friar is chair of the Hispanic Ministry Committee organizing the weekend.

Daniel Riley, OFM, and the friars of Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat in Western New York hosted their annual contemplative days from June 24 to 28. It was “a neat week,” according to Joseph Kotula, OFM, who said that participants met each day at 9 a.m. for morning prayer and then later in the day to discuss specific articles they had read. A photo, taken by Joe, of Russel Murray, OFM, celebrating Mass at the Mt. Irenaeus chapel appears on the Province’s Facebook page.

Emerson Rodríguez, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., spoke at Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J. on June 23 on behalf of the HNP Franciscan Missionary Union, which supports the preaching of the Gospel and ministries of Franciscan friars, sisters and lay missioners in Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Japan, Taiwan and mainland China.

Joseph Rozansky, OFM, and his team at the Order’s JPIC Office distributed the June issue of Contact, the monthly publication of the OFM Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation in Rome. It contains reports about work going on in Australia, Ireland, Germany and Thailand. Previous issues of Contact are available on the HNP JPIC Office’s website.

Two weeks after he welcomed students, families, friends, members of the board and corporate partners on June 8 to the third graduation of Christ the King Prep School in Newark, N.J., where he is president, Robert Sandoz, OFM, wrote a message in the school’s e-newsletter titled “Celebrating Some of Our Successes.” In the June 27 e-publication, Robert spoke of the recent accreditation of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, increased test scores by the students, the achievements of the recently-formed debate team, and the acceptance into college of 100 percent of this year’s senior class students.

Frank Sevola, OFM, is returning home July 4 from a trip to Northern Ireland, where he accompanied a group of St. Bonaventure Uni­versity alumni. The trip is a program of the Father Mychal Judge Center for Irish Exchange and Understanding at St. Bonaventure University. The goal of the 10-day trip is “to begin to understand our responsibility as global citizenship and to promote an understanding of the role of reflection and reconciliation in establishing a peaceful future and moving past a history of conflict,” said Frank in the June 30 bulletin of St. Mary’s Parish, Pompton Lakes, N.J, where he is pastor. “Besides Ballycastle, we will spend time in Dublin, Galway, Derry and Belfast.”

An article about Ignatius Smith, OFM, appeared in the June 11 issue of Independent Mail. The article, “At the Altar Again: a Franciscan Priest Finds Ideal Solution for Boredom at St. Joseph’s,” focuses on Ignatius’s life, and his decision to come out of retirement and return to parish ministry as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Anderson, S.C. “I was bored,” said Ignatius of retired life at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J. “I started cutting grass and pulling weeds — anything to be active.” In the article, he shares the joy he is finding in his new ministry. “In this area, the people are more open about their Christianity than in New York,” he said. “The people are not ashamed to voice their spiritual convictions, and they’re more comfortable about expressing their spiritual views.” Ignatius “has never regretted” the decision to enter the Order. “I’ve had a happy life and I have decent health. I’m going to go until I drop, I guess. I’d rather wear out than rust away.”

Gonzalo de Jesus Torres-Acosta, OFM, is leading a pilgrimage to Lisbon, Portugal; Fatima, Portugal; Santiago de Compostela, Spain; Salamanca, Spain; Avila, Spain; Madrid and Lourdes, France in November. Information is available in the June 23 bulletin of St. Mary’s Parish, Pompton Lakes.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by July 10, 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:
•   HNP Lay Advisory Board
•   Franciscan Volunteer Ministry
•   Province’s Annual JPIC Local Contacts Retreat 
•   Formation events
•   Festivities around the Province commemorating feast days 

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas