News Briefs About Special Ministry Activities of HNP Friars

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK — Below are updates about some of the many activities of Holy Name friars, including their presentations, outreach and celebrations. More information can be obtained by visiting links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, by contacting the friars by phone or e-mail and by connecting with the Communications Office.

To provide news briefs for future issues of HNP Today, e-mail communications director Jocelyn Thomas at

Members of the HNP Chapter Planning Committee, which has met monthly since April to help chart a course for the 2011 triennial meeting of the friars of Holy Name Province, remind friars to submit proposals for agenda items by Aug. 31. The committee, according to its chair William Beaudin, OFM, has settled on a theme, determined a process of soliciting and selecting Chapter agenda items, invited speakers to provide discussion and guide the Chapter’s deliberations, recruited friars to serve as subcommittee chairs, and begun to map out the schedule of the week’s activities. The committee, comprised of Thomas Conway, OFM, Fred Dilger, OFM, Angelo Gambatese, OFM, Michael Harlan, OFM, Lawrence Hayes, OFM, John Mahon, OFM, Andrew Reitz, OFM, and visitor general Fr. Fred Link, OFM, met July 26 in the Provincial Office. The planning committee has been guided by several “shared assumptions,” which William described in a document provided to the Communications Office.

George Camacho, OFM, was mentioned last month in the newsletter of the Province of the Sacred Heart. The July 22 issue of Around the Province contains an article about the 10 men in this year’s novitiate program in Cedar Lake, Ind.

The blogs of several friars have new posts that may be of interest to newsletter readers. William DeBiase, OFM, of Philadelphia, a member of the Province’s Ministry of the Word, writes about a variety of topics in his “Franciscan” blog, and student friar Stephen DeWitt, OFM, posts updates and photos from his yearlong internship in Bolivia on “A Franciscan Abroad.”

Four friars are at St. Malo Retreat Center near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado this week participating in the English-speaking Conference Formators Conference. They are Francis DiSpigno, OFM, director of post-novitiate formation; Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, HNP secretary of formation and studies; Ronald Pecci, OFM, director of postulants; and vocation director Brian Smail, OFM.

Nearly 150 people gathered July 27 at St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, N.Y., to celebrate the golden jubilee of its pastor Richard Husted, OFM. The Aug. 2 issue of the bulletin of the Western New York parish includes a letter from Richard thanking the parish for the celebration. Richard and the nine other HNP friars who professed their final vows as Franciscans in 1960 were celebrated by the Province in June.

As of last week, all of the Province’s solemnly-professed friars for whom the Proivincial Office has valid e-mail addresses been provided information about their e-mail account by Jim McIntosh, OFM, chair of the Communication Office’s implementation team for the new Google e-mail option.  They can receive clarification about the system’s features by contacting the HNP Communications Office by e-mail or phone (646-473-0265 ext. 321).

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, is in Long Beach, Calif., this week participating in a meeting of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. Next week, he joins members of the Provincial Council in Colorado for their monthly meeting.

The social justice work of Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and the parishioners of St. Camillus in Silver Spring, Md., are described in an article on the Catholic Relief Services website, “Healing from War’s Brutality in Congo.” Jacek, co-chair of the Province’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Directorate, said, “For us, it is a moral imperative to do justice and address the root cause of the horrific violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As a parish, we have done fundraising to help the victims of violence, and we are raising awareness of what is happening there.”

The Province’s four postulants are at Mt. Irenaeus in Western New York this week for a retreat. They completed their summer program at nearby St. Bonaventure University on July 30. Later this month, the men will be formally affiliated to Holy Name Province, said Ronald Pecci.

John Pierce, OFM, offering a blessing in his brown habit, lent the Franciscan charism to a ceremony that inducted Frank Cashen, Davey Johnson, Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Goodman of the Class of 2010 into the New York Mets Hall of Fame at Citi Field (formerly Shea Stadium) on Aug. 1. They were part of the 1986 Mets World Championship team. John had been invited by Jay Horowitz, public relations representative for the Mets, and a friend from their collegiate days. John also recently traveled to his beloved alma mater to contribute to the ROTC “Military Wall of Fame” at St. Bonaventure University his various national and state medals from the Vietnam theater, when he served as a chaplain for the First Marine Division. “John donated a large photo of himself celebrating Mass before the bloody major battle of Khe Sahn in 1968,” said Cassian Miles, OFM. “The medals included the Bronze Star he received on June 20, 1970. SBU president Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, gratefully received the medals at the ceremony attended by 60 of John’s alumni classmates and friends.”

Christopher Posch, OFM, chair of the Hispanic Ministry Committee, encourages friars and friends of the Franciscans to view “‘Train of Death’ Drives Migrant American Dreamers” on the CNN World website. It includes vivid photos of thousands of migrants who risk death riding on the roofs of cargo trains to reach the United States. “This balanced report portrays dangerous conditions, serious consequences and magnificent faith of the migrants,” Chris said. “It places a human face on our sisters and brothers. I am indebted to John Heffernan, OFM, for sharing this link with me.”

James Vacco OFM, returned last week from Australia, where since May 19 he had assisted at a Franciscan parish in Sydney. His final days “down under” included a visit to Padua College in Brisbane where he had conducted workshops during the summer of 2009, a tour of Canberra, the national capital, listening to the Australian Brandenburg Choir and Orchestra (which he described as “an experience of paradise”) and the eating of kangaroo meat (“very lean and tasty”). Jim, who took more than 2,500 photos during his stay, said that Australia is “an extraordinary place and people with a culture which from the outside looks very much like life in the United States, but is so different.”

Jud Weiksnar, OFM, celebrated a memorial Mass for Matthew Gaskin, OFM, who died in June. It was held July 23 at the Newman Center at the University of Buffalo, N.Y. In a “Franciscan Journey” published in the September 2007 issue of The Anthonian, Jud credited Matthew for influencing him to join the Order.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Aug. 11 (always the Wednesday before publication). Topics planned for futures issues of this newsletter include
· Music ministries around the Province
· Solemn profession of vows by four friars
· Summer activities of friars involved with education
· Peru mission trip of Triangle, Va., parish
· Reports by student friars about their summer internships
· Franciscan Volunteer Ministry
· Reception of postulants

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas