News Briefs

Rebecca Doel and 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 or by connecting with the Communications Office.

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

Four friars presented seminars at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston as part of the commemoration of the Order’s 800th anniversary and the feast of St. Francis. They included guardian David Convertino, OFM, and Hugh Macsherry, OFM, who spoke on “St. Francis of Assisi: the Little Kid/Perfect Joy”; Charles Finnegan, OFM, who spoke about “A Moment Planted in Print”; and Emeric Meier, OFM, who spoke on “Packaging the Product.”

Articles about the “tent city” housing initiative of Hillsborough County, Fla., appeared in recent issues of The New York Times and the St. Petersburg Times, according to George Corrigan, OFM, of Sacred Heart Parish, Tampa, Fla. The plan was rejected in a 4-to-3 vote by Hillsborough County commissioners on Oct. 13 in Tampa.

Julian Davies, OFM, Vincent Grogan, OFM, and team have published The Provincial Annals: 2009. This edition, distributed to all Holy Name friars, provides news from 2008 about significant events at provincial ministries. Some are reports and others are first-person essays.

Angelus Gambatese, OFM, pastor of St. Stephen of Hungary Church in New York City, complimented Province Vocation Office staff member and St. Stephen parishioner Carolyn Croke for the successful event she planned and coordinated for Oct. 9. She and her committee organized a dance for approximately 150 developmentally-disabled individuals.

Roy Gasnick, OFM, reports that at a recent house Chapter the friars of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., decided to discontinue using the four-volume “Liturgy of the Hours” for communal prayer, switching instead to the one-volume “Christian Prayer.” Friars will use the new volume for the first time on the first Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the new Church year. “The friars, if they so wish, may continue to use the four-volume “Breviary” for private prayer, especially the Office of the Readings,” said Roy. 

Kevin Mackin, OFM, president of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., arranged for New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan to present the keynote address at the college’s 50th anniversary celebration on Oct. 29. A Web cast of Thursday’s ceremony will be a featured centerpiece on the college’s public Web site.

Cassian Miles, OFM, of Butler, N.J., celebrated an Oct. 11 Mass in Lancaster, Pa., at which the co-founders of the non-profit organization Mychal’s Message entered the Secular Franciscan Order of Our Lady Queen of the Angels Fraternity. Kelly Lynch and her mother, Sharon Hickey, who spent two years in formation, founded Mychal’s Message several months after their family friend, Mychal Judge, OFM, died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, spoke at the Oct. 24 Encuentro Franciscano, HNP’s celebration of Hispanic culture in the Catholic Church. He welcomed the nearly 600 attendees to the event that included lectures, discussions, refreshments and prayer. On Friday, Oct. 30, John will be in Graymoor, N.Y., at the 100th anniversary event of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.

An essay by Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., appeared on the Web site of the Catholic Standard, a publication of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. In “A blessing for animals, and for the Earth,” Jacek explained why priests bless animals on the feast of St. Francis. “A blessing is our prayerful acknowledgement of something good and beautiful created by God,” he wrote. “For example, when my sister kisses her 2-year-old daughter goodnight, she blesses her child, even though little Victoria is asleep and not aware of it. The blessing that my sister gives to her child is not magic; rather, it is a sign of love and affection.”

On Oct. 17, Gene Pistacchio, OFM, celebrated the 4 p.m. Vigil Mass at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, for his silver jubilee of profession. David Convertino and Richard Flaherty, OFM, were concelebrants. Francis McHugh, OFM, was master of ceremonies. Gene’s mother, Adele, as well as family, friends and members of the shrine community, gathered for this special event with music provided by the shrine’s music ministry. In his homily, Gene highlighted his experiences as a friar over the past 25 years, expressing gratitude for his journey. Prior to the closing of Mass, David congratulated Gene and told the community that the evening had an additional celebration. Following the Mass, attendees celebrated with a light reception in the shrine auditorium, followed by a festive preprandium and dinner in the friary, according to John Maganzini, OFM, vicar at the shrine.

Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Tampa, Fla., was featured in an article from the Oct. 23 issue of the St. Petersburg Times about the parish’s new Gift and Book Store. It is the third parish-affiliated business Andrew has launched in his 38 years as a priest. More information about the store, which opened Oct. 21, will be included in a future issue of this newsletter.

Daniel Sulmasy, OFM, appeared on the Oct. 20 edition of ABC’s Nightline, participating in a discussion about the dangers of marketing sperm donors as celebrity look-alikes. In the interview he said: “One of the hidden ethical issues within this approach to genetic engineering is that the people who are already well off, who are wealthy, are going to get the sperm that are going to be more perfect, have the children that are stronger, smarter, faster, more beautiful, and be even more advantaged in society — while the poor, who are already disadvantaged … have less access to this kind of technology. The gap between the rich and the poor will only grow greater the more we pursue this kind of avenue.”

Alan Thomas, OFM, board member of the Dwelling Place of New York, a shelter for homeless women, along with Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, Hugh Hines, OFM, Vincent Laviano, OFM, Jerome Massimino, OFM, and Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, attended the annual gala of the Dwelling Place on Oct. 16. Hugh won a 50-50 raffle. The communities of St. Francis Church and Friary on W. 31st Street in Manhattan are strong supporters of the shelter. Sr. Nancy Chiarello, OSF, Allegany Franciscan and founder and director of the Dwelling Place, received a Francis Medal in September for her work. 

Basil Valente, OFM, a professor at St. Bonaventure University, led a discernment retreat weekend Oct. 24 to 26 at the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat in Western New York for men considering discerning a call to religious life. Louis McCormick, OFM, who lives at the mountain’s Holy Peace Friary, hosted the event. Basil is the Province’s regional vocation director for Upstate New York—West.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Nov. 4.

 Compiled by Rebecca Doel and Jocelyn Thomas, who thank Fr. Cassian for his proofreading services of this newsletter.