News Briefs

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

Michael Calabria, OFM, presented a two-day program at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, Pa., Oct. 30 to 31, titled “One God — Two Faiths: Christians and Muslims in Dialogue.” Preaching on the feast of All Saints, he spoke about common concepts of sainthood in Christianity and Islam, focusing on a Muslim contemporary of St. Francis. On Nov. 5, he spoke on Christian-Muslim relations to the Neumann Society in Salamanca, N.Y. On Nov. 9, he presented the life and spirituality of Florence Nightingale for a faculty seminar on women’s spirituality at St. Bonaventure University. Michael is a lecturer in Arab and Islamic Studies in SBU’s Modern Languages Department.

F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, reported that an article about the collaboration between students from St. Bonaventure University in Western New York and Siena College near Albany, N.Y., appeared in the Oct. 26 issue of the Buffalo News. The students have been digging in a cemetery in Collins, N.Y., for the past two years to find the 1,200 buried gravestones of anonymous patients from the Gowanda Psychiatric Center. They were buried between 1898 and 1994, when the hospital closed, and have since recessed into the ground.

Kevin Downey, OFM, and the community of St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J, were honored Nov. 7 by GreenFaith Interfaith Partners in Action for the Earth at GreenFaith’s fourth annual awards celebration in Highland Park, N.J. On Nov. 8, Kevin was the celebrant at a St. Mary Church’s father/son Communion breakfast.

A blueberry pie baked by Daniel Hurley, OFM, was among the items auctioned at the Nov. 7 Mountain Auction, the annual fundraiser of Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat. Details of the event will appear in a future issue of this newsletter. 

As published in The Catholic Advocate, newspaper of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J, J. Patrick “Jim” Kelly, OFM, preached Nov 1 to 4 at a parish retreat celebrating the 100th anniversary of St. Anne Parish, Fair Lawn, N.J. Invited by the pastor, Fr. Joe Doyle, and recommended by the parish anniversary committee, Jim spoke about “Celebrating the Core of our Catholic Faith.” The parish had advertised the event widely in order to emphasize the critical importance of the spiritual journey toward salvation as the very reason for the parish’s existence and future into the next 100 years.

Tony LoGalbo, OFM, reported that close to 90 have registered for the Nov. 14 Day for Sisters being held at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York.

Boston resident John Maganzini, OFM, the Province’s postulant director, was recognized on Nov. 7 at a celebration of the 10th year of ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Milwaukee. The sisters staff the San Damiano House of Prayer in Lowell, Mass., where John has taught and given reflections through its Franciscan Companions (Associates) and spiritual direction training program. The invitation to his award read: “We believe that you have helped our mission and would like to acknowledge your gift in a meaningful way. We have been enriched by your expertise as a retreat director and author of some of our readings with our Franciscan Companions and our spiritual direction training program.” Gregory Day, OFM, and Gene Pistacchio, OFM, attended the celebration. 

Neil O’Connell, OFM, reports that All Saints Church in Harlem will hold a “Dance Vespers of All Franciscan Saints” at 7 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the church on East 129th Street in New York.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, participated in a celebration marking the centennial of the reception into the Catholic Church of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement on Oct. 30. He was one of some 400 at the Mass celebrated by Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, at the Society of the Atonement headquarters in Graymoor, N.Y. Holy Name Province’s first Provincial Minister, Edward Blecke, OFM, played a key role in establishing the Atonement friars on Oct. 30, 1909, said Provincial Vicar and noted Franciscan historian Dominic Monti, OFM. According to an article in Catholic New York, Archbishop Sambi said the charism of the Society of the Atonement is a “charism of the future.” On Nov. 7, John also participated in the board meeting of the Franciscan Mission Service.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., is leading a group of 18 Catholic men and women on a peacemaking pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Among the participants in the Nov. 3 to 13 trip, sponsored by the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF), are Hugh Macsherry, OFM, of Boston, and Russell Testa, director of the Province’s Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. Testa is providing daily updates about the trip on a new blog from the Franciscan Action Network (FAN), accessed through FAN’s Web site.

A photo of Dennis Tamburello, OFM, singing at the Oct. 1 academic convocation of Siena College will appear on the cover of the fall 2009 issue of Siena News magazine.

Gonzalo de Jesus Torres, OFM, gave a presentation Nov. 10 as part of the Friars Forum series at Holy Name of Jesus Church on New York’s Upper West Side. He will give a talk on the same topic, “The Celebration of the Eucharist and Social Justice,” next week in Spanish. The series commemorates the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Franciscan Order. Other friars giving talks as part of the Friars’ Forum are Cidouane Joseph, OFM, who will speak about “The Advent Prophets: What Lies Ahead for Us?” on Nov. 24 and Lawrence Ford, OFM, who will speak on “Jesus as a Public Minister” on Dec. 1. 

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, spoke with students at two colleges over the past week. At Furman University in Greenville, S.C., he accompanied Patrick Tuttle, OFM, to his Wednesday evening group for Catholic students. Brian said the evening was devoted to sharing vocation stories and information with the group. “I was very touched by the warm welcome the students gave me, and I was moved by the students’ dedication to their Catholic faith.” Brian then traveled to Siena College to celebrate campus Masses. Brian said the highlight was the Sunday evening Mass at Plassman Dorm, attended by a large number of students. “We shared pizza after both the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Masses, and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the students.” He plans to return to Siena in the spring.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Nov. 18. 

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas