News Briefs About Special Activities of HNP Friars

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

Updates below feature many activities of Holy Name friars, including their celebrations, presentations, and ministry events. For more information, visit links to the parishes and organizations mentioned, contact the friars by phone or email, or connect with the HNP Communications Office.

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

David Convertino, OFM, emailed a reflection about the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the Province’s friends and donors as part of an ongoing series disseminated by the HNP Development Office. Past reflections can be found on the office’s website.

Thomas Conway, OFM, Joseph Quinn, OFM, and Ronald Stark, OFM, are among friars in photos of last month’s ministry fair at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, where Thomas is director. The photos are on the ministry’s Facebook page.

John C. Coughlin, OFM, and Kevin Kriso, OFM, participated in “Movember,” an awareness initiative for men’s health. St. Bonaventure University reported that “some 178 students, faculty, staff and alumni have grown or supported the growing of moustaches in partnership with Movember, a global men’s health charity. The goal during the 30-day campaign last month was for men to change their appearance — by growing a moustache — and attitudes men have toward their health. The St. Bonaventure team, MoBonas, is raising funds this year in memory of Dr. Jeffrey Peterson, longtime chair of the department of finance who died of cancer in February.” The team is collecting donations until Dec. 9.

Butler, N.J., resident Kevin Cronin, OFM, reports that he had a “great turnout” — 250 people — at the 9 a.m. Mass during a mission he gave the weekend of Nov. 30 at St. Francis De Sales, Belle Harbor, Queens, N.Y. Kevin preached at all six Masses, and continued on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. “There are more than 500 children in their Catholic school, where I did programs Tuesday for first through fourth graders, and Wednesday, for fifth through eighth graders,” he said. St. Francis Parish is a place “where many people were affected by 9/11. The new pastor says they have been doing everything they can for the people, but feel they have been neglecting the spiritual, so at the recommendation of Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Chappetto, they asked if I would come and help them prepare for this Christmas with an Advent mission, ‘Making Room for Jesus this Christmas.’”

Francis Di Spigno, OFM, led a prayer service at St. Bonaventure University last week after the unexpected death of Tyler Davis, a sophomore student. “The University Ministries team planned an extraordinarily fitting prayer experience, and the students who packed the University Chapel responded to it very well,” said Emily Sinsabaugh, SBU’s vice president for university relations. “Fr. Francis gave new life to the Beatles song, ‘Let It Be.’ As a result, the sophomore class is considering a gift of a bench in tribute to Tyler that includes an inscription of the verses from that song. It was perfect and met them, all of us, where we were, searching for the answer to the question, ‘Why?’”

Kevin Downey, OFM, encourages people to attend the annual fair trade global bazaar held Dec. 7 and 8 at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Triangle, Va., where he is pastor. “Our global bazaar enables everybody to not only feel good about what they’ve purchased, but to do some good,” said Kevin, adding, “The support of fair trade doesn’t have to end here, because we hope to inspire everyone to purchase and encourage the sale of fair trade products all year at local stores, as well as through online sites and organizations.” The bazaar is being held after Saturday and Sunday Masses.

 Thomas Hartle, OFM, presented the Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents retreat at Miramar Retreat Center in Duxbury, Mass., last month. The Nov. 15 to 17 program was given to more than 21 parents who have lost children. He opened the retreat with “a welcome prayer service in which he invited the grieving parents to experience and be embraced by the holy ground of the retreat center – and to light their children’s candles, symbolizing the light of life,” according to a news release. Thomas also presented a moving reflection during which “he urged parents to consider the true meaning of love.”

An article about the presentation last month by Daniel Horan, OFM, as part of the 2013 Brady Lecture at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York was published in the Nov. 21 issue of SJB News Notes, the newsletter of St. John the Baptist Province. 

A photo taken in 1988 of Daniel Hurley, OFM, appears in the November 2013 issue of “Making All Things New,”the e-newsletter of Mt. Irenaeus, where Daniel lived for many years. The publication also includes a reflection byDaniel Riley, OFM, that “invites us to bring others to the table of life.”

St. Anthony Shrine’s Lazarus Ministry was featured in a Dec. 4 Boston Herald article titled “Franciscans Make Sure Smallest Not Forgotten.” John Jaskowiak, OFM, Barry Langley, OFM, and Philip O’Shea, OFM, spoke about the impact the ministry has on both the families of the deceased and the friars. “These are children who have been abandoned,” Philip said. “They’re ours, our little brothers and sisters. We want to give them all that they need to bring them home.”

Christopher Keenan, OFM, chair of the HNP Ongoing Formation Committee, reminds friars of three formation opportunities in 2014: the OFM Interprovincial Retreat from Jan. 6 to 10 in New Mexico, the Mid-Atlantic Congress: Forming Catholic Leaders for Faith-Filled Service workshop, Feb. 27 to March 1, in Maryland, and the Franciscan Forum, “Responding to God’s Love,” March 27 to 30, in Colorado.

In a recent email, Pius Liu, OFM, of Taiwan, said he was pleased to have a visit last month from the Provincial Secretary and several other friars. “I was honored by the canonical visit of Fr. Melvin Jurisich, OFM, General Visitor, Michael Harlan, OFM, secretary of the Province, Thomas Cole, OFM, director of the missions, and Fr. Claudio Pegoraro, OFM, provincial minister here. Three friends and I accompanied them separately to see the Franciscan Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus. We had lunch at the restaurant covered entirely by fog, but the food was above the fog, ‘out of this world’ on Yangmingshan!” Pius said. “Then I accompanied them to visit Sacred Heart Girls School, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and our friary in Taishan. The next day, we visited St. Bonaventure High School for Girls, and we had lunch at Cana. Later, we visited St. Francis High School and went back to Taishan. Early the next morning, Fr. Claudio kindly took them to the airport for their flight for Tokyo. They were deeply touched by the warm welcome and cordial hospitality of all the hosts. Fr. Melvin stated that he would report their experiences of Chinese food on Yangmingshan, the peaceful atmosphere at Cana, the Taiwan hospitality of the schools, the fraternal treat in Taishan, the hope of the Order from the young friars, and my careful and safe driving, not only to the Provincial Minister in New York, but also the General Minister in Rome.”

Daniel McLellan, OFM, reports that Michael Reyes, OFM, of Wilmington, Del., will design a logo for the 2014 Chapter. This was one of the discussion topics of the November meeting of the Chapter Planning Committee of which Daniel is chair.  The committee members also selected a theme for the chapter: “Be who you say you are” and discussed goals of the Province’s spring 2014 fraternal gatherings.

Kevin Mullen, OFM, president of Siena College, will be in New York City on Dec. 12, hosting a Christmas party for alumni and friends. The reception is in San Damiano Hall on West 31st Street.

This week, Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, is participating in a meeting of the St. Bonaventure University Board of Trustees at New York University, where an exhibit constructed by SBU’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts will open. The exhibition of historical photos and texts titled “Memoria: Assisi and the Jews,”tells the story of Catholic clergy, private citizens and a German officer who orchestrated the rescue of several hundred Jewish refugees in Assisi following the city’s German occupation during World War II. Next week, John will participate in the monthly meeting of the Provincial Council. 

Andrew Reitz, OFM, pastor, participated in the first young adult retreat sponsored by St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City. The event was held Nov. 1 to 3 at Our Lady of Thornwood Retreat Center, just north of New York City, and was well received by all who attended. A photo of Andrew, the group’s spiritual director, with the participants was published in the Nov. 24 parish bulletin.

Michael Reyes, OFM, of Wilmington, Del., is leading an Advent retreat for the HNP postulants this week at Mt. Savior Monastery in in Elmira, N.Y. Its theme is silence and contemplation, said Michael, adding that leading the retreat is part of his internship requirement.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, notes: “Pope Francis has designated the year 2015 as a year dedicated to consecrated life, in much the same way as 2013 was designated the ‘year of faith.’ That year will be a particularly opportune time to celebrate the important role of religious life in the Church, and the many contributions religious congregations, such as the Franciscans, have made. It is also a great opportunity to promote vocations in light of this special designation.”

John Ullrich, OFM, reports that the friars at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., recently made personal contributions from their allowances to the relief effort for victims of last month’s typhoon in the Philippines. “We collected a total of $2,150 from the members of the community, and added another gift of $2,150 from community funds, making a total of $4,300 that we sent to Catholic Relief Services.”

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Dec. 11, always the Wednesday before the newsletter’s publication date. Updates about the friars and their ministries can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Topics planned for future newsletters include:
•   Chapter 2014
•   Emmaus Ministry Retreat in Hartford on Dec. 7 
•   Seasonal reflection by Matthew Pravetz, OFM 
•   HNP’s annual formation intersession in January

 Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas