News Briefs About Special Activities of HNP Friars

HNP Communications 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 Communications Office.

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

William Bried, OFM, Angelo Gambatese, OFM, and staff members of St. Stephen of Hungary Parish, New York City, have new email addresses. They are bbried@ssh-nyc.org for William and agambatese@ssh-nyc.org for the pastor. Their personal email addresses remain the same.

Michael Calabria, OFM, co-presented with Georgetown University’s Muslim chaplain Imam Yahya Hendi at a Nov. 7 program that explored the life and legacy of the Prophet Muhammad, sponsored by the Georgetown Muslim Students Association. On Nov. 19, he spoke of Egypt’s Coptic community at a program on Christians in the Arab World sponsored by the Georgetown Arab Student Association. Both programs were held at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where Michael has been based since July.

David Convertino, OFM, director of development for Holy Name Province, wrote a reflection on the tragedy in Newtown. His thoughts, titled “Searing Pain — Connecticut Gunfire,” have been posted on the HNP Office of Development’s website. David recently sent a seasonal message and an appeal to friends of Holy Name Province. In it, he describes the work the Franciscans do. “We are serving over 2 million children, women, and men, providing not only prayer and worship, but also food, shelter and other daily necessities that enable so many to live lives with more dignity.” The HNP Office of Development hopes to raise $12,000 by Christmas Eve.

Julian Davies, OFM, of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., produced and distributed the 2012 edition of The Provincial Annals earlier this month. The annual resource includes 2011 news about the ministries and friaries of the Province.

At a meeting last month, the members of the St. Francis Friends of the Poor board of directors signed an agreement about the future of the residences, said John Felice, OFM. The Province signed its part of the sponsorship agreement the previous month, according to John, who encourages friars to think about working at the residences. “Our presence as friars is essential to the work of the three New York City residences,” said John, one of the founders of the more than 30-year-old ministry.

St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, Conn., held a healing and memorial Mass on Dec. 18 for the victims of last week’s school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Thomas Gallagher, OFM, pastor, included a brief message with the invitation that was distributed electronically to parishioners: “We are all brokenhearted by the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook School. In our powerlessness let us gather as a community of faith to give strength to one another as well as to support with our prayer our sisters and brothers directly affected by the experience of shootings and death. We hold in prayer each person and by our presence we are the presence of God.”  

Daniel Grigassy, OFM, is saddened to announce the Dec. 15 death of Douglas Cagney, 91, who lived for years across the street from the friary in Beach Haven, N.J. A wake was held at Feeney Funeral Home in Ridgewood, N.J., and a funeral Mass will be celebrated at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Ridgewood, N.J. Burial will take place at St. Luke’s Cemetery, Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. Condolences may be sent to his wife, Anne Cagney, at 616 Alanon Road, Ridgewood, N.J. The Cagney family has long been well known to the friars in Beach Haven.

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, represented his alma mater, St. Thomas Aquinas College, at New York Medical College’s inauguration of its new president and chancellor for health affairs and chief executive officer. The ceremony was Dec. 9 in Purchase, N.Y.

Gerald Hopeck, OFM, expects roughly 30 attendees at the Dec. 27 Go Down Moses Retreat for African-American men that he is helping to lead in Washington, D.C.

Daniel Horan, OFM, was interviewed on Radio Maria USA on Dec. 13. He spoke about his first book, Dating God. The interview can be found on Radio Maria’s website.

At the invitation of the regional bishop, James Patrick Kelly, OFM, was invited to provide this year’s Advent reflection for the priests of the South Region of the Archdiocese of Boston. “There were about 40 priests present —  a number of them retired but still ‘helping out’ at parishes weekly —  as well as Cardinal Archbishop Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap., for lunch,” said James. “My topic was: ‘Compassion, Fatigue and Christmas’. If the questions and observations offered at the end of the 35-minute presentation were any indication, it was a timely topic and stirred up some serious thinking on the part of the assembled priests. As is always the case, when the priests were with me individually, they thanked me for the ever-great spiritual experience they have when they come to the Shrine for the sacrament of Reconciliation.  It’s apparent that the bulk of the priests in the archdiocese come here for confession.”

Stephen Kluge, OFM, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., reports that “according to the diocese of Trenton and their general contracting firm BroadCo, 51 parishes in the diocese were affected by the storm on Oct. 29. The most damaged was St. Rose in Belmar. St. Francis of Assisi Parish was the second most damaged parish.”  Stephen and the other LBI friars moved back into their Beach Haven, N.J., friary on Dec. 18 after having lived for more than a month in temporary housing, because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The friary’s basement, which flooded during the storm, has been cleaned.

Karl Koenig, OFM, Hugh Macsherry, OFM,  Juan Turcios,  OFM, and Jud Weiksnar, OFM, are pictured in an appeal letter distributed last month by St. Anthony of Padua Parish of Camden, N.J. It focuses on the recent video produced by the parish as well as on the life-bringing programs “that give our people dignity and, in many cases, the ability to live their lives each day.”

Aubrey McNeil, OFM, pastor of St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Anderson, S.C., appears in the fall 2012 issue of Community Connections, Newsletter of the Housing Authority of Anderson, that featured the dedication of the McLester McDowell Achievement Center, named for an active member of the parish. Photos of Aubrey as well as Henry Fulmer, OFM, of St. Joseph Parish in Anderson, appear in the publication.

Charles Miller, OFM, is leading a pilgrimage next year to Italy and Portugal. The April 27 to May 9, 2013 trip will include visits to Rome, Assisi, Venice, Fatima and Lisbon, according to the parish bulletin of St. Francis of Assisi Church, New York City, where Charles is stationed.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, was thanked in a recent newsletter from the Holy Land Ecumenical foundation that described the Dec. 8 prayer service at St. Camillus Church, Silver Spring, MD., where Jacek is stationed. Several hundred people assembled to celebrate Christmas and hear the messages of peace delivered by Ecumenical Religious and Civic Leaders at the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation’s Joint Simulcast Message of Peace between Washington, D.C., and Bethlehem, Palestine,” the newsletter said. Jacek reported, “Up to 350 people came to St. Camillus Church to take part in the simulcast between Bethlehem and Washington. St. Camillus Parish hosted this important event very much in the Spirit of Assisi. People were grateful and thrilled to connect with their brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. Together they’ve celebrated their common Christian faith, learned more about the realities of the Christians and Muslims living in Bethlehem under the Israeli military occupation and cut off from Jerusalem. Above it all, however, people in Silver Spring and in Bethlehem reminded themselves of the importance of being in solidarity and the urgent need to follow in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace and be messengers of hope. I want to quote the recent words of Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, since this is exactly what so many St. Camillus parishioners have been doing through their involvement in the Franciscan peacemaking initiative for the Holy Land. ‘Our religious communities should strive, once more, to play their part in the many small initiatives of dialogue and peace. They will not change the world in the Holy Land, but they will provide the oxygen which will make people realise that, in spite of everything, there are still many persons who refuse this logic and are ready to play their part in a serious and concrete way. It is, above all, the duty of the institutions that work with young people, to whom our future is entrusted, to take initiatives in favour of dialogue.'”

Xavier Seubert, OFM, spent more than a year organizing an event that took place at the Frick Collection in New York City. He and David Haack, OFM, participated in a discussion of the painting San Francesco nel Deserto by Giovanni Bellini at the Frick Collection on Dec. 13. Other panelists included Fr. Michael Cusato, OFM, former director of the Franciscan Institute in Allegany, N.Y., and Br. William Short, OFM, dean of the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif. The event was facilitated by St. Bonaventure University’s president’s office. It was not open to the public but is available online.

Vocation Director Brian Smail, OFM, reports that his office has distributed resources about National Vocation Awareness Week — Jan. 13 to 19, 2013 — to pastors, campus ministers and retreat center directors for use in celebrating this important event during Jan. 13 liturgies. “Friars, please consider telling your vocation story,” he said.

Thomas Vigliotta, OFM, noted that the Catholic Center at the University of Georgia in Athens recently became a 24-hour safe place for students to prepare for final exams. David Hyman, OFM, witnessed some students spending an entire evening with noses pressed in study material. An extra Wi-Fi connection had to be added in the center to accomodate the increased Internet activity. David Briones, student coordinator, and his family kept fresh snacks and drinks available around the clock. At midnight each evening of finals week, breakfast was served to the students. While most people in Athens were asleep, the students consumed approximately 445 pancakes, 76 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, 54 eggs, 120 sausages, and 12 lbs of bacon.

The bowling scores of Jud Weiksnar, OFM, will once again be used for fundraising purposes at St. Anthony of Padua parish’s annual Superbowling event. Participants are invited to pledge a certain amount per pin for Fr. Jud’s last game of the night on Feb. 2. The money will go toward the parish’s operating expenses.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Dec. 26, 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:
•   Vocation Minstry news
•   2013 intersession gathering of HNP student friars 
•   JPIC Office updates 
•   Dec. 27- 30 retreat for African American men
•   Postulant activities 
•   Young adult ministries around the Province
•   Friars celebrating major anniversaries of profession in 2013

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas