News Briefs About Special Activities of HNP Friars

Jocelyn Thomas 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 HNP Communications Office.

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

David Convertino, OFM, distributed an email in the Office of Development’s series of communications to its constituents on May 15 titled “Here a Saint, There a Saint, Everywhere and Everyone a Saint?” that described the sainthood process and the blessings of the “wonderful people that all of us know whom we can call ‘saints for us’ in our lives.” Since last fall he has used these to communicate messages to a variety of friends and supporters of the Province. Earlier this month, the Province’s executive director of development concluded his Franciscan Challenge initiative for the 2012-13 season.

John J. Coughlin, OFM, has been appointed professor of religious studies and law at New York University, Abu Dhabi.  This will involve John’s teaching those subjects in NYU’s Arab Crossroads Department in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, or another of its global centers for about 40 percent of each year. The remainder of the time, he will be at the New York City campus. John, who has been a visiting professor at NYU this year, will continue as a member of the St. Stephen Friary in New York City.

Kevin Downey, OFM, spoke about the importance of focusing on the problem of human trafficking in a recent news release distributed by St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Triangle, Va., where he is pastor. “It’s shocking how prevalent and complex human trafficking is and how it plagues our own communities in surprising ways,” he said. “The good news is, there are things we all can do to address it, to protect our children and to help those in need.” After all of its May 18 and 19 Masses, the Northern Virginia parish offered human trafficking awareness presentations.

Kyle Haden, OFM, received his Ph.D. in historical theology May 18 from Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y. Kyle’s dissertation was on anti-Catholic violence in Philadelphia in the pre-Civil War era. Kyle is assistant professor in the School of Franciscan Studies of St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y.

Lawrence Hayes, OFM, Michael Johnson, OFM, and Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, are among friars answering questions for parishioners about immigration. Recent issues of parish bulletins have included installments in the series of weekly articles provided by the Province’s Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, written by Russ Testa and Fran Eskin-Royer. All HNP ministry sites have been sent these articles for reproduction in bulletins and on websites, and copies of the articles are available on the JPIC office’s webpage. The fourth article in the series is titled “Immigration Bill to Move to the Senate Floor — Public Support is Needed.” It quotes Bishop Dennis Sullivan of Camden, N.J., who said: “Sisters and brothers, what I say is not new. The system is broken. But now, ahora, we have an opportunity to fix it. And we accept that opportunity as our Christ-given mission so that the Kingdom of God can be strengthened and extended, especially among our immigrant sisters and brothers.” Those seeking information about why immigrants find it nearly impossible to enter the U.S. through legal means, are encouraged to read a brief on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Province’s JPIC Office can be reached at

Barry Langley, OFM, presided at a May 14 Mass at St. Anthony Shrine and Ministry Center, Boston, as part of the annual William Degnan Jr. Memorial Service in memory of law enforcement officers and special agents who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012.

Kevin Mackin, OFM, participated in commencement exercises on May 19 at Mount St. Mary College, Newburgh, N.Y., where he is president. Earlier this month, after the college received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the international assembly for collegiate business education, Kevin noted that the faculty has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in business education and advancing academic quality. “To move from candidacy to accreditation in the span of one calendar year has been quite an accomplishment by our business chair and faculty. And our Mount students are really accomplishing much.”

Jim McIntosh, OFM, reports that several events are planned by St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, where he is communications director, for the feast of St. Anthony next month. On June 13, the community will hold a reflection and dinner and on June 15, a concert. Last year, St. Anthony Shrine commemorated its 65th anniversary of ministry to the Downtown Crossing area of Boston. On May 17, Jim and the Shrine’s new development director, Maribeth McDonald, visited the Provincial Office.

Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, is speaking on May 23 at St. John the Baptist Province’s All Province Assembly in Dayton, Ohio.  The Ohio-based province is planning for its next chapter which is being held, like Holy Name Province’s chapter, in June 2014.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, is in Long Branch, N.J., this week at the Province’s eighth fraternal gathering of its spring series. On Sunday, he attended the graduation of Kyle Haden, OFM, from Fordham University. Next week, he will participate in the May meeting of the Provincial Council in New York City.

Mark Reamer, OFM, announced last month, with the principal of the Franciscan School, that the parish school had been awarded a $2,000 School Garden Grant from the Whole Kids Foundation School Garden Grant Program.The community garden of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Raleigh, N.C., was featured in an article in the North Raleigh News. Staff member Marc Kielty said the community garden “serves as a ‘hands on classroom’ for the Franciscan School.” During Earth Week, morning prayer was held in the parish’s amphitheater and labyrinth area which adjoins the surrounding wetlands.

Joseph Rozansky, OFM, distributed a news release last week about the condemning by the Papua Peace Negotiator Team of the deadly shootings of Papuans who marked the 50th anniversary of the transfer of administration1 of West New Guinea (now Papua) from UNTEA to Indonesia on May 1, 1963. He asks that it be shared with friars of all the OFM provinces. Joseph is director of the Order’s JPIC Office in Rome.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, and Octavio Duran, OFM, have completed the development of a vocation promotion DVD in Spanish titled “Respondiendo al Llamado,” or “Answering the Call,” which, he said, “has been a major effort by the Vocation Office to provide more Spanish promotion materials and content.” The video features interviews with “some of our Latino friars, as well as information about the Province, our fraternity, and ministries,” Brian said. “Octavio worked with me on the content and, of course, he did the filming. The video will be uploaded to the Spanish section of the Join Us webpage and copies of the DVD will be mailed to prospective Latino candidates, as well as all of our ministry sites to help promote vocations among the Latino community.” Next month, Brian is planning to attend a “Vocations Summit” at Boston College, which, he said, is “a national gathering to explore ways to promote vocations. Among the participants of the June 20 to 21 event will be Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, William Leahy, SJ, the president of BC, and Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, as well as representatives from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.”

Jud Weiksnar, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Camden, N.J., reports that the Student Leaders of Von Nieda Park won a Jefferson Youth Award on May 16 for their 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Community Organizing. The students will receive their award at a special ceremony on June 8 at Burlington Community College, Mt. Laurel, N.J. The student leaders will also be honored by Mayor Dana Redd at the Mayor’s Youth Council awards ceremony May 30. Jud is also looking forward to next Thursday, when the Nuns on the Bus movement stops in Camden.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by May 29, 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:
•   Holy Land pilgrimage taken by St. Anthony Shrine community members
•   Feast of St. Anthony commemorations
•   Provincial jubilee celebration on June 20
•   Reception of novices in August

—  Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas