News Briefs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK — Below are updates about some of the many activities of Holy Name friars, including their outreach, presentations 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

Russell Becker, OFM, was appointed in December to the executive committee of the International Council for Mission and Evangelization. This week, Russell is leading the second of two retreats for HNP friars titled “Our Evangelizing Mission as Friars”; it is being held Feb. 1 to 4 in Butler, N.J.

The missionary work of Clement Comesky, OFM, was mentioned in the Jan. 22 issue of SJB News Notes, the weekly publication of St. John the Baptist Province. Holy Name visitor Fr. Fred Link, OFM, a member of SJB Province, talked with Clement last month while at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. Clement, who served in Bolivia for 37 years — with two stints as an army chaplain, knows Fr. Justus Wirth, OFM, of SJB Province. 

Kevin Cronin, OFM, and Ronald Pecci, OFM, report that Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his catechesis during theJan. 27 general audience to St. Francis of Assisi, calling him “an authentic ‘giant’ of holiness, who continues to fascinate very many people of every age and every religion.” The pope added that Francis is a model that “should inspire relations between Christians and Muslims: to promote dialogue in truth, in reciprocal resect and in mutual understanding.”

Julian Davies, OFM, asks HNP guardians and pastors to submit updates on friar life and ministry for inclusion in the next edition of the Provincial Annals, which will describe 2009 events. Information and photos are due to Julian by May 1. 

Henry Fulmer, OFM, led a three-day revival last week at a Mass at St. Joseph Church in Wilmington, Del., whereJohn Frambes, OFM, is pastor. The late Bishop Michael Saltarelli ordained Henry a permanent deacon while stationed in Wilmington more than 16 years ago. The revival was supported by the Wilmington Diocesan Gospel Choir based at St. Joseph, said John, adding “the parish received Henry enthusiastically.”

Capistran Hanlon, OFM, Siena College professor emeritus of sociology and longtime chaplain of the Men and Ladies Albany Ancient Order of Hibernians, was recognized for his service to the AOH at an event in his honor on Jan. 23. The event also raised funds for the Men and Ladies AOH Capital Region Memorial Scholarship, which Capistran was instrumental in establishing. The scholarship, initially honoring the memory of Fr. Henry J. Tansey, MHM, over time has grown to honor trooper William Dooley as well. “Scholarships like this enable us to provide a Franciscan and Catholic liberal arts education for students of modest means,” Capistran said. 

Friars are meeting next week at the Franciscan retreat center in Tampa, Fla., for the Feb. 8 to 10 preaching workshop. It is sponsored by the Province’s Evangelization Directorate, which is chaired by Lawrence Hayes, OFM, and David McBriar, OFM. Space is still available.

Richard Husted, OFM, pastor, spoke about the Province and about the strengths of the ministry of St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, N.Y., at a parish visioning meeting on Jan. 17. Attendees discussed reasons for creating two separate parish structures: a pastoral council and an administration committee, according to a recent parish bulletin.

John Leonard, OFM, reports that St. Anthony of Padua School in Butler, N.J., is hosting several events in commemoration of Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 31 to Feb. 5): an open house on Sunday, a “Jump Rope for the Heart” fundraiser for the American Heart Association, a Home-School Association family dinner and cake decoration contest, a book fair, a geography bee, and a school assembly to thank businesses, groups and individuals who assist the school. Two events will end the week of celebration on Friday: a teacher appreciation Day and a Home-School Association dance. Details about these and commemorations of Catholc Schools Week at other HNP parishes will be provided in a future issue of this newsletter.

Kevin Mackin, OFM, reports that Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., where he is president, is seeking a chaplain to serve the college’s faith community for the 2010 academic year. The chaplain must be an ordained Catholic priest and will supervise sacramental worship, prayer, devotionals, spiritual development programs, retreats and pastoral counseling to foster religious and spiritual values in campus life. He will participate in a variety of campus community events. Housing and meals are provided. Resumes should be sent to Harry Steinway, vice president for student development, Mount Saint Mary College, 330 Powell Avenue, Newburgh, NY 12550. 

An article by Russel Murray, OFM, a faculty member of Washington Theological Union, appears in the Jan. 29 issue of Commonweal magazine. “A New Ecumenism” asks whether the Vatican’s new outreach to Anglicans is a step forward or backward.

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, is attending the Province’s Seaside Conversations event at the friary in Margate, N.J., Feb. 4 and 5. Last week, he celebrated Mass for the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary sisters. Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, accompanied him to the Jan. 28 visit to the 97th Street community in New York City. Earlier in January, John distributed a letter to friars of Holy Name Province describing the reasons for the Provincial Council choosing the venue in Maryland for the HNP 2011 chapter.

With the 2010 Winter Olympics around the corner, John Pierce, OFM, of Butler, N.J., recalled his teenage dreams while growing up in “Hockey Town,” Melrose, Mass., of being a part of the U.S. Olympic hockey team. John said, “My dream became God’s dream, when my family moved to Concord, where hockey wasn’t played. Eventually, I found myself at St. Bonaventure University, and then as a Franciscan friar.”

Last year, John traveled to Berlin, Germany, to serve as chaplain of the U.S. track and field team, whose members were competing in the World International Track and Field meet in August.  The prevous May, John was invited to the Vietnam War Memorial in Holmdel, N.J., where he received the state’s highest award for service as a Marine Corps chaplain for loading, under heavy enemy fire, dead and wounded Marines onto helicopters.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, hosted a Franciscan Experience Weekend (FEW) Jan. 22 to 24 at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston for three men, all of whom were invited to formally apply to the Order. The FEW offers an opportunity for men to discern more deeply their call to Franciscan life by having a series of conversations with members of the Province’s vocation team, Brian said. In other Vocation Office news, the DVD that Brian and his team have been developing as a tool to inform potential applicants about Holy Name Province is nearly complete, he added; the DVD, titled “Make a Life Shift; Be A Franciscan,” will make its debut at the upcoming fraternal gatherings.

Christopher VanHaight, OFM, has been familiarizing himself with the Province’s Hispanic Ministry blog, “Encuentro Franciscano.” He has added Spanish content and YouTube videos.

A new library at St. Anthony of Padua School in Camden, N.J., where Jud Weiksnar, OFM, is pastor, was dedicated on Jan. 31. The 2 p.m. ceremony “dedicated another resource to provide students with an excellent education,” said St. Anthony Parish development director Lori Springer.

Provincial treasurer Dennis Wilson, OFM, reminds friars that all communications with the Social Security Administration should normally proceed through the Provincial Office since Holy Name Province has its own group representative. Questions regarding social security benefits should be addressed to Allan Von Kobs, OFM, who can be reached by phone at 646-473-0265 ext. 360 and by e-mail at

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Feb. 10. Some of the people and topics being featured in upcoming issues of the newsletter include:
· profiles of friars celebrating profession anniversaries this year 
· Pius Liu, OFM
· Catholic Schools week
· SBU’s Fr. Mychal Judge Center

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas