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

The novices at the Interprovincial Novitiate participated in a presentation about the spirituality of St. Clare on Nov. 18, according to Scott Brookbank, OFM, one of the team leaders of the collaborative Franciscan novitiate in Burlington, Wis. Last month, they participated in the annual etiquette workshop, described in the newsletter of one of the other participating provinces — Assumption.

Michael Calabria, OFM, was awarded a fellowship to attend the Hamad Bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art held in Palermo, Sicily, from Nov. 9 to 12. The symposium was titled “God is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth: Light in Islamic Art and Culture.” Following the symposium, Michael “traveled to Assisi to examine decorative motifs in the Basilica of San Francesco for a research project, and to make my first pilgrimage,” he said.

Development director David Convertino, OFM, presented a Franciscan Challenge fundraising event at St. Anthony-St. Patrick Parish in Hartford, Conn., last week. Next month, he will present a similar program at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston.

Bernard Creighton, OFM, of Butler, N.J., submitted a photo taken last month of Callistus Sweeney, OFM, of Tokyo, with St. Anthony Friary residents Bede Fitzpatrick, OFM, and Stephen Lynch, OFM, who also served in Japan. The three friars collectively ministered as missionaries for 132 years in that country.

Kevin Cronin, OFM, of Butler, N.J., led a parish mission this week at St. Clement Parish in Cincinnati, where Fr. Fred Link, OFM, the Province’s previous General Visitor, is stationed. Kevin said he was “very happy” that Fr. Fred invited him to give the mission, which had the theme “Awakening Our Faith in These Challenging Times.” In the Nov. 7 issue of SJB News Notes, Fr. Fred described Kevin as “a popular missionary who has preached missions up and down the East Coast, and has also been a featured speaker at various convocations, including the prestigious annual religious education gathering in Anaheim, Calif. He weaves Franciscan themes into his talks which are light, often funny and very insightful.”

William DeBiase, OFM, baked a large batch of treats to sell at Fr. Bill’s Bakery at Lourdes Hospital in Willingboro, N.J., as part of a fundraiser for the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry. He joined Katie Sullivan, director of the program, and several FVMs in selling the baked goods on Nov. 14.

Kevin Kriso, OFM, of West Clarksville, N.Y., reports that the Province’s Young Adult Ministry Committee has sent a letter and survey to most pastors and guardians in the Province as part of a multi-part process. “We first want to see which sites have ministries for young adults (ages 18 to 30ish) and find out who the contact people are. We are asking them to note two successes and struggles. Our goal after that is to facilitate communication and share resources among our ministries to young adults. We will also be electronically contacting those who were sent letters to see if they would rather give their feedback through e-mail.”

On Nov. 3, Barry Langley, OFM, blessed a memorial headstone containing the names of 47 people buried in St. Anthony Shrine’s “Lazarus Ministry” plot at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Boston. The plot is one of several that the ministry uses to bury the homeless and abandoned members of society, including infants who die at birth or do not survive to be born. Until recently, the donated gravesite had been without a headstone, according to Maribeth MacDonald, the shrine’s director of development. “Now, through the gift of several generous donors, there is a beautiful two-tone granite memorial marking the final resting place of so many of the less fortunate,” she said. Members of the shrine’s community offered special prayers during the weekend Masses on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. Since its inception in 2003, the Lazarus Ministry has provided dignified funerals and burials for 139 individuals.

Daniel McLellan, OFM, and the HNP Chapter Planning Committee met on Monday in St. Petersburg, Fla., the site of the 2013 guardians’ meeting. Their discussion topics included goals for the 2014 fraternal gatherings, the basic schedule for the June 1 to 7 Chapter, determining the role of the Chapter facilitator, and deciding on a slogan and a designer to produce an appropriate logo.

Robert Menard, OFM, of St. Andrew Parish, Clemson, S.C., participated in the 11th Annual Clemson Area Ministers Cook Off in support of Safe Harbor, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to victims of domestic violence. He was one of 20 participants at the Nov. 12 event.

Richard Mucowski, OFM, reports that a program about the country’s new Affordable Care Act is planned for Assumption Parish, where he is pastor. It is being held Dec. 3 “to help people understand their options,” Richard said.

Kevin Mullen, OFM, attended last night’s Franciscan Cup basketball game between Siena College, where he is president, and St. Bonaventure University. He and Gregory Jakubowicz, OFM, the college’s chaplain, had the pleasure of watching Siena beat SBU for the first time since the Franciscan Cup was created in 2010, with a final score of 72-70. A photo of Kevin, Greg and the triumphant team was posted on the Siena Saints‘ Facebook page.

Neil O’Connell, OFM, is on a panel of four professors of Lehman College of the City University of New York, Bronx, that is implementing a national endowment for the humanities grant through the College’s Leonard Leaf Library titled “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle.” The grant involves each professor presenting a viewing of and coordinating a discussion of a television presentation pertinent to the Civil Rights Struggle. Neil’s Nov. 13 talk was on The Loving Story, a documentary that chronicles the lives of Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred (Jeter) Loving, an African and Native American woman, and their effort to legally live their interracial marriage in 1950s Virginia, where they were arrested for violating the state’s 1924 Racial Integrity Act that forbade contracting and living an interracial marriage. The Lovings took their case to the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued their case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1967, the 1924 law and similar laws in 15 other states were declared unconstitutional. Aside from the legality and civil rights dimension of the case, Neil recounted his “personal experience a year after the Supreme Court decision in trying to obtain a marriage license from the county clerk in Athens, Ga., where I was a graduate student and assistant chaplain at the University of Georgia,” Neil said. “However, since the bride was from India and the groom was from Germany, the clerk determined the couple was attempting an ‘interracial’ marriage and refused to issue a license.” Neil also shared recollections he heard from Holy Name Province friars ministering in Southeastern United States and their encounter with laws forbidding interracial marriage.

Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., fasted on the National Mall in Washington last week in order to draw the attention of members of Congress to encourage them to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. The event, “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” was organized by faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders. A photo of Jacek at the event was included on Fast for Families’ Facebook page.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Raleigh, N.C., where Mark Reamer, OFM, is pastor, plans to purchase property adjacent to the church being sold by Bethany Hills Baptist Parish. The property consists of 10.64 acres and a 17,000 sq. ft. building. Bishop Michael Burbidge of Raleigh has approved the acquisition, with a tentative closing date set for December. More information will be provided in an upcoming issue of HNP Today.

Michael Reyes, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., preached a day of recollection for the regional gathering of the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. It was attended by Catholic chaplains throughout the metropolitan area of Washington, Maryland and Virginia. The title of his talk was “In Communion with Divine Beauty: A Presentation on the Spirituality of Sacred Icons and Images.” The event was held Nov. 13 at Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Spring.

Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, encourages friars to publicize the Come and See vocation weekend being held Dec. 6 to Dec. 8 and reports that he has added a similar weekend to the Vocation Office calendar. It will be held in March at St. Anthony Shrine, Boston.

An article by Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, of New York City, was published in the November/December 2013 issue of The Pastoral Review. It is titled “Why Does the Father Send the Word in Our Flesh?” and appears on pages 58 to 62.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Nov. 27, 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:
•   HNP annual guardians’ meeting
•   Blessing of new food pantry in Buffalo
•   Siena College’s gathering in New York City on Dec. 12

 Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas