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 at

A photo of John Alderson, OFM, and Fr. Melvin Jurisich, OFM, the Province’s General Visitor, was posted last week on the Facebook page of Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School in Buffalo, N.Y., where John is chaplain.

Thomas Cole, OFM, participated in the annual meeting of the English-speaking Conference/Interprovincial Secretariat for Missionary Evangelization held at Mercy Center, St. Louis, from Sept. 15 to 18. Representatives from six entities, including Kim Smolik of the Franciscan Mission Service, also attended. “Our input session was given by Fr. Thomas Nairn, OFM, member of Sacred Heart Province and senior ethicist for the Catholic Health Association. The group discussed the evaluation and restructuring of the annual presentation at the novitiate, the upcoming meeting of the International Commission for the Missions and Evangelization to be held in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, and the election of officers.” At this meeting, Thomas was elected chair of the secretariat.

David Convertino, OFM, the Province’s executive director of development, is working with his staff to schedule Franciscan Challenge fundraising events this fall at ministries around the Province.

William DeBiase, OFM, recently shared with the West Point Center for Oral History his memories of the Korean War. William served in the infantry, where he saw action at the battles of Old Baldy and Pork Chop Hill. He later became a Franciscan friar and spent 28 years as a missionary in Japan, as well as ministering to lepers with Mother Theresa in India. Today, he serves at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia. William’s interview is available on West Point Center’s website.

Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, is making final arrangements for the Province’s 2013 guardians’ meeting that will take place Nov. 18 to 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla., near St. Anthony Friary. In addition to the traditional reports from the Provincial offices — communication, development, justice and peace, vocation — the meeting will include a media training workshop. Michael said the Province’s Chapter Planning Committee will meet before the guardians’ meeting begins.

Daniel Horan, OFM, was in Cincinnati last week at the headquarters of Franciscan Media to record the audio version of his forthcoming book — his fifth — titled “The Last Words of Jesus: A Meditation on Love and Suffering,” due out in December. Last week, Dan’s fourth book, “Spirit and Life: A Franciscan Guide for Spiritual Reflection,” was released. It is co-authored with Julianne Wallace, a campus minister at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y., from which Daniel graduated. “It is the first book of its kind and has been incredibly well received,” said Dan. “It has garnered diverse and enthusiastic endorsements from university administrators, campus ministers, and non-profit leaders including those from the University of San Diego, Loyola University Chicago, Cardinal Stritch University, Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, and Witness for Peace, among others.”

Members of the HNP African Ancestry Committee, of which David Hyman, OFM, is chair, met Sept. 19 in Maryland. The committee discussed and defined racism, and identified potential committee- and Holy Spirit-led actions to eliminate racism. The group also talked about the 2013 Go Down Moses Retreat that will be held in New Orleans. More information about the retreat will be provided in upcoming weeks.

Louis Iasiello, OFM, of Dayton, Ohio, expressed his concern and surprise about last week’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, where he lived from 2000 to 2006. “The Washington Navy Yard is a very special place,” he said in a statement released to the media. “There are a lot of fine people who work there, both military and civilians. I felt it was one of the most secure places in Washington, which is why I was so surprised to hear about the shooting.” Louis served in the Navy for 25 years, retiring at the rank of rear admiral in 2006. He was appointed the 23rd chief of Navy chaplains in 2003 and led almost 2,500 active and reserve chaplains and religions program specialists serving the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Russel Murray, OFM, director of Siena College’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy, was one of several friars who participated in the college’s recent blessing of residence hall rooms. “In Plassmann, the friar sprayed the doorway with a Super Soaker!” said one student. Photos were posted last week on Siena’s website.

Joseph Nangle, OFM, wishes to share an account of how the Province recently came to the aid of a former friar. “Two weeks ago, the stepdaughter of former friar Jerome (Duane) McDonald called to tell me that he needed short-term but round-the-clock care while she underwent surgery,” Joe said. “Jerome has several life-threatening medical problems and his stepdaughter, Shaheen, serves as his principal caretaker. The need was urgent since her surgery had to be done within the week due to insurance restrictions.” Two members of St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J. — Robert Frazzetta, OFM, and guardian Richard McFeely, OFM — agreed to receive Jerome there while his stepdaughter recovered from her surgery. Joe also contacted Vianney Justin, OFM, of Buffalo, N.Y., asking if he could travel to Butler and use his nursing skills on behalf of Jerome. Vianney served in the Bolivian mission with Jerome and has remained good friends with him. “Vianney’s answer was an immediate ‘yes’,” according to Joe, who said Vianney rearranged his schedule in Buffalo and moved to Butler within the week. Jerome’s arrangement was approved by the Provincial Council within 24 hours of his stepdaughter’s call. “When I thanked Bob, Richard, Vianney and the Butler community, they played down the extraordinary compassion all had showed, commenting that ‘we take care of our brothers,’ in this case, a brother who years ago took up another pathway in life,” Joe said. “This is a wonderful example of what is to my mind the overarching virtue of our Province. Time and time again we all have known of truly incredible gestures of kindness, support, love — and yes, reconciliation — on the part of individual friars and of our successive leaders.”

Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, commented last week about the interview of Pope Francis that appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of America magazine. “Pope Francis reminds us again that it is the Gospel message of Jesus Christ that is most important for Catholics, not the lace surplices and man-made rules in which our Church has become caught up these past years,” John said in a statement released to the media. “Some members of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States have told the press that nothing has changed in the Church and that what Pope Francis is saying is only a nuance on what his predecessors have said. It seems to me that what we are witnessing is more a sea of change than a nuance.” This week, John is traveling to Loudonville, N.Y., for a meeting of the Siena College Board of Trustees. Next week, he will be in Puerto Rico for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary as bishop of Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez, OFM, of San Juan.

Ronald Pecci, OFM, took the Province’s postulants to Langhorne, Pa., where they attended the solemn profession of one of the Poor Clares at the monastery there. Earlier this month, James Vacco, OFM, gave the postulants a four-day workshop on Catholic teachings. As part of the lesson, he and the group traveled to the Washington National Cathedral to show the postulants how the “Catholic imagination” has shaped architecture, space and art in the form of a non-Roman but still Catholic religious building. Photos of the postulants’ activities appear on the Facebook page called Postulancy of the Franciscans of Holy Name Province.

Daniel Riley, OFM, will be leading “Mountain on the Road” programs at several places in the Northeast over the coming weeks. They include St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., on Sept. 30, Fayetteville, N.Y., on Oct. 10, in two Massachusetts towns on Oct. 11 and 12, and Siena College on Oct. 13. Information is available in Mt. Irenaeus’s September 2013 e-newsletter.

Kevin Tortorelli, OFM, is teaching a course titled Thinking Right from Wrong: Aspects of Thinking Ethically” that will be offered Oct. 29 to Nov. 26 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, as part of the West 31 Street ministry’s adult education program.

News for the next issue of HNP Today is requested by Oct. 2, 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 issues of this newsletter include:
•   Provincial Minister’s meeting in Peru  
•   Recent gathering of OFM secretaries of formation

 Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas