WILMINGTON, Del. – John O’Connor received the vows of the newest friars of Holy Name Province June 3. In a wonderful, joyful ceremony at St. Paul Church, Cidouane Joseph, Erick López and Paul O’Keeffe professed their first vows as Franciscan friars. The 40 friars in attendance then congratulated the new friars and welcomed them into their time of simple profession.
Cidouane grew up in the north of Haiti. In 2002, Cid immigrated to the United States and settled with his aunt and uncle in Manhattan. During this time, he met the friars at Holy Name of Jesus Parish on West 96th Street. Richard Trezza helped introduce Cid to the Haitian community at Holy Name.
Erick was born in Cuba. In 1991, he earned his bachelor’s degree and continued his studies in radiochemistry. In 1994, he joined his family in Colombia and continued his studies there. He received his degree in 1998 and began to teach crystallography. In Cali, Erick would often worship in the large Church of St. Francis of Assisi in the city center. Through these Colombian Franciscans, Erick was attracted to the life of the Friars Minor. He emigrated with his family to the U.S. in February 1999. Having settled in the Hialeah area of Miami, Erick met John Anglin during a Holy Week parish mission in 2002.
Paul O’Keeffe comes from Burlington, Mass. On retreat in Haiti in 1991, he decided to deepen his faith. From 1997 to 2003, Paul worked as a lay missionary in Africa for the Society of Africa Missions and the Franciscan Mission Service. When he began to consider the idea of joining a religious community, two friends, George Corrigan andSteve Patti, talked to him about the friars of Holy Name Province.
In his homily, John invited the newly professed friars to celebrate their obedience as artists, their celibacy as magicians and their poverty as clowns, and to learn the values of stealing a tiger’s whisker.
The first readings and Gospel were proclaimed in English. The second reading was read in Spanish. The hymns, sung by the choir, Robert Frazzetta and Richard Trezza, varied between English and Spanish. The Haitian choir from Cid’s parish sang a beautiful hymn in French for the Communion reflection.
After the Mass, the attendees congratulated the newly professed friars at a reception in the St. Paul parish hall.