Ongoing Formation Committee Welcomes Friars to Feb. 13 Phone Workshop

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK – A phone discussion has been set up for next Thursday, Feb. 13, as part of a series of conference calls organized by the HNP Ongoing Formation Committee to enable friars to share information and ideas.

The program, “Looking Toward Holy Week and Easter: Connecting the Paschal Mystery,” will be led by Richard Husted, OFM, of St. Mary’s Parish, Pompton Lakes, N.J., and Meredith Augustin, music director at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, New York City.

“We would like to offer a time for friars to share creative ways for celebrating seasonal rituals, to let each other know about practices that can enhance the standard services,” Richard said. He and Augustin worked together for many years at St. Joseph’s Parish in East Rutherford, N.J.  “I always find it helpful to get other perspectives on traditional practices and to build on ideas that have worked.”

The ongoing formation call ideally will generate a discussion, where friars can share liturgical ideas, Richard said.

This formation program is part of a series of occasional conference calls, initiated last year, that allow friars to discuss for one hour topics of special interest with a resource person,” said Christopher Keenan, OFM, chair of the committee.  “This program is being set up as a response to friars who have requested consultation about specific area of expertise.”

Next week’s phone workshop is scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m.

Instructions for registering and joining the call were emailed to friars on Jan. 27. Potential participants who have questions are encouraged to contact Chris at 917-881-1090 or the HNP Communications Office at

Future Phone Discussions
Chris said that a wide range of topics are being considered for future phone discussions, which he said will continue until the Provincial Chapter in June. They are:  

  • Franciscan Life and Ministry (Mike Blastic, OFM and Dominic Monti, OFM)
  • Homilies for Seasons of the Year (James Scullion, OFM)
  • Human Resource and Personnel Issues (Thomas Conway, OFM, and Dennis Wilson, OFM)
  • Important Legal and Canonical Developments (John J. Coughlin, OFM)
  • Jewish-Christian Relations (David Bossman, OFM)
  • Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, and Jud Weiksnar, OFM)
  • Leadership Development (F. Edward Coughlin, OFM)
  • Liturgy and Sacraments (James Sabak, OFM)
  • Making Sense of Finances (Thomas Conway, OFM, and Dennis Wilson, OFM)
  • “The Joy of the Gospel” by Pope Francis (Kenneth Himes, OFM)
  • Use of Social Media in Ministry (Daniel Horan, OFM)
  • Vatican II & the Ministry of Pope Francis (Vincent Cushing, OFM)

Friars are welcome to express interest in these topics and others, and offer to be a resource person by emailing Chris. Future conference calls will depend on specific topics requested by friars, he said.

In 2013, phone discussions were led by Michael Calabria, OFM, who spoke about contemporary issues in Muslin-Christian relations, and Joseph Nangle, OFM, who addressed “Where We are as a Province Find Ourselves in Today’s Church.”

Other Educational Opportunities
A variety of other formation opportunities for friars are being offered during the coming months, including:

  • Mid-Atlantic Congress, “Forming Catholic Leaders for Faith-filled Service,” from Feb. 27 to March 1 in Baltimore 
  • Franciscan Forum X, “Responding to Love: Exploring the Franciscan Moral Vision,” March 27 to 30 at Franciscan Retreat Center, Colorado Springs, Colo. F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, director of educational programs at the Franciscan Institute which organized the event, welcomes both friars and laypeople to attend this program.

 Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.