NEW YORK — The Provincial Council, at its June meeting, decided that the postulant level formation program will move to Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., in August. The Council has been considering this option for the past several months and the formation directors discussed the advantages and disadvantages of such a move. The postulant program, once known as the “affiliate program,” has been located at St. Paul’s Friary in Wilmington, Del., for the past three years.
Several reasons motivated this decision, the most important being the desire to create a more vibrant fraternal community for the men in initial formation on both the postulant and post-novitiate levels. The move will also represent significant financial savings.
With the move of the postulants, Holy Name College will be a larger community again, providing greater peer support for men at all levels of formation, as well as assuring a variety of talents for a richer fraternal life.Thomas Conway, OFM, guardian of Holy Name College, is currently planning on eight friars in temporary vows being at Holy Name College in the fall. Vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, is anticipating possibly seven new postulants. In addition, Wilmer Garcia will return for his second year in the program. Ronald Pecci, OFM, will continue as director of the postulant program in Silver Spring, and is currently working with Tom to assure a smooth transition, and to coordinate schedules and policies for the house.
Initial formation in Holy Name Province has experienced a good deal of transition over the past several years at all levels, probably the most since the late 1960s and early ’70s. This new wave of changes is the result of a smaller number of candidates as well as financial realities.
The first major transition was the decision in 2008 to close Holy Cross Friary in the Bronx, where the postulant program had been located for 35 years. Then, in 2010, the Province decided to join other U.S. provinces in a common novitiate program. Finally, the closing of the Washington Theological Union last year marked the end of a 40-year era in the academic and professional education of the friars.
Even with this latest move, transitions are probably not over with regard to initial formation. Discussions continue among formators of the U.S. provinces on both the postulant and post-novitiate level, which may lead to even closer collaboration among the U.S. provinces in the future.
— Fr. Dominic is Provincial Vicar for Holy Name Province as well as the HNP Secretary for Formation and Studies.