Postulants Experience a Rich Lent

Ronald Pecci, OFM In the Headlines

WILMINGTON, Del. — Postulants Edgardo Jara Araya, Sergio Ferrisi, Ramon Razon, Dennis Bennett and Casey Cole were no less prayerful or active than any in the Province this Lent.

During Holy Week, the five men were split among three Province ministries, helping out and experiencing the Triduum. Edgardo remained at St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington, while Casey and Sergio traveled to Western New York to assist at Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat. Ramon Razon and Dennis Bennett paid a visit to New York City, spending the holy days at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street.

The rest of the season leading up to Easter was spent traveling, learning and praying as a group in Garrison, N.Y., Aston, Pa., and Washington, D.C.

After three days of the St. Paul Friary community’s regular late winter days of prayer, held at the Province’s house in Margate, N.J., the men prepared for a parish mission they gave with me at two Delaware churches — St. John’s in Milford and St. Bernadette’s in Harrington.

The postulants spoke to the middle and high school youth of both parishes and divided up the speaking assignments at the weekend Masses of both parishes. On each of the four nights of the mission, they shared the podium with me. In addition, Edgardo and Dennis led a night for the Spanish-speaking parishioners of the two parishes. The response was very positive, including a request from the pastor that they return next year.

A week later, the postulants traveled to Graymoor in Garrison, roughly 50 miles north of New York City, to participate in the annual Inter-Franciscan Formation Program Workshop given by Fr. André Cirino, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province. Fr. André’s workshop, on Franciscan contemplation, proved to be a great segue into the next week, spent in hermitages at the Franciscan Spirituality Center in Aston. This experience was meant to model St. Francis’ Rule for Hermits.

Meetings and Parish Visits

After a few days of their standard ministries, Casey, Dennis, Edgardo, Ramon and Sergio then embarked on a trip to the Washington area, staying at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md. Over the course of four days they met with Russell Testa, director of HNP’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, receiving an orientation and overview of the Province’s JPIC work. They visited the Franciscan Monastery, where they were instructed on the ministry of the friars in the Holy Land and the work of the Commissariat. A brief visit was then made to the former Holy Name College site and the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In the afternoon, they went to St. Francis Parish in Triangle, Va., to attend a 5:30 p.m. Vigil Mass, later joining the friars there for dinner.

The 10:30 a.m. multicultural Mass at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring was the featured item the next day, followed by a brief lunch and explanation of ministries at St. Camillus, given by pastor Michael Johnson, OFM. The postulants were then off to participate in an afternoon of workshops at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days.

The weekend was continually enhanced by the presence, sharing and encouragement of the Holy Name College friars, as the postulants joined them for prayers and meals each day.

— Fr. Ron, guardian of St. Paul’s Friary in Wilmington, Del., is the Province’s postulant director.