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Postulants Full of Activity in Boston

BOSTON — Holy Name Province’s postulants are enjoying their first year of formation at Saint Anthony Shrine on Arch Street, according to Postulant DirectorJohn Maganzini, OFM, who said he feels honored and privileged to lead these exemplary men.

“These three men are very fine people and are doing great at this part of  their journeys,” said John.

The postulants, Scott Carey, Michael Reyes, and Gerald Hopeck have been studying, reflecting, attending formation events, ministering both at the shrine and in the greater community, and getting accustomed to friar life.

“They bring with them many gifts and extensive life experience,” John said.  Those experiences include Scott’s graduate degree from Harvard, Gerald’s masters degree work in theology and  his pastoral experience, and Michael’s degree in computer technology and management.

John assumed leadership of the program when it was moved from Holy Cross Friary in the Bronx after the Province turned leadership of that parish to the Archdiocese of New York last summer.

He said that being at the shrine allows the three men to get a good idea of what ministry is like at a large urban center.

“The decision of our provincial leadership in allowing the postulants to be here has been a wise one,” John said. “This location allows them to get a taste of our friar life, as well as offer extensive opportunity for ministry both inside and outside of the shrine.  This gives them a wonderful foundation and a chance to get acquainted with their own giftedness.”

One creative development within the postulancy is the opportunity to interact with those who are in initial formation in other religious communities.  For the past month and a half, HNP’s postulants have been joined by the Franciscan Missionary of Mary pre-Novices for seminars.

Most recently John Hogan, OFM, presented a lecture  titled “Creation — A Franciscan Perspective.”  Following the course, Sr. Maria Batho, CSJ, the delegate for religious within the Archdiocese of Boston, officially welcomed the postulants and FMM pre-novices to the Archdiocese.  They had an opportunity to share with her their spiritual journeys and personal experiences thus far in formation.

Inspiring Vocations
Another addition to the postulancy program is the ability to give witness to vocation discernment. John said, “The postulants are highly visible within the shrine which could inspire other vocations.”

Gene Pistacchio, OFM, regional vocation director, coordinated a Holy Hour of Prayer for vocations. During the Holy Hour, each postulant shared a personal reflection about his journey to friar life. Using the Gospel of Matthew, Scott made a connection between the call to religious life and the “harvest and laborer.”  A year ago, Scott had attended a similar Holy Hour led by Gene that inspired him to apply to the Franciscan Order. 

Michael reflected on Psalm 63 using the theme of “the desert and thirsting.”  He compared his former corporate experience  and Manhattan corner office to his “own desert” and that God was calling him to a richer life that would quench a deeper “thirst.”

Gerald, in his sharing, used the Parable of the Sower. He spoke of his grandmother and the wonderful people who “sowed the seeds” of his call to religious life.

Another beneficial dimension of the Boston postulancy program is the ministerial opportunities within the greater community, John said.  Scott, for example, is serving at Friends of the Unborn, which is a faith-based emergency shelter for pregnant  homeless women. Gerald teaches religion at Cathedral Grammar School and Michael is an instructor at Project Hope which serves disadvantaged minorities.

Ministerial and Academic Experiences
The postulants serve within the shrine as well, John added. Scott teaches at the Franciscan Adult School. Michael is involved with the Senior Citizen ministry while Gerald works in outreach programs. All three of them, volunteer hours at the new Franciscan Food Center and also serve as lectors.

In addition to developing ministerial skills, the postulants are also focusing on two key academic areas: Philosophy and Pastoral Spanish. John is teaching the Spanish course while they are taking their Philosophy class on-line through the Franciscan Institute at Saint Bonaventure University.

“The first three months have been positive.  The postulants are living and working with friars of various ages and ministry experiences, and they seem to be enjoying this opportunity,” said  John.

Because of the fullness of the postulancy program, John takes extra effort to provide the postulants with the greatest opportunity available within the limited year they are here.  One example of this is a recent trip to New York where John attended a conference for new formators while the postulants visited both the Butler and Ringwood friar communities.

In coordination with Brian Smail, OFM, the Province’s Vocation Director, the shrine is hosting two events for men considering joining Franciscan life.  The postulants will play a significant role in hosting and hospitality.  They are scheduled for December and January.

Information about the Province’s formation program can be found on the vocation page of hnp.org.

— Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today.