Postulants Spend Summer in Western New York

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Holy Name’s four postulants are spending their first months in the Province at St. Bonaventure University participating in the summer program of the Franciscan Institute and experiencing varied aspects of Franciscan life.

John Aherne, Pedro Corces, Frank Souza and Jeffrey Upshaw began their studies in late June, according to postulant director Ronald Pecci, OFM. The program, which focuses on the life of St. Francis and early Franciscan history, has included workshops given by friars specifically for the postulants.

From June 28 to July 9, three of the postulants — John, Frank, Jeff — audited Mary Meany’s two-week introductory graduate course in the School of Franciscan Studies, the Franciscan Institute, “Francis: Life and Charism.”

Since then, they have been taking informal ‘in-house’ courses that meet in the Bonaventure friary. These courses are solely for the postulants, said Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, HNP secretary for formation and studies.

Thus far, the men have learned about basic Catholic beliefs from Gabriel Scarfia, OFM, of Buffalo, N.Y., who led a one-week workshop on using the documents of the Second Vatican Council, and about liturgy from Daniel Grigassy, OFM, of Paterson, N.J.

During their final week at SBU, July 23 to 30, Gary Maciag, OFM, of Boston, will give a workshop on oral interpretation and proclamation of the Scriptures, Ron said.

Because Pedro Corces already has a background in much of this material, he is auditing the graduate course that Dominic is teaching in the Franciscan Institute: “Franciscan Movement I,” which explores the history of the Franciscan movement from Francis up to the 16th century, said Dominic. This five-week course runs from June 28 to July 30.

The postulants arrived on the SBU campus on June 26. As the Province’s men in formation have done for several years when the they came here as part of the novitiate program, Dominic said, the postulants are sharing a on-campus housing with a number of Franciscan sisters in formation, a practice begun by Thomas Gallagher, OFM. They have some of their prayers and meals together in the townhouse, sharing the cooking and chores; the other prayers and meals they have with the other Franciscan Institute students in the University Chapel and Hickey Dining Hall.

In between their studies, John, Pedro, Frank and Jeffrey have also had opportunities to visit and participate in events at nearby HNP ministries. Ron said the postulants traveled to Buffalo, N.Y., to visit St. Patrick’s Friary. They also participated in a 5K walk/run sponsored by St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany in conjunction with parish’s recent Bonafest.

“This is proving to be a very good experience for the postulants,” said Dominic. “They are meeting a lot of people, and from ‘day 1’ coming to see they are part of a large, international, multicultural Franciscan movement of friars, sisters and lay people. The weather has been cooperating nicely, too.”

The backgrounds of the postulants add to the diversity of the community. Each man hails from a different state: John is a native of New York City, Pedro is from Miami, Fla., Frank from Philadelphia and Jeffrey is from Central New Jersey.

Prior to returning to Wilmington, Del., next month for a formal ceremony at St. Paul Friary welcoming them into the Province, the four will spend the week of Aug. 2 on retreat at Mt. Irenaeus in nearby West Clarksville, N.Y.

The photo above shows postulants Jeff, Frank and John with Daniel. The rear photo shows Michael Reyes, OFM, summer intern at St. Bonaventure Parish, with John, Ron, Jeff, Pedro and Frank during the July 10 walk/run of “Little Bona’s.”

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.