Province Announces New Leaders

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK — Holy Name Province has its leadership team in place for the next three years. After the cancellation of the 2020 Provincial Chapter — at which elections were to take place — the Order’s General Council elected new members to the Provincial Administration. The General Council’s election was based on suggestions submitted by Holy Name Province.

Kevin Mullen, OFM, has been elected to another three-year term as Provincial Minister, and Larry Hayes, OFM,  has been elected to serve the next  three years as Provincial Vicar.  As it is with Kevin, it is Larry’s second term in his position. Both began their first terms at the Provincial Chapter of 2014.

The 2020 Chapter, which had originally been scheduled to begin at the end of May, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When it became clear that holding an in-person Chapter would not be possible, the Provincial Administration requested that the General Council elect new leadership for Holy Name Province. The new Provincial Administration members will serve until 2023. Most have previous been in their roles – and worked together.

Meet the Administration

Kevin Mullen, OFM, was elected the 16th Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province in 2014. Previously, he had served for seven years as president of Siena College outside Albany, New York, and before that as director of the college’s Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy. His prior assignments include a variety of leadership and teaching positions, including the guardian of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston and the pastor of St. Leo’s Parish in Elmwood Park, New Jersey. In addition, he has chaired the board of directors of St. Francis House, a multi-faceted outreach ministry to Boston’s homeless and marginalized. Kevin’s teaching career included faculty positions at Christ the King Seminary in East Aurora, New York; Pope John XXIII National Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts; Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York; and the Washington Theological Union formerly in Washington, D.C. He professed his first vows as a Franciscan in 1976 and his final vows in 1979. Kevin was ordained to the priesthood in 1980.
Larry Hayes, OFM, a native of Mineola, New York, has been serving in pastoral m ministry at St. Camillus Parish-Friary in Silver Spring, Maryland, since January. His previous assignments have included  guardian of St. Mary’s Friary in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, and as parochial vicar at Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New York City. Before his election as provincial vicar in 2014, he served as the pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, North Carolina. He also served as the pastor and guardian at St. Camillus Parish from 2002 to 2008, and as parochial vicar from 2008 to 2011. He was part of the pastoral team at St. Paul Parish in Wilmington, Delaware, and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Camden, New Jersey. Larry professed his first vows as a Franciscan in 1984 and his final vows in 1988. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 and elected to the Provincial Council in 2011. Since 2014, Larry has served as the Province’s secretary for formation and studies.
Named to the office of Provincial Councilor are the following friars:
David Convertino, OFM, has served as the Province’s executive director of development since 2011. He has been on the Provincial Council since 2014. David grew up near Binghamton, New York, and professed his first vows as a Franciscan 1973, and his final vows in 1976.  Ordained in 1977, David’s past assignments include St. Anthony Shrine, where he served as the guardian and executive director, and Providence, Rhode Island, where he served as guardian of St. Francis Friary.
Fred Dilger, OFM, who grew up in New Jersey and North Carolina, is stationed at St. Francis Inn, the Province’s soup kitchen in Philadelphia. He professed his first vows in 2005 and his final vows in 2009. Fred, who was first elected to the Council in 2014, serves as chair of the HNP Properties Committee.
Larry Ford, a native of Olean, New York, has been stationed since 2011 at Holy Name of Jesus -St. Gregory the Great Parish, serving as the pastor for the last six years. Earlier this year, he was named director of the Revitalization and Restructuring office of the six OFM provinces working to unify into one organization. Larry professed his first vows in 1991 and his solemn vows in 1995, and has served past assignments at Siena College and St. Anthony Shrine in Boston.
Thomas Gallagher, OFM, a native of New Jersey, professed his first vows in 1978 and his solemn vows in 1981.  He was ordained in 1982. Since 2008, Thomas has served as the pastor of St. Patrick-St. Anthony Parish in Hartford, Conn. His previous assignments include Holy Angels Parish in Little Falls, New Jersey, where he was the pastor, and Wilmington, Delaware, where he served as the guardian and director of novices.
Walter Liss, OFM, a native of Connecticut, has lived in Silver Spring since 2016 and served on the Province’s postulancy team, first as associate director and later as director. Walter professed his first vows as a Franciscan in 2003 and his final vows in 2007. His past assignments include serving as a computer science instructor at Siena College outside Albany, New York. Since 2016, Walter has served as the guardian of Holy Name College in Silver Spring. He was first elected to the Council in 2017.
Erick López, OFM, a native of Cuba, professed his first vows in 2006 and his final vows in 2010. He has been stationed in Santa Barbara, California, since January, serving on the leadership team of the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate. Previously, he had been stationed at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring since 2011, after being ordained a priest that spring. He also served as associate director of post-novitiate formation when the program was based in Silver Spring from 2014 to 2015.

Kevin, Larry, and the Councilors will guide the fraternal and ministerial lives of the more than 250 members of Holy Name Province.

On July 30, Kevin Mullen received word from Caoimhín Ó Laoide, OFM, the English-speaking Conference General Councilor, on behalf of Minister General Michael Perry, OFM, that during its session on July 30, the General Council had elected the friars to office in Holy Name Province. They had reviewed the names of friars that had been submitted that month by the Province – names that surfaced through straw ballots produced by the Province’s voting system that took place over several months.

“In the name of all the brothers of the new Provincial Administration, please know that we are humbled by the trust you have placed in us to lead the Province over the next three years,” said Kevin in a letter to HNP friars. “We will work together to the best of our ability to advance the theme that was selected for Chapter 2020, ‘Prophets of Hope: Listening, Discerning and Going Forth,’ and to continue the revitalization of our fraternal life as we move closer to launching a new coast-to-coast province.”

Michael Harlan was appointed to serve another three years as Provincial Secretary. (Photo from provincial archives)

Determining Friar Assignments
The new Provincial Administration met for the first time on Aug. 6. At that Zoom conference, the new Provincial Councilor Larry Ford was sworn in and Michael Harlan, OFM, was nominated and reappointed to his role as Secretary of the Province – a position to which he was first appointed in 2005. He has served in two administrations — nine years with John O’Connor, OFM, followed by six years with Kevin.

The 2020-23 HNP Administration’s first goal is the appointment of friars to leadership positions of Provincial offices – such as treasurer, development, vocation, missionary evangelization, formation and studies, and ongoing formation – as well as determining assignments for friars around the Province.

Between Aug. 12 and 19, the Councilors – along with the Provincial Minister and Vicar – are meeting to discuss and assign friars to new roles and ministry sites around the Province. The friars being asked to assume leadership positions, and/or those transferring to new locations, will be notified during the week about their new assignments.

The decisions will be made using information from the General Visitor, Stephen O’Kane, OFM, from the Province of Ireland, who — during a nearly year-long process — met with each Province member to discuss where he  would like to be assigned.

In an email to HNP friars on Aug. 5, Kevin asked the friars to make this year’s feast of St. Clare – Aug.11 – a special day of prayer within Holy Name Province, as it precedes the six days of meetings. “In addition to our regular commemoration of Clare and her contribution to the Franciscan movement, I am asking each one of you to make Clare’s feast day a special day of prayer within Holy Name Province,” he said to friars in a letter.

“Specifically, I ask each fraternity to gather to celebrate the Eucharist as brothers and, later in the day, to gather again for evening prayer,” Kevin wrote. “During that evening prayer, we will begin eight days of offering special prayers for the work of the Provincial Council that, gathered for the assignment meetings, will form new Contemplative Fraternities-In-Mission and assign brothers to those CFIMs for the next three years. I ask each local guardian to develop a schedule that will work best for the local fraternity on Clare’s feast.”

The Administration expects that friars will complete their transitions by the end of September.

The Councilors plan to announce the list of new friar assignments on Aug. 20. Though this is nearly two months after the original timeline – when assignments were to be decided and announced soon after the May 31 to June 5 Chapter – the schedule provides friars with more than a month to prepare and execute their moves. The Council anticipates having all CFIMs in place by Oct. 1.

Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.