Kevin Mullen, OFM, Provincial Minister (far right) asked the jubilarians to renew their commitment to the Rule of Life in the Order of Friars Minor at the Jubilee Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church on 31st Street in celebration of their 50th and 25th anniversaries of first profession.

Province Celebrates Jubilee Anniversaries of 14 Friars

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Jubilarians (l.-r.) Richard McFeely, OFM, C. Raymond Selker, OFM, and Daniel Grigassy, OFM.

Dozens of friars, family members, friends and parishioners turned out for the Jubilee Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City last month when Holy Name Province honored 14 friars for their 50th and 25th anniversaries of first profession. The May 16 Mass was steeped in Franciscan tradition and ceremony, which included the jubilarians renewing their commitment to the Rule of Life in the Order of Friars Minor as they stood across the beautiful altar of the historic West 31st Street church.

Jubilarians David Convertino, OFM, and Octavio Duran, OFM.

A number of friars were unable to attend because of age, illness, or ministerial commitments. But they joined the celebration in spirit – among them Ronald Gliatta, OFM, who was in Rome, Italy, at the time and celebrated a Mass that he offered for his fellow jubilarian brothers in the Basilica of St. Peter.

David Convertino, OFM, presenting the Prayer of the Faithful Petitions at the Jubilee Mass.

Throughout the 70-minute Mass, the church echoed with joyful music and song led by the musicians and voices of the St. Francis Parish music ministry. Kevin Mullen, OFM, Provincial Minister, was the celebrant and homilist of the Mass, which was also live-streamed on the parish Facebook page. The Mass was followed by a reception in San Damiano Hall next door to the church.

In addition to Ronald, friars celebrating 50 years since their profession of first vows are David Convertino, OFM, Richard Flaherty, OFM, Roberto Gonzalez, OFM, Daniel Grigassy, OFM, Thomas Kornacki, OFM, Richard McFeely, OFM, Daniel Murray, OFM, Daniel Nelson, OFM, John Rudy, OFM, and David Schlatter, OFM.

The friars celebrating 25 years since their first profession are Michael Calabria, OFM, Octavio Duran, OFM, and C. Raymond Selker, OFM. 

In his homily, Kevin recalled the Ordination Mass that had taken place just weeks before at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, where emotions were mixed – joy for the three HNP friars ordained to the priesthood, but also sadness because they were the last friars who will be ordained under HNP, as the US-6 provinces will become a singular province later this year.

“It struck me back in Silver Spring that when we would gather for the jubilees of our brothers professed 50 and 25 years, that this too would be a last moment in the Province. Is it a time for sadness, or could I learn from [these decades] of experience of the brothers gathered here?” said Kevin, who chose the latter.

“They have done what they were called to do. Like Samuel in the first scripture reading, these brothers heard the voice of God call to them. At some point in their lives, different for each of them, they were able to say, ‘Here I am Lord. I come to do your will.’ It wasn’t just a generic call to follow the Lord. They were directed to Franciscan life – called to a specific way of Gospel living,” Kevin continued.

“Francis went forth not to condemn, but to heal and embrace. And you my brothers,” Kevin said turning to the jubilarians seated on the altar, “are called in that way of life – to be healers and reconcilers. Francis knew the importance of trying to be a humble servant. This may be our last jubilee, but this is not the end of our religious experience and service. This is not the end of extending ourselves to folks in need.”

The Provincial Minister added, “We will soon have the privilege to join with other brothers and sisters across the country. We need your example and wisdom. While this may be the last jubilee, it is the beginning of new great things in your life. Thank you for your service and willingness to be there for others. As we go forward, be instruments and beacons of hope, healing and reconciliation.”

After the homily, Kevin asked the jubilarians to rise and renew their commitment to the Rule of Life, which was followed by applause from the friars, family, friends and congregants who filled the pews.

Jubilarians in attendance participated in the Eucharistic celebration, including Richard McFeely and Raymond, who presented the first and second readings, respectively, and David Convertino, who offered the Prayer of the Faithful petitions. Raymond’s 8-year-old great-nephew was an altar server and among his family members who made the trip from Colorado to New York. The Servant Song was sung during the presentation of the gifts in memory of deceased friars.

As is his custom at the end of jubilee Masses, Kevin thanked the families of the jubilarians, the various parish ministries that played a role in the joyful celebration, and Michael Harlan, OFM, who organized the program and reception. Thomas Gallagher, OFM, pastor of St. Francis Church, was the master of ceremonies.

Some of the jubilarians shared their thoughts and reflections about their friar life and the Mass of celebration.

David Convertino, OFM

“This 50th jubilee milestone means a lot to me. It’s a point where you have two choices. One is to say, ‘I did my job and now I’m going to relax and let it go,’ and the other, ‘It’s a great opportunity to make the next 50 years really good.’ I’m going to do the latter,” said David, director of the National Development Office who lives at the 31st Street friary. “My best advice to someone thinking about becoming a friar – Go for it! Pray over it, think about it, talk with your friends, family, and friars. It’s one of the most fulfilling ways to live your life. There’s service to people and phenomenal brothers who become part of your community and family. It’s a wonderful life! In my 50 years as a friar, I don’t regret one single day.”


Octavio Duran, OFM

“A quote from Aristotle encapsulates my 25 years of ministry: ‘Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.’ When I entered the province as a postulant, I had my doubts, wondering if I made the right decision. But 25 years later, that quote makes perfect sense,” said Octavio, the longtime editor of the Anthonian Franciscan magazine who lives at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey. “The world’s needs and my talents crossed. That’s why I am a friar, and that’s the most rewarding thing about being a Franciscan. To discerners, I would say, Be all you can be, but first, be not afraid to see if this life is for you. The world needs your talents as a Franciscan friar,” added Octavio, Holy Name Province’s photographer who, for many years, has provided friars with images of their professions, ordinations, and other important days of their friar life.

Ronald Gliatta, OFMRonald Gliatta, OFM

“My initial reaction – where did all the years go! When you talk about rewards of being a friar, two come to mind – identity with one of the Church’s greatest saints, and living in community with brothers. Growing up in an Italian family that was close-knit, family has always been important to me. The Franciscan fraternity was a major attraction. My brothers have always been there to help, especially during the many challenges encountered along the way,” said Ronald, who lives at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he provides pastoral ministry when parishes in the area need assistance, and who spent nearly 25 years in formation ministry. “Being entrusted over the years with the responsibilities of guardian and director of postulants, secretary of formation, chair of the English-speaking Conference, and an appointment to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in Rome has been very humbling. Accompanying men contemplating friar life was a privilege. To anyone discerning, be honest with yourself – and especially, trust in God. It takes a lot of trust because there are many things you might not want to do.”

Daniel Grigassy, OFM

“I’ve attended many jubilee anniversary Masses, and I’ve sat in the pews thinking to myself – I wonder if I’ll make it to my 50th. I almost didn’t. About six weeks leading to the Mass, I had some health issues and I didn’t think I was going to make it to 31st Street. I was very sad. Then some friars from St. Anthony in Butler offered to pick me up. They made my presence possible. I was very happy to be there. It was a beautiful Mass and beautiful time together,” said Daniel, who lives at the friary of St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, New Jersey. “I started aspiring to this when I was 13. Looking back, it has been my whole life. As I was walking up the aisle at the Jubilee Mass, I distinctly remember walking the same aisle on the day of my solemn profession in 1976. I have had the joy of being involved in all types of ministries – from teaching to pastoral. It has been great. I have been very happy and fulfilled, and it has been a privilege to be a Franciscan friar.”

Daniel F. Murray, OFM

“I feel extremely blessed for having been graced to serve the Church, the Province, and God’s people for 50 years. Most rewarding over these decades is the gift of living and working with friars with so many backgrounds and skills. I’ve been blessed to serve at a variety of ministry locations in many types of ministries – and I have found happiness in every assignment! I have always been grateful for the trust and support of my brother friars. I would encourage a discerner to explore friar life because the life of a Friar Minor is a wonderful experience. For me, it has been 50 years of happiness,” said Daniel, who is a spiritual director at St. Anthony Shrine on Arch Street in Boston, Massachusetts.


C. Raymond Selker, OFM

“One of the amazing things about this journey are the things I have been able to do because of the encouragement of other friars,” said Raymond, who has served 20 years in health ministry – 12 of them in hospice care mostly in Boston, Massachusetts – death row prison chaplaincy in Rhode Island, and parish ministry in Greenville, South Carolina, where he helped to establish a Catholic church and congregation. “The Province piqued my interest because it opened a world of opportunities to what I could be as a friar. The most rewarding thing has been living in community and all the blessings and challenges along the way. If you’re discerning Franciscan life, connect with a friar. One-to-one connections are where I have always found my energy. You have to know yourself, and friars can help you do that. Be open to the gifts in you and to trying new things,” added Raymond, who was a certified public accountant working in the petroleum industry before joining the Franciscans, and who has been stationed at St. Anthony Shrine for 12 years, providing hospice chaplaincy in homes and assisted living and nursing care facilities.