SILVER SPRING, Md. — The last of nine regional fraternal gatherings was held May 7 at Holy Name College here. Other sites included St. Petersburg, Fla., Boston, New York, Paterson, N.J., Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., Saint Bonaventure University in Allegany, N.Y., Wilmington, Del., and Raleigh, N.C.
The final gathering included a presentation on finances by Thomas Conway, OFM, a certified public accountant and member of the Provincial Council. Tom emphasized cultural changes and the “need to be in solidarity with those people Franciscans minister with,” according to Francis Gunn, OFM, the Province’s coordinator of strategic planning. He engaged friars in discussions about issues of transparency and accountability.
The presentation was a part of the Province’s 2008 to 2013 strategic plan. The plan includes a series of new and ongoing initiatives, which a variety of Provincial directorates are working to implement.
At the fraternal gathering, Francis provided an update on the progress of implementing the seven-part HNP Strategic Plan. The seven parts are: fraternity, collaboration, mission, friar skills and leadership, finances, Franciscan identity and vocations.
Focusing on leadership development, he discussed several recommendations from Axiom Partners, a consulting firm with which the Province’s Leadership Development Committee began working in the spring of 2008.
According to Francis, Axiom recommends friars focus on leadership assignments, ongoing leader formation and leadership development throughout initial formation. Through the guidance of the Leadership Development Committee and its partnership with other directorates, the Province is aiming to improve information-gathering techniques and taking a “long-range approach in planning leadership assignments,” Francis said.
Additionally, Holy Name Province is continuing to implement the recommendations of the National Association of Treasurers of Religious Institutes (NATRI), focusing on methods of efficiently interacting with local fraternities in financial areas, Francis said.
“Mechanisms are being put into place to give all the friars of the Province the opportunity to assess their needs in the area of leadership development and how to access available resources to address those needs,” he said.
He added that a significant portion of the next guardians meeting, Nov. 16-20, will be devoted to leadership development, with an advisory panel being formed to plan that program.
Francis said friars who attended the fraternal gatherings seemed “encouraged by the scope of this initiative.”
“As we move forward on implementing this part of the strategic plan,” he said, “it is clear Holy Name Province is strongly committed to providing the resources needed to prepare, train, and support the friars in all of the ways that they are called upon to lead — both within our fraternities and in our service to the people of God.”
Friars signed up last month for leadership development that most interested them.
Editors note: The Province’s strategic plan will be posted on the HNP Extranet later this week.