Province Plans Spring Fraternal Gatherings

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

NEW YORK — Friars are registering for one of nine fraternal gathering scheduled for this spring that will help them and the Province plan for the future. The deadline to submit venue and date choices to the Provincial Office is Feb. 15.

This series of gatherings has been organized by ministry type, rather than using the same meeting style as in the past. This year, each friar has been asked to sign up for a date that best matches the type of work in which he sees himself in future years. These include: education, parish work in two regions, ministry to the poor, and/or to multicultural communities, retreat ministry, retirement and shrine ministry.

A letter sent to the friars last month by Provincial Secretary Michael Harlan, OFM, described the framework of this season’s fraternal gatherings. They are focusing on the last two phases of a three-step process called “Taking Time Out to Discern” that began last year. The two themes that this year’s gatherings will discuss are: “To Judge: Where is the Spirit Leading Us” and “To Act: Where do We Want to Go?”

The letter said: “In preparing for these gatherings, we ask that you ask yourself a simple question: ‘What kind of work do I see myself doing after the chapter of 2014 – for the next five or six years?’ For those of us around 70 — remember, our average age is 66 – this many mean considering how I would like to spend my remaining years in active ministry.”

In addition to the letter, Michael’s information to the friars included several other documents to make clear the details of this years’ program: (1) a list of ministry groupings, (2) list of locations and dates, and (3) a registration form.

Registration forms should be submitted to the Provincial Office by Feb 15, according to the most recent information that Michael emailed to friars on Jan. 29.

“All friars are expected to register for one of the gatherings, since they are part of the preparation and planning for the Provincial Chapter in June, 2014,” said Michael.

The dates and locations of the spring 2013 fraternal gatherings, most of which comprise two overnights, are:

April 2 to 4 Wappingers Falls, N.Y.
April 9 to 11 Stoneville, S.C.
April 22 St. Petersburg, Fla.
April 23 to 25 Mystic, Conn.
April 30 to May 2 Easton, Pa.
May 6 Butler, N.J.
May 13 to 15 Easton, Pa.
May 21 to 23 Long Branch, N.J.
June 4 to 6 Skaneateles, N.Y.

  Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.