Province Reactivates SFO Fraternity in Florida

HNP Communications Friar News

HIALEAH, Fla. — Richard Trezza, OFM, spiritual assistant to several regions of the Secular Franciscan Order under the Province’s leadership, was at a Mass here in late January to reactivate a fraternity. 

Thomas Murphy, OFM, another SFO regional spiritual assistant, and John Anglin, OFM, a founder of the Hialeah fraternity, were also at the Mass and signing of the reactivation document. Roderic Petrie, OFM, andMartin Bednar, OFM, are also original founders.

“When the friars left that area, the fledgling fraternity, finding itself without spiritual assistance, gradually came apart,” said Richard. “Over time, the predominantly Cuban group of young seculars decided to have the fraternity reactivated.” 

Roughly 20 members belong to the Hialeah fraternity, according to Richard. Its spiritual assistant is the pastor of the parish where the fraternity meets. 

Richard reminds readers that an SFO fraternity can only be started through a province of friars of three OFM obediences, OFM, OFM Cap., and OFM Conv., along with the TORs. An SFO fraternity is bonded to its founding province. 

A province can also deactivate a fraternity, as is the case with Hialeah, when it is no longer viable. “When that happens, the fraternity remains canonically alive for 99 years after the death of the last member. During that time, it may be reactivated,” he said. 

HNP’s Regional Spiritual Assistant
Richard has been the spiritual assistant to several regions of SFO fraternities under the leadership of Holy Name Province for the past four years. He has been busy traveling from his E. Rutherford, N.J., friary, to international meetings and fraternity visitations in the United States.

He is also translating the address given by the General Minister of the OFM Conventuals to the General Chapter in Hungary last November. 

“The International SFO fraternity knows that it can rely on the assistance of HNP and is appreciative of the attention given to its activities,” said Richard. “I like to keep that communication open and to continue to represent HNP to the International Conference of the Secular Franciscan Order (CIOFS).”

“HNP has canonically established SFO fraternities in regions on the Eastern seaboard. Since all provinces are experiencing shortages in friar/spiritual assistants, I try to represent HNP by my presence to maintain that vital reciprocity between the seculars and the First Order, in this care, HNP.”

Recent Travels
Richard travelled to St. Louis, Mo., for the  Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 National Formation Commission (NFC) meeting. The five-member commission oversees the formation texts used both locally and regionally. It also gives workshops on formation and guides formators on how to use the texts, he said.

“This particular meeting familiarized the group with the new “ration formationis et studiorum,” which is being promulgated by the SFO CIOFS,” said Richard. 

The group has also developed a standardized manual of topics to be included in each formation program. It also wants to publish a national SFO formation manual. 

This week, he is again in St. Louis for a NFC meeting. 

Upcoming SFO Commitments
Later this month, Richard is participating in several gatherings on the East Coast.

• March 7 to 8, he is in Windham, Maine, for joint pastoral visitation of three fraternities in the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Region, of which he is regional spiritual assistant. The region includes Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire.

• March 14 to 15, Andover, Mass., to witness the regional elections of St. Elizabeth of Hungary Region.  This is also in the capacity of regional spiritual assistant for St.  Elizabeth of Hungary Region.

• March 21 to 22, regional executive council meeting of the Blessed Kateri Tekatwitha Region in upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania. 

• March 28, a regional executive council meeting of Our Lady of the Angels Region, which comprises northern N.J., Manhattan, Staten Island, Yonkers and Mt. Vernon, N.Y.  He is regional spiritual assistant of this region.

— Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today.