SILVER SPRING, Md. — The chapel of Holy Name College was filled to capacity with friars, faith and sincere prayer as the community welcomed seven postulants on Aug. 26. Abel Garcia is beginning his second year in the program, making a total of eight men, the largest class since 2002, when 10 postulants entered the Province.
During the ceremony, Patrick Alfonso, Daniel Beckham, Deivis Daza Noya, Javier del Angel de los Santos, Christian Seno, Aaron Van Patten-Streiger,and Andrew Warburton received the Tau cross from postulant director Ronald Pecci, OFM, and formation student Michael Reyes, OFM. Abel also participated in the ceremony. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, and vocation director Brian Smail, OFM, were present. Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, officiated at the service, offering the prayer over the Tau crosses while they were placed about the postulants’ necks.
“Having worked with these men in their discernment over this past year, it was particularly gratifying to witness their ‘yes’ to God’s invitation to consider Franciscan life as postulants,” Brian said. “Being in that chapel at Holy Name College and seeing them receive the Tau cross brought back memories of my own first year. It was a powerful reminder that men continue to be attracted to a life of service to others. The great diversity of this new class shows that being a friar has a broad appeal across various ages and cultural backgrounds.”
This year’s class represents six countries of birth: Colombia, England, El Salvador, Mexico, the Philippines, and the United States. The men are currently residing at Holy Name College, where the postulant program moved from Wilmington, Del., last month.
“The particulars of the program are still unfolding due to our new location,” Ronald said. “It is designed to assist the men in the first stages of their transition from secular to religious life and to further facilitate their human development.”
Since their reception last month, the postulants have attended an orientation program directed by Ron and participated in a series of catechetical workshops led by several friars. Daniel Grigassy, OFM, taught a course on the Liturgy of the Hours, James Scullion, OFM, on praying the Psalms, James Vacco, OFM, on basic Catholic beliefs, and Robert Frazzetta, OFM, on music in Catholic workship. Sr. Mercedes McCann, RSM, a clinical psychologist, will lead the postulants’ monthly Integration Seminar, as she had when the program was located in Wilmington.
Photos of some of the workshops have been posted on the Facebook page titled Postulancy of the Franciscans of Holy Name Province. Also included in the photos are images of the General Minister, Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, who visited Holy Name College on Sept. 3.
A series of retreats is planned for Advent, Lent, Holy Week and near the program’s end. Throughout the year, the postulants will participate in ministry locally for three days a week and will attend in-house classes in Franciscan studies, timely human development issues and theological reflection. Two weekdays will be reserved for other discussion. The postulants will also travel with Ron to ministry sites around the Province to meet the friars and learn about the ministries.
The program will conclude next summer with six weeks of courses at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y. Led by Ron and Fr. Carl Langenderfer of St. John the Baptist Province, this is the “capstone” of the postulancy program, Ron said. The group members will study alongside postulants from the provinces that participate in the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province. In the above photo, the postulants in the first row from left to right are Patrick Alfonso, Daniel Beckham, Deivis Daza Noya, and Javier del Angel de los Santos. The postulants in the second row are Abel Garcia, Christian Seno, Aaron Van Patten-Streiger and Andrew Warburton.