From the Provincial Minister’s Desk

John O’Connor, OFM Friar News

The update below is a synopsis of recent news from John O’Connor, OFM. Beginning with this issue of HNP Today, the Provincial Minister will provide occasional overviews of what he has been doing, sharing both personal reflections as well as observations about ministries and Provincial developments.

This year got off to a traumatic start for me.

Over a period of two months, my doctor informed me that he was moving his practice to New Jersey. My dentist retired and then unfortunately passed away. And the other day, I learned my barber lost his lease and was going out of business.

On a more positive note, I have been doing my usual traveling around the Province and continue to be impressed by the ministry of the friars. So often, I hear people say, “Please don’t leave us,” referring to the friars’ presence.

The fraternal gatherings are going very well, with many positive comments from the friars. When completed (there are three more to go), the members of the Fraternal Life in Mission Directorate will review the minutes and evaluations and develop — in conjunction with the Provincial Council the next steps in planning a second series of regional fraternal days next year. It is a hope that these series of gatherings will help to prepare us for the Chapter of 2014.

In other news, I recently returned from San Antonio, Texas, where I participated in the semi-annual retreat of the English-speaking Conference provincial ministers and councils. We began, as we usually do, with a sharing session in which we talk about the challenges and lives of our provinces. We share both the difficult issues that we are dealing with and the good things happening in our provinces.

The agenda of the rest of the week included reports from our Definitor General, Fr. Francis Walters, OFM; our current president, Fr. John Hardin, OFM (provincial minister of St. Barbara Province); details of the upcoming Plenary Council of the Order; and plans for the joint meeting of Provincials and Councils of the United States to be held in California. We also discussed our experience with the new collaborative Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis.

On Wednesday afternoon, we visited the historic missions, still staffed by the friars of Sacred Heart Province, and ended the day with a delightful barbeque — music and all — at Mission San Jose. San Antonio is a lovely city with a very unique attraction, called the River Walk, downtown. It is a city worth making the effort to visit.

— Fr. John, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the 15th friar to serve as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. Reelected in January 2011, he originally assumed the role in summer 2005.

Editor’s note: Details about the spring ESC Provincial meeting can be found in the April 26 issue of SJB News Notes