The reflection below is the second in a series by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, about his observations and experiences as leader of Holy Name Province. The previous installment was published Sept. 10.
Dear brothers and partners-in-ministry,
During this festive season, I am feeling a sense of hope and I want to share that spirit with you.
Advent is always one of my favorite liturgical seasons because of its two prominent themes: healing and hope. Among others, these stand out to me because of experience in ministry and fraternity. There is interplay between the two: healing gives birth to hope and hope leads to healing.
As Provincial Minister coming out of a chapter, I’ve noticed that friars throughout the Province have been diligently reflecting on trust and enhancing fraternal relationships. I have seen numerous examples of this and I have heard friars talk about how they’re experiencing it. This is a source of real hope. I’m glad to see friars looking for ways to implement this theme and that it is alive.
On a wider scale, I see growing trust within the Order and among the seven American provinces. This offers great hope. Where once was rivalry and competition, there is now a spirit of cooperation. We are fostering a spirit of coming together in anticipation of structural transformation.
As a Province, we should feel pleased with our new vocation initiatives and the wide support they’re receiving from friars. This indicates great hope for our Franciscan identity.
Often I receive positive reports at all levels of formation about the quality of our postulants and novices, and of the support they’re receiving from professed friars who are guiding them.
Advent is truly a joyful season. I’m looking forward to going to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J., on Dec. 23 to celebrate Mass and join the friar residents for a festive lunch. It will be a wonderful gathering and I invite all of the friars to join us if they are in the area.
I am eagerly anticipating the first week of January. On Jan. 3, on the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, I will be in Boston to participate in the liturgy of ordination of Ross Chamberland, OFM, and Jeffery Jordan, OFM. Soon after, I will be with the Provincial Councilors and the student friars in Aston, Pa., for the Province’s annual formation intersession.
At the end of that week, I’ll join friars who have been solemnly professed for less than five years for part of the SPUFY gathering to hear of their experiences and to listen to their ideas about our future.
I’ll finish the month by spending two weeks in Rome for “Provincials School,” training for provincial ministers elected in 2014. I’ll learn what I’ve done wrong in the last seven months, as well as what I can do to improve.
When I return from Rome, I will be traveling throughout the Province to six fraternal gatherings that are being held in February and early March. These gatherings are great signs of hope because they both contribute to healing and foster fraternity.
On that note, I wish you a blessed Christmas season.
— Fr. Kevin, a native of Paterson, N.J., is the 16th friar to serve as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. His term began in June 2014.