The reflection below, the fifth in a series, was written by Provincial Minister John O’Connor on Friday, as he completed a ”southern tour” of the Province. The previous installment in this series appeared in the Dec. 19, 2012 issue of HNP Today.
NEW YORK — Since my last update, I did my “southern tour,” which was postponed in December when a storm canceled my flight. I visited our parish in Raleigh where Mark Reamer, OFM, and members of the parish leadership team gave me a quick review of the parish’s finances and plans for the future. I also had the opportunity to preside and preach at Mass for the children and teachers of the parish school to celebrate Catholic Schools Week. On the second evening of my visit, I had dinner with our friars ministering in North Carolina.
After that it was on to Greenville, S.C., where again I met with the friars in the parish and some of the lay leaders. I also had the opportunity to tour the almost completed beautiful new parish school. It is indeed a magnificent facility which will serve the parish well in years to come. Congratulations to Patrick Tuttle, OFM, and the parish community for taking on such a challenging endeavor.
Upon leaving Greenville, I proceeded to Clemson, S.C., where I met with Daniel McLellan, OFM, and Robert Menard, OFM. They gave me a tour of the parish and campus ministry facilities as well as the campus of Clemson University. Both are very happy in their new ministries, and the staff of the parish made a point of thanking me for assigning “such fine men to their parish.”
Fraternity and Meetings
After my visit to Clemson, I drove a few short miles to Anderson, S.C., where I shared dinner with all of our friars ministering in South Carolina and Georgia.
It was then on to Florida for some fundraising events for the Province, and the blessing of the new chapel at our St. Petersburg friary. My congratulations to guardian James Toal, OFM, and the St. Pete friar community for bringing this project to fruition. The new chapel is a significant improvement over the old one. My thanks also toFred Dilger, OFM, for his work in designing the chapel.
As I write this, I am at our parish in Virginia for another fundraiser for the Province, having met with the bishop of Wilmington, Del., on the way down.
From here, it’s on to a meeting with the bishop of Albany, a fraternal visit to our friars in Hartford, Conn., and a meeting of the board of trustees of Siena College.
Church and Province Transitions
In other news, I am sure, that as I am, you are watching the developments at the Vatican. This is, in my opinion, a crossroads moment in the Church. What is decided in the next days as to the election of a new pope will determine to a great extent the future of the Church. I firmly believe that the Holy Spirit is not going to allow us as a Church to back into the future.
What we will need in the next pope is a person who is not afraid to make courageous decisions, a person of vision as well as a holy person. It has to be a person who is not afraid of change and growth. I am hoping for a person much like Pope John XXIII.
Speaking of important moments in the Church, we as a Province are also entering an important phase as we begin preparations for our Chapter next year. It is with that in mind that I welcome Fr. Mel Jurisich OFM, our general visitor who will be visiting with us next week at 31st Street. Mel will meet with the Council and me and spend time with Michael Harlan, OFM, to set up the visitation schedule which will begin in late summer. On behalf of all of us, I welcome Mel.
Also, I wish you a very happy St. Patrick’s Day from your Irish Provincial!
— Fr. John, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the 15th friar to serve as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. His term will conclude next summer at the 2014 Chapter.