The reflection below is one in a series written by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, about his ministry as leader of Holy Name Province. It was written last week, before Fr. John’s visit to Holy Name College. The previous installment appeared in the July 3 issue of HNP Today following the Jubilee Mass in New York City.
NEW YORK — The last few weeks have been very busy for me. During the month of August, I traveled just under 10,000 miles, driving 3,000 of them! My first stop was at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis., where I received the first vows of our four novices and attended a meeting of the provincial ministers of the U.S. and Western Canada, and the directors of formation for the eight provinces. The profession ceremony was a joyous and prayerful fraternal experience that was followed by a nice dinner at the novitiate.
Then I traveled to Denver for the annual extended Provincial Council meeting. We spent a good part of the time there reviewing the results of the spring regional days and developing a tool to analyze the results with a view toward making recommendations and, in some cases, decisions as to where we think the Province will be committed in ministry in the next few years. We will continue this task at our September Council meeting.
From Denver, it was on to Great Falls, Mont., where I celebrated the feast of St. Clare with the Poor Clares. The sisters there are part of our Holy Name Province Foundation. I had several nice conversations with the community and joined them for the Transitus of St. Clare, and presided and preached at the Mass for the feast on Aug. 11. We were joined at that Mass by benefactors and friends of the sisters from the local Great Falls community. A reception followed. It was an enjoyable weekend and a special privilege to be with our Poor Clare sisters on the feast.
I then drove from Great Falls back to Denver, where I took the return flight to New York. After a few days in the office, it was on to Raleigh, N.C., where our parish hosted Cardinal McCarrick for a talk on immigration. His eminence also presided at two weekend liturgies and joined the friars from that area for a dinner in his honor on Saturday evening.
After Raleigh, it was on to St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in Stoneville, N.C., where I spent some time with Louis Canino, OFM, and the staff, and toured the new chapel and the construction site for the soon-to-be-built hermitages. Next on my agenda is the reception of our postulants at Holy Name College in Maryland and several days of meetings in Washington.
Allow me to close my comments by welcoming our Visitator General. Fr. Mel Jurisich, OFM, has now moved into the 31st Street friary in New York City and will begin the formal visitation of the Province after Labor Day weekend.
I hope all had a pleasant summer and I look forward to seeing you around the Province.
— Fr. John, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the 15th friar to serve as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. His term concludes in June at the 2014 Chapter.