SILVER SPRING, Md. — Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, received the first vows of Ross Chamberland, OFM, Sept. 16 during evening prayer at Holy Name College, the Province’s house of studies.
“Professing vows in HNP was a special experience for me,” said Ross, 30, who joined the Province in 2009 and was received as a novice in the Order of Friars Minor in September 2010. “I made religious profession in the First Order of St. Francis in 2007, as a Capuchin. I lived those vows with great intentionality for two years. They formed me as a man, as a Catholic-Christian, and as a friar. I am fully confident that as a vowed member of Holy Name Province, I will continue to be transformed for the prophetic witness that the Gospel demands.” In light of his having recently made a full-fledged novitiate with the Capuchins, Ross was permitted to make his novitiate in the Order of Friars Minor in another setting.
Ross said he has been impressed by the hospitality of HNP friars, specifically at his home at Holy Name College.
“The day I moved into Holy Name College, I did not know anyone. I had never been there and had never met any of the friars who lived there, but they all welcomed me so warmly. I was overwhelmed by the fraternal hospitality,” Ross said. “I spent this past year as a full-time student at the Washington Theological Union, and I have enjoyed the challenge of studying at this fine institution.”
Ross, who describes himself as “a peacemaker and one who makes all people feel welcome in our Church,” said he is grateful for his expanding Franciscan family.
“In the name of the WTU and Holy Name Province Franciscan Formation, I traveled to several HNP parishes this year and preached at their celebrations of Eucharist. This gave me a great opportunity to meet friars and become familiar with HNP ministries. I continue to be drawn into the life of the friars by their commitment to each other and to these ministries. The HNP friars have supported my desire to remain close in my contacts with the Capuchin Friars, and I feel that my Franciscan family has enlarged tremendously.”
Born in Nashua, N.H., Ross graduated from Emmanuel College in Boston with a bachelor’s degree in social justice in urban life and a minor in philosophy. He has served in several ministries, including liturgical coordinator, teacher and group facilitator for AIDS/HIV patients. He also spent five years in formation as a Capuchin friar in the Province of St. Mary.
“The Capuchin ministries and OFM ministries overlapped territory in places like New York and Boston. I first became aware of the HNP by living in and working in the shadow of the HNP urban ministry centers. I was always amazed by the corporate commitment on the part of the OFM friars to minister together, along with their lay-partners in ministry. This model was very appealing to me. Later, in Boston, I developed a good friendship with Gregory Day, OFM, and also was a spiritual directee of Gene Pistacchio, OFM, both at St. Anthony Shrine. When I began to make the decision to join the OFM branch of the Order and transfer out of the Capuchin branch, those two friars were most helpful and supportive.”
Earlier this year, the Province accepted the first vows of another friar, who was based at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Cedar Lake, Ind., George Camacho, OFM.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province. Rebecca Doel contributed to this story.