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Sixteen Men Begin OFM Postulancy Program

The 2017-18 postulant class with their formators. Among them are Basil Valente, Charles Miller and Walter Liss. (Photo courtesy of Octavio Duran)

Earlier this year, the seven provincial ministers of the United States announced the creation of an interprovincial postulancy program. The new program, which began last month, is located at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md., and is being led by friars from three provinces. They are Br. John Gutierrez, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, Br. Rommel Perez, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, and Walter Liss, OFM, and Charles Miller, OFM, of Holy Name. Below, two postulants share an update on the first few weeks in the program.

SILVER SPRING, Md. — On Aug. 23, we were blessed to be among the 16 men to enter the new interprovincial postulancy program for the Order of Friars Minor in the United States. Information about our class members is below:

Andrew Aldrich, 26, of Mishawaka, Ind. – Assumption BVM Province
Andrew Dinegar, 51, of New York City – St. Barbara Province
Ian Grant, 33, of North Brunswick, N.J. – Holy Name Province
Chase Lopez, 27, of Storm Lake, Iowa – Holy Name Province
Matt Lorch, 40, of Indianapolis – Holy Name Province
Rafael Ozoude, 22, of Lagos, Nigeria – St. John the Baptist Province
Daniel Mayer, 24, of Houma, La. – Sacred Heart Province
Salvador Mejia, 47, of Acambaro, Mexico – St. Barbara Province
Loren Moreno, 33, of New York City – Holy Name Province
John Neuffer, 33, of Durham, N.C. – Holy Name Province
Richard Phillip, 40, of Camden, N.J. – Holy Name Province
Carlos Portillo, 32, of San Vicente, El Salvador – Holy Name Province
Matt Ryan, 46, of Covington, Ky. – St. John the Baptist Province
Josh Tagoylo, 24, of Hayward, Calif. – St. Barbara Province
Nhan Ton, 40, of Saigon, Vietnam – Sacred Heart Province
Steven Young, 29, of Canton, Mass. – Holy Name Province

Charles Miller presents a postulant with a Tau cross. (Photo courtesy of Octavio Duran)

As you can see, we have men from a diverse group of ages, nationalities, and provinces. God is good! After orientation, we took part in an in-house compass retreat, where we opened up to each other and reflected on the directions our lives are taking. That weekend we joined the friars at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City to witness the Aug. 26 solemn vows of Casey Cole, OFM, and Ramoncito Razon, OFM, of Holy Name Province. The solemn profession of our brothers before the Franciscan community, including the General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, was a poignant way to mark so many fresh beginnings.

On Aug. 31, Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM, provincial minister of St. John the Baptist Province, was the celebrant for a welcome Mass at Holy Name College, officially marking the beginning of the United States’s first interprovincial OFM postulancy program. Members of the formation team presented each postulant with a Tau cross that was handmade by novice Luis Rosado of Holy Name Province.

The secretaries of formation – Fr. Martin Ibarra, OFM, (of St. Barbara Province), Fr.Carl Langenderfer, OFM, (of St. John the Baptist), Fr. Ralph Parthie, OFM, (Sacred Heart), and Fr. Kim Studwell, OFM, (Assumption BVM) – as well as friars from Holy Name Province, including members of the Holy Name College and St. Camillus Parish friar communities, joined in the Eucharist and ceremony. The festivities concluded with a festive social and dinner.

The postulants look forward to a fruitful year of discernment and service.

Matt Ryan, of St. John the Baptist Province, and Joshua Tagoylo, of St. Barbara Province, are members of the 2017-18 postulant class.

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