SPUFY Members Discuss Group’s Dynamics

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Solemnly Professed Friars Under Five Years (SPUFY) met April 4 to 6 at St. Anthony’s Friary here for fraternity, prayer and discussion. 

Participating friars  included Zachary Elliott, OFM,  Julian Jagudilla,  OFM, Paul Keenan, OFM, Walter Liss, OFM, Gerald Paciello, OFM, David Phan, OFM, Emerson Rodriguez-Delgado, OFM, Gonzalo de Jesus Torres, OFM, and Christopher VanHaight, OFM. SPUFY mentors are David Hyman, OFM, and Daniel Dwyer, OFM.
Greg Jakubowicz, OFM, and Paul Chelus, OFM, who will soon celebrate their fifth anniversary of solemn profession, also attended. “The SPUFY meetings will certainly miss them and their depth of sharing,” according toGeorge Corrigan, OFM. 

The nature of SPUFY is beginning to change, according to George, especially with the evolving circumstances and mix of friars. Originally conceived as peer mentoring for friars in their first assignment outside a house of formation, now, however, of the 12 friars in attendance, seven continue to live in houses of formation while completing academic studies. “This was discussed among the friars, as we wondered what it would mean for the shape of SPUFY in the coming years,” according to George.

Xavier De La Huerta, OFM, the guest presenter, shared his vocation story from his first days with the Province. If there was one thing to pass on to the newly professed, he said, it was that we are privileged to live in the Spirit with brothers. Not only are we responsible to be open to the movement of the Spirit in our lives, he said, but to be responsible and accountable to that movement to the fraternity for full discernment. “It was a powerful message told among a variety of colorful, memorable and touching accounts — in a style uniquely Xavier’s,” said George.

The visiting friars were graciously hosted by Christopher Coccia, OFM, and the friars of St. Anthony’s Friary. In addition to prayer and morning Mass, the SPUFY friars joined the community for prepandium and evening meals. The weather was spectacular, according to George, making the time together a wonderful respite for friars coming from the North.

The entire weekend was testimony to Francis’ own words: “Whenever the brothers may be together or meet other brothers, let them give witness that they are members of the same family.”

SPUFY will meet again from Oct. 26 to 28.