For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications
NEW YORK — Aug. 16, 2017 — Two men from Holy Name Province will profess their final vows as Franciscan friars on Aug. 26 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street.
The two friars – Brothers Casey Cole, OFM, and Ramon Razón, OFM – will make lifelong commitments to the Franciscan Order, and to living vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, when they profess their final vows at an 11 a.m. Mass that will be celebrated by the Very Rev. Kevin Mullen, OFM, the religious superior of the more than 100-year-old province. All are welcome to attend.
Since professing their first vows in August 2013 at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis., both friars have been immersed in the Franciscan training program, which includes comprehensive educational studies and a wide range of practical experience in pastoral environments.
Cole first became acquainted with the Franciscans as a member of a campus spirituality group while a student at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., where he graduated in 2011 with a degree in religious studies and a minor in poverty studies. The pastor of the nearby Franciscan church of St. Anthony of Padua, where Cole spent a summer as an intern, led the group at the time.
Cole, a long-time resident of North Carolina, completed an internship last year at the parish of the Immaculate Conception in Durham, where Franciscans serve. He studied theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, and is currently completing a master’s in divinity degree at the Chicago Theological Union. Cole is the author of the blog Breaking In The Habit and produces a popular vlog on YouTube with the same name.
“For almost seven years, I have known that I was called to this life,” Cole said. “The once far-off vision will soon be a reality. As much as I have already been living the life of a friar for many years, there is something about this milestone that has stopped me in my tracks and refocused my attention on the heart of my vocation,” he added.
“Communal life offers a joy and challenge that rejuvenates me after a full day’s work. It fulfills me more than I could have imagined,” added Cole, who also spent a summer volunteering at St. Francis Inn, the Franciscans’ renowned soup kitchen in Philadelphia, Pa.
Originally from the Philippines, Razón graduated in 2001 from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in development studies, and later earned his master’s degree in the teaching of English in 2007 from Columbia University in New York. In 2014, he graduated from Loyola University in Maryland with a second master’s degree, in spiritual and pastoral care.
Having completed a year-long internship this past June at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, Razón will begin a new ministry in September as head of St. Francis Urban Center in Philadelphia, Pa., where he will also work with the team at the province’s St. Francis Inn soup kitchen.
“My solemn profession is the culmination of my active engagement with the truest desire of my heart – the questions that result from that desire, the challenges and implications that are integral to that desire, and, finally, finding God’s mercy amidst those questions and challenges with trust, hope and love,” said Razón.
Before joining the Franciscans, Razón was an instructor at the Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders in Brooklyn. He came to know the friars through his spiritual director at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. In the future, Razón said he would like to work with the poor and “be in places where opportunities for the least and the vulnerable are scarce.”
About Holy Name Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven entities in the United States belonging to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its nearly 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social service ministries, as well as in overseas missions.
The Order, founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi, commemorated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Today, St. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, remains one of the most widely known saints, revered for his affection for nature and care for creation. Information about Holy Name Province can be found on HNP.org. News about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.
Questions and photo requests should be directed to Jocelyn Thomas, HNP director of communications, at 646-473-0265 ext. 321 or email@example.com.