Update from Ministerial Development Directorate

Andrew Reitz, OFM Around the Province

NEW YORK — Holy Name’s ministerial development directorate met April 24 at 129 West 31st Street to discuss reports on the transfer of leadership of its Little Falls, N.J., and Bronx parishes, inquiries about new ministry possibilities, a leadership training proposal, the directorate’s report to the Provincial Chapter, and post chapter work.

The process of withdrawing from Holy Angels and Holy Cross parishes began with conversations with the friars, the bishops of the dioceses, announcements to parishioners and other conversations. It is never easy for us to leave a ministry that we have served, and there has been sadness and disappointment in both ministries. Dates for the friars leaving the two parishes have been set.

However, in light of the ever-changing needs of the American church, the Province has also received requests from several bishops for ministerial assistance; these are being examined by the directorate.  The process we follow is this: the Provincial Council has an initial discussion of the invitation. If this discussion is favorable, members of the directorate visit the ministry to assess its possibilities.  A report is then submitted to the Council for further review.

Like other religious communities, Franciscans are mendicants.  We are not confined to a specific geographic region. We respond to the needs of the church in the contemporary world.

A sub-committee of the directorate consisting of Janet Rizzuto, Peter Casamento, and Christopher Keenan, OFM, has received approval from the Provincial Council to finalize with the leadership training proposal that was discussed at the directorate’s previous meetings. The next step would be the hiring of a consultant to assess the needs of various levels of leadership in the Province. Though programs  are available, we know that the same model will not work for everyone. Names of possible consultants and agencies surfaced and will be contacted before our next meeting.

A first copy of the directorate’s report to Chapter 2008 was handed out  at the meeting for critique.

Though the directorate has accomplished much these three years, there is much to be done after the Chapter. A number of proposals from the directorate have been incorporated into the visioning and planning committee’s document that will be presented at the Chapter.

The next meeting of the Directorate is May 20.

Andrew, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Tampa, Fla., is chair of the ministerial development directorate.