Vocation Director Attends Mega-Conference, Distributes Fall Newsletter

Rebecca Doel In the Headlines

NEW YORK — HNP ministries will soon be receiving the latest edition of Be A Franciscan, the quarterly newsletter of the Franciscan Vocation Ministry.

The Fall 2011 issue highlights the Province’s new postulants along with the feast of St. Francis and the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In addition to brief biographies of the five — Dennis Bennet, Casey Cole,Sergio Ferrisi, Edgardo Jara Araya and Ramon Razon — the issue includes:

  • Excerpts by Daniel Horan, OFM, and Joseph Nangle, OFM, from Franciscan Voices on 9/11, an e-book published this summer by St. Anthony Messenger Press
  • Formation milestones of George Camacho, OFM, John Aherne, OFM,Pedro Corces, OFM, and Jeffrey Upshaw, OFM
  • St. Francis’ “The Canticle of the Creatures”
  • Upcoming vocation events

Friars and men who have expressed interest in Franciscan life received the newsletter electronically earlier in the month. Hard copies are also mailed to prospective Holy Name Province candidates.

Experiencing the Transitus
The first fall event from the Vocation Ministry — “Experience the Transitus” — was attended by two men, according to vocation director Brian Smail, OFM.

“The guests joined the friars of St. Francis Friary in New York for dinner, then attended the Transitus celebration at St. Francis of Assisi Church,” Brian said.

Both men plan to attend the Oct. 14 to 16 “Come and See” weekend in New York, along with three others.

The final vocation event of 2011 will be Dec. 3 at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. “Spend a Day with the Friars” will allow guests to meet the friar community and get a glimpse of Franciscan life and ministry in a daylong setting. The deadline to register is Nov. 23.

Franciscan Mega-Conference
In late September, Brian participated in a Franciscan mega-conference of vocation directors. Held at the Capuchin Retreat Center in Washington, Mich., the mega-conference gathered together friars representing OFM, OFM Conventual, OFM Capuchin, Third Order Regular and Atonement branches of the Order.

Fr. John Celichowski, OFM Cap, Provincial Minister of the Province of St. Joseph, opened the retreat with his address, “Rebuild My Church (Again).”

“John spoke of the challenges American Franciscans face from changing demographics not only in the United States, but around the world,” Brian said. “He referenced the specific challenge areas such as a newly ‘multipolar’ world, Evangelical Catholicism, Islam, globalization, and ecology present to today’s Church.”

Participants also discussed immigration issues affecting vocation directors and attended a workshop on developing interview skills for vocation ministry, Brian said.

Fr. John Pavlik, OFM Cap, delivered the keynote presentation, addressing the challenges of modern religious life in the United States. “He stressed the importance of maintaining the relevancy of consecrated life by being attentive to the signs of the times,” Brian said. Fr. John is executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.

A group photo of vocation directors who participated in the mega conference appears on the vocation blog of the Midwest Capuchins. “Mega Conference of Franciscan Vocation Directors” also includes a link to a photo album of the event.

“It was a great experience of fraternity, spending these days with my brother Franciscan vocation directors,” Brian noted. “The gathering was a reminder that we are all a part of a much wider Franciscan family. I found it helpful discussing the rewards and challenges of vocation ministry with the others and came away encouraged by the enthusiasm for Franciscan life we all share.”

— Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.