Vocation Office Welcomes Men to Fall Retreats

Maria Hayes Friar News


Basil Valente and Stephen Mimnaugh with postulant Nick Carbuto (second from right) and three discerners. (Photo courtesy of Basil)

NEW YORK — Are you being called to be a Franciscan friar?

Men who are discerning a call to religious life have several opportunities to learn more about the friars through participation at one of the vocation office’s upcoming events.

The fall season begins with an Oct. 2 to 4 “Come and See Weekend/Discernment Retreat” at St. Francis of Assisi Church-Friary on West 31st Street in New York City. Visitors will share meals and conversations, and pray and celebrate the Eucharist with the friars to get an “immersion style” taste of Franciscan life. Guests will also learn about the wide variety of ministries run by the friars and their partners-in-ministry.

The retreat will feature guest speaker Dr. Francis Greene of St. Francis College, Brooklyn, N.Y. Dr. Greene has previously shared his expertise in art history with members of the Provincial Office during staff development days. During the vocation weekend, he will give an address on Oct. 3 titled “Franciscan Spirituality in Art History,” an account of Franciscan spirituality, mercy and vocation as represented in Christian art through the ages. His presentation will be followed by a roundtable discussion.

During the retreat, Ramon Razon, OFM, will share reflections of his Franciscan journeys. Julian Jagudilla, OFM, and Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, will also talk with the men about the many ministries offered at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Candidates will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the friars — either Julian, Stephen, Ross Chamberland, OFM, Joseph Cavoto, OFM, or vocation director Basil Valente, OFM.

In the evening on Oct. 3, candidates will attend the Transitus of St. Francis. This liturgical celebration highlighting the passing of St. Francis from earthly life into eternal life with Christ has been coordinated by Timothy Shreenan, OFM, and will feature Benjamin Simpson, the vocation office’s administrative coordinator.

The next morning, the men will attend the 9:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Julian at St. Francis Church to commemorate the feast of St. Francis. After brief candidate meetings with Basil, the attendees will conclude their weekend with a meal hosted by Stephen.

“We’re blessed, honored and even a bit humbled that so many men are considering vocations to the consecrated life with the Franciscans,” said Basil. “It’s a joy-filled time in the Church and in our Franciscan communities, especially after the pope’s recent to the United States.

“The challenge, however, is to ensure we keep the pope’s message of love and respect alive in hearts and wherever we encounter God’s good people,” Basil continued. “Let us continue to pray for each other, the Church and the growth of Franciscan vocations. As Pope Francis said, ‘The joy of men and women who love God attracts others to him. Religious are called to find and radiate lasting satisfaction in their vocation. Joy springs from a grateful heart. Truly, we have received much, so many graces, so many blessings, and we rejoice in this.'”

Later this month, men between the ages of 18 and 45 who are interested in the Franciscan way of life are invited to join the friar community at St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, N.J., for an evening of fraternity and prayer. Those who wish to attend should RSVP to associate vocation director Gonzalo Torres, OFM, at gonzaloofm@hotmail.com.

The next “Come and See Weekend/Discernment Retreat” is Nov. 6 to 8 at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, Fla. Last year, the Province’s retired “trailblazers” shared their stories with men considering friar life during what was a successful retreat. Said HNP postulant James Bernard, “Spending time with these great men and hearing them recount the Province’s rich history, their vibrant lives in ministry and their dedication to bringing God’s love to all people was awe inspiring.”

The friars of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston will welcome men for a similar retreat from Dec. 4 to 6. In the past, visitors have been able to connect with unique ministries offered at the Shrine, such as The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents. Last year, the guests had engaging discussions about questions such as “What Does It Mean to be a Franciscan Friar Today?” Assistant regional vocation director Gene Pistacchio, OFM, said that it was “very meaningful for me to hear my experienced brothers speak about how they came to be a Friar Minor and share the spiritual richness of their involvement in a variety of ministries.”

Basil encourages readers of this article to share this information with someone they know who might be called to religious life. Those who would like to learn more about the Franciscans, or to register for one of these events, should contact the HNP vocation team at 646-473-0265 or vocation@hnp.org.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province. 

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