Young Friars Gather in Maryland

Jason Welle, OFM Friar News

The SPUTY friars who participated in the recent gathering included friars from all seven American OFM provinces. (Photo courtesy of Dick Tandy, OFM)

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Thirty-six friars from across the country gathered at Holy Name College from Aug. 7 to 10 for four days of prayer, fraternal fellowship, and ongoing formation. This gathering of SPUTY (Solemnly Professed for Under Ten Years) included friars from all seven American OFM provinces.

The event involved outside speakers to provide input, as well as time for the friars to discuss on their own issues in their common life. Dr. Mary Gautier from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) gave a presentation on changes and trends in American parish life and Quinn Conners, O.Carm., provided friars a self-assessment instrument to evaluate their physical, emotional and spiritual health at this stage in their religious lives. John Aherne, OFM, facilitated discussion of the Revitalization and Restructuring process in the American provinces, giving friars a chance to reflect together on what distinctive role they can play in the wake of the historic vote of May 2018.

Friars also looked forward in anticipation to next summer, when the Minister General, Michael Perry, OFM, will convene an international Chapter of Mats in Taizé, France. Several friars from the gathering in Silver Spring will travel to Taizé on behalf of their provinces, so our conversations together included time for discussion of the message they would bring on behalf of young friars in the U.S.

Guardian Walter Liss, OFM, and the residents of Holy Name College were gracious hosts for the event, which enabled friars traveling here for the first time to not only see the home of the national postulancy program, but also get a taste of the dynamic multicultural ministry at St. Camillus Parish and St. Francis International School. Bob Barko, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, and I served as co-chairs who organized the event.

“Without doubt, the most valuable aspect of this gathering was meeting friars from other provinces that I had never met before as well as reconnecting with friars that I haven’t seen in over five years,” said Jeffery Jordan, OFM. “As I looked around the room during our discussions, I would think: ‘These are the guys I will live and work with one day.’ It gave me much hope.”

“It was encouraging to see the SPUTY friars from other provinces and to engage in a mature, honest dialogue about the transition to solemn vows and the reconfiguration process,” said George Camacho, OFM. “Although the general tone of our interaction was optimistic, we did not downplay the potential challenges of the process.”

Participants from Holy Name Province. in addition to John and Jeffery were Casey Cole, OFM, Edgardo Jara, OFM, Erick López, OFM, Ramon Razón, OFM and Juan Turcios, OFM.

Fr. Jason is a member of Assumption BVM Province and is stationed in Rome, Italy, at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies.

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