Our Student Friars Gather for Fraternity, Education and Prayer
Each year, the student friars of Holy Name Province gather for a fraternal and educational experience of Franciscan life. This year, 17 men came together for the “Formation Intersession” program held at Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Marriotsville, Md.
The group included five men (“postulants”) in their first year of formation, stationed at St. Paul Friary in Wilmington, Del., and two friars (“novices”) in their second year of formation, who are participating in the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. They were joined by eight friars who have professed simple (first) vows, as well as two friars from Korea and Kenya, who reside at Holy Name College, the Province’s house of formation in Silver Spring, Md.
The student friars were joined by five formation staff members — Provincial Vicar and secretary for formation and studies Fr. Dominic Monti, OFM, director of post-novitiate formation Fr. Tom Conway, OFM, assistant director of post-novitiate formation Br. Tony LoGalbo, OFM, postulant director Fr. Ron Pecci, OFM, and assistant postulant director Br. Bill Herbst, OFM.
The students appreciated taking time out of their busy schedules to spend a few days together. Gatherings such as these enable them to share their experiences of Franciscan life and build bonds that will remain throughout their lives.
According to Br. Mario Gomez, OFM, an intern at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston who is preparing to profess solemn (final) vows this August, the most valuable aspect of the gathering was “the communal part – getting to see and reconnecting with my fellow brothers in formation.” He added, “It is refreshing to know that not only do we have the support of the Province through our formators, but also the support we give one another.”
Br. Jeffery Jordan, OFM, who is in his third year of graduate studies in theology, appreciated “the opportunity to get to know everyone at different levels of formation, for example, postulants speaking with the novices, novices speaking with the friars at Holy Name College. Building bonds of fraternity at this stage in one’s friar life is important to the overall fraternity and to the future of the Province.”
Br. Frank Critch, OFM, concurred with the fraternal benefits of the intersession, adding that the gathering also enabled student friars to “deepen their call to the Franciscan family through presentations, reflection and prayer.” Currently in his fourth year of graduate studies, he found sessions on the history of the Province and its current status to be “quite enlightening.” “We discussed ministries within the Province and where we are going as a Province in the future,” Br. Frank said. “It’s comforting to know that we’ll have such a strong group of men along for the ride,” added postulant Casey Cole.
The student friars shown in the large group photo are (from left to right), first row: Br. Ross Chamberland, OFM, Br. Michael Reyes, OFM, Br. Gerald Hopeck, OFM, Br. Geoffrey Muga, OFM, Br. John Aherne, OFM, Br. Frank Critch, OFM and Br. Jeffery Jordan, OFM; back row: Br. George Camacho, OFM, Br. Jeffrey Upshaw, OFM, Br. Mario Gómez-Tejerina, OFM; postulants Sergio Ferrisi, Dennis Bennett, Edgardo Jara Araya and Ramoncito Razon; and Br. Edgardo Zea Laura, OFM. Missing from photo: postulant Casey Cole and Br. Damian Park, OFM.