The friars of our province include several milestone dates joyfully celebrated throughout the year. Of course our friars love to celebrate birthdays with their confreres, friends and relatives, but also included are friar’s Names Days. These two dates are noted and remembered during community prayers in each friary, each day.
While most people celebrate their own birthdays and there even some who celebrate the Saint’s Feast Days for whom their parents named them, our friars celebrate the day honoring the Saints whose names THEY chose for themselves. “Back in the day,” a friar had to choose a name held by no other friar of his province. For the past several decades, friars have had choice if he wanted to keep his given name, append his given name, or change his name completely. One of our younger friars, Fr. Maximilian Avila, OFM Conv. changed his given name of Moises, in honor of St. Maximilian M. Koble, OFM Conv. The friars of our province remember him during community prayers, each August 14th.
During each friary’s community prayer, the friars also celebrate, with special prayers of remembrance, all of the friars of our province who have gone before them, on the anniversaries of the day they met Sister Death. Profession and Ordinations Anniversaries are more celebration held dear by individual friars., but in the year a friar becomes a Jubilarians (year 25, 40, 50, 60, 65, 70, 75 and the like) , those special anniversary dates are celebrated by all of the friars, as well. These friars are also celebrated once a year, as a group, during a special Jubilarian Mass (for 2020 – November 13th).
Each friar of our province has the opportunity to be celebrated as Simple Profession Jubilarians. All of our friars profess Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. The first time they give themselves over to the Order by professing these vows is called their Simple (aka Temporary or First) Profession. This date is one of the most dear in the hearts of our friars. Although not a steadfast rule, for decades Simple Professions traditionally took place in August – generally on or around the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That no longer is the case, as these next generations of friars will profess whenever their year and a day, in the Novitiate ends. For now, August is still a big month of celebrations for our friars. This year, our province celebrates twenty-two living friars as Profession Jubilarians. Most of them celebrated this milestone this past weekend.
Friar Vencent Lachendro, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1955)
Friar Edward Costello, OFM Conv. (August 16, 1955)
Friar Richard Rossell, OFM Conv. (August 16, 1955)
Friar Hilary Brzostowski, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1960)
Friar Romuald Meogrossi, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1960)
Friar Nicholas Swiatek, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1960)
Friar Charles Jagodzinski, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1960)
Friar Stephen Merrigan, OFM Conv. (September 24, 1960 – Feast of Our Lady of Ransom)
Friar Tomas Reist, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1970)
Friar Vincent Gluc, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1970)
Friar Raphael Zwolenkiewicz, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1970)
Friar Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1970)
Friar Michael Sajda, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1970)
Friar Joseph Dorniak, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1970)
Friar Brian Newbigging, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1970)
Friar James Moore, OFM Conv. (August 16, 1970)
Friar Tom Purcell, OFM Conv. (August 16, 1970)
Friar Douglas McMillan, OFM Conv. (August 16, 1970)
Friar Tomas Lavin, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1980)
Friar Michael Martin, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1980)
Friar Michael Englert, OFM Conv. (August 15, 1980)
Friar Gary Johnson, OFM Conv. (August 5, 1995)
Br. Jim Moore, OFM Conv., one of our 50 year Profession Jubilarians, published this reflection on his years as a Franciscan Friar Conventual:
“50 years ago today (August 16th), I professed my first vows as a Conventual Franciscan Brother. God has been so very good to me! I am so thankful for all of the many people I have met and ministered to over those years … and so grateful for how they have ministered to me … my former students, friars in formation, FrancisCorps volunteers, student ministers, and of course my Franciscan Sisters and Brothers. Thank you! And thank you too to my family who has supported me with much love, support and concern along the way. To you all I promise you my continued support and prayers as well. I pray ‘enlighten my heart oh God and give me correct faith, certain hope, perfect charity sense and knowledge so I might continue to do your holy and true will.’ Amen!!”
(Pictured with two student friars of our province, currently in their Apostolic Year)
For more information on Life as a Franciscan Friar Conventual, contact our Province Vocation Director:
Br. Nicholas Romeo, OFM Conv.
1359 Monroe Street NE
Washington, DC 20017