While various U.S. provinces have engaged in a variety of collaborative efforts in initial formation, for the first time, they have now announced a common postulancy program for the nation. Postulancy is the entry-level experience of formation for men who embark upon the Franciscan way of life.
This past Fall, the U.S. Provincial Ministers approved a national postulancy program that will be located at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Maryland. The new program is set to begin with the next class of postulants in August 2017.
Earlier this week, February 20-22, the Secretaries for Formation and Studies from the seven U.S. provinces gathered at Holy Name College in Silver Spring to discern the first Interprovincial Postulancy Formation Team. From six friar participants, the following friars were discerned to serve on the team:
- Charley Miller, OFM (Holy Name Province)
- Walter Liss, OFM (Holy Name Province)
- Rommel Perez Flores, OFM (Sacred Heart Province)
- John Gutierrez, OFM (St. Barbara Province)
The discernment was confirmed by the Provincial Ministers and their Councils. These four friars will begin immediately to plan the program which will begin this summer at Holy Name College.
The Provincial Ministers also expressed their gratitude for the other friars who participated in the discernment: Andres Gallegos, OFM (Our Lady of Guadalupe Province), and Jerome Wolbert, OFM (Assumption BVM Province) as well as Holy Name Province for offering Holy Name College for the program.
Interprovincial Noviate to move to California
The U.S. Franciscan Provinces have been engaged in a collaborative formation effort at the level of novitiate for the last five years forming the Interprovincial Novitiate which has been located at St. Francis Friary in Burlington, Wisconsin during this time. Previously, the three mid-west provinces had a longstanding collaborative effort with a novitiate in Cedar Lake, Indiana.
After consultation with their Councils, the Provincial Ministers have accepted and approved the unanimous recommendation of their Secretaries for Formation and Studies and the current Formation Team that the Interprovincial Novitiate be moved from St. Francis Friary in Burlington, WI to Old Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, CA. The transition will take place in the summer of 2017 with the beginning of the next class of novices in August.
This move will allow for greater collaboration with the novitiates of the Capuchin and Conventual Friars who already have novitiates nearby. This possibility for greater collaboration has generated much enthusiasm.
Franciscan historian Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, Provincial Minister of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province also points out that, "Old Mission Santa Barbara serves as a living bridge between the first Franciscan friars to come to what is now the United States and the friars of today. Founded in 1786, the Franciscan community in Santa Barbara is the oldest continuous Franciscan presence in the United States. Novices in Santa Barbara will be as close as they can get to over 230 years of living Franciscan history here in the United States."
The Provincial Ministers also expressed their gratitude to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province which has provided our location for the past years in Burlington, and to St. Barbara Province for welcoming us to this next opportunity.
U.S. Provincial Ministers:
Robert Campagna, OFM, Immaculate Conception Province
David Gaa, OFM, St. Barbara Province
James Gannon, OFM, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province
Kevin Mullen, OFM, Holy Name Province
Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, Our Lady of Guadalupe Province
Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, St. John the Baptist Province
William Spencer, OFM, Sacred Heart Province