Meet our Student Friars

Men Currently in Formation

Read about the backgrounds of our men currently in formation. They are in Holy Name’s postulant, novitiate, and post-novitiate programs.

 

 

Postulants

Ian Grant

As resident of North Brunswick, NJ, Ian comes to the friars at the suggestion of his spiritual director, who recommended that he open a dialogue specifically with the Franciscans. Before beginning Postulancy, Ian worked as an office manager for the Diocese of Trenton and as a case manager at the Anchor House — an agency whose mission is to work with abused, homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth — where he helped children and teens who were deemed victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking. Ian feels a connection with the Franciscans’ life in community as they seek to bring the Church to those who need it most. He is especially inspired by the friars who, among the community they serve, walk in the footsteps of Christ in active service to the poor. In addition to his work and ministry with the diocese and Anchor House, Ian served with his parish’s RCIA and religious education teams, teaches Confirmation prep, and serves as a Eucharistic minister.

 

Loren Moreno

Born and raised in Honolulu, HI, Loren moved to New York City in 2012 to pursue further career opportunities as a journalist and writer. Baptized and raised in the Catholic Church (St. Augustine’s by the Sea in Waikiki), Loren has discovered how welcoming the Franciscans are, and he feels blessed to have fully integrated into the parish life of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan while discerning his call to the Consecrated Life. Loren first encountered the friars of Holy Name Province through the online ministries of Dan Horan, OFM, and Casey Cole, OFM, friars whom Loren admires for having the “courage to join religious life in this age.”

 

 

John Neuffer

John came to know the friars through internet research and subsequent visits to our parishes in Raleigh and Durham, NC. As regular parishioner at Holy Family Church in Hillsborough, NC, John served as a sacristan, a leader for elementary religious education, and as IT support for the parish. Before joining Postulancy, John worked professionally as a systems analyst and product manager for Fidelity Investments in Durham. After having spent some time with the friars of Holy Name Province in Raleigh/Durham, John is inspired particularly by the friars’ focus on social justice and community living. 

 

 

Richard Phillip

Richard recently completed a year of service in Camden, NJ with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry – FVM. Richard initially came to know the Friars of Holy Name Province through their ministry at St Francis Inn Ministries in Philadelphia. After working in the healthcare industry for several years, Richard has been particularly inspired by his work with the Franciscan Volunteers, with whom he serves at the Camden “Last Stop” AA/NA Club House. He also served with his parish’s youth ministry, prayer group and homeless outreach ministry (the Sandwhich Ministry). Richard is especially called to the Franciscans’ sense of community and direct service to the poor.

 

Carlos Portillo

As resident of the Silver Spring, MD, area, Carlos was introduced to the friars through his participation in the many ministries at St. Camillus Church. Before joining the Postulancy Program, Carlos worked as the food services director at Sunrise Senior Assisted Living Center. Carlos is especially attracted to the Franciscans’ social justice work, accompanying the poor — and particularly immigrants — on their journeys. Inspired by the charism of St. Francis, Carlos has considered religious life for some time and hopes to answer the question, “what does God want of me?” as he continues his discernment. 

 

Chase Lopez Wilson

Coming to us from Newell, IA, Chase found the friars of Holy Name Province through Casey Cole, OFM‘s blog, “Breaking in the Habit.” Having worked as a substitute teacher and teacher’s aid, primarily for high school special education classes, Chase enjoys soccer and golf when he is not watching an independent film or reading. Chase entered the Church in 2010 under the guidance of his college chaplain. After a particularly powerful, spiritual experience on a mission trip to Honduras, Chase felt the call to consider religious life. The simplicity of lifestyle, service to the poor, and working out in the world are the aspects of Franciscan spirituality that speak most to Chase. 

 

Steven Young

As resident of Canton, MA, Steven discovered the friars of Holy Name Province through the writings of Daniel P. Horan, OFM and the ministries at St. Anthony Shrine, in Boston. Initially attracted to the life of St. Francis, Steven finds particular inspiration in his message of simple living, kinship with the rest of creation, and peace for all people. He is also drawn to the friars’ focus on fraternity and community as part of their ministry. As an active member of St. John the Evangelist Church in Canton, Steven served on the leadership team for the young adult ministry. He also served as the Christian Education Assistant at St. Stephen’s Church in Canton as a means of exposing him to the reality of professional, ministerial work. Steven looks forward to bringing the various elements of his vocation journey together as he pursues a vocation with the friars.

 

 

Novices

 

Jason Damon

Jason graduated from St. Bonaventure University in December 2015 with his BA in history, a minor in political science, and the honor of being named the “Ideal Bonaventure Man.” He was very active in a variety of ministries on campus, participating frequently in the morning or evening prayer gatherings with the St. Bonaventure Friars. After graduation, he worked as a full-time ministerial volunteer  at Mt. Irenaeus, the Franciscan Retreat Center in West Clarksville, NY. At his home parish of St. Joseph’s in Holland, NY, Jason worked on the liturgy committee and served the Church as a Knight of Columbus and as a member of the Secular Franciscan Order. He learned about the Friars through his time at St. Bonaventure University and is deeply inspired by the Friars he has met there. He desires a life and vocation with meaning, “to wake up every day with the goal of helping people.”

 

Troy Hillman

Troy graduated from St. Bonaventure University (SBU) in May 2015 with a BA in Theology and a concentration in philosophy. In 2016, Troy worked with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, rooted in Camden, NJ, where he was very active with both the Franciscans and the Franciscan parish there. While a student at SBU, Troy remained an active member of university ministries and led a variety of Franciscan retreats, focusing on raising awareness of environmental care. In addition to working for St. Bonaventure University’s Library, he ministered at The Warming House in Olean, NY – thought to be the oldest student-run soup kitchen in the nation. Troy is predominantly attracted to the Franciscans’ community way of life and direct service ministry opportunities. “The Franciscan message truly captures the heart of the Gospel,” says Troy, who says he enjoys “sharing the love of Christ with the world.”

 

James La Grutta

James worked with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry in Camden, NJ, where he served with fellow Novice Troy Hillman throughout 2016. James came to know the Franciscans of Holy Name Province through his time as a student at Siena College, where he earned his bachelors in political science in May 2011. James is most inspired by the Friars’ direct work with the poor and disenfranchised, particularly in a fraternal setting. “I have always experienced a strong sense of welcome and compassion when encountering the Franciscan Community,” says James, “and I have always felt right at home” with the Friars.

 

 

Domingo Martinez

Most recently a senior writer and researcher for AFL-CIO, Domingo received his BA in religion from Dartmouth College followed by an Masters in Theological Studies from Vanderbilt Divinity. As an active parishioner at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Washington DC, he served on the Faith Formation Committee and with the Young Adult Ministry. Attracted to St. Francis’ emphasis on poverty and the spirituality of the Incarnation, Domingo remains a sincere man open to sharing his life, his struggles, his joys, and his deep understanding of God and theology. Domingo found Holy Name Province through internet research. After working with the HNP Friars in previous years, Domingo is excited to be joining his fellow postulants this year as he continues his discernment journey.

 

Luis Rosado

Equipped with a professional background in paramedics and having worked for Essex County in New Jersey as an EMT, Luis received his associate’s degree in criminal justice from the School of Criminal Justice in Gurabo, Puerto Rico, after receiving his certification in emergency medicine from Ponce Technical School in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Before moving to the Orlando, FL, area, Luis Manuel remained an active parishioner at St. Aloysius Church in Newark, NJ, where he served as a maintenance worker and sacristan. Luis volunteered to be a medical assistant after the Haiti earthquake by attending to patients, delivering babies, and assisting in the emergency room. Luis learned about Holy Name Province through online research and is attracted to the Franciscans because of their ministerial outreach and their fraternal community spirit.

 

Friars in Post-Novitiate Formation

Jim Bernard, OFM

Jim earned his graduate degree in banking and finance at Stonier Graduate School of Banking after earning his bachelor’s in financial planning at Grove City College. Prior to his acceptance to the HNP Postulancy program, Jim worked for the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he served as vice president and director of member services operations. Jim served as an active member of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where he served as a Eucharistic minister and lector five times a week, was a member of the RCIA team, and was a regular volunteer with the Franciscans Deliver ministry. Connected closely to the friars at 31st Street and their ministries and prayer life, Jim is eager to begin the Postulancy Program and deepen his understanding of the friars and the multi-faceted ministries throughout the Province.

 

Nicholas Carbuto, OFM

Nick earned his bachelor’s of music for music education K-12 from LIU Post in 2011. In 2014, he received his certificate in sound, voice, and music healing from the Cal- ifornia Institute of Integral Studies. Before being accepted to the Postulancy Program, he worked as an Activities Aide at the Grand Pavilion in Rockville Center, NY, and he has a strong background working as a chorus teacher and as a professional choir singer. He served as a member of St Andrew the Apostle Byzantine Catholic Church in Westbury, NY. He came to know the Franciscans through interaction with the friars of St. Barbara Province during his time in California last year, and upon his return to New York he connected with Holy Name Province and the Vocation Office. Drawn to the diversity of ministry in Franciscan life, Nick is especially inspired by the Franciscan spirit of direct service in relationship to the poor and marginalized.

 

Steven Kuehn, OFM

Born in Annapolis, MD, Steve served our country in the U.S. Navy and earned his bachelor’s in systems engineering at the United States Naval Academy followed by his master’s in business administration at the University of Maryland. Steve has worked as a flight student, navy aviator, disclosure analyst, and catapult officer with the Navy. As a member of St. Brigid’s Parish in San Diego, CA, he was active in a variety of ministries: packaging meals with Sacred Heart Coronado, Neighbors in Need with St. Brigid, Young Adult ministries, Bible Study, prayer groups, and Connection to Christ small groups. He learned about Holy Name Province from a friar’s blog and is drawn “first and foremost [to] the fraternity and brotherhood of the friars in imitating and serving the Lord through the example set forward by St. Francis”.

 

Adolfo Navarro, OFM

Hailing from Costa Rica, Adolfo studied philosophy at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin and the Universidad de Costa Rica in the late 1990s. In 2011, he earned his bachelor’s degree in French followed by a master’s degree in French and Language Teaching from the Universidad La Salle. Adolfo has worked as both a French teacher and a nursing assistant. Adolfo attended St. Thomas Aquinas Church in St. Cloud, Florida, where he sang with the choir and served as lector. Adolfo spent three years at the Carthusian Monastery “Mira Flores” in Burgos, Spain, before he discerned that his calling to the consecrated life was not with a monastic group. Aldolfo is excited to be joining the Postulancy Program and continuing his journey to the consecrated life. Adolfo is particularly drawn to the Holy Name Province of Franciscans because of their “ministry and compassion for the poor, the infirmed and the outcast of society”.

 

Aaron Richardson, OFM

Aaron, a native of Long Beach, Calif., has a degree from George Mason University in Virginia, where he was active in the young adult charismatic group and served as a youth minister at his parish in Arlington, Va. Before entering the program, Aaron worked in human resources for a large consulting firm.

 

 

 

 

Angel Vazquez, OFM

Angel, a native of Staten Island, N.Y., graduated from Siena College. While working as an admissions counselor there, he completed his master’s degree in school counseling at nearby Sage Graduate School. He moved to Tampa, Fla., and worked as a high school guidance counselor before applying to join the program.

 

 

 

 

Javier Del Angel de los Santos, OFM

Born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico, Javier graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in communication. He received his Master’s Degree in Communication and Socio-cultural Studies at ITESO. He worked for thirteen years in the corporate world in the fields of organizational development, change management and coaching in Mexico, U.S.A., Canada, and South Korea. In 2010, he spent a year in Israel and Italy studying biblical archeology, exegesis and theology. That same year, he also founded The Center for Biblical Studies “Xaire” in Mexico City. The Center was dedicated to the researching of, teaching and training in biblical sciences. Javier came to HNP in 2013. Javier is currently working toward a Master of Arts in Theology with a concentration in Biblical studies. As a student friar, Javier continues to pursue his passion for Biblical studies: he founded the Bible Study Group for the Hispanic-Latino Community at St. Camillus Parish, in Silver Spring, MD. He also travels giving biblical workshops, lectures, conferences, and he writes a weekly biblical commentary on the Sunday Gospel, focusing on the interaction between faith and social action.

 

Abel Garcia, OFM

A native of La Unión, El Salvador, Abel came to the U.S. in 2000. Prior to entering initial formation, he resided in Durham, N.C., where he worked in merchandise stocking and shipping. As a parishioner of Immaculate Conception Church, Abel coordinated a young adults group, served as a lector and assisted with baptismal liturgies.Drawing from his experience with the friars in Durham, Abel says, “What I like most about them is the way they live and how they share with the community. I believe they are an example of simple living and dedication to others.” He joined the Order to be “100% at the service of others,” and brings with him a love and passion for social ministry.

 

Christian Seno, OFM

A native of Cebu in the Philippines, Christian moved to Mississauga, Canada, as a child and relocated to New Jersey in 1992. Graduating from Cooper Union in New York City in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, he worked in the fields of visual merchandising and store design for several luxury and fashion brands in Manhattan before entering initial formation.Christian got to know the friars by attending Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Manhattan, where he became involved in RCIA, a youth group and a program that delivers groceries to the homebound. He seeks to become a Franciscan to “model my life in St. Francis’ example, to live life according to the Gospel, in complete love and service to His people.”

 

Casey Cole, OFM

Casey grew up in Lancaster, Pa. In 2011, he earned a bachelor’s degree in religious studies with a minor in poverty studies from Furman University in Greenville, S.C. While a student at Furman, he was active in campus ministry and Club Baseball.He got to know the friars by participating in a spirituality group at the university led by Fr. Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor of nearby St. Anthony of Padua Church, and spend a summer at the parish as an intern. Of the experience, Casey says, “Communal life offered a joy and challenge that rejuvenated me after a full day’s work, and fulfilled me more that I could have imagined.” He also spent a summer volunteering at St. Francis Inn, a soup kitchen in Philadelphia, Pa., run by the friars.Casey is a master’s student in divinity at The Catholic University of America, and teaches faith formation classes at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., preparing high school boys for confirmation.

 

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Abraham Joseph, OFM

Abraham was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He came to the U.S. in 2000, and completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Monroe College in the Bronx. Prior to entering formation, Abraham worked as an accountant at the September 11th Families Association in Manhattan.Getting to know the friars at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in Manhattan, where he was a Eucharistic minister, server and RCIA sponsor, Abraham was impressed by the way they ministered to people in need. “The friars are always sensitive about dignifying the human being. By their work, they are making the world a better place. They are continuing the work of Jesus Christ.”

 

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Ramon Razon, OFM

Originally from the Philippines, Ramon graduated from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in development in 2001, and completed a master’s degree in teaching of English from Columbia University in Manhattan in 2007. Before joining the friars, he was an instructor at the Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders in Brooklyn, N.Y.Ramon entered formation after getting to know the friar community at St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Manhattan. He says, “I needed a community of brothers to help me come up with my best response to love Jesus back.”In his first year of a master’s program in pastoral and spiritual care at Loyola University in Baltimore, Md., Ramon serves as assistant art teacher at the St. Franciscan International School in Silver Spring, Md. He would like to “work with the poor and be in places where opportunities for the least and vulnerable are scarce.”

 

Why I Chose the Franciscans

Hear some of our friars speak about why they decided to become a Franciscan.

Daniel Horan, OFM

 

Cidouane Joseph, OFM

 

Erick Lopez, OFM

 

Paul O’Keeffe, OFM

Reflections of Friars in Training

 

Br. Casey Cole, OFM, who recently professed his Solemn Vows, focuses on his studies and honing his ministerial skills in “Breaking in the Habit.”

 

Learn About Our Student Friars

Read about the backgrounds of our men currently in formation. They are in Holy Name’s postulant, novitiate and post-novitiate programs.

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