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

Michael Cerretti

Michael Cerretti

A native of North Carolina, Michael graduated from NC State University with his Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Business Administration. As a member of St. Andrew the Apostle parish in Apex, NC, Michael served as a “faith buddy” for a special needs child and taught faith formation at the parish’s elementary school. Having discovered the friars through YouTube and the Diocese of Raleigh’s vocations webpage, Michael has enjoyed the opportunity to know the friars of Holy Name Province, and especially the St. Francis community in Raleigh. He is inspired by the friars’ humble and prayerful service and their strong and vibrant ministerial commitments. “From my first encounter with the Friars, every encounter has been extremely life-giving,” said Michael.

Jason Damon

Jason Damon

Coming to us from a full-time ministerial volunteer position at Mt. Irenaeus, the Franciscan Retreat Center in West Clarksville, NY, 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. 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 Hillman

Troy graduated from St. Bonaventure University (SBU) in May 2015 with a BA in Theology and a concentration in philosophy. Troy recently completed a year 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 La Grutta

James recently completed a year with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry in Camden, NJ, where he served with fellow postulant Troy Hillman. 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

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 Manuel Rosado

Luis Manuel 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.

Novices

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.

 

Nick 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.

 

Steve 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”.

 

 

Friars in Post-Novitiate Formation

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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

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

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_hs

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.

 

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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.”

 

Dennis Bennett

Dennis Bennett, OFM

A Rhode Islander, Dennis was born in Newport and raised in Bristol. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Rhode Island College in Providence in 2008. After completing his master’s in chemistry from Florida State University in Tallahassee in 2010, he returned to Rhode Island College as an adjunct professor in the department of physical sciences.Meeting the friars at St. Mary Church in Providence, Dennis was attracted to “the emphasis on fraternity and the wide range of ministries that Franciscans undertake.”A first year student at The Catholic University of America working toward a master of divinity degree, Dennis helps out with catechetical classes, bible study and group faith formation at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md. He is interested in the field of higher education and would like to work directly with the poor and marginalized.

 

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.

 

Joseph Abraham_hs

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

Follow two men as they discern their vocations and journey through formation to friar life.

Entering formation, Daniel Beckham describes making the transition to community life, and his travels throughout the province, in his blog “Detour to Holiness.”

Br. Casey Cole, OFM, in his third year of formation, 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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