By Fr. Dominic Monti, OFM
Following a decision by the Provincial Council at its June meeting, the postulancy program, or first stage of initial formation to friar life, has moved to Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Maryland. The postulant program, once known as the “affiliate program,” had been located at St. Paul’s Friary in Wilmington, Del., for the past three years.
A Vibrant Fraternal Community
The primary motivation for the move was the desire to create a more vibrant fraternal community for the men in both the postulant and post-novitiate, or final, stages of initial formation. With the addition of the postulants, Holy Name College will be a larger community, providing greater peer support for men at all levels of formation, as well as assuring a variety of talents for a richer fraternal life.
According to Fr. Thomas Conway, OFM, guardian of Holy Name College, eight friars in the post-novitiate stage reside at Holy Name College. Vocation director Fr. Brian Smail, OFM, reports that they have been joined by seven new postulants. In addition, postulant Wilmer Garcia will return for his second year in the program to continue studying English. The Postulant director Fr. Ronald Pecci, OFM, worked with Fr. Tom to assure a smooth transition, and to coordinate schedules and policies for the house.
“An Amazing Opportunity for Further Discernment”
The Postulant year is also known as a “year of discernment,” as men continue to consider their vocation in a supportive environment under the guidance of a formation director. During the year, the postulants experience living in community among a diverse group of men at various levels of formation. They enter into the rhythm of Franciscan fraternal life with daily prayer, Eucharist, common meals, and recreation.
The program also offers retreats and workshops, and each man engages in a ministry that helps build the skills necessary for a life of service to others. Finally, the postulants travel throughout the province to learn more about the great variety of ministries which the province supports.
Vocation Director Fr. Brian Smail, OFM, says, “This is a year which offers men an amazing opportunity for further discernment. The program is designed to give men a profound experience of Franciscan life which enables them to consider God’s call in the context of fraternal living.”
Holy Name College is also home to an international community of Franciscans, as friars from around the world come for a variety of programs of studies. This past year alone, friars from countries as diverse as Brazil, Korea, Kenya, and Vietnam were in residence.
This posting is adapted from an article that originally appeared in the July 3, 2013 edition of HNP Today, the Province’s bi-weekly e-newsletter.