SILVER SPRING, Maryland — “‘Jesus said to his disciples,’ and to us, ‘Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.’ Jesus might have said that you do not know the day, but I know it. That day was yesterday, and today, and tomorrow.”
With these words, Franciscan Provincial Minister Jack Clark Robinson OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, exhorted the 12 men entering the postulancy program of six US Franciscan Provinces, on Thursday, August 30, here.
Friar Jack went on to spell out the challenges which the postulants will face: “individual challenges, individual affirmations, meant for you and for you alone….[and] the challenges that we face together. They come in your community here, among the friars of the six provinces, and in the Church in our world.”
The group which will face those challenges are a diverse gathering of ages, backgrounds, and places of origin:
Fritz Newburger, 22, comes from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Joshua Richter, 21, comes from Hamilton Ohio.
Bruce Tran, 29. Originally from Vietnam, Bruce comes from Los Angeles, California.
Gino Grivetti, 21, is from Peoria, Illinois.
José de Jesús Osorio
Josè de Jesús Osorio, 26, is originally from Mexico and comes to the friars from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Daniel Samsel, 26, is from Cleveland Ohio.
Carlos Wagner, 39, is originally from Cali, Colombia, and more recently, New York City, New York.
Adolfo R. Mercado, 44, is from Sacramento, California.
Neil Pavao, 22, is from Douglas, Georgia.
Michael Specht, 24, is from St. Bonaventure, New York. Michael worked for one year as a Franciscan lay volunteer in Camden, New Jersey.
Zach Zeman, 23, from Elgin, Illinois
These men bring a variety of educational preparation: business management, theology, philosophy, anthropology, education, language study, environmental science, global studies. They come to the friars through contact with the Franciscans in their families and parishes, as well as other religious.
The new postulants were welcomed at a Eucharist which was attended by the local friar-community at Holy Name College, friars from other communities, and the Franciscan lay volunteers based in Silver Spring.
Friar Jack included in his homily a far-reaching prediction for the postulants: “You will, God grant, make solemn profession of vows, five, six or more years from now, into a province not yet born.”
“But our challenge and the hard work that we must do together before your day of solemn profession is to bring that new province into being, by offering our best selves—the best Franciscans each of us can be individually; offering the best of our inheritance from our six mothers (now there is a thought—six mothers!) and offering the best of our dreams, which is where you are so very important, to make that…truly a new sign of the power of God at work to change our world.”
As part of the ceremony, the new postulants were presented with a symbol of the Franciscans, the Tau cross. A friar who just professed his first vows as a Franciscan, Friar Luis Rosado OFM, made the Tau crosses by hand.