SILVER SPRING, Md. – A group of men from diverse cultural, educational and employment backgrounds was welcomed into the 2019-20 postulancy program last month by provincial ministers, vocation directors, and friars.

The postulancy is the first step of Franciscan formation. It is a time when a man lives with friars and discerns whether he wishes to continue to the novitiate at the end of the year.

The 14 postulants, ages 22 to 45, were accepted into the program at an Aug. 22 ceremony held at the Holy Name College chapel here.​

The new class of Franciscan postulants with the friars who will serve as their formators, (l-r) Friars Charley Miller, Rommel Pérez, Walter Liss, and John Gutiérrez. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Portillo)

The postulants have “a wonderful diversity, “ according to Friar Charley Miller, OFM, a member of the postulancy leadership team. “They come from several Christian traditions, and a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds,” he said.

The provincial ministers bless the new postulants. (Photo courtesy of Carlos Portillo)

In his homily based on Jeremiah and Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus, Holy Name Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, reminded the new postulants that their Franciscan call builds on their core vocation as baptized Christians.  He said that it “doesn’t separate us from other Christians, but calls us to stand with them and for them.”

Charley said that Kevin pointed out that the postulants’ future as friars would be quite different from what existed in the past and what currently exists, and that they would not be alone as builders of that future Church and Order.

After the ceremony, the new postulants each were asked to proclaim a single word that, for them, sums up the meaning of Francis.  Descriptions included “radical,” “peace,” “joyful,” “disciple,” “helper,” “universal,” “devoted,” “compassion” and “fraternity,” according to Charley.

Three of the newly-welcomed postulants led the music liturgy, and the celebration ended with 40 voices strongly and passionately singing “We Are Called.”

The 2019-20 postulants are:

Timothy Amburgey

Timothy Amburgey

Tim, 44, is from Lynchburg, Ohio. He attended Southern State Community College in Hillsboro, Ohio, and came to know the friars by seeing a yard sign inviting men to become friars at St. Anthony Shrine.

John Dement

John Dement

John, 39, is fromTulsa, Oklahoma, where he worked as a crane operator for a construction company. He found the friars by searching websites.

Kevin Hamzik

Kevin Hamzik

Kevin, 22, is from Broadview Heights, Ohio, and graduated from St. Bonaventure University.

Patrick McPhee

Patrick McPhee

Patrick, 38, is from Syracuse, New York. He did his undergraduate studies at NYU in New York City and attended graduate school in San Francisco. While living in New Mexico, he got to know the friars and their ministries, which led him to apply to be a friar.

Leo Phillips

Leo Phillips

Leo, 42, is from San Francisco, California.

William Compton

William Compton

William, 25, is fromTampa, Florida. He is graduate of Pepin Academy in Tampa and came to know the friars because the late Friar Rock Travnikar, OFM, was a friend of his family.

Tyler Grudi

Tyler Grudi

Tyler, 21, is from Hershey, Pennsylvania, and is a St. Bonaventure University graduate.

James Kernan

James Kernan

Jimmy, 21, is from Syracuse, New York, and is a St. Bonaventure University graduate.

Chukwuma Raphael Obadike

Chukwuma Raphael Obadike

Chukwuma, 23, is from New Jersey and studied at University of Port Harcourt. He served in the Franciscan Volunteer Minister in Durham, North Carolina.

Daniel Samsel

Daniel Samsel

Daniel, 26, is from Brecksville, Ohio and graduated from Walsh University, in Cleveland, Ohio. He met the friars: though browsing online.

Daniel Cruz

Daniel Cruz

Daniel, 28, is from Atlanta, Georgia, and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina.

Juan Luis Guerrero

Juan Luis Guerrero

Juan Luis, 39, is from Los  Angeles, California, where he graduated from Santa Barbara Community College. Juan Luis met the friars at the Anaheim Religious Education Congress in 2016.

Phillip McCarter

Phillip McCarter

Phillip, 28, is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is graduate of Elder High School there. He connected with the friars through Vocations Placement Services.

Joan Perez

Joan Perez

Joan, 31, is from San Jose, California where he attended Evergreen College. He sas a parishioner at Our lady of Guadalupe Parish  in San Jose while Friar Javier Reyes, OFM, was pastor

In addition to Kevin, other provincial minister participants at the ceremony included Friar Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, Friar James Gannon, OFM, of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province, and Friar Mark Soehner, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province.

In addition to Charley, the postulant team comprises Friar John Gutiérrez, OFM, of St. Barbara Province; Friar Walter Liss, OFM, of Holy Name Province; and Friar Rommel Pérez, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province.

Earlier in August, 11 men were received into the Franciscan Novitiate, the phase of Franciscan formation that follows postulancy.

Jim McIntosh
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Jim McIntosh

Director, US Franciscans Communications at US Franciscans
A former missionary to Perú and Bolivia, I am now working half-time at a parish in New Jersey and half-time as webmaster for US Franciscans.
Jim McIntosh
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