“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, OLG Provincial Minister Jack Clark Robinson exhorted the 12 men entering the postulancy program of six U.S. Franciscan Provinces on Aug. 30 in Silver Spring, Md. Jack went on to spell out the challenges 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:
• Edgar Alberto (HNP), 27, comes from El Salvador and more recently, Durham, N.C.
• Gino Grivetti (SH), 21, Peoria, Ill.
• Adolfo R. Mercado (SB), 44, Sacramento, Calif.
• Fritz Newburger (ABVM), 22, New Orleans, La.
• Josè de Jesús Osorio (OLG), 26, Mexico, and more recently, Albuquerque, N.M.
• Neil Pavao (SH), 22, Douglas, Ga.
• Joshua Richter (SJB), 21, Hamilton, Ohio
• Daniel Samsel (ABVM), 26, Cleveland, Ohio
• Michael Specht (HNP), 24, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.
• Bruce Tran (SB), 29, Los Angeles, Calif.
• Carlos Wagner (HNP), 39, Cali, Colombia, and more recently, New York City, N.Y.
• Zack Zeman (ABVM), 23, from Elgin, Ill.
They 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 in Silver Spring, friars from the six collaborating provinces, and Franciscan lay volunteers also based there.
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.”