The Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province form the largest of the seven provinces belonging to the worldwide Order of Friars Minor (OFM) in the United States. Since our founding in 1901, we have continued St. Francis's mission to make the Gospel message alive in our contemporary world.
Only eight years after St. Francis’ band of “lesser brothers,” or Friars Minor, received papal approval in 1209, its rapid growth led the friars to form regional units, or provinces. Today, the Order of Friars Minor comprises more than 100 provinces, generally defined by political or linguistic boundaries.
Although all Franciscans form one worldwide brotherhood, a friar’s primary “home” is his province. A province forms a network of friars grouped in local fraternities (friaries) that provide him a base of common prayer and personal belonging, as well as a variety of ministries through which he brings the Gospel to the world.
Holy Name Province is the largest of the seven OFM provinces in the United States. Our ministries are primarily located along the Eastern Seaboard, with some located overseas.
We trace our roots back to Franciscan missionaries who arrived in the Eastern U.S. in the mid 1800s to minister to a flood of European immigrants. In 1855, our founder, Fr. Pamfilo da Magliano, OFM, and three other Italian friars came to Western New York where they founded St. Bonaventure College. Twenty years later, friars from Germany, led by Fr. Francis Koch, OFM, fleeing persecution in their native land, settled in Paterson, N.J. In 1901, these early foundations were regrouped and Holy Name Province was established.
More than a century later, we are now the largest of seven OFM provinces in the United States. Based in New York City, we have friaries located throughout the East Coast. Individual friars also serve in various other U.S. locations and as missionaries in South America and Asia, mostly working with other Franciscan entities.
Holy Name Province has long been characterized by the wide diversity of our ministries and a talent for innovative service. We serve the people of God through many different apostolic ministries: parishes, schools, seminaries, campus ministry, and urban ministry centers and service churches; chaplaincies, communications, missions, retreat centers and other preaching ministries; services and shelters for the homeless, hungry and mentally ill; “come home” programs for alienated Catholics; and ministry to persons with AIDs.
Today, our priorities are these: to empower lay leadership both within and outside of the Catholic Church; to advocate for the vulnerable, promoting justice and peace; and to reach out to those who are alienated from the Church or society.