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Fr. Daniel Riley, O.F.M., a member of Holy Name Province, the largest community of Franciscan friars in the United States, is celebrating 50 years as a friar this summer.
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Fr. Dan has spent more than 40 years affiliated with St. Bonaventure University, one of two schools sponsored by the province. He currently serves as president and animator of Mt. Irenaeus, a Franciscan retreat community he founded in West Clarkesville more than three decades ago.
Fr. Dan graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, joined the Franciscan Order in 1965 and professed his first vows in 1966.
Originally planning to study medicine, his faith was awakened as a student at SBU.
“Early on, the friars were instrumental in my life and I grew far less interested in sciences and more involved with civil rights and social justice,” Fr. Dan said.
He studied philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and earned a master’s degree in theology from Washington Theological Union in 1968. Living in Washington during a tumultuous time in American history affected his perspective on life. He witnessed the social ministry of Martin Luther King Jr., worked at the Receiving Home for Children, and became dedicated to peacemaking.
In October 1970, on the feast of St. Francis, Fr. Dan professed his final vows as a friar and the following year was ordained a priest.
He was first assigned to St. Bonaventure in 1971 to create the university’s campus ministry program and he helped convert a maintenance garage in the center of campus into the Thomas Merton Center.
After serving as the province’s vocation director as well as other assignments in Boston, New York City, Portsmouth, N.H., and Washington between 1974 and 1979, Fr. Dan returned to St. Bonaventure to become director of the university’s vocation and campus ministry programs.
In 1984, Fr. Dan established the Franciscan retreat community Mt. Irenaeus. Located approximately 20 miles east of the campus, the Mountain was established as a place for members of the St. Bonaventure community and visitors to enjoy a quiet, natural setting while reflecting on God’s gifts. Steeped in prayer, contemplation and communal experience, Mt. Irenaeus recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
Reflecting on his life as a friar, Fr. Dan says his greatest joy has been working and living among young people at St. Bonaventure, Mt. Irenaeus and beyond.
“It has been a huge privilege to serve with young adults. I have learned and continue to learn so much from them,” Fr. Dan said. “Young people have a great disposition toward God. We all do.”
He and other friars marking their golden and silver jubilees were honored at a Mass on June 23 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City. View a story here: https://hnp.org/province-honors-14-friars-profession-anniversaries/
About Holy Name Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven entities in the United States belonging to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its nearly 300 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social ministries, as well as in overseas missions.
Information about Holy Name Province can be found on www.hnp.org. News about the friars and their ministries can be found on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.
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