By Jocelyn Thomas Director of Communications, Holy Name Province
POMPTON LAKES, N.J. — Fr. Frank R. Sevola, O.F.M., a Franciscan priest associated with Holy Name Province based in New York City, pastor of St. Mary’s Parish in Pompton Lakes, and a member of St. Bonaventure University's Board of Trustees, celebrated 25 years as a friar in June.
Sevola, who has dedicated his ministry almost exclusively to parish work, has ministered at churches in New York City, Hartford, Conn., and Providence, R.I.
As a young friar, he was drawn to the urban ministry setting and spent his first two years at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in Hartford, when the friars began staffing the parish in 1990.
“Urban ministry settings are usually ‘set’ in the middle of the city where there are wider opportunities for different kinds of city ministry than a suburban parish. There are usually diverse things going on, and it is easy for us to tap into that,” he said.
While his current assignment as pastor of the large St. Mary’s Parish in northern New Jersey is in the suburbs, it has a lot of the same characteristics of urban ministry, he said. The parish, where Sevola has ministered since last year, supports many kinds of ministries, including a vibrant school.
“We’re a large suburban parish and, in some ways, the same as an urban ministry. We draw a diverse group of people. The ministry is challenging, open and welcoming, just like it was in Providence," he said.
Sevola grew up in Fredonia in Western New York, and graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 1982 with a degree in history. Even as a child, his thoughts were of becoming a priest, but his parents, Frank and Rosemary, encouraged him to attend a liberal arts college to see if he still felt called to the priesthood.
After completing his philosophy requirements at St. Bonaventure and attending Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C., Sevola was ordained in 1991 in Silver Spring, Md. He spent 1994 to 1995 as assistant director of vocations for the province at its New York office before taking a leave of absence. In 1998, he obtained a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix, where he lived at the time.
When he returned to life as a friar, Sevola was assigned back to Hartford, where he stayed until 2002. He was then assigned to St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., where he was guardian and executive director. He stayed in Providence through 2011, where he also served as pastor of St. Mary’s Parish.
He frequently returns to St. Bonaventure and to Western New York, where his parents still live.
A cooking enthusiast who likes to experiment with recipes, he enjoys making meals at the friary. He also enjoys reading and biking.
Sevola was honored with other 2012 friars celebrating anniversaries at the province’s jubilee Mass on June 21 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Midtown Manhattan.
About Holy Name Province
Holy Name Province is the largest of seven provinces in the United States that belong to the Order of Friars Minor. With ministries in 12 states along the East Coast, its nearly 350 Catholic priests and brothers serve in colleges, parishes, urban ministry centers and a wide variety of social ministries, as well as in overseas missions. The Order, founded in 1209 by St. Francis of Assisi, commemorated its 800th anniversary in 2009. Today, St. Francis, whose feast day is Oct. 4, remains one of the most widely known saints, revered for his affection for nature and care for creation. 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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