The Franciscan Friars of the Atonement will host their Atonement Franciscan Assembly, March 7-11, at Graymoor, their motherhouse in Garrison, N.Y., convening experts in ecumenical, pastoral and social ministries and members of their global religious community to discuss the future of the Society of the Atonement and its charism of “At-One-Ment.” The assembly comes in response to Pope Francis’ call for a “Synod on Synodality,” a two-year process of listening and dialogue exploring the life and the mission of the Catholic Church, and it will culminate with a formal presentation of the meeting’s conclusions to His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, for submission to the Office of the Synod at the Vatican in Rome.
“The Atonement Franciscan Assembly will celebrate the Friars, Sisters, Tertiaries and lay collaborators that form the Society of the Atonement and embody our charism of ‘At-One-Ment’ by bringing hope, healing and harmony to the world,” said V. Rev. Father Brian F. Terry, SA, Minister General of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement. “It is also our community’s response to the Holy Father’s call for synods ‘allowing people to talk so that the wisdom of God will come forth,’ and we welcome the many respected leaders in our core areas of ministry that will join with us to contemplate our future and who God is calling us to be.”
The Future of Ecumenical Ministry, March 7-8
Servant of God Father Paul Wattson, SA, and Mother Lurana White, SA, founded the Society of the Atonement in 1898 to help bring about “At-One-Ment” – the reconciliation of Christians and their churches and unity in fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer “that all may be one” – and have been called New York’s own Francis and Clare for their efforts. In January 1908, they observed the first Church Unity Octave, now celebrated annually as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity by Christians worldwide. Today the Friars continue to promote Christian unity and interreligious dialogue through their global ministries, which include Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute in New York City and Centro Pro Unione in Rome.
An ecumenical worship service will herald the start of the assembly on Monday, March 7, at 4 p.m., and on Tuesday, March 8, the work of the assembly will begin by exploring the future of the Society’s ecumenical ministry. The day will feature a keynote address from Father David Couturier, OFM Cap., a noted Franciscan scholar and author and Dean of the School of Franciscan Studies at St. Bonaventure University. A panel discussion will follow, led by Aaron Hollander, Ph.D., Associate Director of Graymoor Ecumenical and Interreligious Institute and Vice President of the North American Academy of Ecumenists. Panelists will include Father Walter Kedjierski, Executive Director of the Secretariat of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Margaret Rose, Deputy to the Presiding Bishop for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, The Episcopal Church; and Nathan Smith, Director of Catholic-Evangelical Relations at Glenmary Home Missioners.
The Future of Social Ministry, March 9
The morning of Wednesday, March 9, will focus on the future of the Society’s social ministry in the area of addiction treatment and recovery, in particular the role of spirituality, innovative treatment models, critical gaps in treatment and the role and impact of community-based agencies. The discussion will be co-moderated by James Schiller, Ph.D., Executive Director of St. Christopher’s Inn, the Society’s addiction recovery ministry at Graymoor, and Connie Wille, Chief Executive Officer of Champlain Valley Family Center. Panelists include Robert A. Kent, General Counsel of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy; John A. Darin, President and CEO of NADAP (National Association for Drug Abuse Problems); Wilfredo Morel, Vice President of Immigrant Health at Sun River Health; and Tom Caracciola, Housing Program Supervisor at Champlain Valley Family Center.
The Future of Pastoral Ministry, March 9
The afternoon of March 9 will focus on the future of the Society’s pastoral ministry and will begin with a message from Father James Mallon, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, founder of the Divine Renovation Ministry and author of the best-selling book Divine Renovation: Bringing Your Parish from Maintenance to Mission. The session will feature a forum led by Andrew D’Angelo, Executive Director of the Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center at Graymoor. Panelists will include Deacon Thomas Rich, TSA, Vocation Director of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement; Joy Pellegrino, Spiritual Director and Art Therapist at the Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center; and Brother Paul Roach, a professed Tertiary candidate in the Society of the Atonement, who ministers at the Chapel of Our Savior, the Friars’ parish in Brockton, Mass.
The Future and Formation, March 10
On Thursday, March 10, Sister Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., former President of St. Bonaventure University and a noted scholar on Franciscan history and spirituality, will give a keynote address on formation and the future of religious life. A panel discussion will follow, led by Deacon Thomas Rich, TSA, Vocation Director of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, and Paul Lipowski, Ed.D., Vice President and Special Advisor of the Partners in Franciscan Ministries.
Statement and Presentation of the “Mind of the Meeting” to Cardinal Dolan, March 11
On Friday, March 11, the “mind of the meeting” – the fruit of the week’s discussion and reflection – will be presented to His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, for submission to the Office of the Synod at the Vatican in Rome on behalf of the Archdiocese of New York. The assembly then will conclude with a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dolan.
The 2022 Atonement Franciscan Assembly will take place at Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel, also known as Pilgrim Hall, located on the 400-acre campus of Graymoor in Garrison, N.Y. To register, please visit here.