From left to right:  Ian T., Fr. Brian Terry, SA, Michael H., Philip Santiano, Fr. Jim Loughran, SA, and Bro. Paolo Nicosia, SA.

“I very much enjoyed the time with the Brothers Christopher, time to be alone in nature, and I greatly enjoyed the conversations with the Friars.  Fr. Brian and Fr. Jim had perspectives and knowledge that were very useful and helpful,” commented Michael H. of Manhattan, one of three men who participated in the Friars’ October 18-21 “Come & Discern Vocation Retreat.”  Philip Santiano from Boston area and Ian T. from southern New Jersey were the other participants.

The biannual Come & Discern Vocation Retreat is for men exploring a call to become a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement. Participants spend time with Friars, learn about the history and charisms of the Friars of the Atonement, and experience Friars’ ministries.  A first-hand experience of a key Friars’ ministry included a powerful two hour conversation at St. Christopher’s Inn between the retreatants and several Brothers Christopher, who intimately shared their struggles with chemical addiction and the healing impact of St. Christopher’s Inn and the Friars. The weekend was led by Minister General, Fr. Brian Terry, SA; Vicar General, Fr. Jim Loughran, SA; Brother Paolo Nicosia, SA; Fr. Dennis Polanco, SA; and Director of Discernment Ministry, Paul Krenzelok.

One of the Come & Discern Vocation Retreat participants, Philip Santiano, has committed to more formal exploration of a call to become a Friar of the Atonement by moving into Our Lady of the Atonement House of Discernment this past October. The House of Discernment, located in Manhattan, is an opportunity for young men to live, pray and minister with our Friars from three months to a year as a means of discerning a vocation with the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.  As a part of his discernment process, Philip spent several weeks living with the Friars of St. Christopher’s Inn while participating in ministry to the Brothers Christopher.

When asked what draws him to the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Philip said, “They reach beyond their roles as instructors and ministers and seek to walk beside the people in their journey of faith.” Philip, himself, embodies this same gift of accompaniment to which he is drawn. He enjoys walking with Brothers Christopher and being a healing presence in their journey of reclaiming their self-worth and dignity.

We invite your prayers for Philip and our recent discerners as they discern God’s call to religious life and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement.