The Capuchin Friars in New York City
The Capuchin Friars in New York City
Author: Amy Tetta

On November 6 through 8, Father Glenn Sudano and a group from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and sisters from New York City will visit the Houghton College campus.  While on campus, Father Sudano will speak in chapel at 11:30 a.m. on both Wednesday and Friday. He will also offer an instructional mass on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the Center for the Arts recital hall, followed by a music jam session in Java 101, the campus coffee shop located in the lower level of the Campus Center, at 9:00 p.m. The above events are open to the public.

The friars will also be visiting a number of classes and speaking on a variety of topics, including church music, key metaphors of spirituality, prayer and silence, the Franciscan tradition, and others.

Dean of the chapel, Dr. Michael Jordan, commented, “It’s good for students to see people who have given their lives to Jesus in a whole new way, following a deep sense of calling.” 

The first visit by the friars to Houghton was in February of 1989, over 20 years ago; since then they have been to Houghton on several occasions.  Dr. Michael Lastoria, Director of Counseling Services and coordinator of the friars’ visit adds, “The brothers and sisters love being on campus and simply engaging with our students over meals.  They liken our campus to their own in Steubenville Ohio, where, in their words, the spirit of Christian community is quite similar.”

Father Sudano is one of eight “founding fathers” of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, an order established in the spring of 1987. 

Father Sudano explains, “From day one, our desire was not to create a new form of religious life or observance but rather to set ourselves securely upon our own ancient foundations. For this very reason, none of the original eight Friars of the Renewal see themselves as founders. We do not see ourselves as prophetic architects but rather as simple builders.”  He continues, “We were, and still remain, com­pletely uninterested in programs and trendy ideas that promise spiritual renewal. Real renewal means daily conversion, and this is a long, painful road.”

The friars’ work is “to serve the material needs of the homeless and destitute, and the needs of the spiritually homeless through evangelization, always looking toward a greater renewal and reform of the church.” The Friars currently operate a number of shelters for the homeless in the Bronx.