For Immediate Release – Renewal Team Discerned for US

For Immediate Release – Renewal Team Discerned for US Franciscans (Full Version)
1 November 2014
Chicago – This past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, October 27th-29th, friars from seven Provinces
met here at St. Peter Friary to discern a team to lead the renewal process for the 1200 OFM friars in the
United States over the next three years. Al Merz (SHP), Bill Beaudin (HNP), Erasmo Romero (OLGP),
Leslie Hoppe (ABVMP), Page Polk (SJBP), Richard McManus (SBP), and Tom Washburn (ICP) met
with Jack Clark Robinson, the liaison of the Ministers Provincial and Dominic Perri, a facilitator, to
conduct the discernment, which led to Bill Beaudin, Page Polk and Richard McManus being named to the
Renewal Team.
According to the job description agreed upon by the ministers provincial of the seven US OFM
Provinces after the gathering of provincial administrations in Racine in August, the Renewal Team will
work full-time until August 2017 to prepare proposals to be considered by the ministers provincial and in
some cases by provincial administrations and chapters for the revitalization of Franciscan life and
ministry in the United States. The proposals will address ever greater collaboration among the friars of
the seven provinces and the eventual reduction of the number of provinces in the United States.
To carry out the monumental task which they are undertaking, the Renewal Team of Bill
Beaudin, Page Polk and Richard McManus will seek to “Enlarge the Circle" of those involved in the
process of revitalization by: 1) working with friars already in communication with one another in
working groups across the US sub-conference and ESC; 2) creating and/or engaging others to create
means for friars to "gather around the interprovincial table" with promotion of already existing retreats
and activities, as the well as creating new activities possibly around age groups, ministries, etc., and 3)
establishing helpful working groups across the provinces to carry out specific tasks. They will report
regularly to the Ministers Provincial of the US and communicate frequently with all of the friars of the
As part of the Renewal Team’s modeling of the Vision enunciated in the Interprovincial
Commission Report last year, “to build a national brotherhood of Franciscan Friars who give their lives to
embody Gospel values,” the Team will live together in the midst of an already existing community of
friars. The preliminary indications are that the residence will be in Chicago, and that they will join that
community by February 1st, though the Team will begin to meet together and do its work this month.
The three friars making up the Renewal Team represent something of the diversity of the friars of
the United States:
Bill Beaudin, O.F.M. joined the friars of Holy Name Province after graduating from Siena
College in 1976. He completed his novitiate year in Brookline, MA and was simply professed in June of
1977. During his theological studies at Weston School of Theology, Bill did a pastoral internship at
Boston’s Christopher Columbus High School which was staffed by the friars of the Immaculate
Conception Province. Bill received his Master of Divinity degree from Weston and was ordained in 1981
at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. He served as a parochial vicar and vicar of the friar
community at St. Stephen of Hungary Church in Manhattan until 1985. He pursued graduate studies in
music at Catholic University of America and received his second master’s degree in 1988. He was
assigned to St. Francis Retreat Center in Rye Beach, NH, where he directed the Franciscan Life
Experience, a sabbatical program for Franciscan men and women from around the world. From 1992 to
‘97, he was a confessor, spiritual director and director of worship at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston as well
as a visiting lecturer in Immaculate Conception’s post-novitiate program. For the next four and a half
years, he served in similar capacities at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, RI; he was also the vicar of the
friar community and an instructor in Holy Name Province’s novitiate program. He returned to Siena in
2002 where he was the College Chaplain and an adjunct professor in the Religious Studies department.
He has since served one term as the guardian of the Siena friar community and is in his second term on
Holy Name’s provincial council. Until being named a member of the Renewal Team, he worked as a
writer and editor in Siena’s communications office.
Page Polk, O.F.M. was born in 1947 in Dallas, TX. He has a BS in Special Education and
Elementary Education from East Texas State University (1968), and MA in Vocational Rehabilitation
Counseling from the University of Northern Colorado in 1970, and Doctorate in Education in Special
Education Administration from East Texas State University in 1979. He worked in special education as a
teacher from 1969-1972, and a supervisor of special ed programs from 1972-1979. Page came to the
friars in 1980. He professed first vows in 1982, final vows in 1985. He was ordained in 1986. As a
priest he worked for 4 years as a hospital chaplain in Cincinnati. He then went to Texas where he worked
in a parish in Galveston. He started as associate for 2 years became pastor for 8 years and oversaw and
coordinated the amalgamation of two parishes in to one. From 2002 until his discernment for the
Renewal Team he directed Catholic Chaplain Corp for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which
meant coordinating the priest chaplains to the hospitals in the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Page has
said, “My interest is how we can renew ourselves individually and as a part of the Order of Friars
Minor. As we strive to renew ourselves, how do we offer presence and ministry to the Church of
America? The future will be challenging and rewarding. This renewal and ways of ministry will take
everyone's efforts. I would like to try to help.”
Richard McManus, O.F.M. of St. Barbara Province wrote: “I was born and brought up in
Worcester, Mass. I graduated twice from Assumption College in Worcester (1968/1970; BA Philosophy; MA – Psychology). I moved to California in 1970 where I worked with emotionally
disturbed children until I met the friars at the Franciscan School of Theology, in Berkeley, in 1976. That
encounter changed my life. My first love in ministry is retreat work, which I have done for almost 40
years. I was ordained in 1983. After serving as a post-novitiate formation director for six years, I became
the Director of St Francis Retreat, San Juan Bautista for 15 years. In 2006, I became the Director and
Guardian of Old Mission Santa Barbara. Over the past twenty years, I have also had the privilege of
serving many provinces as retreat master, facilitator/consultant and as Visitor General to the Sacred Heart
Province in 1999. In our Province I have served as Definitor for one term, and on numerous committees,
including Fraternity-In-Mission, Ministerial Realignment, Budget Review, Senior Health Care, FST
Regent and Retreat Board. I have been in 12-step recovery and Men’s work for over 25 years. I am a lifelong learner and received a DMin degree (Narrative Theology) in 2009. I enjoy cooking and swimming,
though not at the same time.”