Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Next weekend (March 22/23) we will welcome Fr. Mel Jurisich, O.F.M. to the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi. Below is some background about him as well as his role in the life of our Franciscan Province as we prepare for our Triennial Chapter in June, 2014.

Fr Mel

Fr. Melvin Jurisich, O.F.M.
General Visitor of Holy Name Province

The Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor General has appointed Fr. Melvin Jurisich, O.F.M. of St. Barbara (California) Province as General Visitor of Holy Name Province for the Chapter of 2014. Fr. Melvin (68), Director of Serra Retreat in Malibu, California. since 2010, has served more than 20 years in the administration of St. Barbara Province, including a term as Provincial Minister from 2003 to 2009. Fr. Mel began his canonical visitation of Holy Name Province in the summer of 2013 and will complete it with the June, 2014 Triennial Chapter. The Oakland, California native will evaluate the fraternal life and ministries of Holy Name and will serve as President of the Provincial Chapter, being held at Siena College in Loudonville, New York in June 2014.

Visitor’s Role
As General Visitor, Fr. Mel will interview all Holy Name Province friars to assess their personal situations and to compile a picture of fraternal life and ministry in the Province. Fr. Mel is charged with highlighting issues that might need attention at the Chapter. Once he begins his visitation, Fr. Mel will attend all meetings of the Provincial Council (the administration of HNP).

At the conclusion of his visitation, he will oversee nominations for Provincial Minister and the Provincial Council and will write a detailed report on the state of the Province. The last General Visitor to Holy Name Province was Fr. Fred Link, O.F.M. of St. John the Baptist Province, who served from 2010 to 2011 and visited St. Francis in late spring of 2010.  During his time here at St. Francis, Fr. Mel will join us in the celebration of two weekend liturgies (Sat. 5:30 and Sun. 11:30) and morning prayer at Franciscan School. In addition to meeting with the friars, he will also meet with the leadership councils of the parish, the pastoral staff, and Bishop Burbidge.

Fr. Mel’s Background
Fr. Mel attended St. Jarlath’s Elementary School, Oakland where his vocation to the priesthood was born.  He then went onto St. Elizabeth’s High School which was staffed by the Franciscan Friars and Dominican Sisters. It was while in high school that he became interested in the Franciscan way of life and expressed his desire to enter the college seminary upon graduation in 1961.  Fr. Mel holds a degree in philosophy from San Luis Rey College in Oceanside, California and a Master of Divinity degree from the Franciscan School of Theology, to which San Luis Rey College is now affiliated. He entered the Order in 1963 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. Most of Fr. Mel’s life as a friar has been focused on educational ministry. His first assignment was to the faculty of St. Anthony Seminary in Santa Barbara where he taught economics, religion, and American and world history. Afterward, he became rector of the seminary; at age 33, the youngest in the school’s history. Later, he became Supervisor of High Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Fr. Mel left the education field in June 1988, when he was elected Secretary of St. Barbara Province. He served in that position for 14 years until he was elected Provincial Minister, a role that gave him responsibility for the life and ministry of the 230 friars on the West Coast of the United States.

The Serra Retreat, where Fr. Mel has been Director since 2010 was the host site of the Parish Catalyst experience that Tricia Henry, Trey Morris, and I attended in early January.  Please join me in welcoming Fr. Mel to our parish community.

In the peace of Christ,

Fr. Mark