Franciscans Install New Provincial Administration
Franciscan University nursing professor Father Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, installed as Minister Provincial.
On December 15, 2011, Father Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, was installed as Minister Provincial of the Franciscan Friars, Third Order Regular (TOR), Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Five Franciscans were installed to the Provincial Council. Installation ceremonies for the Sacred Heart Province's new administrative team were held in Loretto, Pennsylvania, with the Most Rev. Michael Higgins, TOR, Minister General of the Third Order Regular, presiding.
As Minister Provincial, Father Polichnowski will oversee the 138-member community, the largest TOR province in the United States, whose priests and brothers serve in parishes, schools, and other charitable ministries. The province sponsors Saint Francis University, Loretto, and Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio.
He has begun a four-year term, and as part of his responsibilities, Father Nicholas is Chairman of the Board of both Saint Francis University and Franciscan University.
"Franciscan University will keep Father Nicholas in our prayers as he assumes this important pastoral responsibility for the Sacred Heart Province," said Father Terence Henry, TOR, president of Franciscan University. "I especially look forward to working with him in his new role as chairman of our Board of Trustees. Father Nicholas' years here as professor and head of our TOR vocation discernment program have made him a strong supporter of Franciscan University's mission. Both experiences will be an asset to him and a blessing to us as he leads our board."
Father Nicholas, who earned his MSN from Pace University and his PhD in nursing from Johns Hopkins University, taught in Franciscan University's Nursing Program since 2008. He also served on Franciscan's Board of Trustees from 2002-2008, and as president of the Managerial Board of the Foundation Maria Thronus Iesu, which operates Franciscan University's study abroad site in Austria.
A Pittsburgh native, Father Nicholas entered the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Penance of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1973, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1977. Father Nicholas served as a missionary in Brazil's Amazon Valley from 1978-79, and in KwaZulu, South Africa, from 1982-85. He also spent seven years as a high school chemistry and religious education teacher.
In addition to advanced degrees in nursing, he holds a master's degree in divinity and a master's in chemistry. He is also a board certified family nurse practitioner and a registered nurse who worked in those capacities in hospitals in New York and Maryland.
Father Nicholas succeeds Father Christian R. Oravec, TOR, who served two terms as minister provincial beginning in 2004.
The Franciscans also elected Father Richard Davis, TOR, vice president of Community Relations at Franciscan University and local minister of Holy Spirit Friary, to his second term on the Provincial Council, this time as the vicar provincial.
The Provincial Council also includes Father Malachi Van Tassell, TOR, treasurer of the province and a part-time faculty member at Saint Francis University, Loretto, Pennsylvania, as first councilor, and Father Sean Sheridan, TOR, assistant professor of canon law at The Catholic University of America, as second councilor. Father Christopher Dobson, TOR, director of campus ministry at Saint Francis University, and Father James Morman, TOR, local minister of Saint Francis Friary, Loretto, are the third and fourth councilors.