The Secular Franciscan Order in the United States elected national leaders Oct. 20 during its Chapter in Denver, Colorado. The elected leaders, along with the president-in-turn of the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants, comprise the National Executive Council of the National Fraternity.
Tom Bello Re-elected National Minister
Deacon Tom Bello, OFS, was re-elected national minister for a second three-year term.
Tom, who was professed in 1983, is a member of St. Thomas More Fraternity in Arlington, VA.. He was elected vice-minister of his local fraternity in 1986 and became minister in 1988 and again in 1992. He was a member of the Provincial Executive Council, Holy Land Province from 1988 until the province became a region. He then was elected to the regional council of St. Margaret of Cortona region and has served in numerous positions, including regional minister. On the national fraternity, Tom has worked on the National Statutes and previously served as national vice minister.
He has worked as an ESOL teacher for over two decades. Tom and his wife Judy have three children.
Elaine Hedtke Re-elected National Vice Minister
Elaine Hedtke, OFS, of Port Angeles, WA and former minister of Troubadours of Peace Region, was re-elected national vice minister.
Elaine, who was professed in 1965, has served the fraternity at all levels. At her fraternity level she has served as Ecology Commissions chair and formation director. She was regional commissioner for liturgy and regional vice-minister and minister.
Most of her career has been spent as a law enforcement officer.
She has four adult, married children.
Jan Parker Re-elected National Secretary
Jan Parker, OFS, of O’Fallon, MO and former minister of St. Clare Region, was elected national secretary for a second three-year term. She was professed in 1988.
Jan has served the fraternity at all levels. She is a member of San Damiano Fraternity where she served as formation director, secretary and minister. At the regional level she has served both as minister and formation director.
A former full time pastoral associate at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Jan is involved in liturgy and music. She works in a family construction business.
Cecila Maljan Elected National Treasurer
Cecilia (Cyl) Maljan was elected national treasurer for a three-year term. Cyl hails from Pittsburgh and has been minister of Lady Poverty Region.
She has been executive secretary to the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants since January 1, 2010, and she was a member of the 2012 Quinquennial Committee as registrar.
Cyl is retired from Bank of New York Mellon. Professed in 2001, Cyl is a member of St. Augusine Fraternity in Lawrenceville, PA and has served in a variety of positions.
Mary Bittner Re-elected National Councilor
Mary Bittner, OFS, of Ypsilanti, MI and former minister of Divine Mercy Region, was re-elected a national councilor for a second three-year term.
She has been regional minister for six years. At her local fraternity of St. Joseph, she has been formation team member, secretary, minister, councilor. At the regional level, she has also been vice minister and on the regional formation team.
Mary is a research assistant professor at University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, MI.
Mary Frances Charsky Elected Councilor
Mary Frances Charsky, OFS, of Binghamton, NY and minister of the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Region, was elected national councilor for a three-year term.
A retired elementary school principal, Charsky has been a member of St. Francis Fraternity in Binghamton for over 30 years. She served as local minister, vice minister, formation director, and councilor. In her church she has been Eucharistic minister, member of the parish council, and member of the adult formation and social justice committees.
For more than 20 years she has been Eucharistic minister at Wilson Memorial Hospital. She also is a board member of Holy Family Vocational Orphanage Foundation.
Arturo Villarreal Re-elected National Councilor
Arturo Villareal from El Paso, TX was elected national councilor for a second three-year term.
He has served as vice minister of Empress of the Americas region and was professed in 1981. He is member of St. Patrick’s Fraternity in El Paso.
His wife, Sofia, is a Secular Franciscan. He has three children, Diana, Ben and Natalie.
Arturo also was elected alternate international councilor.
Mary Stronach Elected International Councilor
Mary Stronach, OFS, of Marcy, NY, and formation director for St. Kateri Tekakwitha Region, was elected international councilor for a three-year term.
Professed in 2003, Mary is a member of St. Joseph Fraternity in Utica, NY, where she is vice minister.
Mary has served the national fraternity as public relations co-chair and the international fraternity as an interpreter-translator.
She teaches Spanish and Italian at Utica College, is outreach coordinator for the Multicultural Associztion of Medical Interpreters, and operates Stronach Associates, a public relations consulting business specializing in working with non-profits.
Mary and her husband, Robert, also a Secular Franciscan, have two daughters, three sons, and four granddaughters.
Fr. Kevin Joins National Leadership
Fr. Kevin Queally, TOR, is the incoming president-in-turn of the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants and joins the National Executive Council as a member.