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Wuhan — Franciscans were present there over 100 years ago

One of the first designated hospitals to treat the Corona virus epidemic was the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital — whose predecessor was the Wuhan Infectious Diseases Hospital, which was named the Father Mei Memorial Catholic Hospital of Hankou when it was first established in 1926. Father Mei Zhanchun was the Chinese name given to an Italian missionary-friar Pascal Ange (Angelicus) Melotto, OFM (1864-1923) who was born in Lonigo, entered the order in 1880 (The Province of St. Francis), and came to China in 1902. “Mei” is the Chinese character for “plum”.

Melotto had become involved in some local conflict and was kidnapped in 1923. Being a foreigner, a large ransom was demanded and the Italian and French Embassies became involved. While he was kidnapped, he was moved many times between Hubei and Henan provinces and died three months later, when one of the kidnappers shot him in the stomach with a poisoned bullet. Shortly before dying, he had confided, “I am happy to die for the Chinese. I lived in China for the Chinese and now I am happy to die for them.

In the past, when a foreign missionary was killed, his home country would demand huge reparations from China, thus giving the impression that the Church was on the side of imperialism. In 1919, however, Pope Benedict XV had issued Maximum illud which warned against the union of colonialism and religion, and so the first Apostolic Delegate to China, Celso Costantini, insisted that instead of concessions being granted to the recently established government of Mussolini, a hospital should be built in honour of Melotto. His remains were eventually transferred to a memorial structure called the Plum (“mei”) Pavilion.

As one of five local Catholic Hospitals, Fr Mei Memorial Hospital played an important role serving the poor in Hankou. By 1949, there were 150 beds, two clinics, 20 Franciscan Sisters of Christian Doctrine, and 7 nurses. In 1952, when all missionaries were expelled, the hospital was confiscated and was renamed. In 2008, the original building was destroyed and the hospital moved to another location as the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. The Plum Pavilion has been dismantled, waiting to be reassembled one day…. and the Franciscan missionary presence also awaits the opportunity to continue where it left off!

A message of Mercy and Hope to China from Assisi — St. Francis to the sick and fearful

Brother Francis of Assisi invites us to care for our brothers and sisters, especially now in China, at a time when many people are suffering. One of the oldest lives of the saint indicates that mercy towards the sick, troubled, and infirm can be a way of hope. This message of compassion and hope is sent from Assisi to the land of China.

The image shows the translation from Latin into Chinese of a passage from the Life of our blessed Francis here in English:

Then the holy lover of profound humility moved to the lepers and stayed with them. For God’s sake, he served all of them with great love. He washed all the filth from them and even cleaned out the pus of their sores. The sight of lepers was so bitter to him that in the days of his vanity when he saw their houses even two miles away, he would cover his nose with his hands. With the grace and strength of the Most High, while still in the clothes of the world, he met a leper one day. Made stronger than himself, he came up and kissed him. […] He was also a helper of the poor. 

For more information on the complete Chinese translation of this work cf. www.ilcattolico.it.


Some Franciscan resources are also available from the “Franciscan Education Channel” in Hong Kong through a series of videos “Facing the Epidemic with St Francis” via YouTube.


“Friar Pub Ripa” featured on Telepace TV

On one Saturday night a month, a community group attached to the friary of San Francesco a Ripa (Trastevere, Rome) hosts an unusual and enjoyable evening at the Friar Pub Ripa. It features live music, burgers, fries, and beer on tap, and is a fundraiser in aid of the Ripa dei Settesoli project. The project, which began in 2011, helps young people (18 – 35) from a wide variety of nationalities, including Italians. The goal is to assist people at risk of being marginalized to be more part of society and to enter the workforce. The monthly gathering is just one aspect of how the friars share their lives with the people of Trastevere. Journalists from Telepace (a Catholic TV station) visited the Friar Pub Ripa and experienced a wonderful evening with the young people, the volunteers, and the friars who get the party going.

Click on the link for further information (Italian) or to make a booking: www.ripadeisettesoli.org/friar-pub-ripa.





Querida Amazonia: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father Francis




  1. The beloved Amazon region stands before the world in all its splendour, its drama and its mystery. God granted us the grace of focusing on that region during the Synod held in Rome from 6-27 October last, which concluded by issuing its Final Document, The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.


The significance of this Exhortation

  1. During the Synod, I listened to the presentations and read with interest the reports of the discussion groups. In this Exhortation, I wish to offer my own response to this process of dialogue and discernment. I will not go into all of the issues treated at length in the final document. Nor do I claim to replace that text or to duplicate it. I wish merely to propose a brief framework for reflection that can apply concretely to the life of the Amazon region a synthesisof some of the larger concerns that I have expressed in earlier documents, and that can help guide us to a harmonious, creative and fruitful reception of the entire synodal process.
  2. At the same time, I would like to officially present the Final Document, which sets forth the conclusions of the Synod, which profited from the participation of many people who know better than myself or the Roman Curia the problems and issues of the Amazon region, since they live there, they experience its suffering and they love it passionately. I have preferred not to cite the Final Document in this Exhortation, because I would encourage everyone to read it in full.
  3. May God grant that the entire Church be enriched and challenged by the work of the synodal assembly. May the pastors, consecrated men and women and lay faithful of the Amazon region strive to apply it, and may it inspire in some way every person of good will.


Dreams for the Amazon region

  1. The Amazon region is a multinational and interconnected whole, a great biome shared by nine countries: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Venezuela and the territory of French Guiana. Yet I am addressing the present Exhortation to the whole world. I am doing so to help awaken their affection and concern for that land which is also “ours”, and to invite them to value it and acknowledge it as a sacred mystery. But also because the Church’s concern for the problems of this area obliges us to discuss, however briefly, a number of other important issues that can assist other areas of our world in confronting their own challenges.


Read the complete text: Vatican.va

Formation of the Guardians of the Custody of the Holy Land

From 2 to 7 February 2020, a formation meeting was held for the Guardians and Superiors of the Custody of the Holy Land. The meeting, organized by the Moderator of the on-going Formation of the Custody, Br.  Marcelo Cichinelli, took place on Mount Tabor and was animated by Br. Antonio Scabio, General Definitor, and Br. Cesare Vaiani, General  Secretary for formation and studies. The two speakers took turns, proposing a guided reading of the Handbook for the Guardians, applied to the particular context of the Holy Land, and some insights into issues useful for the service of the Guardian and Superior in the perspective of social psychology. On the first day, the Custos of the Holy Land, Br. Francesco Patton, opened the proceedings, inserting this meeting in the ongoing formation of the Custody. The place of the transfiguration of the Lord, with bright days, cheered the participants. The local community welcomed the participants fraternally, with the help of the young members of Mondo X. The participants, in the final verification, underlined the usefulness of this meeting to perform their important service better and better.

Franciscan Youth in India Pledge to be Instruments of Peace

“We, the Franciscan youth pledge that we shall be instruments of peace in our families, parishes and the society”- so took the oath more than 300 youth coming from across different states of India on the occasion of the Franciscan Youth Meet (FRAYME) 2020 which was held from 31 January to 2 February 2020 at St. Sebastian’s Parish in Chennai, India.

This is a new initiative of The Secretariat for Evangelization and Mission OFM India to promote the Franciscan values and motivate active participation in parish life among the youth members of the Franciscan Parishes in India.

The event began with a procession of the Franciscan San Damiano Cross followed by a devout veneration.  On 1 February, the youth assembled in the Church for ‘Praise and Worship’, followed by various talks about the role of youth in the church today.

The participants also marched three kilometres with lighted candles and placards calling for peace and singing the hymns of being instruments of peace in different languages. The sight of more than three hundred FRAYME youth along with many others gave the onlookers an opportunity to ask and know about St. Francis and the need for peace.

Celebrating Consecrated Life on 2 February, Fr. Vincent Chinnadurai, the Episcopal Vicar for Religious in the Archdiocese of Chennai expressed happiness for FRAYME 2020.

Fr. Simon OFM, host pastor, remembering the joy, energetic presence and spirited atmosphere of the 3-day FRAYME 2020, thanked everyone who made the event possible.

JPIC Course 2020: “Promoting JPIC in times of Ecological Crisis”

Dear Brothers,

Peace and all Good!

We are glad to inform you about the international JPIC course 2020. We hold this year’s course in Manila, the Philippines, on the theme of “Promoting JPIC in times of Ecological Crisis” and, as such, are expecting more significant participation, especially from Asia, Australia, and Oceania. We hope this could be an excellent opportunity for the formation of the JPIC animators and building a network of communication. It’s also open to the Franciscan family and other collaborators.

In the links below, you will find the letter of convocation of the Vicar General, Br. Julio Bunader, OFM, the program and practical information: EnglishEspañolItaliano

The participants should register by April 26, 2020.

May the Lord bless all of you!



Br. Jaime Campos, OFM
Director, JPIC General Office – Rome

Communique from the General Definitory – Tempo Forte of January 2020

The Tempo Forte took place from Monday 13 to Friday 31 January 2020. On Thursday 16 January the Vicar General and some General Definitors attended the Feast of the Pontifical University Antonianum and, on the same day, the Minister General returned to Rome, after a long period of rehabilitation following his bicycle accident on 15 August 2019. Also, from 21 to 30 January the Minister General and the General Definitory met twenty-nine new Provincial Ministers and Custodes elected in recent months.

During the sessions of the current Tempo Forte, numerous dossiers were dealt with, including the awarding of some scholarships, obedience to formation experiences and missionary service, the erection of some Commissariats of the Holy Land, the suppression of some religious Houses, and the ratification of several acts of election that took place both at Provincial and Custodial Chapters and at Chapter Congresses.

Br Lovro GAVRAN, OFM, was elected Visitator General for the Custody of the Annunciation of the BVM in Albania. The General Definitory approved the Candidates for Minister Provincial and Custos for Entities that will celebrate their Chapter shortly (Province of St. James of the Marche, in Italy; Province of Our Lady of Hungary; Custody of St. John the Baptist, in Pakistan) and ratified the Ratio Formationis and the Ratio Studiorum of two Entities. They also laid out the broad programme for the Meeting with the Conference Presidents, which will be held at the General Curia during the Tempo Forte in May.

Reports after the Canonical Visitations of the Custody of St. Benedict of the Amazon in Brazil and the Province of St. Michael the Archangel in Indonesia were examined.

Several dossiers falling within the competence of the Procurator General’s Office were addressed:

  • information on allegations of graviora delicta (4);
  • dispensation from celibacy and the obligations of the clerical state (4);
  • dispensation from solemn vows (2);
  • secularisation pure et simpliciter (1);
  • indults of exclaustration (7);
  • dispensation from temporary vows (2).


Three requests for readmission to the Order and three requests for transfer to the Order from other Congregations were accepted.

Some personal cases and questions of changes in the juridical status of a couple of Entities were examined.

With the help of Br. Sergio GALDI D’ARAGONA, OFM, the appointments of several officers and commissions for the General Chapter 2021 were decided. Moreover, possible themes for the Chapter as well as its methodology were discussed.

The next Tempo Forte will take place from 16 to 27 March

To the praise of Christ and the Poverello di Assisi. Amen!


Rome, 4 February 2020


Br. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM
Secretary General

A Laudato si’ “Revolution”

The third meeting of Serata Laudato si’ took place together with the seventh celebration of the Franciscan Youth Missions in the city of Xaxim. It was promoted by the Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception of Brazil, bringing 800 young people together for five days to reflect on the care of our Common Home (from 29th January to 2ndFebruary 2020).

This year, a group of friars from Argentina and Rio Grande do Sul, led by friars from the Province of St. Francis of Assisi, were present in addition to the young people of the Province. There were five days of great energy in this event which was evangelising, cultural, formative and celebratory. Numerous workshops dealt with themes related to the ministry of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), with questions of ecology, justice, migration, respect for nature, good living and simplicity, values so characteristic of the Franciscan charism, which is much needed in our times.

The prayer times recalled and decried the neglect of Mother Earth by humankind. In the evening prayer, on the first day, three young people lay down in the mud in a makeshift pool to remember the tragedies produced by the mega-mining in “Mariana” and “Brumadinho”. With movements, they showed desperate people in search of rescue. “This tragedy, which has victimised so many families, is synonymous with murder. It is synonymous with greed, which has generated so many deaths. It is synonymous with bodies that are not buried by their families,” said Br. Diego Melo, Promoter of Vocations and JPIC.

The training in the first days was intense. Br Jaime Campos, director of the General Office for JPIC, showed how this service is structured in the Order and all the Conferences in the world. He explained how it works to build a world where everyone can live as family, in love. Br. Jaime also spoke of the “Laudato si’ Revolution”, an initiative that will involve the whole Order throughout the world.

The anthropologist and lay Franciscan, Moema Miranda SFO, who was at the Synod for the Amazon held in Rome, also spoke about Laudato si’ for our days, as well as its practical consequences in our lives. The youth coordinator in Brazil of the World Catholic Climate Movement, Igor Bastos, who is also a member of YouFra (Franciscan Youth), spoke about the importance of youth leading evangelisation.

On Friday and Saturday, the 800 young people were divided into family homes in 38 communities. They were able to experience hands-on practice of the themes chosen for this Mission: “And God saw that everything was very good” and “Guardians of relationships with God, with others and with our common home”.

The young people met again on Sunday at the closing Mass. The Vicar Provincial, Br. Gustavo Medella, presided over the celebration and, in sending the young people home, asked them to be the presence of the “Jesus of the people”. In the ceremony, a young person shaved the head of another, to indicate the evil generated by pesticides. A wooden cross near the church was set on fire and, according to Br. Gustavo, “It is also our request for forgiveness. Christ was again crucified for our actions that destroy and attack our common home”.

There were acknowledgements, emotions and much gratitude, especially to the people who received the missionaries with great affection. According to Br. Diego, a tree is known for its fruits. “The Franciscan tree is filling this world with fruit”.


Homily of the Minister General at the Conclusion of the 2020 Meeting with Provincial Ministers and Custodes

The meeting with Provincial Ministers and Custodes concluded on 30 January 2020.  During the meeting, different topics were tackled, such as the service of authority, formation for the missions, accompanying brothers going through difficult times, defections from the Order, the Minister Provincial and Definitory, the 2018 PCO in light of the General Chapter, and Finance.  All the participants were able to meet with the Minister General personally and were able to visit the offices of the Curia.

In his concluding homily, the Minister General shared these words:


These days we have been following the story of David’s consolidation of power and the reorganizing of the kingdom of Israel. Of paramount concern is his desire to build a house worthy to host the Ark of the Alliance, symbol par excellence of God’s presence among the chosen people. While David is first encouraged by the Prophet Nathan to proceed with the construction of a physical structure, a temple, to commemorate the countless interventions of God on behalf of the people, later he is told not to proceed with this grandiose plan.

Some scholars perceive in the text a theological critique of David’s plan to use the temple project in order to consolidate his royal power.  To bring the Ark to Jerusalem would, following the logic of monarchy, signal a divine ‘stamp of approval’ on his larger ambitions to build a strong, united, kingdom. Other scholars suggest that the intersecting interpretations of the word ‘house’, indicating a kingdom (political entity), or a physical structure (temple), or the promise of a long-lasting dynasty – represent the divergent interests of those who contributed to the successive redactions to the original text. Despite these different manners of interpreting the original meaning, what remains constant is the not so subtle contradiction between the will of God, on the one hand, and that of human beings on the other. As the Prophet Isaiah reminds us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:8-9). The message of both Samuel and Isaiah is something that is meant not only for the people of the early Covenant; it is meant for all of us who are disciples of the Lord Jesus, and most especially for those called to serve as Ministers.

Like David, one of the greatest challenges we face is that of keeping our eyes and ears, our mind and heart open to the voice that comes from above, from God. Clearly, there will be times when we become so convinced that we understand completely a particular situation, and, therefore, have no need to listen any further to the voice of others or even of God. This can happen to any one of us, especially when, over the course of our service, we become tired of hearing contrasting voices, or when we experience brothers giving a counter-witness to the Gospel. We can become so convinced of our self-sufficiency and infallibility that we no longer are open to seeking new possibilities but only to repeat old inevitabilities. When this happens, nothing new can emerge within the lives of friars, within the life of the Entity, or within our own minds and hearts. Rather than allow for the emergence of something new, we simply revert to repeating the old. This is precisely the point of the biblical text from First and Second Books of Samuel. God does not want us to come to the same conclusions and repeat the same practices that seemingly worked in the past. The fact that God appears ‘willing’ to entertain the construction of a temple is proof that God is also part of this process of change. God recognizes that to change, in the words of Saint John Neumann, is to become perfect, to choose life over death.

One of the most important insights of the 2018 Plenary Council of the Order was the recognition that life continues only to the degree that it changes. In the reports of the Conferences, we detect a growing awareness that change not only is inevitable, it is desirable. The only way for us to embrace change is to engage in a process of sincere, open dialogue, discernment, bringing together all of the various tools at our disposal –our spiritual lives; the strength of fraternal life; the embrace of a world in need of love, acceptance, hope. As II Samuel and Pope Francis (Evangelii gaudium, 45) remind us, the goal of our faith journey is not self-promotion, nor is it survival. This is the temptation of David, to build something to celebrate personal achievements. But there is no future, no life, when we go down this path. In the end, even King David relents and submits his will, his desires, his empire-building aspirations to the will of God, as attested in his prayer:

“And now, Lord GOD, you are God and your words are truth; you have made this generous promise to your servant. Do, then, bless the house of your servant that it may be before you forever; for you, Lord GOD, have promised, and by your blessing the house of your servant shall be blessed forever” (II Sam. 7:25-26).

Brothers, may David’s prayer become our prayer. May we renounce with courage those projects that are of human making, and not from God. May God give us the wisdom to know the difference, seeking only God’s will for our lives and the lives of those brothers entrusted into our hands.

New Holy Land Commissariat in India

The Commissariat of the Holy Land was inaugurated in St. Anthony’s Friary, Bengaluru, India on 25 January 2020. The Most. Rev. Dr. Peter Machado, the Archbishop of Bengaluru inaugurated the Commissariat in the presence of Br. Marcelo Cicchinelli OFM, head of the Office for the Coordination of the Commissaries of the Holy Land, Br. Ramzi Sidwi OFM, Bursar of the Custody of the Holy Land and Fr. Aquilino Castillo OFM, Vocation Promoter of the Holy Land. Provincial Minister Br. Praveen D’ Souza OFM was also present.

While addressing the gathering, Archbishop Machado expressed his joy in inaugurating the Commissariat in the Archdiocese of Bengaluru. He said that he would support and collaborate with this Commissariat and its initiatives in the Diocese. Br. Praveen while introducing the Commissariat explained its goal, objectives and the scope of its activities.  Br. Marcelo in his address outlined the history of the Commissariat and emphasised that the Commissariat is a Pearl of the Missions of the Order and called for the promotion of the Vocations for the Custody of the Holy Land. Br. Francis Xavier, the Commissary of the Holy Land spoke at the end and thanked all those involved.

At the end of the program, the Office of the Commissariat of the Holy Land was blessed and inaugurated in St. Anthony’s Friary campus on Hosur Road, Bengaluru.

The first five Franciscan martyrs of Morocco

Berard, Otho, Peter, Accursius and Adjutus: the five “true Friars Minor”, as St. Francis of Assisi referred to them. They were the first missionaries sent by Francis to the lands of the Saracens. Leaving Assisi, in 1219 they crossed Coimbra, where they had the opportunity to meet the then Fernando de Bulhões, the future Saint Antônio. The cloister of the Monastery of Santa Cruz witnessed this meeting, whose feast is celebrated on January 16.

Br DOMINGOS DO CASAL MARTINS, ofm Vicar Provincial Friars Minor Portugal “The example of this martyrdom motivated the Franciscan vocation of St. Anthony, who lived here in this convent and certainly knew these 5 friars who passed through here on their way to Morocco. So it is a very important historical event.”

Br FABRIZIO BORDIN Provincial Delegate Friars Minor Conventual “Today the church continues this great missionary call. And we have saints who give a great example, not only the martyr saints of Morocco but also Saint Anthony who left Coimbra and with great enthusiasm not only chose to be a Franciscan but I think he was very insistent, he wanted to be a missionary and give his life. Later, life took a different direction, but the missionary dimension was very present and very strong.”

In Marrakech, the friars were questioned about the Christian faith, arrested, flogged and killed on January 16, 1220. Currently, the Church of Santa Cruz preserves historical objects, such as the chasuble and the bell, which according to tradition belonged to the holy martyrs.

The inauguration of the Jubilee Year took place in the church of Santa Cruz on Sunday 12th. The holy door opens and with it the memory of the courage of the Franciscan proto-martyrs and Saint Anthony. In Coimbra, the bishop of the diocese, Don Virgílio do Nascimento Antunes, presided over the opening of the Holy Year in commemoration of this extraordinary event in the history of the Church.

HE Mgr VIRGILIO DO NASCIMENTO ANTUNES Diocese of Coimbra- Portugal “We believe that the Jubilee, according to the thinking of the Church, is a time of grace, a time of conversion to reconciliation, of acceptance and deepening of one’s faith. A time of evangelization and a time in which, through this very rich history, we can help especially the new generations, children and young people, to understand through history what we are. What we are as Church and people who live in Coimbra and in this country…to understand the present starting from our origins.”

In 1220, the relics of the five missionaries sent by St. Francis of Assisi to North Africa arrived at the Monastery of Santa Cruz. Despite the persecution, the Word of God and the testimony of faith would not be imprisoned.

The faithful enter through the holy door and cross the path of personal conversion. A Vatican decree signed by Pope Francis proclaims the 800th-anniversary jubilee with plenary indulgence for all the days of the Holy Year. A strong moment of appeal to holiness, with the memories of the Christians who are persecuted even today and the need for inter-religious dialogue to build peace.

Source: Christian Media Center



Music: Piano Drama
Time: 2.50 min
Performers: IvanLuzan

Serata Laudato si’ Brazil 2020

The young people of the Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception will gather in a city named after a plant species that takes up to 100 years to reach adulthood. From 29 January to 2 February, Xaxim will host the seventh edition of the Franciscan Youth Missions. This event has become international by also hosting Serata Laudato si’, a cultural event of the Order of Friars Minor promoting the message of the Encyclical Laudato si’, on the care of the Common Home, written by Pope Francis. If that were not enough, the event will also become even more vibrant with the festivities of the Jubilee Year of the venue, the Parish of São Luiz Gonzaga, that was created 80 years ago.

More than 700 young people from all over the Province (from Santa Catarina to Espírito Santo) will experience great excitement in this evangelising, formative celebration. Numerous workshops will deal with themes related to the service of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC). The goal is that they may be characterised by issues of ecology, justice, migration, respect for nature, good living and simplicity. These values are particular to the Franciscan charism and so urgent and necessary for our times.

This event brings together two essential moments of Pope Francis’ Pontificate: the Church going forth and the care of the Common Home. Therefore, the theme and motto will be: “And God saw that everything was very good” and “Guardians of our relationship with God, with our neighbour and with the common home”. One of the expectations of the coordinator of the Province’s Vocations Animation and JPIC, Br. Diego Melo, is about the theme of the Encyclical Laudato si’ and its deepening. “Our young people are already delving into, reading and studying this document in groups, so that the Mission will be the crowning achievement of a journey made throughout this semester at the grassroots and in youth groups”, says the friar.

Serata Laudato si’ will be held for the third time since the launch of the Encyclical. The first event was in Rome and the second in Panama City for the WYD. The third edition of Serata Laudato si’ will be organised together with the “Franciscan Youth Missions” and the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Order of Friars Minor. The promotion and living out of the values of the Encyclical Laudato si’ is what has strengthened these organisations in a joint effort to organise this new version of Serata Laudato si’. The aim is to raise awareness about the climate crisis, through art, culture and music, as well as to provide a space for ecological conversion for future generations.

We invite you to visit the website: www.seratalaudatosi.org where you will find daily updated information on the third edition of Serata Laudato si’, Brazil 2020.

Source: www.franciscanos.org.br

Minister General: Back in Rome after Recovery

My dear Brothers,

May the Lord give you peace!

I wish to confirm reports about my return to the General Curia. It is good to be back “home” and to once again resume the duties entrusted to me by the Lord and by you my brothers.

Throughout the period of my rehabilitation, I felt strongly the presence of you my brothers who were praying for me constantly. Thanks to those brothers in the General Curia, and all who reached out through emails, letters, and fraternal visits. I fear I have not responded to all those who wrote to me. Please accept this note as a sign of my gratitude for your loving care for me.

I also wish to thank the Poor Ladies (Poor Clares), the Conceptionists, and members of the Franciscan family for your prayerful support. May God bless each of you as you follow the evangelical vocation to which you have been called.

A special word of thanks goes to Br. Julio Bunader, the Vicar General of the Order, who together with the General Definitory provided guidance to the Order during my absence. May God bless each of you and strengthen always our collaboration and communion as we serve the Order.

The doctors in Chicago did an excellent job putting the pieces of my bones back together. I am now walking with a cane, which is only temporary. I have been able to walk for up to three hours at one time, exercising and stretching the muscles in the left leg, which bore the brunt of the impact of the bicycle accident. It is my hope that soon I will be able to walk without any assistance, and, eventually, to get back to riding a bicycle.

Yes, I am still a bit ‘crazy’.

The time of rehabilitation provided me an occasion to reflect on my own life and vocation, on the life of the brothers of the Order, the Church, and world, and to ask questions about where we are heading as a band of Lesser Brothers in radically changing times. I was able to meet with several friars, a biblical scholar and a theologian, to begin to lay out a plan for preparing what is entitled the “Report of the Minister General to the Brothers of the Order.” It is my hope that this report, which I plan to forward to the Order by the end of November 2020, will provoke serious reflection, analysis, discussion, the emergence of ideas and concrete proposals to help prepare us to embrace the future with intelligence, courage, hope, and joy, in the spirit of Laudato si’. Clearly this involves reflecting on an integral, ecological vision grounded in relationship with God, the brothers, with all of humanity, and with the created universe. To this end, I urge all brothers of the Order to continue to study and dialogue about the materials contained in the various documents that have been produced during these past nearly five years, most especially on the Final Document of the 2018 Plenary Council that took place in Nairobi, Kenya.

May God bless each of you, my brothers, as you strive each day to live in deep friendship with God; as you express in simple, concrete ways your commitment to the values of fraternity and mission; and as you – as we – dream together the dream God has for the future of the Order of Friars Minor.


Rome, 27 January 2020


Fraternally yours in Christ and St. Francis,

Br. Michael A. Perry, OFM
Minister General and Servant

The Franciscan contribution to the 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines

The Franciscans in the Philippines (the Province of San Pedro Bautista and the Custody of San Antonio Padua) are now preparing activities related to the country’s 500th-anniversary celebration of the coming of Christianity in 2021.  Among these is the preparation of various publications and books that collect the contribution of the Franciscans to the evangelization of the Philippines since their arrival in 1577.

Aside from the founding of towns and parishes, the Franciscans also dedicated themselves to the establishment of institutions of charity such as San Juan de Dios Hospital (1580), Naga Hospital of San Diego (1586), Hospital of the Holy Waters in Los Baños (1592), and San Lazaro Hospital, the first leprosarium in the Far East (1580).

The Franciscans also composed the first Spanish-Tagalog dictionary (Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala) that was published in Pila, Laguna in 1613. The authorship of the first book printed in the Philippines in 1593, the first catechism on the 10 commandments in Tagalog, the first water system and free loan-banks (Montes de Piedad), the building of infrastructures such as roads, dams, and bridges were also attributed to the Franciscans.

One of the most outstanding Franciscans who ministered in the country was San Pedro Bautista (1542-1597) who developed key places in the country that would later become important cities.  He taught church music and the manufacture and use of musical instruments, discovered the medicinal characteristics of the hot springs of Los Baños, strongly defended the basic human rights of the indigenous peoples of Zambales and most importantly, an ambassador in Japan that would lead to his martyrdom.

From the time of their arrival in the country until the end of the Spanish Franciscan Mission in 1898, the missionaries were able to establish and administer 207 towns or parishes.

At present, the friars continue to minister in various parts of the country in numerous parishes, schools and in special ministries such as media apostolate; justice, peace, and integrity of creation initiatives; hospital chaplaincy and interfaith dialogue.

Read the complete text at cbcpnews.net

Provincial Ministers and Custodes in Greccio and Fonte Colombo

The new Provincial Ministers and Custodes who are currently meeting in Rome went on a pilgrimage to Greccio and Fonte Colombo on Thursday, 23 January 2020. The day began with Mass in Greccio, the shrine of the Nativity scene (creche).

According to Thomas of Celano, Francis in Greccio wanted to “remember the child born in Bethlehem and somehow see with the eyes of the body the hardships in which he found himself because of the lack of things necessary to a newborn, as he lay in a crib and how he lay on the hay between the ox and the ass.” Greccio invites us to use all the means available to us to reveal to all the mystery of Jesus’s poverty, both in the signs and in the reality of our lives.

The day concluded at Fonte Colombo, the place where St. Francis wrote the Rule. It is the Rule that we professed at the beginning of our Franciscan life and that we still want to observe today, as then.

2020 Meeting of the Minister General with new Ministers Provincials and Custodes

The Annual Meeting of the Minister General and his Definitory with the newly elected Ministers and Custodes for 2020 was officially opened with the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by the Vicar General, Br. Julio Bunader  (Homily: EnglishEspañolItaliano). The meeting is taking place at the General Curia in Rome and will run from Jan. 21 to 30, 2020.

The new Ministers Provincials and Custodes:

BR. EDILSON ROCHA DA SILVA, Cust. San Benedicto de Amazonia, Brazil
BR. MARCO AURELIO DA CRUZ, Prov. Ssmo. Nombre de Jesús, Brazil
BR. FERNANDO APARECIDO, Cust. Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, Brazil
BR. CÉSAR KÜLKAMP, Prov. Immac. Conc. BVM, Brazil
BR. ANTÔNIO PACHECO, Prov. Ntra. Sra. de la Asunción, Brazil
BR. MARINO PEDRO RHODEN, Prov. San Francisco, Brazil
BR. FREDY GALVEZ, Prov. San Junipero Serra, Mexico
BR. NELSON TOVAR, Prov. San Pablo, Colombia
BR. JUAN MANUEL BUJÁN, Prov. Santiago de Compostela, Spain
BR. EMILIO ANDRADA, Prov. Asunción de la SVM, Argentina
BR. MANUEL CORULLÓN, Cust. Protomartiri dell’Ordine, Morocco
BR. JOSÉ ARIAS, Cust. Inmaculada Conc., Venezuela
BR. MARIO CHIARELLO, Prov. Sette Martiri di Calabria, Italy
BR. ENZO MAGGIONI, Prov. Sant’Antonio, Italy
BR. PAOLO QUARANTA, Prov. dell’Assunzione della BVM, Italy
BR. ANTONINO CATALFAMO, Prov. Ss. Nome di Gesù, Italy
BR. GRÈGOIRE BOWA KATETA, Prov. S. M. degli Angeli, R. D. Congo
BR. MARKO MRŠE, Prov. Santissimo Redentore, Croatia
BR. ALAN TOMASZ BRZYSKI, Prov. S. Edvige, Poland
BR. ERIK URBÁN, Prov. S. Stefano, Romania
BR. MOURAD MIGIALLA, Prov. Holy Family, Egypt
BR. SIPHELELE GWANISHENI, Prov. Our Lady Queen of Peace, South Africa
BR. RENEE C. DEAN, Cust. S. Anthony of Padua, Philippines
BR. MICHAEL SUNG-HOON, Prov. Our Lady Queen of China, Taiwan
BR. FREDERICK ODHIAMBO, Prov. S. Francis, Kenya
BR. CORNELIUS BOHL, Prov. S. Elizabeth, Germany
BR. THEO VAN ADRICHEM, Prov. Holy Martyrs of Gorcum, The Netherlands
BR. PAUL MURAKAMI, Prov. Holy Martyrs of Japan, Japan
BR. MICHAEL PERUHE, Prov. St. Michael the Archangel, Indonesia


Il Paese del Sole, Friar Alessandro’s Fourth Music Album

Friar Alessandro has launched his 4th album, Il Paese del Sole, with Encore Music in conjunction with the Franciscan Foreign Missions to which the Artist’s royalties go in their entirety. It is an album which pays homage to the Italian genius in producing melodic and poignant songs and while it marks a departure from his previous recorded repertoire of exclusively sacred music it still sends out the Franciscan message of beauty, joy and peace.

Also available on Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music and YouTube.