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Fraternal visit to the Province of the Holy Cross – Brazil

While in Brazil, Br. Michael Anthony Perry, ofm, made a fraternal visit to the Province of the Holy Cross, from 9 to 14 June. He was accompanied by Br. Valmir Ramos, ofm, Definitor for Latin America. They arrived on 8 June in Belo Horizonte where the Provincial Curia is located. Br. Michael was received by Br. Hilton Faria de Souza and the friars of the local fraternity including some elderly friars for a fraternity party.

On the 10th he met the Under 10 friars with whom he talked, listened, and spoke about the need to always be open to accompaniment and to create spaces for internal and external dialogue.

On 11 June, Br. Michael visited the novitiate of the Province, in which the novices of the Province of St. Francis and those of the Custody of St. Benedict of Amazonia also participate. There he met the friars of ​​the northern State of Minas Gerais.

In the morning of the 12th, Br. Michael visited and celebrated the Eucharist in the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Addolorata on the “Serra da Piedade” Mountain, at the very summit. There he held a meeting with the guardians of the Province and listened to their challenges in caring for the fraternities.

On the evening of the 12th, the Minister General took part in a meeting in Belo Horizonte with members of the Islamic community and other religions to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the meeting of St. Francis with the Sultan.

The 13 June was reserved for a meeting, in Divinopolis, with the majority of the friars of the Province who are in the central and southern part of the State and then with the friars and the students of the various stages of Formation. In the evening, Br. Michael presided over the solemn celebration of St. Anthony with the church full of the faithful.

Handbook for Guardians

The aim of this resource is to provide assistance to the friars who have been given the responsibility of serving as Guardians in our fraternities.

The Guardian’s role does not have a single and unequivocal meaning — it is a complex role, involving a variety of issues and it requires competence in a number of areas.

This handbook offers brief reflections on each of the different areas entailed in serving as a Guardian in the Order of Friars Minor.

Therefore, after making some observations on what St. Francis says about the role of the Guardian, we will examine the variety of distinctive areas involved in this role: spiritual matters, juridical matters, fraternal matters, animation & formation matters, financial matters, administrative matters, and pastoral matters.

Obviously, this resource does not include everything there is to say; instead, it offers some practical ideas and formation that will be of help in carrying out this important service. We hope that your reading of this text will motivate you to study further.

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DOC: EnglishEspañolItaliano

Meeting of CEME: Executive Council for Missions and Evangelisation

The Executive Council for Missions and Evangelisation (CEME) met at the General Curia in Rome on 20-24 May 2019.

Participants included:

  • James BOK (Province of St. John the Baptist – USA)
  • Abdel MASIH (Holy Land Custody)
  • Napoly PASSION (Province of St. Peter Baptist – Philippines)
  • Ivan MATIÇ (Province of Sts. Cyril and Methodius – Croatia)
  • Russel Murray – Animator of Evangelisation
  • Alonso Morales – Secretary General for Missions and Evangelisation

 

The first part was dedicated to a reflection that included the following topics:

  • Evangelising mission in light of the plan of the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus (Br. Duván A. Tangarife, Province of St. Paul Apostle in Colombia)
  • Present and future of the Kingdom of God and its consequences for evangelisation (Br. Michael Perry, Minister General OFM)
  • Evangelising mission in the light of the Kingdom of God in initial and ongoing formation(Br. Cesare Vaiani, Secretariat for Formation and Studies)
  • JPIC and solidarity as one of the dimensions of evangelising mission (Br. Rufino Lim, JPIC office)
  • Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue as evangelisation (Br. Russel Murray, Animator of Evangelisation)

 

The proposed topics were followed by an intense dialogue between speakers and participants. This led us to conclude that our evangelising mission consists in following the practice of Jesus, proclaiming the Kingdom, making it present through proclamation, solidarity, dialogue, and celebration.

Later the CEME spoke about what the Order has been suggesting since 2009, and then in 2015, in the sense that, from all the documents that have been produced in the Order on Evangelising Mission in a Franciscan key we can think of a RATIO EVANGELIZATIONIS. This does not ignore the effort that many provinces are already making in this regard.

It is obvious that neither time nor circumstances are available to face this urgent task, but it was thought helpful to leave the next general chapter of 2021 with some general guidelines. These would build on those that emerged in the meeting of the 2018 CEME, which would be worked on in advance between the members of the CEME and the CIME (International Council for Missions and Evangelisation) and the conferences.

Finally, by way of evaluation, the participants saw the different interventions that led to the reflection as very positive, as well as the time dedicated to discussion and exchange of ideas between the members of the CEME.

The participants asked that the role of CEME be clarified better and that they might know the programme well in advance.

Justice and Peace: the International Council of the Order of Friars Minor in Jerusalem

The Custody of the Holy Land hosted the two-yearly planning meeting of the International Council of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Order of the Friars Minor from 3rd to 10th June 2019.

The JPIC Office has always dealt with everything concerning Justice, Peace and the Integrity of the Creation, recognized as founding values of Franciscan spirituality. These values are also to be found in the fight against climate change, the protection of Human Rights and special attention to the problems and real violations existing in the 119 countries where the Order is present and works. “This meeting,” said Fr. Jaime Campos, Director of the General Office for JPIC, “allows us to evaluate the work that has been done and to plan, with our discussions, future work with constant attention to the contents of the Laudato si’ Encyclical”.

The session opened with the Celebration of the Eucharist presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, followed by the presentations by the representatives of the various Conferences of the Friars Minor. Coming from Australia, Chile, Colombia, Korea, the Philippines, France, Italy, Mexico, Poland, the United Kingdom, Slovenia and the USA, the Franciscan friars gave voice to the issues in the different places they represent.

The contribution of three organizations which work together and proceed together in close contact with the JPIC Office was central: the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), the Pax Christi Association and Franciscans International.

Representing the GCCM, the Executive Director, the Argentinean Tomás Insua spoke of the Movement’s goal: to help the Church put Laudato si‘ into practice. To do this, it has to be lived and an “ecological conversion” has to be implemented which transforms both the relationship with the creation and lifestyles. The purpose is to help the Church be more sustainable and involved in the public debate on the climate crisis to protect our common home: “Sister Mother Earth”. During his presence at the meeting, Tomás Insua said: “having the chance to be here is very significant for me: I grew up with the Franciscans, and speaking to them about Laudato Si’ is really an important opportunity. In addition, I see having the chance to pray immersed in the same Creation that saw Jesus when he prayed as a great gift.”

Fr. Markus Heinze ofm, Executive Director, was present on behalf of Franciscans International. This non-governmental organization which represents the whole of the Franciscan family at the United Nations with offices in Geneva and New York, this year celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of its foundation. The mission of FI is focused on the defence of Human Rights. FI, together with the Franciscans, by listening directly to the people involved in the various countries where Human Rights are violated, takes on these issues, presenting them to the various UN agencies. “We work to inform about what is happening in the world and which is not usually shown, trying to raise awareness and eventually to lobbying the United Nations.” Fr. Markus commented: “Meeting here has been important and interesting for two reasons in particular: on the one hand, remembering  the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the meeting between St Francis and the Sultan, on the other for the crucial role played by the Holy Land in an area where conflicts are an everyday occurrence.“

The meeting came to a conclusion with the preparation of a final document and the celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost. “Being here in Jerusalem is important,” said Fr. Campos “in the past few years the Custody of the Holy Land has encouraged this Office by creating a commission that works intensely. Furthermore, the mission of the Franciscans in the Holy Land is a great challenge that also has an influence on our spirituality.”

 

 

Text: Giovanni Malaspina | custodia.org
Photos: Nadim Asfour/CTS

Fraternal visit to the Province of St. Francis of Assisi – Brazil

Br. Michael Anthony Perry, ofm, made a fraternal visit to the Province of St. Francis of Assisi, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, between 3 and 8 June. Br. Valmir Ramos, ofm, Definitor for Latin Americaaccompanied him. They arrived on 3 June in Porto Alegre at the Provincial Curia where Br. Michael began the visit by talking to some elderly and infirm confreres.  He also met the Provincial Definitory in the Curia to listen to and share the challenges of animating the Order. On 4 June, the Minister General visited the tremendous social work coordinated by the friars of the Province, the CPCA (Centro de Promoção da Criança and do Adolescente) situated in the suburbs of Porto Alegre. The CPCA maintains several projects for the protection and development of thousands of poor children and teenagers as well as street children.

On the 5th, Br. Michael met the friars of the Province at Daltro Filho, Immigrante, and shared some reflections on the Franciscan identity, our mission today and some of the challenges of the Order in the face of rapid changes in the world, in the Church and our Order. Br. Inacio Dellazari and the friars of the Province had the opportunity to share some of the life of the Province with its challenges.

Back in Porto Alegre on the 6th, he celebrated with the Franciscan Family in the Saint Francis Parish and shared a moment of fraternity. Besides the OFS fraternity, sisters of at least five other Franciscan and lay institutes of the Parish were present.

In the morning of the 7th, Br. Michael was able to visit the Institute of Higher Studies of the Capuchin confreres in Porto Alegre, ESTEF (Escola Superior de Teologia Franciscana). Our student friars attend courses in theology and Franciscan spirituality in this institute, and some of our professed friars teach there.

At the end of the visit, Br. Michael celebrated with the Poor Clares in the San Damiano Monastery in Porto Alegre. It was his birthday, and he celebrated with the friars of the Provincial Curia.

One friar to another: Thank You, Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony of Padua lived a remarkable life as a Franciscan friar, but his ministry happened completely by accident. In this video, Br. Clifford Hennings OFM pays homage to this famous Franciscan and discusses his ongoing influence on Catholics the world over.

One of my favorite saints is Saint Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan saint. One of the things that I liked about him is that his whole ministry was an accident. I mean, here he was, a guy who wanted to go and be martyred, and he was on a trip, and he went to North Africa, and on the way he got sick, so sick that they put him on a boat and said, You’re going back to Portugal.

While he’s on his way back to Portugal, a major storm comes in and blows it completely off course. And rather than landing in Portugal, he crash-lands in Southern Italy. And so now he finds himself in a country where he doesn’t know the people, it’s not his native tongue, and what does he do? He just begins to trust in God and to wander around.

Eventually he finds some other Franciscans, settles as a hermit, and starts to live a quiet life in a place that he never thought he would be. Until one day through a miscommunication, the Dominicans and the Franciscans were getting together and the Dominicans thought that the Franciscans had the preacher, and the Franciscans thought that the Dominicans have the preacher. Nobody had a homily prepared. And somebody had the idea to say, you know what, Anthony, Anthony can do it.

He preached with such fire and such eloquence that everybody was moved to tears. And from that moment on he became the world’s most famous preacher of the day, bringing forth tens of thousands of people traveling throughout Europe. And it all began because of an accident.

I think that his example shows us that if we trust in God and we believe that he’s with us always, sometimes even when we seem to be steered off course, we are ultimately walking in the footprints of Christ.

Encounter and Dialogue in the Footsteps of St. Francis: A Buddhist Pilgrimage to Assisi

This past May witnessed an extraordinary commemoration of the culture of encounter initiated by St. Francis and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamal 800 years ago: a Walking Mindfulness Pilgrimage from the Sanctuary of La Verna to Assisi by Buddhist Monastics of Plum Village (France) and group of their Lay Practitioners.

On May 10th, the pilgrims, who entitled their pilgrimage In the Footsteps of St. Francis, were warmly welcomed at La Verna by Br. Francesco Brasa, Guardian, the Brothers of the Fraternity. After four days of gracious hospitality at the Sanctuary, during which they participated in the daily Procession to the Stigmata and were privileged to hear Br. Masseo’s account of the Stigmata read to them by Br. Francesco, the pilgrims set out on foot to Assisi, where they arrived on May 26th.

Br. Massimo Chieruzzi, the Animator for Dialogue of the Seraphic Province, warmly welcomed the pilgrims to Assisi, who at that point number 9 monks and nuns and over 100 friends and Lay Practitioners, including many from across Italy. In his welcome, Br. Massimo recalled St. Francis’ encounter with the Sultan. While noting that we do not know all that transpired between the Saint and the Sultan, Br. Massimo stated that “What we know for sure is that it was a peaceful meeting, in which a friendship and a mutual enrichment was born between the two. …May our meeting follow in this channel of hope!” (click here Br. Massimo’s welcome address)

Day of Mindfulness followed as the pilgrims, accompanied by their friend Br. John Wong, Custos of Singapore-Malaysia-Brunei and Member of the OFM Commission for Dialogue, who also welcomed them at La Verna, visited the places sanctified by the lives of Sts. Francis and Clare. These visits included a “Walk of Mindfulness” to the Sanctuary of San Damiano, where the local Fraternity and its Guardian, Br. Massimo Reschiglian, hosted the pilgrims for lunch.

For all those who participated in this extraordinary pilgrimage, it was, indeed, a meeting that followed the channel of hope that St. Francis opened 800 years ago. May many more be caught in its waters of encounter, dialogue and friendship!

The Spirit of Dialogue in Indonesia

As part of a series of ongoing fraternal exchanges of goodwill following the Buddhists celebration of Vesak, Br. Michael Peruhe, Provincial Minister of our province of St. Michael (Jakarta, Indonesia) reports that the Provincialate Community visited the Buddhist Temple in Menteng, Jakarta on 31 May 2019. In fidelity to the Buddhist tradition of offering a generous welcome to all guests, especially during the commemoration of Vesak, one of the Temple’s monks personally served lunch to the Brothers.

Vesak commemorates events of fundamental significance to Buddhists of all traditions. Those events are the birth, enlightenment, and the passing away and entrance into the state of Nirvana (the Parinirvana) of Prince Siddhārtha Gautama, i.e., the Buddha (Enlightened One). Buddhists commemorate Vesak in a great diversity of ways, depending upon their tradition of Buddhism and local customs. Among the commemoration’s commonalities, Buddhists assemble in their temples and recommit themselves to the Three Gems, or Refuges: the Buddha, the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings), and the Sangha (the community of the Buddha’s disciples). In the temples, monks and nuns will recite verses uttered by the Buddha to invoke peace and happiness for all people, and to remember to live in harmony with people of other faiths and to respect the beliefs of other people as the Buddha taught.

The name Vesak is derived from the Pali term vesākha or Sanskrit vaiśākha, which is the name of the lunar month used in ancient India falling in April–May, hence the fact that Buddhists of different traditions commemorate Vesak on different days, depending upon how they use their respective lunar calendars – not unlike the differences between Christians calculations of the date of Easter. In 2000, the United Nations resolved to internationally observe the day of Vesak at its headquarters and offices on the day of the first full moon in May.

 

 

Fraternal visit to the Province of Saints Francis and James in Mexico

From 25 to 31 May, the Minister General Br. Michael Anthony Perry made a fraternal visit to the Province of Saints Francis and James in Mexico, accompanied by the Definitor General Br. Ignacio Ceja.

Br. Michael firstly visited the brothers who are present among the indigenous peoples, Huicholes, Coras, Tepehuanes and Mexicaneros, in the heart of the Western Sierra Madre. In Santa Clara Mission, he spoke with eighteen of the brothers and with the missionary volunteers, as well as with other local lay people, with whom he shared the Eucharist.

The Minister General then met with the rest of the brothers of the Province in two groups, one at the headquarters of the Province in the city of Zapopan and another in the northern zone in the city of Monterrey.

Beginning with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of St. John, “remain in me, as I remain in you”, Br. Michael invited the brothers of this Province which is the second largest in the Order, with many young friars, to revitalise their consecration as a contemplative fraternity in mission every day. He also spoke to them about the situation of the Order in the various regions in which it is located, and the impetus given by the recently celebrated Plenary Council of the Order. He urged them to renew their consecration by keeping God at the centre of their lives, not moving away from the spirit of minority, living a poor, simple lifestyle, with a constant attitude of solidarity with the poorest and most excluded. He asked them to pay close attention to the theme of ongoing and initial formation today, inviting them to include a special year of missionary immersion in their initial formation programs. He asked for particular and constant attention to the emotional life of the brothers, strengthening fraternal bonds, to the accompaniment of the brothers on the part of the guardians and of each one of the brothers of a fraternity. Finally, he asked for the support of some brothers for the missions of the Order.

During his presence in the various places, the Minister General was able to greet and dialogue also with the friars in initial formation and with other members of the Franciscan Family: The Poor Clare Sisters, the Brothers of the OFS and YouFra and with representatives of congregations and movements of Franciscan inspiration.

On the last day of his visit, he greeted the President of the Mexican Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Rogelio Cabrera López, of Monterrey and met with the Provincial Definitory. He shared comments on some issues raised during the visit with the members of the Definitory, and on the lights and challenges that the Province faces. Br. Michael noted that during his meeting with the friars, he could feel their generosity, but also their thirst for a more profound spirituality and a more authentic fraternal relationship and mission.

We thank the Minister Provincial Br. Ángel Gabino Gutiérrez and the other brothers of the Province for their hospitality and warm fraternal welcome to us.

 

Communique from the General Definitory – Tempo Forte of May 2019

The Tempo Forte of the General Definitory began on Monday 13 May 2019. The members of the Definitory spoke about the activities in which they had been engaged in recent weeks.

The session of Tuesday 14 was entirely devoted to examining questions submitted by the different Entities of the Order for the attention of the Minister General. Scholarships were granted and renewed, and decisions were made regarding the young friars at various stages of initial formation in Entities dependent on the Minister General – in particular in the Notre Dame d’Afrique Foundation in Congo Brazzaville, and in that in South Sudan.

Requests for the appointment of General Visitators were examined, and various dossiers relating to the General Procurator’s Office were discussed, including the following applications for:

  • permission for the donation of friaries (4);
  • information on allegations concerning graviora delicta(6);
  • dispensation from the obligations deriving from the clerical state and solemn vows (5);
  • dispensation from solemn vows (4);
  • secularisation ad experimentum(2);
  • secularisation pure et simpliciter(1);
  • dispensation (1) and sanation (1) regarding bi-ritualism;
  • ipso facto dismissal (1).

 

The Minister General also granted four applicants readmission to the Order without the obligation of having to repeat the Novitiate, an indult of exclaustration for three years and another for one year, a transfer to another religious institute and a dispensation from temporary vows.

Candidates to serve as Minister Provincial were approved for four Entities that will shortly celebrate their Provincial Chapter.

During the present Tempo Forte, the following General Visitators were elected:

  • Br. Anthony SELVARAJ, for the Custody of St. John the Baptist, in Pakistan;
  • Br. Michael JOHNSON, for the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in the U.S.A.;
  • Br. Paul HASEGAWA JUN, for the Province of the Holy Martyrs of Korea;
  • Br. Franz Leo BARDEN, for the Province of San Leopold, in Austria and Italy;
  • Br. Léo PÁLL, for the Magna Domina Hungarorum Province, in Hungary;
  • Br. Luca POZZI for the Province of Saint Bonaventure, in Italy (Lazio-Abruzzo);
  • Br. Francesco PILONI for the Province of St. Francis Stigmatised, in Italy (Florence);
  • Br. Jeffrey SCHEELER for the Province of St. Paul the Apostle, in Malta;
  • Br. Ernesto CHAMBI CRUZ for the Province of Santa Fe, in Colombia;
  • Br. John WONG for the Province of St. Francis, in Vietnam;
  • Br. Frédéric MANNS for the Studium Biblicum in Hong Kong.

 

With the help of Br. Witosław SZTYK, president of the Preparatory Commission, the Definitory reviewed the preparations and decided on the final details for the forthcoming Chapter of Mats for Under 10, which will take place in Taizé (France) from 7 to 14 July 2019.

The Manual for Guardians was prepared by the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies and was approved.

Acts of Elections were ratified:

  • in Chapter for the following Custodies:
    • of the Protomartyrs of Morocco, dependent on the Minister General;
    • of St. Anthony of Padua, in the Philippines;

 

  • in the so-called Intermediate Chapters (election of Definitors), celebrated in the Provinces of:
    • St. Peter Baptist, in the Philippines;
    • Holy Cross, in Slovenia;
    • Sannito-Irpina of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Italy (Benevento);
    • Salernitano Lucana of the Immaculate Conception, in Italy (Baronissi);
    • Holy Martyrs of Morocco, in Portugal.

 

  • In the Chapters in which the entire Government of the Provinces was elected in:
    • Holy VII Martyrs of Calabria, in Italy (Catanzaro);
    • St. Anthony of the Friars Minor, in Italy (Milan);
    • Assumption of BVM, in Italy (Lecce);
    • St. Hedwig, in Poland (Wrocław);
    • Most Holy Redeemer, in Croatia (Split);
    • St. Jerome, in Croatia (Zara);
    • Assumption of BVM, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mostar);
    • Holy Cross, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo);
    • St. Stephen of Hungary, King, in Romania-Transylvania.

 

The General Definitory accepted the resignation of Br. Russel MURRAY from his service as General Animator for Evangelisation and in his place appointed Br. Valmir RAMOS, Definitor General, who shared his recent experience of a fraternal visit to the Friars of Venezuela. The Definitory also met with the General Treasurer, Br. John PUODZIUNAS, who presented a financial update and submitted some questions on which the Definitory then took decisions.

From Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 May the General Definitory met with the Presidents of the Conferences and the Custos of the Holy Land. The following took part:

  • Br. Juan María MARTÍNEZ DE ILARDUYA (CONFRES);
  • Br. Claudio DURIGHETTO (COMPI);
  • Br. Cielito ALMAZAN (EAC);
  • Br. Michel LALOUX (COTAF);
  • Br. Yusuf BAGH (SAAOC);
  • Br. Amaral Bernardo AMARAL (Africana);
  • Br. Bernard MARCINIAK and (in his stead) Br. Teofil CZARNIAK (North-Slavic);
  • Br. Milijenko ŠTEKO (South-Slavic);
  • Br. Inácio DELLAZARI (Brazilian);
  • Br. Daniel FLEITAS ZENI (Cono Sur);
  • Br. Nelson TOVAR ALARCÓN (Bolivarian);
  • Br. Kevin J. MULLEN (ESC);
  • Br. Juan MEDINA PALMA (Our Lady of Guadalupe);
  • Br. Francesco PATTON, Custody of the Holy Land (Conference ad instar).

 

The conference began with the Eucharistic Concelebration of Tuesday, May 21, at which the Vicar General, Br. Julio César BUNADER presided and was marked by times of intense work as well as by an excellent atmosphere of fraternity and sharing. During the first morning, each President presented three challenges and three main opportunities that his Conference experiences. Secondly, the participants reported the different ways in which the Conferences and Entities accepted and assimilated the 2018 CPO Final Document. For the most part, this document has been widely circulated among the friars and has been studied in depth in different Entities as part of Ongoing Formation and in preparation for Provincial and Custodial Chapters. Interesting ideas emerged from the reflection on this publication for the deepening of several aspects of the process of preparing for the General Chapter of 2021. The discussion and exchange of ideas on possible themes, the methodologies to be adopted and the place where the General Chapter of 2021 could be celebrated took up some of the working sessions both in plenary assembly, and in language groups, and buzz sessions. The General Definitory will certainly treasure the results of this fruitful and productive discussion.

The Presidents were presented with both the new Guardians’ Manual and the aid developed by the Fidelity and Perseverance Commission: Our Vocation – Leaving or Remaining Faithful. They also received reports of the activity of the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelisation and of the General Office of Animation for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.

Ample space was dedicated to an in-depth presentation of the subject of abuse, guided with wisdom and competence by Br. Kevin J. MULLEN. The Order will have to devote more and more attention to this, to deal with this multi-faceted scourge. Everyone agreed on the need to offer training opportunities on how to deal with each case of abuse, and to review the legislative and procedural tools involved in this complex issue.

In the afternoon of Thursday 23 May Br. John PUODZIUNAS presented a very clear Reporton the economic and fiscal management of the structures and bodies belonging to the General Curia over the last four years. Among the numerous aspects highlighted, the presidents particularly appreciated the transparency adopted and the motivational structure that must guide both the administration of the assets that Providence gives us as well as the related reporting. The contribution that the Commissio Internationalis de Re Œconomica(CIRE) has provided over the years together with the suggestions proposed by the Presidents will lead to further improvements and some proposals for the 2021 General Chapter.

On Friday, 24 May, after a final opportunity to review the meeting, the Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry presided over the concluding Eucharist.

In the afternoon, the General Definitory met for a final working session where they dealt with various dossiers and examined the many ideas that emerged from the meeting with the Conference Presidents and the Custos of the Holy Land.

The next Tempo Forte will take place from 16 to 26 July, immediately after the conclusion of the Chapter of Mats for Under 10 – Taizé 2019.

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

 

Rome, 30 May 2019

 

Br. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM
Secretary General

Br. Carlos Alberto TROVARELLI Elected New Minister General of the Friars Minor Conventual

On May 25, 2019, the Ordinary General Chapter of the Friars Minor Conventual elected Br. Carlos Alberto TROVARELLI as the new Minister General of their religious family. The election took place at the Sacred Convent in Assisi.

Br. Carlos was born June 22, 1962, in Cinco Salto (Rio Negro), Argentina.  He belongs to the religious “Rioplatense” Province of St. Anthony of Padua in Argentina and Uruguay.  He professed his temporary vows on February 15, 1986, his solemn vows on October 4, 1990, and was ordained to the priesthood on March 25, 1995.

Until the election, he served as the Assistant General for the Federación América Latina Conventuales (FALC).

The Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry, on behalf of the General Definitory and the Brothers of the Order, congratulates Br. Carlos and assures him that he will be remembered in prayers for the future ministry that awaits him in the service of the Conventual brothers.

Br. Michael invites all the Brothers of the Order to continue praying for our Conventual Brothers who are in General Chapter.

More information at www.capgenofmconv.org

Jesus’ call to cultivate friendship with God | Homily of the Minister General at the Meeting with Presidents of Conferences

Homily of the Minister General at the Conclusion of the Meeting

Br. Michael A. Perry, ofm
May 24, 2019

It is written in the Gospel of John: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…”

My dear brother Ministers and Presidents of the Conferences, brothers of our local fraternity, the starting point of discipleship in the community of Jesus, the church, and in the fraternity of Francis is nothing other than the calling that we have received from the Lord Jesus. This calling expresses itself first and foremost in the community of the beloved disciples – or, at least what should be the community of the beloved disciples, the Church. As we know, sin and human limitations do not always allow this to be realized, even within the Order, except in those regions of the Order you represent and where everything is going so well, without any difficulties!

The grace of our vocational calling is, however, not some diffuse, spiritual force, the likes of which is spoken about by Yoda in Star Wars. Jesus’s vision of grace is relational. Grace operates between two or more people who have found themselves drawn together for a common purpose, a common mission, a shared identity that gives shape to all thought and action. We all would do well to remind one another about this fundamental truth: common calling; common purpose; common mission.

This fundamental relational nature of the calling we have received from birth and confirmed through baptism and religious profession is driven home forcefully in today’s Gospel where we hear Jesus call his beloved disciples to leave a mentality of slavery, a mercantile manner of dealing with one another that focuses on turning one another into objects from whom we can extract something. Pope Francis has spoken to this matter on any number of occasions, and most forcefully in his Encyclical on integral ecology, Laudato si’. We know all too well the consequences of relationships that are based on seeking only to gain something from others without being willing to pay the price for being in relationship, in friendship with another person, or for that matter with God. Yes, we sometimes even reduce our relationship with God to a form of transaction. We promise God we will do such and such IF God will do such and such for us.

The Gospel text we have before us today calls, challenges us to leave this slave mentality and to enter into an entirely new type of relationship with God. ‘I no longer call you slaves. I call you friends!” To my mind, this is revolutionary! Perhaps it would have been more politically correct for Jesus to invite his disciples to become ‘brothers’. The designation “brothers” implies much less of a quality of exchange, and for that matter of responsibility, for the subject of our attention. When Jesus names those who come to follow him, who entrust their entire lives into his hands and into the hands of God, Abba, he is opening a new path for how we might relate to him, how we might relate to God.

As a consequence of the calling to friendship with God we have received from Jesus, the nature of our relationship with one another, with ourselves, and with the entire created universe changes. The type of friendship envisioned and actually put into practice by Jesus implies undertaking the way of poverty, humility, minority, and solidarity.  It involves following the say long walk to freedom as the Abraham and Sarah, as Moses and Miriam, as Mary, Joseph, and also as Jesus. Ultimately, discipleship in Jesus will lead us to suffering and death, the price for entering into friendship with Jesus and allowing this friendship to open us to friendship with all of God’s people, and most especially with those who are poor, oppressed, and excluded in whatever way imaginable. But just as we saw in the life of Jesus, suffering and death do not have the final word. Love, reconciliation, peace, and joy, the ‘fruits’ of which St. John speaks, are what will ‘last’ if we are faithful to our calling, faithful to living in an abiding friendship with God, with Jesus, with the Spirit.

Perhaps this is the deeper message that the Gospel offers to us as we read the signs of the times, as we enter into a deeper dialogue with the world, the Church, and with one another in our fraternities, our Provinces/Custodies/Conferences, that which the process of the Plenary Council of the Order called us to embrace, a process that we hope might continue in a dynamic way until and throughout the General Chapter in 2021.

In his reflection on sexuality and chastity in religious life, Timothy Radcliffe writes: “To open oneself to love is extremely dangerous. There is a great probability that we will remain wounded. The last supper [in the Gospel of John] describes well the risks that result from loving. For this reason, Jesus died, because he loved” (cf. Amare nella liberta’, 2007, p. 16). My brothers, we have been called by a God who willingly handed over His Beloved Son out of an act of pure love, and not as repayment for paradise lost. God seeks our friendship, our hearts, and invites us to embrace a new vision, a new ethic, a new way of living the divine-human adventure that is present within us, within each of the friars of the Order. This is the vocation to which each of us is being called, a vocation defined by love, mercy, joy but also by suffering, pain, and death for the sake of the other.

May the power of God’s grace and friendship constantly stir within us an ardent desire to remain in this love always. And may we like Francis return always to the source of our ‘first love’, Jesus Christ who journeys with us each and every day of our lives.

 

 

Proclaim the Gospel & Offer Peace | Homily at the Beginning of the Meeting with Presidents of Conferences

On 21 May 2019, the meeting of the Presidents of the Conferences of the Order began at the General Curia in Rome. The gathering started with Lauds and the celebration of the Eucharist presided by the Vicar General, Julio Bunader.

The day continued with the sharing of the participants with each one concentrating on the needs and challenges to the life of brotherhood and minority in the Entities of their Conferences. The Conference Presidents will have a chance to hear the Minister General’s report along with other reports and discussions. The meeting will continue until Friday, 24 May.

 

HOMILY

Br. Julio César Bunader, ofm

The Liturgy of the Word offers us TWO ASPECTS of our faith, which I consider essential for us today as we begin the meeting of the General Definitory with the Presidents of Conferences. The first: PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL, and the second: OFFER THE PEACE OF JESUS.

1) The Acts of the Apostles (Acts 14:19-28) relates the first missionary journey of Paul, accompanied by Barnabas, in which they had to face difficulties, aware that “we all have to experience many hardships before we enter the kingdom of God” (v.22). At all times they dedicated themselves to “preaching the Good News and making disciples” (v. 21). This is the first aspect: PREACHING THE GOSPEL; proclaim the word (see v.24), the Good News of Jesus (Acts 8:35). That is, to proclaim with life and deeds, their faith in the action of God in Jesus (Acts 14:15-16) and to spread the joy of the Resurrection.

Paul and Barnabas spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and present themselves as instruments filled with the Spirit. Based on this preaching, communities are organised at the institutional level. Therefore “In each of these churches they appointed elders, and with prayer and fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had come to believe” (v. 23), so that they may be guardians of the brothers (cfr. Acts 20:28). As disciples, we are asked to “strongly feel the hunger and thirst for the gospel that is in the world, especially in the heart and flesh of the poor.” To “approach them, serve them, free them from their oppression, and all this in the name and with the Spirit of Christ, because he is the Gospel of God “(Pope Francis, Angelus 24-01-16).

2) The Gospel of John (Jn 14, 27-31) insists on the second aspect of THE PEACE OF JESUS: “Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (v. 27). Jesus presents an alternative, offering a different peace to the world’s understanding of it. He confers a new sense and meaning to the word peace, because he refers to his own person, as the Apostle Paul recognises: “he is our peace” (Eph 2:14).

Jesus introduces a distinction, between the peace he offers and the peace of the world. The peace imposed by the “prince of this world” (v. 30) is not authentic, because it is based on violence, violence that caused the death of Christ; and it is a facade because it hides divisions. True peace is not a balance of opposing forces. The Peace of Jesus Christ does not claim the imposition of power, nor does it require conflict or war. Jesus is abundance of life for all people, equally and with total freedom. That peace, offered to all people, is the fruit of communion with the Triune God and brings about communion among people.

Brothers let us renew our beautiful Christian and Franciscan vocation to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christand to offer/make Peace, the gift of the Risen One and the joy of the disciple (cfr. Jn 20:19-23), because we have been called and sent by God to evangelise (cfr. CCGG Chapter V).

Press release

 

Trial of Franciscans: the three friars acquitted

Milan, 17 May 2019 – The General Curia, a body belonging to the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor (OFM), takes note of the decision issued today 17.05.2019 by the Criminal Court of Milan, whereby the trial judge acquitted the three defendants Friar Giancarlo Lati, former treasurer of the General Curia of the Order of Friars Minor, Friar Renato Beretta, former treasurer of the Saint Charles Borromeo Province of Lombardy of the Friars Minor and Friar Clemente Moriggi, former treasurer of the Conference of provincial ministers of the Friars Minor of Italy. The three friars were accused of complicity with each other in the crime of aggravated embezzlement in connection with a serious loss of funds, amounting to several million euros, that were transferred to a fraudulent financial broker. Internal investigations following the establishment of new governing bodies led to the discovery of the disputed irregularities — which concern the assets of the bodies — and culminated in complaints being submitted to the investigating Authorities from December 2014. The three bodies were constituted civil parties in the trial against the three former treasurers that began last September following consideration by the Milan magistrate. The text of the finding read today in the courtroom explicitly states that the decision is determined by the statute of limitations of the crimes accrued over time from the allegations by the Public Prosecutor since May 2011.

The General Curia reserves the right to make its own assessment following a study of the rationale behind the finding.

Press Contacts:
Luca Vitale e Associati
Luca Vitale, +39.335.6010843, l.vitale@lucavitaleassociati.it

Celebrations for the 800th anniversary of St. Francis’ visit to Cyprus

The Latin Church of Cyprus celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Pilgrimage of Peace by St Francis to the Middle East with a series of institutional events and collateral initiatives which took place from 8th to 12th May 2019 in Larnaca, Nicosia, Limassol, and Paphos.

Although no direct sources have been found, it is highly likely that St Francis landed in Cyprus either on his way to or on his return journey from Damietta (where there was the famous meeting with the Sultan of Egypt Melek El Kamel in 1219), as the island of Cyprus was an important and busy base for ships on their way to the Holy Land and Egypt. The Friars Minor settled in Cyprus at the beginnings of the history of the Order and today the Custody of the Holy Land looks after the pastoral matters of the Catholics of the Latin rite for the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, to which Cyprus belongs. The convent of the Holy Cross in Nicosia is also the seat of the Apostolic Nunciature, therefore the local superior is at one and the same time the Representative of the Custos of the Holy Land, Patriarchal Vicar and Attaché of the Apostolic Nuncio.  This also underlines the diplomatic, as well as ecclesiastical, role of the Custody of the Holy Land on Cyprus.

This aspect had its moment of celebration on 9th May in Nicosia, in the Presidential Palace, at a commemorative evening to which the accredited diplomatic corps in the Republic of Cyprus and the Christian and Muslim religious authorities were invited. In the absence of the President Nicos Anastasiades, occupied abroad at a European summit meeting, the welcome address was given by the Acting President and the President of the House of Representatives, Demetris Syllouris.

Syllorius said “First of all, let me say how particularly pleased I am for this commemorative event at the Presidential Palace. It precisely demonstrates our very close and fraternal ties with the Latins of Cyprus, who, as I have noted on other occasions, constitute a very dynamic and special part of our people. “ Referring to the political situation in the times of the Fifth Crusade, the Acting President recalled the situation of conflict that the Republic of Cyprus is currently experiencing with Turkey, recalling that there is still a need today to attain and uphold peace, dialogue and mutual comprehension, inaugurated by the meeting between Francis and the Sultan.

At the end of his address, the Acting president wanted to thank the Representative of the Latin Community to the House of Representatives, Ms. Antonella Mantovani and the Patriarchal Vicar of the Latins, Father Jerzy Kraj for the organization of the event. The other speakers included the Custos of the Holy Land, Father Francesco Patton and the Apostolic Nuncio, Mons. Leopoldo Girelli.

In between the addresses, there were moments of music and dance by the pupils of St. Mary’s School of Limassol and the  Terra Santa College of Nicosia. During the ceremony, the Custos of the Holy Land gave some awards to personalities and representatives of institutions that had stood out by their commitment to dialogue and peace and for the collaboration with the Latin Church of Cyprus. Absent for unforeseen family reasons, the mufti of Cyprus,  Talip Atalay, asked the Maronite archbishop Mons. Joseph Souaif to collect his award in his place; this gesture was interpreted as a sign of inter-religious collaboration and of good relations.

At the start of the evening, there was a brief historical evocation by Father Noel Muscat, a lecturer at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum in Jerusalem, who spoke more extensively the next day at the conference held at the University of Cyprus, where an important paper on the sources and on the effects of the encounter between St Francis and the Sultan was given by Father Jason Welle of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies.

Alongside the institutional and academic initiatives, the Terra Sancta Organ Festival offered four concerts linked to the figure and life of St Francis: the Italian organist Ferruccio Bartoletti improvised on the silent Italian film of 1918, “Brother Sun”, with the subtitles of the film especially translated into Greek and into English.

Text: Riccardo Ceriani | custodia.org

Photos: Press and Information Office, Ministry of Interior, Republic of Cyprus

Greetings on the Occasion of Vesak 2019

Our dearest Buddhist Brothers and Sisters in every place,

May Peace be with you!

On this light-filled celebration of Vesak, we who are your lesser brothers share in your commemoration of the birth, full awakening, and passing of Siddharta Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha.

 

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Gautama Buddha taught the way of wisdom, compassion and freedom from suffering. With respect and gratitude, we remember all that Bodhisattvas, Buddhist leaders and practitioners have done through the ages to uplift humanity and to seek the benefit all beings.

We rejoice with you in the 16th United Nations Day of Vesak celebrations and international Buddhist conference on the theme of ‘Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Sustainable Societies’ that was held in Hà Nam Province, Vietnam, from May 12 to May 14, 2019.

In our age, there has been immeasurable violence in our environment, in public places, in sacred spaces, in homes and in the hearts of people. We affirm the Buddhist path of non-violence, by facing the many challenges to harmony and peaceful co-existence through upholding the principles of mindful compassion and human dignity.

As followers of Jesus Christ, the Exemplar of Love, and as brothers of St Francis of Assisi, the Herald of Peace, we too uphold in these shared values of humanity. Pope Francis encourages us to promote tender mercy, to uphold the dignity of every person, and to care for our common home.

In our world, many beings remain in the shadow of suffering, ignorance, and fear. As the lotus rises above the muddy waters, we, your Franciscan brothers, are united with you in a shared aspiration that all may learn to live in the pure Light of Compassion, Wisdom, and Love.

With a deep bow of fraternal affection, we wish you Peace and all Good.

The OFM Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogue
on behalf of the Franciscan Friars (Order of Friars Minor)

 

Dates of the Celebration

 

April 8
JAPAN Hana Matsuri

May 12
KOREA & HONGKONG Birthday of the Buddha

May 18
CAMBODIA Visak Bochea
MALAYSIA Wesak
SINGAPORE Vesak
THAILAND Visakha Bucha
MYANMAR Full Moon Day of Kasong
SRI LANKA Vesak Full Moon Poya Day
INDIA Buddha Purnima

May 19
INDONESIA Waisak
LAOS, TAIWAN, VIETNAM Vesak

Letter by Pope Francis for the event “Economy of Francesco” in Assisi

To Young Economists and Entrepreneurs Worldwide

Dear Friends,

I am writing to invite you to take part in an initiative very close to my heart.  An event that will allow me to encounter young men and women studying economics and interested in a different kind of economy: one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanizing, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it.  An event that will help bring us together and allow us to meet one another and eventually enter into a “covenant” to change today’s economy and to give a soul to the economy of tomorrow.

Surely there is a need to “re-animate” the economy!  And where better to do so than Assisi, which has for centuries eloquently symbolized a humanism of fraternity? Saint John Paul II chose Assisi as the icon of a culture of peace. For me, it is also a fitting place to inspire a new economy. There Francis stripped himself of all worldliness in order to choose God as the compass of his life, becoming poor with the poor, a brother to all. His decision to embrace poverty also gave rise to a vision of economics that remains most timely. A vision that can give hope to our future and benefit not only the poorest of the poor, but our entire human family. A vision that is also necessary for the fate of the entire planet, our common home, “our sister Mother Earth”, in the words of Saint Francis in his Canticle of the Sun.

In my Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’, I emphasized that, today more than ever, everything is deeply connected and that the safeguarding of the environment cannot be divorced from ensuring justice for the poor and finding answers to the structural problems of the global economy. We need to correct models of growth incapable of guaranteeing respect for the environment, openness to life, concern for the family, social equality, the dignity of workers and the rights of future generations. Sadly, few have heard the appeal to acknowledge the gravity of the problems and, even more, to set in place a new economic model, the fruit of a culture of communion based on fraternity and equality.

Francis of Assisi is the outstanding example of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology. I think of the words spoken to him from the Crucifix in the little church of San Damiano: “Go, Francis, repair my house, which, as you see, is falling into ruin”. The repair of that house concerns all of us. It concerns the Church, society and the heart of each individual. Increasingly, it concerns the environment, which urgently demands a sound economy and a sustainable development that can heal its wounds and assure us of a worthy future.

Given this urgent need, each one of us is called to rethink his or her mental and moral priorities, to bring them into greater conformity with God’s commandments and the demands of the common good. But I thought especially of inviting you young people, because your desire for a better and happier future makes you even now a prophetic sign, pointing towards an economy attentive to the person and to the environment.

Dear young people, I know that you can hear in your hearts the ever more anguished plea of the earth and its poor, who cry out for help and for responsibility, for people who will respond and not turn away. If you listen to what your heart tells you, you will feel part of a new and courageous culture, you will not be afraid to face risks and work to build a new society. The risen Jesus is our strength! As I told you in Panama and I wrote in my Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit: “Please, do not leave it to others to be protagonists of change. You are the ones who hold the future! Through you, the future enters into the world. I ask you also to be protagonists of this transformation… I ask you to build the future, to work for a better world” (No. 174).

Your universities, your businesses and your organizations are workshops of hope for creating new ways of understanding the economy and progress, for combating the culture of waste, for giving voice to those who have none and for proposing new styles of life. Only when our economic and social system no longer produces even a single victim, a single person cast aside, will we be able to celebrate the feast of universal fraternity.

That is why I would like to meet you in Assisi: so that we can promote together, through a common “covenant”, a process of global change. One in which not only believers but all men and women of good will, beyond differences of creed and nationality, can participate, inspired by an ideal of fraternity attentive above all to the poor and excluded. I invite each of you to work for this covenant, committing yourselves individually and in groups to cultivate together the dream of a new humanism responsive to the expectations of men and women and to the plan of God.

The name of this event – Economy of Francesco – clearly evokes the Holy Man of Assisi and the Gospel that he lived in complete consistency, also on the social and economic level. Saint Francis offers us an ideal and, in some sense, a programme. For me, who took his name, he is a constant source of inspiration.

With you, and through you, I will appeal to some of our best economists and entrepreneurs who are already working on the global level to create an economy consistent with these ideals. I am confident that they will respond. And I am confident above all in you young people, who are capable of dreaming and who are prepared to build, with the help of God, a more just and beautiful world.

Our meeting is planned for 26 to 28 March 2020. Together with the Bishop of Assisi, whose predecessor Guido, eight centuries ago, received the young Francis in his house when he made the prophetic gesture of his stripping, I count on receiving you myself. I await you and even now, I greet you and I give you my blessing. Please, do not forget to pray for me.

From the Vatican, 1 May 2019
Memorial of Saint Joseph the Worker

FRANCIS

 

source: Vatican.va

In memory of Br Romain Mailleux (1931-2019)

A great servant of the Order passed away on the night of the feast of the Good Shepherd, 12 May 2019, at 10:30 pm.

Georges, the future Romain was born on 11 November 1931 as the last child of a family of eight children.

While still young, Georges left for the Franciscan College in the Marche (Italy) where he studied from 1945 until 1950.

On 15 September 1950 Georges entered the Novitiate of Salzinnes (Namur) with the name of Br Romain, where he made his simple profession in the Franciscan Order on 17 September 1951. He continued his philosophical and theological education in the Chant d’Oiseau scholasticate of Brussels. Solemn profession in the Order of Friars Minor followed on 29 September 1954. His priestly ordination took place in the Saint Aubain Cathedral of Namur on 16 March 1957.

Showing great intellectual gifts, Br Romain received obedience for specialisation and then a doctorate in canon law at the University of Louvain/Leuven (1957-1962). Between 1962 and 1966 he was Professor in the Franciscan Studium of Chant d’Oiseau in Brussels. He lived for a while in the fraternity of Namur (1966-1970) and, later, in that of Pécrot in the Walloon Brabant (1970-1981), two important experiences of a small fraternity in his Franciscan life.

Br Romain took up a new course of study and obtained a degree from the Medieval Institute of the KUL in Leuven. From 1971 to 1978, he worked as an Assistant in the Electronic Document Processing Centre (CETEDOC) in Leuven and also in Louvain-la Neuve.

In 1981, he was elected Minister Provincial of the Francophone Province of Our Lady Mediatrix in Belgium, a mandate he held from 1981 to 1985.

In 1985, during the General Chapter, Br Romain was elected Vicar General of the Order of Friars Minor and left for Rome. Having completed this service in 1991, this humble friar spent a sabbatical year in the Irish friary of Saint Isidore in Rome. From 1992 to 1996 he continued as a part-time lecturer in the UCL in Louvain-la Neuve and the Antonianum in Rome.

In 1996, Br Romain was appointed scientific director, especially for medieval studies, and later Guardian of the Collegio San Bonaventura in Grottaferrata, while continuing to teach at the Antonianum in Rome.

In 2006, Br Romain returned to Belgium and lived initially in the fraternity of Louvain-la-Neuve and later in the Friary of Chant d’Oiseau (Brussels), as librarian.

Illness required several hospitalisations and his sister death visited him on Good Shepherd Sunday in St. Luke’s Hospital in Brussels.

The funeral was celebrated on Friday 17 May 2019 in the church of Our Lady of Grace of Chant d’Oiseau.

Oldalak