A rendi központ hírei - olasz nyelven

Appointment of Br Leonardo Sileo OFM as Rector of the Pontifical Urbaniana University

On 1 January 2021, the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, confirmed Br Leonardo Sileo OFM’s appointment as Rector of the Pontifical Urbaniana University for the next three years ratifying the election by the Academic Senate and the ordinary and extraordinary professors.

The Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbaniana University, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle announced Br. Leonardo’s appointment. He thanked him for the work he had done so far in his first term of office when he had to deal with the difficult situation caused by the pandemic and the reorganisation of teaching following anti-infection measures.

Br. Leonardo began his teaching career in 1986 in the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Antonianum Athenaeum. Then, at the Urbaniana from 1998, he became a full professor in 2013 in the Faculty of Philosophy, holding the History of Medieval Philosophy chair. Br. Leonardo served as Director of the Urbaniana University Press. He assumed responsibility for the Quality Office, initiating self-assessment and implementing quality checks according to the Bologna Process’s criteria.

Br. Leonardo belongs to the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the Friars Minor of Salerno (Italy).

 

 

Feast of the Franciscan Protomartyrs: Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee

The eighth centenary (1220-2020) of the Franciscan Protomartyrs’ death, 16 January 2020 – 17 January 2021, focused primarily on St Anthony’s church in Terni (Italy). The Apostolic Penitentiary granted a plenary indulgence for the year. However, one could say that the whole “Way of the Franciscan Protomartyrs” is an open air shrine of the five saintly Friars Minor who, following St Francis’s example, followed in the footsteps of Jesus by living according to the Gospel up to the shedding of their blood.

The centenary programme was well-structured and packed with initiatives, but in January 2020 no one knew that the coronavirus pandemic would soon arrive in Italy, with the consequent lockdown. Thanks to the Narni Lions Club, meetings were planned in Coimbra. The diocesan delegation’s trip to Portugal of eight people – the Bishop Giuseppe Piemontese, the guardian of the Sant’Antonio friary in Terni, Br Danilo Tremolada, some religious and lay people – was cancelled two days before departure. A plaque prepared for the occasion to give to the Bishop of Coimbra is still waiting for more favourable times to be delivered. In this case, as in others, we soon learnt that alongside the martyrdom of blood reserved for some, there is the no less bloody but equally fruitful martyrdom of patience!

While respecting the antivirus norms, liturgies, meetings, pilgrimages, and other events helped us to discover that the martyrs are truly those who have taken on Jesus’s form of life.  A Eucharistic love that passes from gratitude for gifts received to generoisty to the point of giving one’s life for one’s brothers and sisters. Moreover, they testify that love and sacrifice are called to work hand in hand if the former is not to become pure fleeting emotionalism and the latter frustrating activism. When love expresses itself in sacrifice, and sacrifice is moved by love, we are faced – in the words of Dostoevsky – with the beauty that saves the world; thus, we can say that love alone is credible.

Like Brother Francis of Assisi, the Franciscan Protomartyrs went to the land of non-Christians to proclaim the Gospel. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Rule of the Friars Minor is the first to dedicate a section to those who go among the unbelievers.

[…]

As the eighth centenary of the Franciscan Protomartyrs’ death draws to a close, the centenary of St Anthony’s arrival in Italy is just beginning.

 

(The full text is available in Italian at ofm.org)

 

Br Pietro Messa ofm
Pontifical Antonianum University

 

“From a minefield to a place of prayer”: the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus returns to the Franciscan church on the River Jordan

On Sunday 10th January 2021, after 54 years and 3 days, the Franciscan friars of the Custody of the Holy Land once again celebrated Mass in the church of St John the Baptist at Qasr Al-Yahud, on the banks of the River Jordan, the Christian site where the Baptism of Jesus is commemorated.

The liturgy started with the procession of the Franciscans who, from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St John, arrived at the Franciscans’ land not far from the banks of the river, where the Holy Mass was celebrated. Before the celebration of the Eucharist, the parish priest of the parish of Jericho, Fr. Mario Hadchity, welcomed the friars and the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton. “We are delighted, on this special day, that the Custody of the Holy Land, with the help of God, after more than half a century, has been able to return to the Latin church of St John the Baptist,” said Fr. Mario. “May it be a place where all those who enter encounter the grace of God.” After kissing the cross and the incensation, the Custos made his solemn entrance,  personally opening the gates of the site, which had been closed for more than fifty years.

The celebration, presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, was attended by the apostolic nuncio in Israel and Cyprus and apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine, Mons. Leopoldo Girelli, the Italian Consul-General Giuseppe Fedele, the Spanish Vice-Consul Paloma Serra and  representatives of the Israeli military authorities. In the respect of the regulations due to  Coronavirus, about fifty people were present, divided into groups of ten and distanced from one another.

Read the rest of the story by Giovanni Malaspina at: custodia.org

Photos: Nadim Asfour/CTS

 

Volunteering in service of migrants and refugees

 

The Franciscan Network on Migration (RFM) extends a warm invitation to all those who are interested in serving at migrant and refugee shelters associated with our network in Guatemala, Mexico and the United States.

On Christmas Eve, we launched our “Volunteer Campaign 2021.” The application process is open to all people of legal age who speak Spanish at an intermediate level. Applicants should be open to giving their time and have the ability to stay at one of our seven houses. All of our shelters are in need of support and collaboration in order to continue the service they provide daily to migrants and refugees.

Volunteering is an unforgettable and life-changing experience. We are hoping that lay people, men and women religious, priests, students, and workers from different countries will take up this challenge that the present times have laid before us.

The houses and teams of Franciscan Network on Migration need help and volunteers. We ask that you will help us spread the word about this opportunity.

For more information about the current placements and requirements of volunteer service, we invite you to visit our website: https://redfranciscana.org/voluntariado/. Here you will find our application form and a pdf that you can download and share. Once you fill out the form, a representative from your preferred house will contact you.

NOTE: All materials related to volunteering are in Spanish as one of the basic requirements for applicants is an intermediate level of Spanish.

Peace and all good!

Koinonia 2020 – 4 (N.108): Franciscan Economy for Seculars

Franciscan Economy for Seculars

 

Let us begin our discussion on Franciscan economy by looking at some details of the allegorical painting on Poverty in the Lower Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. The painting is attributed to Giotto or better known as the School of Giotto and is dated around 1334. The scene is the mystical marriage of Lady Poverty with St. Francis, blessed by Jesus. Francis is depicted here as giving the wedding ring to Lady Poverty. But if you observe clearly you can find that the Lady Poverty is not keeping even the wedding ring for herself, but donate it to the virtue of Hope (Spes). What she receives on her right hand, gives it away with her left hand. She does not reserve anything, even the most intimate thing, for herself.

This is again another particular scene from the allegory of Poverty, where a young man (the young Francis before his conversion) is giving his cloak to a poor man. He is responding positively to the invitation of the angel to participate in the marriage.

And in this image you will find that the dress that the young man gives to the poor is taken by an angel to the hands of God. You see also another angel carrying a house to the same hands. The house is depicted with some agricultural land and a tree, fruit of work. They signify that when the basic needs (food, shelter, work and clothing) are given to the poor, they go to God.

Keeping these three images in mind let us begin our discussion on “Franciscan Economy for Seculars”. The objective of our study is to pay attention to the relational dimension of our economic and social life in which the human person is respected in his/her dignity. Our attention is limited to view how a secular Franciscan can respond to the challenges of the present economic crisis, aggravated by the pandemic of Covid-19, which has paralyzed greater part of economic activities around the world.

 

  • Koinonia 2020-4“Franciscan Economy for Seculars”– Fr. Alfred Parambakathu OFMConv

N. 108

PDF: EnglishItalianoEspañolFrançais

DOC : EnglishItalianoEspañolFrançais

 

In Memory of Bishop Ruben Tierrablanca González

On December 21st, 2020, our brother Ruben Tierrablanca González, Bishop of Istanbul, died in the hospital in Istanbul weeks after having contracted CoVid-19. He had been in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator for the past two weeks.

A member of the Province of St. Peter and Paul in Mexico, Rubén was born on August 24, 1952 in Cortázar, Celaya, Mexico. He made solemn vows in 1977 and was ordained a priest the following year. In 1985 he completed studies for a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome) and was ordained bishop in 2016.

After teaching Old Testament studies in El Paso, Texas, and serving as Provincial Definitor, and Secretary of Formation for his Province, Rubén returned to the Antonianum where he served as Rector of students. Immediately afterwards, he was appointed Guardian of the General Curia where he was known for his care of the friars and especially for his love of music.

His commitment to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue led him to volunteer for a new mission of the Order in Istanbul, to promote encounter and dialogue among the Christian churches, with Islam, and with different cultures. From 2003-2015, he served as Guardian in Istanbul and Coordinator for the presence of the Order in Turkey. Not only did he actively promote dialogue, he also served as Parish Priest at Saint Marie Draperis parish in Istanbul, and on various commissions in the Apostolic Vicariate of Istanbul. In 2016, he moved to Izmir to serve at the Franciscan parish and on April 4, 2016, he was appointed Apostolic Vicar of Istanbul.

On the feast of St. Andrew, November 30, 2020, already weakened by CoVid19, Bishop Rubén addressed a letter to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, asking forgiveness if in any way over the course of service as friar, pastor, teacher, or bishop he might have said or done something to offend his Holiness or members of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

The Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry, inviting all the friars of the Order to remember Bishop Rubén at Mass and in their prayers, writes:

May his example of humble, gentle service and zeal for promoting dialogue and universal fraternity among all men and women inspire and challenge all of us to follow his example. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship, writes the following words, which, I believe, express the spirit that animated our dearly departed Brother Mgr. Rubén:  “[St. Francis] understood that ‘God is love and those who abide in love abide in God’ (1 Jn. 4 :16). In this way, he became a father to all and inspired the vision of a fraternal society. Indeed, ‘only the man who approaches others, not to draw them into his life, but to help them become ever more fully themselves, can truly be called a father’. “

May our dear brother Rubén Tierrablanca González rest in eternal peace.

 

Venerable Servant of God Antonio Seghezzi, diocesan priest

Promulgation of Decree of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

On  December 21st 2020, the Holy Father Pope Francis received Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in audience and authorised the Congregation to promulgate the Decree concerning the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Antonio Seghezzi, diocesan priest, born in Premolo, Diocese of Bergamo, on 25 August 1906, and died in the concentration camp of Dachau on 21 May 1945.

 

Venerable Antonio Seghezzi

The priestly mission of Venerable Antonio Seghezzi (1906-1945) was mainly dedicated to young people, first as formator in the diocesan minor seminary and then as spiritual assistant to the Youth of Catholic Action. He taught the young people the value of Gospel radicality, which he himself lived. The painful scenes of the war in Ethiopia, where he was military chaplain at the front (1935-1937), and then of the Second World War in Italy (1939-1944), brought him face to face with the material and moral suffering of many brothers and sisters whom he tried to help through works of mercy. In 1943, after the overthrow of Fascism in Italy, Father Seghezzi realised that he had to commit himself, as a priest, to a new task: to help young people who were in serious difficulties because they were fugitives from the German enemy. His work, which had no political dimension, but was in keeping with the law of charity, led to his arrest by the Nazi-Fascists on 27 October 1943.  He was sentenced to 5 years of deportation to Germany. The hardships he suffered in prison brought on a severe form of tuberculosis which led to his death on 21 May 1945.

The Cause of Beatification began in 1990 and was entrusted to the postulator general of the Order of Friars Minor, the Rev. Juan Folguera Trepat, OFM.

Ministers General meet for a fraternal gathering at the OFM General Curia

On December 19th, 2020, the Ministers General of the First Order and Third Order Regular met at the OFM General Curia to share a moment of fraternity before Christmas. In the course of the exchange, they spoke at length about their desire that the Church allow us to reclaim the gift of our origins as mixed institutes (Vita Consecrata, Art. 61). They spoke about current challenges and future dreams of our respective Orders, including a recognition of the equal dignity of all the friars and the possibility of equal participation at all levels of service to the brothers. They also remembered the friars who have died or who have become ill due to CoVid-19. They then spoke about some of the different efforts around the Franciscan world to initiate a new beginning through the creation of inter-obediential fraternities (Emmaus in the Holy Land, Rieti and Assisi in Italy, etc.), and through collaborative projects in the areas of Ongoing and Initial Formation, missionary evangelization, and other areas. The Ministers General concluded their time together with prayer in the General Curia chapel.

For the first time ever, the Ministers of the entire Franciscan family published a joint Christmas letter this year, translated into 18 languages.  This is a truly positive step towards a future characterized by ever greater communion.

Christmas Letter from the Franciscan Ministers General: “Hope is bold!”

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; 
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
(Is 9:1)

To the Franciscan Family,
sisters and brothers all.

Hope is bold!

 

Dear sisters and brothers of the entire Franciscan Family,

May the Lord give you peace!

The language of Christmas is full of music and light. When Thomas of Celano recounts the story of Christmas at Greccio, he writes, “The night is lit up like day, delighting both man and beast. The people arrive, ecstatic at this new mystery of new joy. The forest amplifies the cries and the boulders echo back the joyful crowd. The brothers sing, giving God due praise, and the whole night abounds with jubilation.” (1Cel 30)

We already perceive the Light from on high, and so now we, the representatives of the great international Franciscan Family, wish to use the language of music to reflect on the beautiful resonances we find in the Encyclical, Fratelli tutti.

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1.  Musical notation

1.1. A new musical score

Advent is almost over, and Christmas is already upon us! Only a few days separate us from the end of the year 2020, but already we can say that it has been a very particular year. Over the last few months, it seems that we have experienced as much as we normally would in a decade. Because of issues such as the virus, political changes, protests in so many countries, tensions, wars, intolerance, environmental issues, chaotic streams of information, our experience is that the world has become darker and, as a result of factors that include assorted lockdowns, also more closed [see Pope Francis, Fratelli tutti (FT), Chapter one: Dark Clouds over a Closed World, nos. 9-55]. It is precisely at this moment in history that Pope Francis has given us his Encyclical, Fratelli tutti. In it, he shares his desire that we have the courage to dream, to aspire to be a united human family, to a global embrace between sisters and brothers, “children of the same earth which is our common home”. (FT 8).

The Pope introduces Fratelli tutti with a specific reference to the fraternal love that was lived and fostered by friar Francis — love for those both near and far. Yes, indeed, love for the Lord’s creatures, but firstly love for “those of his own flesh” (FT 2), in particular for the poor and the marginalised. The Holy Father also recalls the profound significance of friar Francis’ historic and humble visit to Sultan Malik-al-Kamil in Egypt. The Poor Man of Assisi met the Sultan as a brother, as a person who has a “heart which knew no bounds and transcended differences of origin, nationality, colour or religion” (FT 3). Pope Francis maintains that St. Francis himself had the gift of communicating God’s love and is “a father to all, inspiring the vision of a fraternal society” — this was the Holy Father’s principal motivation in writing the new Encyclical (FT 4).

All the more reason, then, should it motivate us as members of the Franciscan Family! We want to say more …. Last October 3rd, we the Ministers General of the Franciscan Family were present at the Tomb of St. Francis in Assisi, while Pope Francis celebrated Mass and signed his encyclical! We were able to greet the Holy Father on behalf of all of you. On this opportunity given to us by Providence, we want to take up a special invitation addressed to the whole Family, and firstly to us Ministers. It is the invitation to take Fratelli tutti and its insights seriously, to see it as a gift and an undertaking given to us by the Pope in the year 2020, to appreciate it as coming from St. Francis through Pope Francis, like a new musical score to be learned, practiced, and performed as part of the great composition of history.

 

1.2. Different musical notes combine in a chord called Hope

Pope Francis is a realist and has no qualms about naming things. In his analysis of the situation in which today’s world finds itself (FT 9-55), he speaks of the “dark clouds, which should not be ignored” (FT 54). But he does not leave it at that. What response does he propose to the sufferings faced by humanity? Hope! And what does he mean? “Hope speaks to us of a thirst, an aspiration, a longing for a life of fulfilment, a desire to achieve great things, things that fill our heart and lift our spirit to lofty realities like truth, goodness and beauty, justice and love… Hope is bold; it can look beyond personal convenience, the petty securities and compensations which limit our horizon, and it can open us up to grand ideals that make life more beautiful and worthwhile” (FT 55).

But where does one find hope? Perhaps the instinctive answer is that one must find it in God — and that is absolutely true. The source of hope and joy is God and his Gospel. Pope Francis already reminded us of this in Evangelii Gaudium, when he stressed that true joy arises from the bond between God and the human person, between the Christian and Jesus Christ (Evangelii Gaudium 1-8). This is the first note of the musical chord of hope – the discovery that we are God’s children of God and also his friends.

This realization is the basis of every act of solidarity, and of all social friendship, because if we really are children of the same Father, then this means that everyone around us is a sister or brother, and no one is indifferent to their brother or sister. Fratelli tutti reminds us of something very important; hope is not something one acquires by oneself or by living alone, independently of others. No, hope is built up together, in the rediscovery of our sisters and brothers. This, then, is the second note of the chord — the realization that one is not isolated, that others exist, that we are all interconnected and necessary and that “no one is saved alone” (FT 54).

And because we live on this planet and at this specific time in history, our hope also is concerned with our dwelling place, the earth. Pope Francis, in Laudato si’ (LS), after acknowledging that “our common home is falling into serious disrepair,” invites us to have hope, because “hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems.” (LS n. 61). The third note of hope, therefore, has the taste of fresh water, the fragrance of the clean air of unspoilt forests, and the sound of the tropical forest filled with the song of thousands of birds. And this note completes the chord of hope — if the chord were truncated, if it were missing any one of the three notes, it would sound incomplete.

 

2.  In concert

2.1. The first beats – relationship and encounter

Laudato si’ asks what we want our world to be in the future, what sort of planet do we want? Fratelli tutti questions us about what we want for our relationships in the future. The insights of Fratelli tutti invite us to discover and nurture hope for a world in which “everything is open” (cf. FT chap. III: Envisaging and Engendering an Open World nos. 87-127), and certainly they also pose questions about our identity, mission, and consequently, our Formation. Transferring these questions to the context of the Franciscan Family, we could ask ourselves the following. As Franciscans, what future Franciscan world do we wish to hand on to those who will come after us? What will its values, lifestyle, and thought look like? Crucially, what kind of relationships do we want within our Franciscan world? And, finally, do we want this Franciscan world of ours to be accessible and open to all?

Laudato si’ declared that the world is a network of relationships (remember that “relationship” is one of the central categories in Franciscanism), where everything is connected (cf. LS n. 117). Fratelli tutti says that this network of relationships is unfortunately deteriorating, that isolation is a threat. But the encyclical also proposes a remedy, reiterating that hope is to be found in the culture of encounter (cf. FT 30).

How to generate the culture of encounter? Pope Francis recalls that “change is impossible without motivation and a process of education” (LS 15) and that guidelines for this purpose can be drawn from the “treasure of Christian spiritual experience” (LS n. 15) — and, we might add, from the Franciscan experience too. This means that our various programmes of Formation and Studies (both our ratio formationis and ratio studiorum) need to specifically and clearly integrate the Pope’s convictions in regard to human, social, and ‘environmental’ Formation. We need to ask ourselves how our Formation programmes can respond to the question of how this culture of encounter can be fostered. Because closeness is what saves, saving not just humanity but also the earth, our home.

 

2.2. The introductory beats – paying attention and dialogue

Commenting on the parable of the Good Samaritan, Pope Francis reminded us that “we are caught up with our needs” (FT 65) and that consequently we risk being just like the priest and the Levite, indifferent to the man “assaulted by thieves and lying injured on the wayside” (FT 63). Perhaps, in order to assess whether we pay attention to others, we could ask ourselves whether the “sight of a person who is suffering disturbs us …. makes us uneasy, since we have no time to waste on other people’s problems.” (FT 65). One of the best things we could wish for in ourselves (and not just at Christmas) is to have more courage and really “look to the example of the Good Samaritan” (FT 66), “rediscovering our vocation as citizens of our respective nations of the entire world, builders of a new social bond” (FT 66). In fact, “any other decision would make us either one of the robbers or one of those who walked by without showing compassion for the sufferings of the man on the roadside.” (FT 67). While we wish for this, another question arises — how can we be even more creative and not surrender to “the creation of a society of exclusion”, but instead be “men and women who identify with the vulnerability of others” (FT 67)? How can we be more attentive to others? How can we be even bolder in being close to the least of all? (cf. FT 233-235)

When Pope Francis speaks about the source of inspiration for his Encyclical Laudato si’, he mentions “the beloved Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew” (LS 7) in addition to Saint Francis. Now, in writing about the source of inspiration for Fratelli tutti, the Great Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb is given acknowledgement (cf. FT 29). In this way, this Pope Francis offers a concrete and relevant example of the dialogue that Christians, without renouncing their own identity (cf. FT 3), are called to seek “among all people of good will” (FT 6). As Franciscan brothers and sisters, we are already involved in this dialogue in different places and ways; but perhaps we can ask ourselves how to increase opportunities for dialogue and encounters with all, and especially with those who do not share our faith but may often live and work alongside us.

St. Francis left some practical suggestions; we could begin from his greeting, “May the Lord give you peace!” (cf. Testament 23) In order to greet someone in this way, one must first “see” them, and then the greeting becomes an overture for dialogue! Let us remember, however, that St. Francis’ greeting is addressed to all — in the same measure, and with the same courtesy towards all! (cf. also FT 222-224) There are no exceptions, because Francis recognised everyone as sister or brother and knew that in God’s heart there are no second-class children!

 

2.3. In the school of music

Pope Francis has given us a new musical score to learn. The piece may seem to be complicated, but we know that all pieces seem complicated at first. Note after note, beat after beat, we slowly work towards being able to give a good performance. This new piece speaks of the dream of an open world, of a world where encounters are what matter most, where new lifestyles, new ways of seeing and thinking are possible. We too are responsible for the performance of this piece. Therefore, it is necessary for us to come up with internal processes (within the Order, e.g., in Formation) and external processes (in regard to our service to the world), so that these same processes can allow us to be shaped by the music concealed in the score, Fratelli tutti.

So where can we learn the notes of this new piece of music? Christmastime comes to our aid and invites us to attend the best music school. In fact, St. Francis attests that Christmas is the best time to practice: “On that day the Lord sent His mercy and at night His song” (OfP Part 5, 5). An encounter takes place in Bethlehem — God Himself contributes to the culture of encounter and draws near by becoming one of us. God establishes a dialogue that is wordless at first, expressed only by the exchange of a gaze. How wondrous it is that for the first time since the creation of the world, Mary of Nazareth looks into the eyes of God! On the feast of Christmas, God shows us His face, because “No one can experience the true beauty of life without relating to others, without having real faces to love.” (FT 87). Jesus, more than anyone, teaches us how to live a prophetic and contemplative lifestyle, capable of rejoicing deeply without being obsessed with consumption.

This is the source of our identity, here is where we learn what it means to encounter those who are far from us and are totally different. Our Formation begins here, in the contemplation of the face of Jesus Christ, wrapped in swaddling clothes, kissed by Mary of Nazareth and embraced by Joseph. It is on this child’s face that we can read that God is love (1Jn 4:16), the Love that knows nothing except total self-giving and, aware of our need for salvation, has come to meet us. The “Most Holy Child [who] has been given to us and has been born for us on the way and placed in a manger because he did not have a place in the inn” (cf. OfP Part 5, 5) is the Word through which the Father renews dialogue with the whole of humanity. The Word became flesh and came to dwell among us (Jn 1:14) in order to enter into dialogue with humanity.

This is the source of our hope! It is here, where God is and, at the same time, where our brothers and sisters are — it is in Him who came and dwelt among us.

We too, the Minsters General of the Franciscan Family, wish to contribute to writing the new score, featuring the chord of hope, relationship & encounter, and attention & dialogue. We do this in God’s school, which is embodied in the “Babe of Bethlehem” (cf. 1Cel 30), and we begin on the note of a joint Christmas greeting. On this very special Christmas, all of us in unison wish you to boldly desire, always and everywhere, in every circumstance, with everyone, with all our sisters and brothers, to hear the song of the angels who proclaim: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among [all!] people with whom He is pleased (cf. Lk 2:14).

 

Assisi, December 25th 2020

 

Deborah Lockwood OSF
President IFC-TOR

Tibor Kauser OFS
Minister General

Michael Anthony Perry OFM
Minister General

Roberto Genuin OFM Cap
Minister General

Carlos Alberto Trovarelli OFM Conv
Minister General
Chair (in rotation) of the Conference of the Franciscan Family

Amando Trujillo Cano TOR
Minister General

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ARADEUENGFRAHRVHUN – INDITAKOR

NLDPOLPOR – RUMRUSSPASWAZHSZHT

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ARADEUENGFRAHRVHUN – INDITAKOR

NLDPOLPOR – RUMRUSSPASWAZHSZHT

 

 

 

Prot. N. 015/2020

Image: Institution of the Nativity Scene, Greccio, Italy.

In Memory of Br. Miguel Álvarez Véliz (1949-2020)

On 8 December 2020, our brother Miguel Álvarez Véliz, OFM of the Province of Saints Francis and James in Mexico, died in Zapopan, Jalisco. He died at the age of 71, after 51 years of religious life and 46 years of perpetual profession.

Among the many offices he held, he was a support in the Refectory in the General Curia, Rome, Italy for 15 years between 1996 and 2011.

Always seeking to please God, trying to grow day by day, Br. Michael wrote these words expressing his desire to consecrate himself to God through the Franciscan life: “I have seen how difficult it is to be perfect, holy, and that we will continually struggle, but God in His mysterious and profound designs called us, and He will give us the strength to answer His love and be His witnesses in the world”. It was this that Br. Miguel wanted to leave wherever he was going to serve, being a witness of God’s love through his diligent work, quiet and patient service, diligence, and fraternal simplicity.

Thank you for your example, Br. Miguel, may God welcome in His love so that you may enter the enjoyment of eternal life.

May Mary Immaculate, intercede for you before God since it was on her feast that God called you home.

A historical inter-religious conference remembering the Franciscan Protomartyrs

2019 was the eighth centenary of the meeting in Egypt of St. Francis with the Sultan al-Malek al-Kamil. Many meetings were held to mark the anniversary, and Pope Francis himself went to two countries with an Islamic majority, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.

This year is the eighth centenary of the martyrdom by Miramolino of five Friars Minor in Marrakech in 1220. To mark the occasion an interreligious conference was held on Sunday, 6 December 2020 in Terni, the homeland of the Franciscan Protomartyrs. The first part of the meeting was an attempt to understand what happened in 1220 in its historical context. Following this Imam Nader Akkad, professor at the Islamic University of al-Azhar gave a talk on The Culture of Encounter: from Saint Francis and the Sultan to Pope Francis’ Fratelli tutti”. Finally, Bishop Giuseppe Piemontese, Bishop of Terni spoke on: The Franciscan Protomartyrs: their message for today.

The importance of this conference lies in the fact that we tackled a chapter of Franciscan and Christian history that is often seen today as so embarrassing that even Franciscans themselves do not speak about it. But if we want to live as “brothers and sisters all” not only with Muslims but also with followers of different faiths, it is essential to carry out an effective purification of memory by facing up to deeds and words that can hinder a peaceful coexistence. History cannot be changed. But the way we read history can be helped by an initial description of the events followed by an evaluation of its relevance. This conference provided a sound methodology for studying the Franciscan Protomartyrs thanks to the contributions of the Imam and the Bishop.

 

Young Friars Focus on Laudato Si’

The General Secretariat for Formation and Studies and the JPIC General Office jointly organized the online conference: The Global OFM – Laudato Si’. The meeting was planned to be an alternative offering for all the friars in initial formation of the Order during the time of the pandemic. Two online meetings were held in order to cover all the regions and time zones where the Order is present.

The goal was to deepen the challenge that Pope Francis has made to all Christians, but especially to us Franciscans, with his encyclical Laudato si’. We thought that it could be a further way to deepen the focus in the initial formation program on the themes of justice, peace and integrity of creation, as the Ratio formationis of the Order envisions.

In the words of Fr. Michael Perry “Our meeting today is also a sign of the significant growth that the Order has made since the renewal of our specific charism after the Second Vatican Council. As you will recall, in article two of the General Constitutions, we discover the full scope of an integrated vision of the life and mission proposed to us by St. Francis. I quote this article:

“The friars, as followers of St. Francis, are bound to lead a radically evangelical life, namely: to live in a spirit of prayer and devotion and fraternal fellowship; they are to offer a witness of penance and minority; and, in charity towards all mankind, they are to announce the Gospel throughout the whole world and to preach reconciliation, peace and justice by their deeds; and to show respect for creation.”

All the talks given at the Global OFM – Laudato Si´ conference have been compiled in PDF and available to the brothers and the Franciscan family for download:

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Pope Francis renewed the appointment of the Minister General as a Member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

By a decree from Pope Francis, dated 13 October 2020, the Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry’s membership of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has been extended for a further five years.

The Congregation is responsible for the transmission and dissemination of the faith throughout the whole world.  It was given the specific responsibility of coordinating and guiding all the Church’s diverse missionary efforts and initiatives. These include: the promotion and the formation of the clergy and of local hierarchies, encouraging new missionary institutes, and providing material assistance for the missionary activity of the Church.  The Congregation is the ordinary and exclusive instrument of the Holy Father and of the Holy See in its exercise of jurisdiction over all of the Church’s missions and over missionary cooperation.

The whole Order is honored and grateful for this confirmation and warmly congratulates Br. Michael for this appointment.

CTC No. 56 (12.2020)

The current copy of cTc 56, will offer you a variety of topics, some of which include the “Nuestra Señora de Arantzazu” Federation (Basque Country) and “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y nuestro Padre San Francisco Federation” (Mexico), as well as the “San Damián” Monastery at Santa Lucia de la Sierra (Mexico).

In addition, you can rejoice with our sisters from Cantalapiedra (Spain) who celebrate their first century of presence, and their Affiliation with the Monastery of Allariz which is bringing new life.

You will be helped to be in tune with St. Clare’s love and compassion for the sick. How necessary it is that all of us become a sign and source of living hope for many as our sister and mother was, in the midst of a profound and pervasive pain – if not despair – that affects people all over the world, especially because of the pandemic.

Finally, you may be interested and inspired to read of the initiative launched by the Franciscan Family in Italy for a concrete way of “putting into practice” the Encyclical Laudato Si’.

A special mention of the articles in which some memories of Br. Thaddée Matura, OFM are shared. These articles are a drop in the ocean, for who is there who did not know of him or benefit from his clear testimony of the humility and meekness of Jesus? Who was not stimulated and encouraged by looking at his full commitment to the Gospel in the footsteps of Francis and Clare? A year after his death, we still like to offer opportunities to keep his memory and precious legacy alive.

A fraternal and warm welcome also from these pages to our brother Ignacio Ceja OFM, who has agreed to walk alongside us as General Delegate Pro Monialibus. We are happy to share with you, Br. Ignacio, our life and our prayer, grateful to the Father of mercies who shows us His care and solicitude through your evangelical commitment and fraternal communion. Thank you!

Happy reading!

Poor Clare Sisters of the Editorial Team

 

Download PDF – CTC No. 56 (12.2020)

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The Kingdom of God is Near: Guidelines for Franciscan Missionary Evangelisation

Dear brothers,

We present this document as a “guide” for living and proclaiming the Gospel in today’s world. The General Chapter of 2015 asked the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelisation to “draw up guidelines in preparation for mission, valid for the whole Order”. We addressed many realities and complexities to respond to this question.

Jesus’ mandate “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:19-20) touches the heart of our charism. The rapidly changing realities of the world challenge us to understand that the Lord’s call is to build up His Kingdom as leaders in the evangelisation and care of “sister Mother Earth”.

We thank the Lord, who has given us evangelising missionary brothers throughout the history of our Order. Many of them, being faithful witnesses of the presence of the Risen One with his people and the victory of life over death, spent their lives evangelising. Almost all of them died out like the candlelight that consumes the candle over time, illuminates the environment, remains a symbol of the presence of the true Light and then extinguishes when the mission is accomplished.

We want to thank those who have collaborated to build this text, both with ideas, suggestions and reflections and with revision, correction and translation.

We want to animate all the brothers to read the signs of the times, to reread the Gospel, and to rediscover the way we live our charism today. We want them to implement this charism as a contemplative fraternity in evangelising mission. To help them dare to be leaders and to make a difference with an updated and effective evangelisation.

 

General Secretariat for the Missions and Evangelisation

 

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In memory of Br Luigi Perugini (1940-2020)

On 27 November 2020, at the hospital of S. Benedetto del Tronto in the Marches of Italy, Br Luigi Perugini died. He was born in Montecosaro, on 4 October 1940 and he received the Franciscan habit in Treia, on 20 September 1958. He made simple profession of vows in Treia, on 21 September 1959 and consecrated himself definitively to the Lord in Colfano di Camporotondo, on 17 September 1965. He was ordained a priest in Jesi, on 27 March 1966.

Br Luigi was Minister Provincial from 1984 to 1991, and also President of the Conference of Ministers Provincial of Italy (COMPI) from 1988 to 1991.  He was elected Definitor General in 1991 and remained in office until 1997. In the meantime, he was appointed President of the Fondazione Opere Antoniane (1991-2003). From 1997 to 2003 he was Director of the Communications Office of the General Curia and from 1997 to 2015 Director of Acta Ordinis. From 1997 to 2006 he also served as Vicar of the General Curia.

From 2009 to 2018 he lived at St. Anthony’s College until his health deteriorated. He then returned to the Province to be cared for and assisted. In the last few days, his health condition worsened, not least because of Covid-19, with the consequent complications. He was moved to the Covid ward of the Hospital of S. Benedetto del Tronto, where the Lord called him to Himself.

Br Luigi was Definitor General and subsequently collaborated in various capacities with four Ministers General, for almost thirty years. The present Minister General, in his letter to the Province, stressed “his competence, seriousness, fidelity and great generosity in every type of work and role required of him”. The Minister General concluded, “We will certainly miss his kind presence, his friendly smile, including his ability to capture every fraternal moment with his camera, which he cared so much about”. He had a great passion for photography: a true poet of image and photography. With gratitude, we entrust our dearest Br Luigi to the eternal and infinite goodness and mercy of the Lord, in the certainty that everything is written in the book of life and in the heart of God.

In memory of Bishop Marco Dino Brogi, Titular Archbishop of Città Ducale, Apostolic Nuncio

Br Marco Dino Brogi was born on 12 March 1932 in the Italian Community of Alexandria in Egypt, a cosmopolitan city at the time. In 1956 he left the Italian Community to enter the Mission Formation House “in auxilium Coptorum” entrusted to the Friars Minor of Tuscany, which later became an independent Custody and is now the Egyptian Franciscan Province. He professed the Rule of St Francis on 28 August 1957 (solemn profession on 25 April 1962) and was ordained a priest on 5 May 1963.

He received his Doctorate in Canon Law in 1966 from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. Once he returned to Egypt, he held various positions in the formation of young friars and was Custodial Councillor for three years 1968-1971. In 1972-73, he presided over the Court of First Instance of the Coptic Catholic Eparchy of Minia in Egypt.

He later served in the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (1973-1997), becoming its Undersecretary in 1991. From 1974 he took part in the work of the Pontifical Commission for the revision of the Code of Eastern Canon Law, informally at first, and then in his own right, having been appointed Consultor in 1983. He continued until the promulgation of the present Code in 1990, entitled the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

Among various significant positions, he was a Councillor of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Vatican. He taught in Egypt and Rome, and he was one of the first members of the Société du Droit des Eglises Orientales, as well as being the Asesor Científico of the Revista Española de Derecho Canónico. He is the author of various studies on Eastern Canon Law.

In 1997, Saint John Paul II appointed him Apostolic Nuncio to Sudan and Apostolic Delegate to Somalia, and he ordained him bishop on 6 January 1998. From 2002 to 2006 he was Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt and Delegate of the Holy See to the League of Arab Nations.

Since January 2006 Fr Brogi lived a regular life in the Franciscan friary in Fiesole in Tuscany, making use of his considerable canonical and pastoral experience. He also continued his service to the Holy See for several years as Consultor of the Second Section of the Secretariat of State (from 2006) and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches (from 2007 to 2014). He was Vice Postulator of the Causes of the Saints of the Tuscan Province (2006-2017).

The Covid-19 virus rapidly affected his health. He was admitted to hospital in Careggi on 14 November 2020 and died on Sunday 29 November 2020, First Sunday of Advent and Feast of All Saints of the Franciscan Order.

 

Finding Hope in the midst of the CoVid-19 Pandemic | Letter of the Minister General to the Brothers of the Order

My dear Brothers of the Order,

In the words of our Seraphic father, May the Lord give you peace!

It has been my intention for some time to write to you once again during this particularly challenging moment in the life of the world, to update you on some of the blessings and challenges we are facing as a worldwide brotherhood, and to encourage all of us, to stay the course and keep the faith. I have chosen this date, which commemorates the approval by Pope Honorius III in 1223 of the definitive Rule and Life (Regula bulata), in order to speak to you about urgent matters weighing on all of our hearts.

Over the course of these past many months, I have been in contact with a number of the Provincials and Custodes to inquire about your well-being my dear brothers, and to communicate words of consolation, solidarity, and Christian hope. The year 2020 will forever be remembered as one in which the entire human community was brought to its knees, humbled by the Sars-CoVid-2 pathogen (hereafter, CoVid-19).  While the pandemic continues to ravage human communities, leaving in its untold suffering, it is having other serious social consequences. Families, friends, and brothers in the Order have felt the psychological and emotional impact that comes as a result of maintaining social distance, wearing protective masks, and refraining from expressing physical forms of affection, depriving us of something so vital and necessary for human life and community. The loss of jobs and livelihoods also is having a very negative impact on the lives of literally billions of people in every region of the world. People are being increasingly pushed into chronic poverty. There is an increasing sense of fear, uncertainty, powerlessness, and hopelessness.

This global pandemic and its collateral consequences are also having a serious impact on the lives of all of the Friars of the Order. Brothers of the Order have died. Others have become seriously ill and have spent time in the hospital. Still others have passed their time in quarantine, isolated from their brothers in fraternity. Even our work, our ministerial engagements in parishes, schools, social service programs, retreat work, work for justice, peace, and care for our common home have all been seriously disrupted by the pandemic. Some brothers have shared with me their bouts of depression, feelings of loneliness, their sense of a loss of autonomy and power over their lives, and even their feelings of anger and a lingering sadness in their hearts. I can understand these feelings since I also have felt them to one degree or the other.

Now more than ever, we need to invent new ways of being together, multiplying moments in which we might share the difficulties and frustrations we are experiencing, even as we respect public health norms for the common good. St. Francis reminds us in the Rule and Life: “Wherever the brothers may be and meet one another, let them show that they are members of the same family. Let each one confidently make know his need to the other, for if a mother loves and cares for her son according to the flesh, how much more diligently must someone love and care for his brother according to the Spirit!” (RB, Ch. 6).

The current health crisis has seriously altered the way we in the General Curia conduct our service to the universal brotherhood. I have not been able to visit you, my dear brothers, nor have the Definitors been able to accompany the life of your entities in a manner that expresses proximity and a ‘Franciscan personalism’. This personalism places great value on ‘face to face’ encounter, the sharing prayer, meals, and life together. We have been forced to conduct our meetings via Zoom, Skype, or some other electronic format. Despite these limitations, every effort has been made to keep the channels of communication open in the hope that we might encourage one another to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus, care for one another, and to express our solidarity with those around us who are suffering.

One further challenge that we face as a brotherhood has to do with our own financial situation. Ministers have communicated to me that a deeply troubling consequence of CoVid-19 has been a serious reduction in income even as expenses continue to rise. What results is a domino effect: local fraternities once autonomous now find themselves asking for financial assistance; Provinces and Custodies are finding it difficult to support the Friars, and even more difficult to forward to the General Curia their solidarity contributions. The Curia depends on these contributions to help support the dependent houses of the Order, and the formation and mission needs of many economically poorer entities. In addition, we also depend on revenues from the Fondazione Opera Antonianum that is responsible for overseeing the operations of the hotel Il Cantico and the Auditorium located at the Pontifical University Antonianum. The pandemic has provoked a loss of revenue. The Fondazione will not be able to make any contributions to the budget of the Curia for FY 2019, 2020, and possibly 2021. We are already feeling the pinch.

Brothers, it is my hope that in these difficult moments you are finding increased time to focus on what really matters for our lives. As our General Constitutions remind us, we are “bound to lead a radically evangelical life…in a spirit of prayer and devotion, and in fraternal fellowship…a witness of penance and minority…in charity towards all…preaching reconciliation, peace and justice…and to show respect for creation” (Art. 1 §2). This living of the Gospel life provides us with a spiritual grounding in times of trial and suffering. The fraternity should be an oasis of hope, a place where we draw strength from the kindness and care we show towards one another. It also is important that we indulge in self-care, including exercise, reading, prayer and study, strengthening our bodies, minds and hearts to stay the course. Our commitment to be brothers to all people should lead us to engage in a deeper reflection on the many social fractures – economic, political, social, the various forms of growing inequalities, racism and other ‘isms’ – the other ‘viruses’ – that undermine the common good and commitment to global solidarity.

Let us ask for an outpouring of knowledge and insight to guide scientists, doctors, and health care professionals in their quest for vaccines, therapies to reduce consequences of CoVid-19 infection, and in the general care of those most adversely affected. Let us call upon the wisdom of Solomon for our political leaders, that they might pursue the common good, recognize the frustrations and anger of the people whom they are called to care for and serve, and find new ways to accompany those most in need of special assistance. Let us reach out our hands and arms to embrace our brothers and sisters, figuratively, sharing our time and our precious resources with those most in need as a clear sign that we are all connected, we are all members of the one family of God, brothers and sisters journeying together on the road that is leading us towards the full realization of God’s kingdom in the now and the hereafter. In the words of Pope Francis, may the tragedy of the CoVid-19 pandemic help shatter “those false and superfluous certainties around which we constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities…[so that we may come to] the ineluctable and blessed awareness that we are part of one another, that we are brothers and sisters of one another” (Fratelli tutti! 32).

As we commemorate all the Saints of the Order, let us pray that, with the help of God, the intercession of St. Francis, all our Franciscan saints, and Mary, Queen of the Franciscan Order, we may rekindle our initial fervor and recommit ourselves to live the Rule and Life proposed by St. Francis and approved by Pope Honorius III. Let us draw strength from the faithful witness of our Franciscan saints who also experienced many challenges but who were able to keep alive the love and hope they had received from the beginning of their Gospel journey. Let us renew our commitment to be men of hope, loving brothers to one another, seekers of authentic justice, peace, promoters of kindness, fraternity, and solidarity towards all people and the entire created universe. Let us look forward with active anticipation to the General Chapter of 2021, when we come together to reflect and to embrace the theme of the Chapter: Renewing Our Vision, Embracing our Future – “Arise… and Christ will give you light (Eph 5:14)! God is here! Hope is near!

In conclusion, I invite you to pray with me the following words from the “Praises of God” composed by St. Francis and entrusted to Br. Leo at La Verna in 1224:

You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are the protector, You are our custodian and defender,
You are our strength, You are refreshment. You are our hope!
You are our faith, You are our charity,
You are all our sweetness, You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord, Almighty God, Merciful Savior. AMEN.

 

Rome, November 29, 2020
Feast of all the Saints of the Seraphic Order

Fraternally yours,

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

 

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Prot. MG 168/2020

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