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In Memory of Br Cormac Nagle, OFM

 

The Franciscan family mourns the death of Br. Cormac (Malcolm) Nagle who died 4 May 2021. Br. Cormac was 88 years old, 70 years Professed, and 64 years Ordained. He served as Provincial Minister for the Province of the Holy Spirit (Australia), Definitor General of the Order, lecturer in moral theology, teacher at Yarra Theological Union, ethicist at Mercy Hospital, and mentor to many within and outside the Order.

We express our deepest condolences to the brothers of the Province of the Holy Spirit as well as to the members of the Nagle family.

May eternal rest be granted unto him, O Lord, and may he rest in peace.

Koinonia 2021 – 1 (N.109): Animate and guide with a leadership of service

Animate and guide with a leadership of service

 

Every generation has its challenges. Today we, all over the world, are fighting with covid. The pandemic puts into test our personal as well as institutional spirituality. In this new Easter season the Lord invites us not to lose hope, to maintain peace and trust. This is fundamental in the face of such an invasive reality that we feel in all areas of our daily lives. This reality affects all our relationships, at home with our loved ones, in the neighbourhood, on the streets, in politics, at work, etc… The risen Christ calls us to empower the best of ourselves and of our institutions to serve with joy and to maintain trust in God and in humanity.

The OFS is spread throughout the world with brothers and sisters meeting regularly in the name of the Lord since almost eight hundred years. It has goals to achieve and a call to respond within the Church. Thus, the Secular Franciscan leadership is called to animate and guide the fraternities to live in each time and context the Franciscan spirit as lay people inserted in their parish and national community.

 

  • Koinonia 2021-1“Animate and guide with a leadership of service”– Fr. Hernán Eguzquiza TOR

N. 109

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Pope Francis to Poor Clares of Paganica: “In the face of tragedy, start afresh from God and from fraternal solidarity”

On the morning of April 26, 2021, the Holy Father received in audience the Poor Clare Sisters of the Saint Clare Monastery in Paganica, L’Aquila, Italy.

The following is the Pope’s address to those present:

Dear sisters,

I am happy to welcome you and I greet each and every one of you from my heart. I thank you for the support you give me with your prayers, and in particular for the gift of the Easter candle you decorated for the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta. Through this symbol of Christ, light of the world, you are spiritually present at the celebrations held in that chapel.

Your community of Paganica, a hamlet of L’Aquila, experienced the tragedy of the 2009 earthquake, in which your Monastery was destroyed, Abbess Mother Gemma Antonucci died in the rubble, and other sisters were injured. However, God brought you out of that tragedy stronger and, like the grain of wheat that must die in order to bear fruit, so it was also for your monastic community. You experienced great pain, but also the loving care of your heavenly Father and the solidarity of so many people.

On that night you lost everything apart from God and fraternity. From these two steadfast points you set out again with courage. At first you settled in a temporary structure and, ten years after the earthquake, you returned to the rebuilt and restored monastery. Now your community is flourishing, made up of twelve sisters, all young. This is the message you have given to the people: in the face of tragedy, it is necessary to start afresh from God and from fraternal solidarity. Thank you so much for this!

Dear sisters, do not tire of being a praying and consoling presence to support the population, sorely tried by the terrible experience and still in need of comfort and encouragement. May the example of Blessed Antonia help you always to be poor and joyful women for love of the poor Christ. Faithful to the charism received from St Clare and St Francis, respond generously to the desire that God has placed in your hearts, living your lives as consecrated women in total adherence to the Gospel.

I thank you for this visit! I invoke upon your journey the light and strength of the Holy Spirit and I accompany you with the Apostolic Blessing which I impart to you from my heart. And please continue to pray for me and for the whole Church. Thank you!

 

Photo: Vatican News

Nagasaki project! What is it?

Nagasaki Project is an International Franciscan Community of Peace, whose basic concept is to spread and promote lasting peace in the city of Nagasaki and the world.

It was first thought by former Minister General José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM when he visited Nagasaki during the East Asian Conference meeting in Japan in 2010 September. His short stay and experience of the place bore an inspiration to dream of an International Community of Friars in Nagasaki that would be a living statement of peace and reconciliation. He further suggested to the Japanese Franciscan Province to host the proposed International Community for such purpose.

Nagasaki was chosen for the new mission of the Order because it was here in 1945 that the atomic bomb was dropped, wherein hundreds of thousands of people including innocent children perished.  The bombing brought devastation, deep sorrow, and hatred.

In addition, Nagasaki was a place of heavy persecution and martyrdom in the early centuries (16th -19th century) where Christians sealed their fidelity to Christ sacrificing their lives, such as the Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan (1597), including early Franciscan missionaries, St. Peter Baptist and companions, and all others who followed them.

The Franciscan Province of the Holy Martyrs of Japan after years of thorough discernment finally adhered to host the proposed International community. And to begin with this new international community, it was suggested to ask the collaboration of the OFM East Asian Conference. Later in 2018 two brothers, Bro. Francis Furusato of Japanese Province and Bro. Antonio Kim of Korean Province, who were both living in Japan signified, and were officially assigned to the new mission, the Nagasaki Project.

In 2020 another two brothers joined the Nagasaki Project: Bro. Berardo Yang of China Custody and Bro. Alberto Marfil of the Philippine Province. The brothers are presently inserted with the regular community of Nagasaki where the other three brothers are administering the parish and kindergarten school.

The ordinary life in the fraternity of the brothers is the basis and key for the Project. To live as a contemplative fraternity in evangelizing mission. They support the campaign for the abolition of nuclear weapons through the presence of their Franciscan community in Nagasaki. The brothers collaborated with the EAC-JPIC office on their Peace activities, and with other agencies that have the same advocacy.

As of now, the brothers are in the initial stage of organizing themselves and their activities. They use Japanese and English as their common language. The latter brothers, even after months of formal studies of Nihongo (Japanese language) at the Foreign Language School in Tokyo, are still taking their private Nihongo lessons with a Japanese brother in Nagasaki to further their language skills. They come together three times a week to read, reflect, and share the writings of St. Francis, a venue to build themselves into a community of peace. The brothers will later study in common the history of the hidden Christians and their discovery in Japan, the approach to the mission of the early Franciscans in Japan-success and failure, and the Second World War atomic bomb experiences of the surviving victims.

The following are some possible projects of the community:

  1. To share with other people, lay, religious and priests the life, writings, and prayers of St. Francis of Assisi, a man and an instrument of peace, through talks, recollections, and encounters.
  2. To develop a small institute on Franciscan Spirituality, centered on peace, dialogue, and reconciliation. Learning from St. Peter Baptist and companions on their mission experience, approach, and strategies of the evangelization in Japan in the 16th century.
  3. Peace appeal: to share the experiences of the people who suffered the tragic event and the effects of the atomic bombing to their lives; to collaborate and participate in a Franciscan way to anti-nuclear weapons campaign. A Facebook “Nagasaki Franciscan” account was launched to serve as a place to communicate the Nagasaki Project mission.
  4. To welcome friars interested in the Nagasaki Project to visit and stay for short periods of three to six months, either for exposure or sabbatical.
  5. To accommodate and guide pilgrims, local and foreign, in following the missionary footsteps of St. Peter Baptist and companions from Kyoto, Osaka to Nagasaki; as well as to trace the different sanctuaries and places of the early hidden Christians in Nagasaki. A simple house for pilgrims that can accommodate five to seven persons is within the compound of the parish of St. Peter Baptist where the Nagasaki community lives.

 

To ensure the success of the Nagasaki Project, we need more friars. The Nagasaki Project community welcomes friars from every region of the world.  Whoever is interested in the project to be a member would have to stay for a minimum of six years. Come and join Nagasaki Project!

 

 

 

 

Message for the Month of Ramadan 2021

April 13, 2021 (1442 AH)

To our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world:

As-salaamu ‘alaykum! Peace be with you!

On behalf of the Special Commission for Dialogue with Islam of the Order of Friars Minor, it gives us great pleasure once again to extend our greetings to you as you begin the holy month of Ramadan.

More than a year has passed has since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The personal losses and hardships we have all endured have been painful and profound, and may continue, but we trust in God (Allāh swt) who assures us: “the future will be better than the past” (al-Ḍuḥā 93.4), and: “truly, with hardship there is comfort” (al-Sharḥ 94.5).

Last year, for many of you, Ramadan was observed primarily in your homes, apart from relatives and friends. Although vaccinations are now increasingly available, public health measures and social distancing may continue to limit your communal suhur and iftar – and limit the opportunity for many of us in the Franciscan family to break the fast with you, as we have done so often in the past. It will be a happy day indeed when we can all freely and fully celebrate our sacred seasons again.

It is truly a sign of God, the Most Compassionate (al-Raḥmān), the Most Merciful (al-Raḥīm), the Most Wise (al-Ḥakīm), and the Most Munificent (al-Karīm), that the celebration of Ramadan this year again falls at a time when Christians are celebrating the Easter season, and when so many people of faith around the world – Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Baha’i – are also observing holy days. As you give thanks and praise to God for the revelation of the Holy Qur’an, all of humanity, it seems, will be praising and worshipping God, each in their own unique way.

Sadly, however, even in this time of pandemic when we need to turn to one another in care and compassion, some are increasingly turning against one another due to differences of religion, ethnicity, race, national identity and political ideology. Even people who share a common national identity are turning against their compatriots with hatred and violence. This is truly a sin against God’s plan for His creation. As God (Allāh swt) tell us in the Holy Qur’an: “We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another. The most noble among you is the one who is most aware of God.” (al-Ḥujarāt 49.13).

It was in this spirit of universal brotherhood and sisterhood that, in October 2020, Pope Francis issued Fratelli Tutti, his encyclical on fraternity and social friendship. This text was inspired by his meeting with the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmad al-Tayyeb, in Abu Dhabi in 2019, and the Document on Human Fraternity that they issued together.

In his encyclical, Pope Francis again referenced St. Francis’ encounter with the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil in 1219 as an example of universal fraternity that transcends differences of “origin, nationality, color or religion.” Referring to all good of people of faith as “believers,” he remarked:

We believers need to find occasions to speak with one another and to act together for the common good and the promotion of the poor…We believers are challenged to return to our sources, in order to concentrate on what is essential: worship of God and love for our neighbor, lest some of our teachings, taken out of context, end up feeding forms of contempt, hatred, xenophobia or negation of others (281-2).

It was in this same spirit that Pope Francis recently traveled to the nation of Iraq to meet with political and religious leaders, encouraging all people “to look beyond our differences and see each other as members of the same human family,” and “to speak with one another from our deepest identity as fellow children of the one God and Creator” (Address on March 5, 2021).

On the plains of Ur, from which the Patriarch and Prophet Abraham (upon him be peace!) began his journey of faith, Pope Francis gathered with the representatives of the different religious communities – Sunni, Shi’i, Catholic, Orthodox and others – in recognition of the journey of faith we all share, although we travel by different paths. As Abraham left much behind to answer God’s call, so too are we called “to leave behind those ties and attachments that, by keeping us enclosed in our own groups, prevent us from welcoming God’s boundless love and from seeing others as our brothers and sisters. We need to move beyond ourselves, because we need one another” (Interreligious meeting, March 6, 2021).

Ramadan is a time when we in the Catholic-Franciscan family especially feel our bonds of faith with you, our Muslim brothers and sisters, united by our common practices of prayer, fasting and charity, expressed by a meal shared with others. We are reminded of a hadith reported by ‘Abdullah ibn Amr that is particularly meaningful in our day:

A man asked the Prophet, ‘Which Islam is best?’ The Messenger of God, peace and blessings be upon him, said: ‘To feed the hungry and to greet with peace those you know and those you do not know.’ (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī28)

During this month, this sacred season shared in different ways by so many faithful believers, let us be united by the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood as the sons and daughters of Abraham, and let us again resolve to be instruments of the Peace that is God – al-Salām.  We wish you a most blessed Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarak! Ramadan Kareem!

 

Br. Michael D. Calabria, OFM,
Special Assistant for Dialog with Islam

Members of the Commission for Dialog with Islam:

Br. Manuel Corullón, OFM
Br. Ferdinand Mercado, OFM
Br. Jamil Albert, OFM

 

Oldalak