Australian Province Re-Elects Provincial Minister

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

NORTH SYDNEY, Australia — Fr. Paul Smith, OFM, of the Province of the Holy Spirit, was re-elected as provincial minister on Sept. 24 during that province’s chapter. Br. Andy Brophy, OFM, of the Assumption of the BVM Province, based in Wisconsin, served as General Visitor to Holy Spirit, a member of the OFM South Asia Conference, and an associate member of the OFM English-speaking Conference.

Fr. Paul grew up in Wavell Heights, Brisbane, down the road from Padua College, a secondary school founded by the friars of Holy Spirit Province. He joined the Order in 1973, made his solemn profession in 1979 and was ordained in 1980.

He has served in parish and school retreat ministry, as well as vocation director of his province for 12 years. Fr. Paul was first elected provincial minister at Holy Spirit’s chapter in 2007.

Founded as an independent province in 1939, Holy Spirit has ministries in Australia, and New Zealand. It is comprised of roughly 120 friars, including the Custody of St. Anthony of Padua, located in Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore. Friars from the province have served as missionaries in various parts of the world, including Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Uganda, Kenya, and Zambia.

In 1969, the Australian friars assumed responsibility for the Order’s presence in Singapore, providing for the formation of young local friars from Singapore and Malaysia who wished to follow the way of St. Francis. In May 1991, the Custody of St. Anthony of Padua was officially constituted. In 2008, the Custody extended itself into West Malaysia after friars were invited to work in a diocese there. The custody comprises nearly 30 friars.

 Compiled by Maria Hayes