Guided by the theme “Renewing Our Vision, Embracing Our Future,” 118 representatives of more than 12,000 Franciscan friars around the globe converged at the Order of Friars Minor General Chapter in Rome, where they elected a new Minister General and other leaders, and discussed many issues
In recent weeks, friars from two provinces of the Order’s English-speaking Conference – Sacred Heart Province and the Province of Ireland – as well as several Franciscan sisters of communities connected to HNP have died.
The June issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s international newsletter, features news about the Franciscan participation in Laudato Si’ Week at the General Curia; an article about the friars in in Libya looking for new missionaries to work there; and new Franciscan books, including one by Murray Bodo, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province. It also publicizes upcoming events, among them next month’s General Chapter that will be attended by leaders of OFM provinces from around the world. A prayer for the success of the 2021 General Chapter is included.
The 20-year-old organization has a new name and an expanded website – enhancements designed to more effectively communicate its goal of preserving, articulating and advancing Franciscan tradition. The commission, part of the Order’s English-speaking Conference, has added the word “spiritual” to its title.
The May issue of Fraternitas features a Ramadan message from the Commission for Dialog with Islam written by Michael Calabria, as well as reports on the new Nagasaki Project, whose fundamental goal is to promote lasting peace in the city of Nagasaki and throughout the world; the 50th anniversary of the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at the Antonianum; a Poor Clare monastery in the Philippines promoting renewable energy; and new Franciscan books, while website reports on release of Acta and other updates.
The Provincial Office staff has learned of the passing of members of two English-speaking Conference provinces – a friar in the Southwest and one in Australia — as well as two Franciscan sisters of communities connected to HNP.
The Fraternitas and Contact newsletters feature reaction to the crisis in Myanmar, migration trends in the Americas, postulants demonstrating against climate change, the Minister General’s Easter letter, concern about Good Friday donations during the pandemic, and the commemoration of a SJB Franciscan missionary to the Navajo people.
The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University in New York and the Franciscan School of Theology in California each make their four 2021 summer courses available electronically.
A friar who once got the attention of CBS journalist Mike Wallace, a friar beloved for his storytelling and homilies, a friar who didn’t let Crohn’s Disease derail his passion for teaching, and sisters who devoted their ministerial lives to teaching young people are among the Franciscan deaths being mourned this month.
In a letter to the friars from Michael Perry, OFM, on the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, the Minister General said, “It is difficult to verify exactly how many of our beloved friars have died as a result of complications from COVID-19, but the numbers are significant. We don’t know the full weight of collateral ‘damage,’ but it is my prayer that each of you has been able to take sufficient time to reflect.”
The Franciscans recently published the findings of research on exodus caravans migrating to the United States from Central America. In collaboration with the Franciscan Network on Migration, Franciscans International released research data in a booklet called “New Migration Dynamics in Northern Central America, Mexico and the United States – Central America Exodus Caravan, COVID-19 and Serious Human Rights Violations.”
The February issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s international newsletter, features the conclusion of the celebration of the 800 years of the Protomartyrs and other current Franciscan topics of interest. The year-long commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the deaths of the Franciscan Protomartyrs began on Jan. 16, 2020 and ended on Jan. 17. Although the pandemic muted most of the planned activities, a handful of meetings and events took place. As the observance of the Protomartyrs came to a close, the centenary of St. Anthony’s arrival in Italy was just beginning.