Franciscans Ask Pope to Allow Brothers to be Elected Leaders, Other OFM News

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

The leaders of the Friars Minor, Conventual, Capuchin and TOR friars met with Pope Francis to discuss allowing friars to elect brothers to positions of leadership. (Photo courtesy of

The following updates summarize news from the Order of Friars Minor. Additional details can be found by visiting the links to the news items mentioned. Follow the Order of Friars Minor on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information throughout the month.

A summary of the OFM General Council’s  March 14 to 24 meeting is available on the Order’s website. Recent action items include the appointment of the president and council of the Foundation in Russia and Kazakhstan, the ratification of the election of several Provincial ministers and custodes, and the council’s acceptance of the resignation of definitor Fr. Lóránt Orosz, OFM. The Definitory also reviewed reports related to the Order’s finances and other topics.

General Minister Fr. Michael Perry shared a summary of his April meeting with Pope Francis and the general ministers of the Capuchins, Conventuals and Third Order Regulars with Vatican Radio.  During the conversation, the friars asked the pope to grant a dispensation allowing the friars to elect brothers to positions of leadership in their communities. They also discussed the 800th anniversary of the visit by St. Francis to Damietta, Egypt, and Fr. Michael’s recent visit to the friars in Syria.

The Order’s website also includes a summary of the annual spring meeting of the English-speaking Conference, held at The Emmaus Centre, a Christian Brothers retreat center in Swords, Ireland, outside of Dublin. The report includes updates regarding the Revitalization and Restructuring Process that of the U.S. provinces and the national “white paper,” as well as the ongoing process of the reconfiguration of the Canadian provinces.

The International Fraternity of Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey and the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelization are offering the friars and those interested in the Franciscan family a continuing education course on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. The themes will comprise formation for dialogue according to the Franciscan charism, and ecumenical dialogue among Muslims, Christians and Jews. The course will include a three-day visit to historical sites in Cappadocia, Turkey. Those who are interested can register for the course in Italian and Spanish in October 2017 and English and French in 2018. More details are available on the Order’s website.

The Franciscan family in Umbria, Italy, is preparing to celebrate the next event in a series that began in 2015 and was designed to provide “an experience of brotherly communion aimed at growth in creative fidelity to the charism that the Lord has given to the Church through Francis of Assisi, and combined with increased common witness to the Gospel in today’s world.” From May 29 to June 2, members of the Friars Minor, Conventuals, Capuchins and Third Order Regular will come together for a “Synod of the Franciscan Families” from May 29 to June 2. This “Generalissimo” Chapter will symbolically fulfill, 500 years after Ite vos, the convocation of the chapter that was contained in the 1517 letter from Pope Leo X, but never celebrated.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province

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