Franciscans Elect Leaders

Jocelyn Thomas In the Headlines

ASSISI — During the second week of the 187th General Chapter, the Franciscan Order re-elected José Rodríquez Carballo, OFM, of Spain to serve a second six-year term as General Minister.

The more than 150 Provincial Ministers also elected Michael Perry, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province as General Vicar, and nine friars to serve in the General Definitorium, or Council. He took his formal oath of office on June 8.

Michael, who has lived at several Holy Name Province friaries, has served as Provincial Minister of his province, based in St. Louis, since June 2008.

American Leaders
Among the six new general definitors is New Jersey native Francis Walter, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, who will represent the English-speaking world.

Francis was nominated by the English-speaking Conference (ESC) during its October meeting, said Thomas Washburn, OFM, in the ESC’s June 6 Daily Briefing. Thomas is the ESC executive secretary.

Frank was elected on the first ballot with 103 votes out of a possible 152. He replaces Finian McGinn, OFM, of St. Barbara Province in California, who had served as general definitor since 2003.

Michael Perry’s election as General Vicar was especially exciting, said Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM.

“After several days of hard work, we, the ESC, were proud that our candidate Michael Perry was elected General Vicar of the Order. There was a lot of excitement in the aulo, or hall. Afterwards, one provincial from a foreign country came up to me and said, ‘Obama as president, and now Perry as General Vicar, viva America.’ Indeed, it was a great day for the ESC, the Order and for America,” said John.

Born in Trenton in 1950, Francis Walter has been serving in Rome as Formation Director at the Immaculate Conception’s study house, and  also working for the Vatican Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples since 2005.

The other eight definitors are:
· Vincenzo Brocanelli, OFM, representing the Italian Conference
· Julio Cesar Bunader, OFM, representing the Latin America Conference # 2
· Roger Marchal, OFM, representing the Central Europe Conferences
· Nestor Inacio Schwerz, OFM, representing Latin America Conference # 1
· Ernest Karol Siekierka, OFM, Slav Conferences
· Paskalis Bruno Syukur, OFM, Asia-Oceania Conferences
· Vicente-Emilio Felipe Tapia, OFM, Spanish-Portuguese Conferences
· Vincent Mduduzi Zungu, OFM, Africa/Middle East Conference

47b9d828b3127cce9854880bee8300000045101AbOW7du3bsgPrayers and Discussions
Chapter participants have also been involved with a number of ceremonies, meetings and gatherings. They include:

• Meeting with General Ministers of other branches of the Franciscan family. On June 8, Chapter delegates gathered in the main hall to be greeted by the General Ministers of the Franciscan family. Speaking to the Chapter were the General Ministers of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, the Third Order Regular (TOR), and the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO).

• Renewal of religious vows at the Basilica of St. Francis on June 9. John’s participation in the celebration of the eighth centenary of the Rule of St. Francis was captured in a photograph published in the June 9 Daily Briefing.

• Discussion of the work of the Order’s 11 commissions. The chapter participants, or delegates, are meeting in commissions that will formulate proposals on a variety of areas affecting the life of the Order. They include mission and evangelization, formation and studies, and finances of the Order, according to Thomas Washburn.

• Private meetings of the conferences with General Minister José. Delegates from the ESC concluded their day on June 11 with a conversation with Jose.

• Review of a letter that was delivered from the Chapter to world leaders of the G8 Summit who will meet next month in L’Aquila, Italy. The Order’s new General Vicar Michael Perry traveled to Rome on June 12 to deliver the Chapter’s statement to the treasure ministers of the G8 countries who were meeting June 12 and 13 in Lecce. The text, approved by the Chapter, recommended proposals to support the common good of all people and to promote economic justice and productive options that respect creation.

• A prayer service on June 16 with the Poor Clares of the Proto-monastery at the Church of St. Clare. Michael Perry presided over the service, which began with a welcome by the Abbess of the monastery, Sr. Chiara Damiano; Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, proclaimed one of the readings.

• Voting on the proposals of the commissions, based on a June 11 presentation of initial responses to the proposals.

The Chapter concludes June 22.

Shown in the photo above are the General Vicar and General Minister. Behind: John O’Connor participates in the celebration of the 8th centenary of the Rule; with him is Caoimhin O’Laoide, OFM, vice president of the ESC.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.