The following is a compilation of this month’s news from the website and Facebook page of the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, composed of provinces from the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania and Malta.
To prepare for upcoming Provincial Chapters, the American provincials of the English-speaking Conference met from Feb. 13 to 14 in New York City to discuss issues related to the ongoing national conversation about greater collaboration among the seven OFM provinces in the United States.
A summary of their conversations — including a proposal that each province will be asked to consider at the upcoming chapters and frequently asked questions about future collaboration — is included in a new publication created by the provincials to allow better communication with friars. The newsletter, A Place at the Table, is available on the ESC’s website. Also included is a message from the General Minster, a member of the Missouri-based Sacred Heart Province, as well as a photo of Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, filming a video that will be shown at upcoming gatherings by provinces to get ready for their chapters.
In other news, the Order’s General Council is preparing friars around the world for the General Chapter in 2015.
General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, announced in a letter sent to friars on Jan. 26 that the next General Chapter would take place from May 10 to June 7, 2015 at St. Mary of the Angels Basilica in Assisi, Italy. The topic will be “Brothers and Minors in Our Times.”
The chapter will give friars the opportunity to suggest possible changes to the General Statutes. The deadline for submitting these suggestions to the General Secretary is June 2014.
The General Minister encouraged each province to create a space containing information about the upcoming chapter on its website so that friars may have “as much influence as possible on this vital event of the Order,” according to a post on the English-speaking Conference’s website.
“I ask you also to create space in your hearts for the next General Chapter and pray for this event, so that the Holy Spirit may help us and be with us always,” Fr. Michael said. “May the Queen of the Seraphic Order intercede for all of us followers of St. Francis of Assisi in the world, and may we become authentic Friars Minor for our time.”
The English-speaking Conference posted many other topics on Facebook, including:
• Pope Francis’s advancement of causes for canonization of a Friar Minor, Faustino Ghilardi, and a Conventual friar, Francesco Zirano
• A total of $200,000 donated by the ESC provinces for typhoon relief in the Philippines
• The appointment of General Councilor Fr. Vincent Mduduzi Zungu, OFM, of Africa and the Middle East, as bishop of the Diocese of Port Elizabeth, South Africa
The leaders of the ESC will hold their spring meeting in April.
— Compiled by Maria Hayes