The June issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s international newsletter, features an article describing how a large number of friars are producing videos on topics ranging from evangelization to exercise. It also provides overviews of new Franciscan books information about a course and on a topic important to Franciscans – the global campaign to help the environment.
► The General Council of the Order has announced that the General Chapter, previously scheduled for May 2021 in Manila, will not be held in the Philippines because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council members are consulting with the presidents of the conferences to decide how and when the next General Chapter will be held. Other news from the most recent meeting of the Council includes the postponement of provincial and custodial chapters; approval of candidates for provincial ministers of seven entities and the new rector of the Antonianum, and the appointment of Stefano Invernizzi, OFM, as General Visitor of HNP’s daughter province, the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, in Anápolis, Brazil. In addition, the “Cono Sur” conference in South America has become unnecessary, as the three provinces in that conference have joined the Brazilian conference of provincial ministers, and has therefore been suppressed. The next “Tiempo Forte,” as the meetings of the Council are called, is scheduled for July 6 to 10.
► In April, the Order held an online virtual consultation about its response to the global pandemic and lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis. Attendees included the Minister General, Michael Perry, OFM, and representatives from Missionszentrale der Franziskaner, Franciscans International, Franciscan Mediterranean Network, Franciscan Network on Migration, representatives from the JPIC Animation Committee, and JPIC Conference coordinators. The participants discussed how the coronavirus outbreak has exacerbated social and economic divisions in society, and the fear that the pandemic will result in more deaths from poverty than from the virus itself. The lockdown and subsequent economic downturn have resulted in a disproportionate loss of income among those already living on the margins, creating a greater need for food and safe shelter.
► Franciscans around the world are joining the Laudato Si’ Revolution. Roughly 45 entities from the Franciscan Family are participating in a year of celebrations and activities – which began May 24, 2020, and ends May 24, 2021 – to promote and put into action the values of the Laudato Si’ encyclical of Pope Francis. Conceived by the International Council for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation at its 2019 meeting in Jerusalem, the Laudato Si’ Revolution will encourage and promote integral ecological conversion environmentally, economically, and socially. Human and social dimensions are at the heart of this campaign, which advocates the values of social and environmental justice, care and respect for creation, and intergenerational solidarity as part of our daily lives.
► This year marks the 800th anniversary of the death of the Franciscan protomartyrs and the entrance into the Order of Augustinian Canon of Fernando of Lisbon – who took the religious name Antonio and is known to Franciscans as St. Anthony of Padua. Pope Francis took note of this anniversary in a letter to Carlos Alberto Travarelli, OFM Conv, the Minister General of the Order of Friars Conventual. In his letter, the pope said, “I hope that this significant anniversary will arouse, especially in the Franciscan religious and the devotees of St. Anthony around the world, the desire to experience the same holy restlessness that prompted St. Anthony to travel the roads of the world bearing witness, through word and deed, to the love of God.”
► An article titled “From Assisi Friary to COVID Hospital” describes how Andrea Dovio, OFM, a friar at the Portiuncula Friary in Assisi and a medical doctor, received permission to work with COVID-19 patients. “I am here out of love for the Lord Jesus because it is from his words and his gestures that the meaning of service flows,” he said. “During this pandemic, like all my confreres, I felt the need to rethink my activities so that I could help those in need. Immediately, from the second week of March, there was a strong call for me to put my medical skills back at the disposal of those who were in need.”
► Franciscan Missionaries from the North Slavic Conference of the Order joined with the Polish/Irish band Carrantuohill – also the name of Ireland’s highest mountain – and people from as far as Papua New Guinea, Italy, Ecuador and Tanzania to commemorate the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s birth. They honored the first truly international pope in a collaborative video – during which they sang his favorite song, whose lyrics include: “O Lord, in my eyes you were gazing, kindly smiling, my name you were saying. All I treasured, I have left on the sand there; close to you, I will seek other seas.”
► The Antonianum in Rome will be holding an online course on hagiography titled “The Hagiographer’s Workshop: Tools and Methods for the Study of the Sources.” The course is designed to teach students about the tools and working methods of the hagiographer, and how to use these tools and methods in the study of the Franciscan sources. The course, which consists of monthly two-and-a-half-hour online seminars from October 2020 to May 2021, is open to those with a master’s degree in humanities or equivalent coursework.
— Jim McIntosh is a communications assistant for the HNP Communications Office.
- “The Order During the Pandemic” – May 11, 2020, HNP Today
- “Antonianum Partners with Research University to Expand Franciscan Scholarship” — May 4, 2016, HNP Today