ROME — The Order’s Plenary Council met in Warsaw, Poland, from Nov. 17 to 30 to discuss the organization’s current status, among other things. The meeting focused on the number and method of the election of General Councilors, as stated in mandate 45 from the General Chapter of 2009. The Plenary Council’s decision will go into effect during the next General Chapter in 2015, according to the December issue of Fraternitas. Russel Murray, OFM, of Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., participated in a committee meeting at the Plenary Council.
The assembly analyzed “The State of the Order Today,” a study commissioned by the General Council and produced by the Institute of Sociology at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. The study included data gleaned from more than 1,400 friars, who filled out a questionnaire created by the survey team.
The Plenary Council also took into account reports from commissions appointed by the General Council, according to the mandates of the General Chapter of 2009. This included a report titled “Those Who Leave the Order — the Service of Fidelity and Perseverance.” The report, presented by General Vicar Fr. Julio Bunader, OFM, addresses the outcomes of the Commission on the Service of Fidelity and Perseverance, created by the Order following the 2009 chapter.
“This Plenary Council is an opportunity to reflect together on the current situation of the Order and to make decisions about our future, not only concerning the number and method of election of General Councilors, but also regarding accompanying the friars of the Order, that they may be ever more faithful in the fundamental choice to observe the Holy Gospel,” said General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, in a Nov. 4 letter sent to friars prior to the council.
A summary of the Plenary Council can be found on the Order’s website. More information about decisions made during the meeting will be provided in a future issue of Fraternitas.
The monthly OFM newsletter also reports information about:
• “Beyond the Text: Franciscan Art and the Construction of Religion” edited by Xavier Seubert, OFM, and St. Bonaventure University professor Oleg Bychkov
• Celebrations held by the Diocese of Terni in remembrance of the 800th anniversary of St. Francis’s arrival in the Terni area
• Pope Francis’s appointment of Fr. Georges Abou Khazen, OFM, as apostolic vicar of Aleppo in Syria for the Latins: 13,000 Catholics, 42 priests and 258 religious
• The General Minister’s schedule, including visits to the United States, Colombia, South Africa, Singapore and Greccio, Italy, on Christmas
— Compiled by Maria Hayes