ROME — The Order has recently released membership statistics.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, there were a total of 13,745 Friars Minor in the Order. Of those friars, 383 were novices, 1,386 were in simple vows and 11,976 were solemnly professed. Not included in the total were the 655 postulants. A total of 302 friars died in 2013, 12 from Holy Name Province.
The Friars Minor are present in 120 countries, with 4,124 friars in Western Europe, 3,314 in Latin America, 2,427 in Eastern Europe, 1,418 in Asia-Oceania, 1,321 in North America, and 1,141 in Africa and the Middle East.
In his 2013 report to the Plenary Council, General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, stressed that these numbers are not the most important element, but can be “an occasion to seriously reconsider our mission and dare to experiment with unexplored paths of presence and witness.”
In other news from the Order, an ongoing formation course on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue will be offered Oct. 13 to 28 by the international fraternity of Istanbul, in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Mission and Evangelization. The course, offered in English and French, will cover the following topics: formation to dialogue in the Franciscan charism, ecumenical dialogue, Islam-Christian relations and Judeo-Christian relations. Participants will also visit the Churches of the Apocalypse.
The course is open to 20 friars and will cost 600 euros. Those interested may reserve their place by emailing Br. Ruben Tierrablanca, OFM. Reservations should be made no later than July 31.
Additional news from the June issue of Fraternitas, the monthly OFM newsletter, includes:
• Franciscan International’s 25th anniversary celebration in Geneva, attended by the General Minister and Joseph Rozansky, OFM, director of the Order’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
• The General Minister’s schedule, which includes the chapter of Sacred Heart Province, happening this week, and a visit to South Africa for the episcopal ordination of Bishop Vincent Zungu Mduduzi, OFM
• The second meeting of the provincial ministers of the French-speaking provinces and custodies that took place in April in Paris. The meeting enabled the friars to get to know each other and reflect on how future collaboration might be beneficial for their organizations.
— Compiled by Maria Hayes