ROME — General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, shared a message for the feast of St. Francis in the latest issue of Fraternitas. In it, he describes our era as one of change that is now visible both in the Church and in the Order.
“It is in this climate of innovation that the ecclesial community is experiencing the Year of Faith, while coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council,” said the General Minister in the traditional feast message posted on the website of the Order of Friars Minor. “The community is further invited to renew itself through the new evangelization and the witness offered by the lives of believers. As Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical, Lumen Fidei, that ‘There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence.’”
In a separate message, the General Minister encourages Franciscans to extend the fasting and prayer begun on Sept. 7 as a way to show solidarity for those who continue to suffer and die in Syria.
“We Friars Minor unite our efforts for a just and sustainable peace with the members of the Catholic Church, the Franciscan family, with other Christians and religious seekers, and with people of good will everywhere,” he said.
Last month, Pope Francis visited the penitentiary brothers at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome. Cardinal Agostino Vallini, General Vicar of Rome, welcomed the pope, who said how much he wanted to have this meeting once he was elected to the papacy. The diocese gave Pope Francis an icon depicting St. Francis supporting the Church, a work that was painted by the parish priest, Fr. Massimo Tellan. The pope also met with the friars who carry out the ministry of penitentiaries in the cathedral, inviting them to be merciful in the sacrament of reconciliation.
The monthly newsletter also reports information about:
• The meeting of the provincial secretaries for formation and studies, attended by Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM
• The new provincial ministers of Christ the King Province, Italy, Holy Family Province, Egypt, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province, Italy, Province of the Holy Martyrs of Gorcum, Netherlands, and the Province of the Holy Martyrs of Morocco, Portugal
• The General Minister’s schedule, including visits to Assisi, Istanbul, Spain, Portugal and Palestrina, Italy
— Compiled by Maria Hayes