ROME — Nearly two dozen friars who are serving as general visitors for OFM provinces around the world participated in a gathering last month at the General Curia. Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, who is serving as Visitor for Assumption BVM Province attended the Nov. 15 to 19 meeting.
Dominic said he was among three Americans, the other two being Fr. Andrew Brophy, OFM, of Assumption Province, who is general visitor for Ireland, and Fr. Bruce Michalek, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, who is visitor for Sacred Heart Province.
The five-day gathering included liturgy, presentations, group discussions, visits to the offices of animation, and meetings with General Minister Fr. José Rodriguez Carballo, OFM.
Dominic said, “The days were busy,” generally beginning at 7 a.m. with Morning Prayer and concluding with Evening Prayer at 7 p.m., followed by supper.
Nov. 15 included a presentation from the General Minister, which focused on canonical responsibilities of general visitors.
Dominic said, “Fr. José spoke in light of the documents from last year’s Chapter that explain part of our duties are to animate the friars — and pitfalls we might face. He emphasized that as visitors, we are his personal representatives in the entities to which we are sent.”
Later that day, the visitors worked in groups by language — seven English-speaking, seven in the Italian group and eight in the Spanish — to discuss the General Minister’s talk. “I summarized the results of our group discussion in the plenary assembly that followed,” Dominic said.
The next day, members of the Order’s General Council presented various aspects of a general visitor’s responsibilities, as well as how the documents of the General Chapter might affect visitations.
Nov. 17 was set apart for individual meetings with the General Minister to discuss the specific realities of the province each friar was visiting. “In my half hour meeting with Fr. José, I was very impressed by his knowledge of the situation of the Assumption Province and his concern for the friars. The rest of the day provided an opportunity for me to catch up on some work from the Province and reading various documents,” Dominic said.
That evening, General Vicar Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, and Fr. Francis Walter, OFM, General Councilor for the English-speaking Conference, took all the ESC friars — both workers in the Curia and delegates to this meeting — out for supper near the Vatican. “The neighboring tables were filled with a group of off-duty Swiss guards celebrating a birthday. A great evening!” Dominic said.
Among the Nov. 18 presentations was a “crisp treatment of the various canonical aspects of the job” by Fr. Aidan McGrath, General Secretary of the Order. On Friday, the visitors again broke up into language groups to visit the various offices of the General Curia, including the Justice and Peace office, headed by Joseph Rozansky, OFM. Friday evening, the meeting closed with Eucharist at which the General Minister presided and preached.
While in Italy, Dominic took the opportunity to visit relatives in the Dolomite Alps of Northern Italy.
“All in all,” he said, “the meeting was quite beneficial. As always, the best part of these international meetings is getting to know the friars from around the world and having the experience of a universal brotherhood.”
Photos of the meeting appear on the Communications Office page of the OFM website.
— Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.