Guardians, Pastors Gather for Two Days of Fraternal Sharing

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News


The guardians, pastors and Provincial administration members at their recent meeting. (Photo courtesy of Lawrence Hayes)

POMPTON LAKES, N.J. — Nearly three dozen Provincial leaders met last week to discuss issues affecting the lives of the friars and the Provincial administration. Guardians and pastors, representing friaries and parishes from Florida to New England, met with the Provincial Council to share updates and ideas about their Franciscan life and work.

The meeting, held June 15 and 16 at the Carnevale Center of St. Mary’s Parish, opened with a welcome by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, and the praying of Morning Praise, with a focus on servant leadership and a chapter of the Rule of 1223. It was followed by a discussion of leadership based on chapters 5 and 6 of the Rule as described by Michael Blastic, OFM, in his Commentary, a document on which the Council has reflected often at its meetings.

“I think the gathering was well-received by the friars,” said Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM. “There was a warm fraternal tone, conversations about our life together were open, honest and of substance, and a two-way flow of ideas — a true dialogue among us.”

The friars discussed various concrete tools to enhance the participation of all friars in the local community and to help the friars live as fraternities in mission.

“Because the renewal of our fraternal life and Order begins and is lived out locally, in the local fraternities, these discussions are very important,” said Kevin. The importance of guardian’s role in modeling behavior and animating the local fraternity was reinforced.

A detailed report on the meeting was emailed to all friars last week. The nine-page document describes at length the ideas and concerns voiced by friars at table discussions as well as the input from Kevin and others.

Among the many topics discussed at this meeting were:

  • Evaluation of the Provincial Council by the pastors and guardians
  • Fraternal life with a focus on guardians’ tools
  • Potential new ministries, evaluating the process for selection
  • Ongoing formation
  • Health care and wellness
  • Social media use
  • General Chapter
  • Restructuring of U.S. provinces
  • Pope Francis’s recent encyclical

The guardians-pastors’ meeting included a Eucharistic celebration at St. Mary’s Church and dinner at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J.

This was the second guardians meeting held by Kevin’s administration, elected last June. The first was in September 2014.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.