ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, and Michael Blastic, OFM, two noted Franciscan scholars, were among the presenters at an international symposium on the Early Rule of the Friars Minor, sponsored by the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University here.
This historic April 17 to 19 event, considered the only formal academic event in North America to celebrate approval of the Rule, was held in conjunction with the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order. Approximately 80 friars, sisters and members of the laity attended.
The conference featured six academic papers on the Franciscan Rule by the most respected historians working in North America today on Franciscan history. Joining Dominic and Michael, associate professor of Franciscan studies, were William Short, OFM, St. Barbara Province; David Flood, OFM, of Montreal’s St. Joseph Province and SBU lecturer of Franciscan studies; Jean François Godet-Calogeras, associate professor of Franciscan studies; and Michael Cusato, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province and director of the Franciscan Institute.
The conference also featured a series of 10 testimonies about how the Rule is lived today in different cultures throughout the world, and the many challenges facing friars, according to Michael Cusato, who is dean of SBU’s School of Franciscan Studies.
The participants heard reflections of friars from India, South Africa, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Peru, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, England, Australia and the United States. This session was coordinated by Joseph Chinnici, OFM, of St. Barbara Province. On Sunday morning, the scholars, international friars and other participants discussed the issues raised during the presentations.
The symposium began with a vespers service that celebrated the story of the encounter of Francis and his friars with Pope Innocent III in 1209. It concluded with Mass with the St. Bonaventure University community, followed by a festive brunch, according to Michael Cusato.
Shown in photo (left to right): William Short, Dominic Monti, David Flood, Michael Cusato, Jean François Godet-Calogeras and Michael Blastic.