IC Province Withdraws from Reconfiguration Process, Other ESC News

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

NEW YORK — After five years of discussion, Immaculate Conception Province, based in lower Manhattan, has decided to withdraw from the restructuring and revitalization process among OFM provinces in the United States.

The seven provinces began a process in 2012 that seeks to revitalize and reconfigure the Franciscan presence in the country. The process seeks greater collaboration among the OFM provinces, as well as a potential move toward new structures to effectively convey and revitalize the mission and ministry of the Order of Friars Minor in the United States in the years ahead.

On Feb. 9, Provincial Minister Fr. Robert Campagna, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province, wrote to Provincial Minister Fr. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM, president of the English-speaking Conference sub-committee on revitalization and restructuring, to inform Fr. Jack of Immaculate Conception Province’s decision to withdraw completely from the process at this time. His letter concluded:

“[F]ollowing a lengthy discussion with my own provincial board this past week, we feel it is the more responsible thing to do by withdrawing at this time, rather then (sic) to drag down the proceedings conducted by you and the other Ministers Provincial. We will continue to dialogue as a province regarding our future, and we most willingly will continue with our plans to host the gathering of Provincial Administrations at our retreat center in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., as scheduled for August 2017.

As I continue to dialogue with the friars of our province, if I [am] made aware of a significant shift in their feelings about ‘restructuring,’ I will make those feelings known to you and the other provincials.

The other provinces will continue to move forward with the process and have expressed their gratitude to Immaculate Conception Province for its participation in the discussions thus far. The six remaining provincial ministers released the following statement:

The Provincial Ministers of the other six provinces wish to express our appreciation for the fraternal candor shown by Fr. Robert and the Provincial Definitorium of Immaculate Conception Province in announcing their withdrawal from the national process of revitalization and restructuring. While we are somewhat saddened by this development, we respect their decision and pray for the best for the province. We commit ourselves to continue with our efforts to discern together the call of the Holy Spirit for the rest of us.

Other recent news from the English-speaking Conference includes:

A statement published by the seven U.S. provincial ministers regarding the treatment of immigrants and refugees entering the country. “As Franciscans, we are morally outraged by and resolutely denounce the Jan. 27 executive order addressing the U.S. immigrant and refugee admission program,” the provincials stated. “In solidarity with our immigrant and refugee brothers and sisters, we Franciscans commit ourselves to advocating for the withdrawal of the Jan. 27 executive order, preparing to be communities that offer hospitality to our refugee brothers and sisters, and continuing to reach out to and deepen our commitment to solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters.” The complete statement is available on HNP.org.

The election on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Feb. 2, and the World Day for Consecrated Life, of Fr. Algirdas Malakauskis, OFM, provincial minister of St. Casimir Province, as chairman of the Lithuanian Religious Men Superiors Conference. Fr. Algirdas, who will serve for four years, made his solemn vows in 2001 and was elected provincial minister in 2016. He has a background in pastoral ministry and served for six years as a national spiritual assistant of YouFra, the Franciscan youth organization.

For more information on activities regarding the English-speaking Conference, comprised of provinces from the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania and Malta, contact the provinces by phone or email, or visit the links to the parishes and organizations mentioned. Follow the English-speaking Conference on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information throughout the month.

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