The descriptions below summarize recent developments throughout the Order of Friars Minor. Additional details can be found on the OFM website and by following the Order on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
► In a Jan. 27 letter to friars, Minister General Michael Perry, OFM, reported after his return to the General Curia in Rome that his health is vastly improving and that he used his rehabilitation period as a time for reflection. “[It] provided me an occasion to reflect on my own life and vocation, on the life of the brothers of the Order, the Church, and world, and to ask questions about where we are heading as a band of lesser brothers in radically changing times. I plan to forward [a report] to the Order by the end of November [that] will provoke serious reflection, analysis, discussion, the emergence of ideas and concrete proposals to help prepare us to embrace the future.” The full text of Michael’s message can be found online.
► Michael Perry and the Order’s General Council met from Jan. 21 to 30 at the General Curia with provincial ministers and custos who this year are newly elected to their posts. The meeting opened with the celebration of the Eucharist, presided over by Vicar General Julio Bunader, OFM. The new provincial ministers are from 22 countries — Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, and Venezuela. While there, they visited Fonte Colombo, where St. Francis wrote the Rule lived today by Franciscan friars of the First Order. The meeting ending with a Mass celebrated by the Minister General.
► Alessandro Brustenghi, OFM, renowned as “the singing friar,” has released his fourth album – Il Paese del Sole. Although it is a departure from his previous repertoire of exclusively sacred music, it aims to communicate the Franciscan message of beauty, joy, and peace. The album and songs are available on Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music and YouTube. All royalties from Alessandro’s music go toward the work of the Franciscan foreign missions.
► More than 700 young people from around the world, including representatives of the Province of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil, converged between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2 in the Brazilian city of Xaxim. The international gathering, which hosted workshops on justice, peace and integrity of creation, also included Serata Laudato Sí, a cultural event of the Order that promotes the “Care of the Common Home” message of the Encyclical Laudato Sí written by Pope Francis. This was the third occurrence of Serata Laudato Sí since the Encyclical’s release (others were held in Rome and Panama City). The recent event, portions of which were broadcast on Facebook Live, was designed to help young people learn more about ecology, justice, migration, respect for nature and simplicity – all values particular to the Franciscan charism.
► The Philippine Province of San Pedro Bautista and the Custody of St. Anthony of Padua are already planning for the 2021 celebration of the 500th anniversary of Christianity’s arrival in the country. Among the preparations are publications and books that will acknowledge the Franciscan contribution to the evangelization of the Philippines since their arrival in 1577 – including their role in the creation and development of towns, parishes, shrines, songs, devotions, literature, and institutions of charity such as hospitals and the first leprosarium in the Far East. The books will also focus on the Franciscan martyrs and saints, dubbed “heroes of faith,” in the Philippines. More information can be found online.
► “Promoting JPIC in Times of Ecological Crisis” is the theme of the Order’s 2020 justice, peace and integrity of creation course in Manilla, the Philippines, from May 3 to 10. Members of the Franciscan family and other collaborators with interest in this course must register by April 26.
► The February issue of the Order’s newsletter, Fraternitas, is available for downloading and reading. In addition to updates about friars around the world, it contains a list of new provincials and custos, descriptions of recently published Franciscan books, and details about upcoming events.
– Compiled by Jim McIntosh, OFM
- “Bike Accident Sidelines U.S. Priest who is Franciscan General Minister” – Aug. 21, 2019, Crux
- “Sharing Franciscan Life in Ireland and Other ESC News” – May 22, 2019, HNP Today
- “PBS to Air Concert by Singing Friar During March” – March 1, 2017, HNP Today