A liturgy for Laudato Si’ Week was celebrated at the General Curia by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. (Photo from the ofm.org website)

Minister General’s Pentecost Message and Other OFM News

Jim McIntosh OFM Franciscan World

The June 2021 issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s international newsletter, features news about the Franciscan participation in Laudato Si’ Week at the General Curia; an article about the friars in Libya looking for new missionaries to work there; and new Franciscan books, including one by Murray Bodo, OFM, of the St. John the Baptist Province. It also publicizes upcoming events, among them next month’s General Chapter that will be attended by leaders of OFM provinces from around the world. A prayer for the success of the 2021 General Chapter is included.

The items below summarize other developments around the Order. Additional information can be found on the OFM website and by following the Order on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

► Last month, Minister General Michael Perry, OFM, wrote a letter to the friars for the feast of Pentecost, the traditional date of the Order’s General Chapter, as expressed by St. Francis himself in the Rule. The Minister General reflected on the widest possible experience of the Spirit in the scriptural recounting of Pentecost. In his letter, he wrote, “During my time of service as Minister General, I have been able to see that we must continue to work tirelessly to combat what Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si’ calls the ‘throwaway culture’ … [and] ‘the globalization of indifference.’ … These phenomena arise from and promote racism, xenophobia, and the emergence of populist figures who proclaim that these are messianic times… Such a way of thinking worries me deeply because it slowly enters and begins to take over, like weeds among the wheat. It dramatically fragments not only the political environment of our countries but threatens the integrity of our societies and families. It even comes knocking on the doors of some of our local fraternities.” The General continued, “I have been able to read some testimonies that have been sent to me by friars in which they speak about their experiences of racism or exclusion within society and within the Order itself. They recount moments of intense humiliation, a sense of betrayal, and a deep rupture in the fabric of fraternal communion. The stories told by our brothers also reveal the reality that too many of us are willing to turn a blind eye to situations of direct or indirect violations of human dignity. The Feast of Pentecost… challenges us with radical demands. It calls us to wake up to the realities around and within us, to be more aware of those structures and events that express attitudes directly contrary to our human, Christian, and Franciscan vocation.”

► The 2021 General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor will be held on the outskirts of Rome from July 3 to 18 using a theme of “Renewing Our Vision, Embracing Our Future.” Held every six years and attended by provincial ministers from around the world, significant work is accomplished at a General Chapter, including the election of a minister general and discussion on the general direction of the Order. For this year’s Chapter, Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz has been appointed by the Holy Father as his delegate to preside over the election of the minister general, which is scheduled for July 13. Originally from Mafra, Brazil, Cardinal Braz de Aviz – the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life – is now considered to be the “protector” of the Order. The 118 capitulars expected to attend the Chapter will gather at the Capuchin International College of St. Lawrence of Brindisi, which is located approximately halfway between Leonardo Da Vinci Airport in Fiumicino and the historical center of Rome. News from the General Chapter can be found on its website.

► On June 12, a Franciscan friar was killed from gunfire as he returned from celebrating Mass and providing sacraments in a rural Mexican village.  Juan Antonio Orozco, OFM, 33, was struck in the morning as he drove in a rural region of western Durango state.  Crux reported the news

Hugh McKenna celebrating Mass at the General Curia on the occasion of the feast of its patroness. (Photo from the ofm.org website)

► On May 8, the community of the OFM General Curia celebrated the feast of its patroness St. Mary Mediatrix – highlighted by a Mass celebrated by Hugh McKenna, OFM, guardian of St. Isidore’s College in Rome. He was assisted by the General Definitor, Lino Gregorio Redoblado, OFM, and the Secretary for Formation and Studies, Cesare Vaiani, OFM. The Mass was attended by friars of the General Curia, along with a few friends of the community.

— Jim McIntosh is a communications assistant for the HNP Communications Office.