NEW YORK — The idea of forming centers of Franciscan spirituality around the Province was just one of the topics discussed at the Oct. 31 meeting of the Ministerial Development Directorate at the Provincial Office.
Ideas that had evolved from the SWOT reflection encompassing disucssions about the strengths and weaknesses of the Province, and perceived opportunities and threats, were discussed.
The directorate referred to the successful Franciscan Center at 31st Street in Manhattan as an example of a spiritual center for the New York/New Jersey area.
In other regions, the directorate said, centers could offer programs to help people understand the meaning of Franciscanism and how it can be lived today. Partnering with other members of the Franciscan family could make it possible to offer talks, retreats, pilgrimages, and study programs. People from parishes where the Province had once served could be invited to continue their growth in Franciscanism at these centers.
Frank Sevola, OFM, of Providence, R.I., who headed up the parish visitation team, reported that it has nearly completed its visits. Reports will be compiled and given to the Provincial Council on visits to parishes in northern New Jersey and New York City.
Directorate members also discussed whether the Province should continue to consider new ministries. They affirmed the conviction that establishing a new ministry should not be dependent on leaving another one.
The future instills hope and helps creates an enthusiasm within the fraternity. During the past several years, it looked at campus ministry at Clemson University in Charleston, S.C., and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and at the Retreat Center at Enders Island, Conn. After visits to these places and much discussion, none worked out.
The directorate members also discussed how Servant Leadership has taken root in the Province with the help of Melina Rudman and the School of Servant Leadership at St. Patrick-St. Anthony’s in Hartford. At its September weekend retreat, people from several parishes experienced the dynamics of the Servant Leadership Program. A mentoring program will be developed to help places interested in developing this program, with more communication and support for those interested. St. Mary’s, Pompton Lakes, N.J., and St. Camillus, Silver Springs, Md., have schools of servant leadership.
Another idea submitted to the Visioning and Planning Committee was establishing a Leadership Development Program, to be offered throughout Initial and Ongoing Formation. A plan of action is being developed, focusing on the elements offered throughout formation.
The need for such a program has been spoken about frequently at friar gatherings. Dominic Monti, OFM, director of formation, joined the Ministerial Development Directorate discussion of this topic, since it had been suggested that this should be a joint venture between Ministerial Development and the Formation directorates.
The next meeting of the directorate is scheduled for Dec. 5 in Manhattan.
— Fr. Andrew, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Tampa, Fla., is chair of the Province’s Ministerial Development Directorate. He welcomes ideas, comments and questions by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.