TAMPA, Fla. — After a busy year of preaching on Indian reservations in Arizona, at English- and Spanish-speaking parishes in Las Vegas, New Jersey, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, New York and New England, and giving retreats and Retrouvaille weekends, the Ministry of the Word (MOW) team gathered April 5 to 7, at the Franciscan Center here for its annual meeting.
The meeting, originally scheduled for St. Francis Springs Prayer Center in North Carolina, was moved to Tampa so the MOW team could also participate in the Province’s fraternal gathering April 7 to 9.
This change in venue allowed MOW friars to focus more clearly on how its ministry will respond to the challenges presented by the Province’s five-year strategic plan. Discussion of this plan was the focus of Holy Name’s six recent fraternal gatherings.
Nine friars attended the meeting that scheduled its discussions for both before and after the fraternal gathering.
Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, offered helpful reflections from a historical perspective, dealing with issues such as lay vs. clerical preaching during the Order’s early days. He also discussed the value of itinerancy, and the importance of sharing various perspectives in proclaiming the Gospel. The MOW friars found this both supportive and challenging for today’s ministry.
After Dominic’s talk, the meeting focused on two main discussions. One was to invite more friars to join the MOW team, especially those interested in establishing a Ministry of the Word for Young Adults. MOW members will continue to do their best, but thought it would be great if others could engage young adults in a special way.
The second discussion was about hosting a conference for Franciscan preachers in June 2009 to mark the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order, titled, “Filling the World with the Gospel of Christ.” Raphael Bonanno, OFM, the principal organizer, is working on funding, speakers, and other details. More information will follow.
The MOW team also discussed a parish mission program based on Franciscan spirituality to be given over the next two years. If parishes are interested in participating, contact a MOW member.
Peter Chepaitis, OFM, presented a parish mission format, and discussed the Province’s declining numbers.
MOW members left the meeting with a sense of hope, in spite of the challenges presented by the Church and world today.