NEW YORK — The Interprovincial Secretaries for Missionary Evangelization of the English-speaking Conference recently launched an e-letter, a colorful 12-page informational report of OFM mission around the world.
The newsletter — the first in five years — was finalized last fall when the ISME met for a biannual meeting in Largs, Scotland. Holy Name’s representativeThomas Cole, OFM, HNP’s mission promoter, said it was a “business as usual” half-yearly meeting to discuss finances, status of the organization, and the mission work of member provinces. Russell Becker, OFM, HNP secretary for missionary evangelization, was unable to attend because he has been in Tokyo at Holy Name’s ministry there for the past few months.
The gathering included a presentation by guest speaker Rev. Andrew Anderson of the Church of Scotland and a discussion on the General Chapter 2009 report on evangelization.
The newsletter’s cover showed a photo of attendees, including Tom, along with a letter from ISME chairman Bruce Michalek, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province. Br. Bruce said the last edition of a newsletter was distributed in 2004. “Where does the time go?” he asked.
The new e-letter, called “Towards a Franciscan Missionary Spirit,” included news about the ministry work of OFM provinces in El Salvador, Africa, Appalachia, Canada, El Salvador, Haiti, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, New Mexico, Peru, and other places.
In an article titled “Missionaries Empower Missionaries,” the work of Holy Name Province in Japan is featured. Submitted by Russell, the article tells of the growth of the Franciscan Chapel Center in Tokyo, first conceived by HNP in 1967. Today, the chapel is a multicultural center, ministering to a wide variety of people and providing many types of programs.
Over the years, many friars have ministered at the chapel, which resembles a parish, and today, Donnan Murray, OFM, and Bede Fitzpatrick, OFM, are based there, along with Fr. Callistus Sweeney, OFM, formerly of HNP.
“Many visit, many stay, many come back,” writes Russell, “Everyone takes up the mission.”
The back page of the e-letter lists information for all 14 contacts for missionary evangelization, along with the e-letter editor, Fr. George Bugeja, OFM, of St. Paul the Apostle Province in Malta. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next meeting is scheduled for April in Jamaica, where Kim Smolik of the Franciscan Mission Service will speak.
— Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today.