New Province Created in Italy, Other OFM News

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

The friars of San Bonaventura Province get together for a group photo. (Photo courtesy of

The following updates summarize news from the Order of Friars Minor. Additional details can be found by visiting the links to the news items mentioned. Follow the Order of Friars Minor on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information throughout the month.

As of Dec. 31, 2016, the Friars Minor numbered 13,302, with presences in 119 countries across six continents. Details are included on the Order’s website.

After a long process of collaboration between the friars of the Roman Province and the Province of Abruzzo, a new province — San Bonaventura da Bagnoregio — was born. On May 9, General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, officially created the new province in the presence of the two provincial fraternities. The new provincial administration was announced, and the General Minister presided over a Eucharist in the Shrine of Greccio. The new province comprises approximately 150 friars and 20 houses in the regions of Rome, Rieti, Latina, Pescara, Chieti, Teramo, and L’Aquila.

The Custody of the Holy Land is celebrating 800 years of Franciscan presence in the Holy Land. Several initiatives have been prepared for October, including conferences and lectures on the historical significance of the friars’ presence in the Holy Land.

The General Minister and the OFM Council members met at the General Curia from May 8 to 19. They discussed issues relating to personnel, the major offices of the General Curia, and other issues. Three days of the second week were devoted to the annual meeting with the presidents of the Order’s conferences, which was attended by Kevin Mullen, OFM, president of the English-speaking Conference.

The first meeting of the fundraising partners of the Order of Friars Minor took place from May 5 to 6 in Rome. The two-day meeting focused on fundraising, project coordination, and collaboration among the different OFM and OFM-associated entities and individual friars. Among those in attendance was John O’Connor, OFM, who works to solicit major gifts from individuals and foundations in the United States.

The General Minister and General Councilor Fr. Ignacio Ceja, OFM, visited the provinces that make up the Conference of the Southern Cone in Latin America – the Province of the Assumption, the Province of San Francisco Solano, and the Province of the Holy Trinity. Fr. Michael traveled to visit fraternities in Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile.

Global JPIC update: After more than 10 years of raising awareness about the contamination caused by metallic mining, the friars and OFM JPIC Office in El Salvador celebrated the ban implemented by parliament on metallic mining. In Indonesia, the friars in the JPIC office have pioneered the development of an ecological-pastoral project, which began in 2000. The project is founded on pastoral service for farmers, combined with environmentally-friendly farming techniques. In the town of Tenosique in Mexico, the “Laudato Si Agri-Ecological Company: ‘Shelter, Work, Land’” was created in an area where the struggle of migrants and refugees is linked to ecology.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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