Order Calls for Prayers for Syria, Seeks Missionaries to Regions Around the World

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

ROME — Are you willing to leave your home to give everything for our neediest brothers and sisters? The Order is seeking friars who are willing to serve as missionaries in more than 14 regions around the world.

The General Secretariat has created a list of places where friars are needed, as well as the number of brothers requested, the ministries that are performed in each location, and the languages that are spoken. The document can be found on the Order’s website.

“Love has no borders and faith becomes stronger when you share it with generosity,” said Fr. Luis Gallardo Loja, OFM, General Secretary for Missions and Evangelization. “The Order has concrete projects, and we need your presence and your passion to give everything for Christ.”

Those who are interested in becoming a missionary should contact Fr. Luis at lgallardo@ofm.org.

Call for Prayer Services for Syria
In the spirit of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – Jan. 18 to 25 — General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, and the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, OFM, are asking all Franciscan fraternities, on the first Sunday of every month, to offer special prayers for peace during parish children’s Masses, or at the Mass which most children attend.

“For a long time now, we Friars Minor have been very concerned about the situation being experienced by our brothers in Syria, by Christians and the entire population,” the friar-leaders said. “Recently, we called on the international community to intensify its efforts to stop the war and the suffering of the civilian population, and to make every effort to achieve peace.”

The General Minister and Custos suggest that this prayer intention could be included in youth ministry programs, or by working with local schools, which would bring an ecumenical and interreligious dimension.

“Please remember to always explain to the children that this prayer is being done in communion with children worldwide who are praying for world peace, and specifically for peace in Aleppo and Syria,” said the friar-leaders, who encourage all those who take part to visit the Facebook page of St. Francis Parish in Aleppo, Syria.

Closure of Franciscan School
After 46 years of existence, the Franciscan International Study Centre in Canterbury, England, is closing on June 30, 2017. The institution has struggled with low enrollment in recent years, and “the trustees judged that the adverse conditions of the past five years have put the FISC in an unrecoverable state,” according to principal Fr. Thomas Reist, OFM Conv.

“Many of you are aware that the FISC has been struggling to survive for a number of years,” he said. “Academic programs were redesigned; external validation of programs was discontinued; teaching and support staff were reduced in number; securing visas for students who needed them remained a challenge; the number of qualified friars from the ranks of the founding orders to assume staff positions decreased; and student enrollment has not been able to offset operational costs.”

He continued, “Despite the sadness we feel today, we cannot forget the innumerable blessings that the FISC represents. So many people have shared life experiences in our chapel, library, classrooms and refectory. So much learning has taken place as some spoke and others listened. So many good things have happened here. We want to celebrate these blessings, and planning has already begun. We are mindful and grateful for the 46 years of the FISC’s existence.”

Other recent news from the Order, announced on the website and in the Fraternitas newsletter, includes:

  • The update and approval of the statutes of the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelization and the International Council for Missions and Evangelization
  • The deaths of a Franciscan cardinal in São Paulo, Brazil, and an American friar, Fr. Benet Fonck, OFM, who served at the Curia
  • The status of the Poor Clares of San Serino in Italy, after the 2016 earthquake

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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