Order Update: 800th Anniversary of Francis’ Encounter with Sultan

Jim McIntosh OFM Franciscan World

Friars celebrate the 800th anniversary of the friars arriving in Morocco.


The following descriptions summarize recent news from the Order of Friars Minor. Additional details can be found on the OFM website or by visiting the Order on Facebook and Twitter.

Franciscans in Morocco: 800 Years of Meeting, 1219-2019

• The 800th anniversary of the meeting of St. Francis and Sultan Al-Malik Al-Kamil dominated the news at the General Curia this month. A number of inter-religious meetings are scheduled throughout the year in honor of the anniversary. For example, the friar community in Istanbul, dedicated primarily to ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, will host an event in October for friars ministering in Muslim majority countries.  The Pontifical University Antonianum has also has organized academic and pastoral events in countries around the globe to mark the 800th anniversary

• The Franciscan custody in Morocco, an international fraternity with 20 friars, celebrated the eighth centenary of the arrival of the friars in Morocco with a ceremony on Jan. 26 attended by many Christians, Jews and Muslims. General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, also wrote a letter to the Moroccan custody in which he reminds the friars that it was the deaths of the Holy Martyrs of Marrakech that inspired many young men, in particular, Anthony of Lisbon — later to be known as Saint Anthony of Padua — to join the Order. These new recruits joined with the same burning desire to live the Gospel and to go among Muslims and unbelievers to share the message of Jesus Christ as did the protomartyrs.

• Last month, just before the 2019 World Youth Day, young people, Franciscan brothers, intellectuals and politicians gathered at the Third International Congress of the Care of Creation: Ecological Conversion of Action at the University of Santa Maria La Antigua, Panama. At the conference, participants learned more about Laudato Si’, refocused their minds towards those who are most vulnerable to climate change, and motivated the youth to talk about actions that have worked, or they are working on in their own countries. World Youth Day, the global encounter with the pope that is typically celebrated every three years in a different country, was celebrated in Panama City, Panama, from Jan. 22 to 27.

• The Conference of General Ministers of the Franciscan First Order and Third Order Regular wrote a letter to all the friars and the brothers and sisters of the Secular Franciscan Order and Franciscan Youth, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the approval of the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order.

• The latest issue of Acta Ordinis, the third edition of 2017, is now available on the Order’s website. The production of this publication was put on hold when Br. Luigi Perugini, OFM, returned to his province more than a year ago. “This instrument continues to be valuable even if today almost everything is available on the internet, as well as in real time,” said Br. Pasquale Berardinetti, OFM, Acta’s new director. The Order has decided to continue publishing the Acta, guaranteeing its continuity. This benefits the many archives throughout the world, such as libraries, friaries and student houses, which are true databases of history that never go out of fashion, according to Br. Pasquale, who said the Acta’s production structure will remain at three times per year.

• The February 2019 issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s monthly newsletter, is online and can be read in English, Spanish and six other languages. The publication features the letter of Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, for the 800th anniversary of the encounter between St. Francis and Sultan Al-Malik Al-Kamil, descriptions of recently-published books, and the General Minister’s February schedule.

Br. Jim is a communications assistant for Holy Name Province.

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