Order Update: African Formators Meet and Other Curia News

Jim McIntosh OFM Franciscan World

The following descriptions summarize recent events throughout the Order of Friars Minor. Additional details can be found on the OFM website and by following the Order on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Franciscan formators from throughout Africa meet for a series of formation classes. (Photo courtesy of ofm.org)

► Nearly 75 African formators gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 24 to July 6 for the second part of the Franciscan School of Formation for Formators. The participants included 15 Conventual, 29 OFM, 28 Capuchin, and two Third Order Regular friar formators. The second phase of the course – whose theme was “Deepening Year” and which was coordinated by the three General Secretariats of Formation (OFM, OFMCap, and OFMConv) – explored the various dimensions of Franciscan formation designed to equip the friars with the tools needed in their work of accompanying those in formation. In addition to morning classes, afternoons were designated exclusively for group work in a way that fostered genuine and substantive discussions among formators. The third and final phase of the course will be held in 2020.

► A publication titled “Our Vocation: Leaving or Remaining Faithful,” has been prepared by the Commission for the Service of Fidelity and Perseverance – a body that was originally established by the 2009 General Chapter and reconfirmed by the 2015 Chapter. This publication serves as a resource to reflect on the phenomenon of friars who choose to leave the Order and the motivation behind their decision. The reflections and questions invite meaningful dialogue at the Order’s various levels on the theme of friar departures. The full document can be viewed online or downloaded.

► The April to June 2019 issue of Contact,” the Order’s JPIC newsletter, features a report on the recent meeting in Jerusalem of the Order’s JPIC International Council, as well as an update on the Amazon Project. The newsletter can be downloaded or read online.

► Friars from around the world who are solemnly professed for less than 10 years have gathered in Taizè, France, for the Under 10 Chapter. Ross Chamberland, OFM, Stephen DeWitt, OFM, and Erick López, OFM, are attending the July 7 to 14 meeting, representing Holy Name Province friars who have fewer than 10 years of profession. Photos of the arrival of the friars were posted earlier this week on the Order’s Facebook page.

The General during one of his recent fraternal visits with Franciscans in Brazil. (Photo courtesy of ofm.org)

► Minister General Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, has been making fraternal visits to some of the entities in Brazil. He was accompanied by Valmir Ramos, OFM, general councilor for Latin America, during a June 3 to 8 visit to the Province of St. Francis of Assisi in the State of Rio Grande do Sul in, the South American country. Michael has also made fraternal visits to the Province of the Holy Cross in Belo Horizonte; the Custody of the Sacred Heart, also in southeast Brazil, and the Province of Saint Anthony in Bahia, the northeastern part of Brazil .

► As part of a series of ongoing fraternal exchanges of good will, Michael Peruhe, OFM, provincial minister of the Province of St. Michael in Jakarta, Indonesia, reports that the provincial office community visited the Buddhist temple in Menteng during the commemoration of the traditional holiday of Vesak. As is the Buddhist custom of a generous welcome to all guests, one of the monks at the Menteng temple served lunch to the visiting friars. The holiday of Vesak commemorates events of fundamental significance to Buddhists, including the birth, enlightenment, and the passing away and entrance into the state of Nirvana of Prince Siddhārtha Gautama, i.e., the Buddha or Enlightened One. Depending on their tradition of Buddhism and local customs, Buddhists commemorate Vesak in a number of ways. But among the commonalities, Buddhists assemble in their temples and recommit themselves to the Three Gems, or Refuges: the Buddha, the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings), and the Sangha (the community of the Buddha’s disciples). Monks and nuns will recite verses uttered by the Buddha to invoke peace and happiness for all people, and as a reminder to live in harmony with other faiths and respect the beliefs of others, as the Buddha taught.

► An extraordinary commemoration of the culture of encounter, initiated by St. Francis and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamal 800 years ago, was made by Buddhist monastics, who journeyed on foot from the sanctuary of La Verna to Assisi. The monks, who called their pilgrimage “In the Footsteps of St. Francis,” were warmly welcomed at La Verna by sanctuary guardian, Francesco Brasa, OFM. After four days of gracious hospitality, during which they participated in the daily procession to the Stigmata, the pilgrims set out on foot to Assisi, where they arrived on May 26.

► Additional news about the members of the Order of Friars Minor can be found in “Fraternitas,” the international OFM newsletter, whose July issue includes information about the handbook for guardians, the July 29 to August 2 interprovincial Chapter of Mats in Denver, Co., and the schedule of the Minister General.

— Br. Jim is communications assistant for the HNP Communications Office and webmaster for USFranciscans.