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Order Update: Franciscans Award Angela Merkel ‘Lamp of Peace’

The following descriptions summarize recent news from the Order of Friars Minor. Additional details can be found by visiting the links to the news items mentioned as well as by following the Order of Friars Minor on Facebook and Twitter for information throughout the month.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was awarded the St. Francis Peace Lamp during a ceremony on May 12 at the Sacro Convento in Assisi. Also present was Colombian President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos, who received the award in 2016. During her acceptance speech, Chancellor Merkel spoke about the central role of the European Union in working for peace. She also addressed the issue of Syrian refugees in Turkey and Lebanon and spoke of the problems in Eastern Ukraine. Chancellor Merkel also spoke with refugees and migrants about the war in Yemen and other topics before paying a visit to the Portiuncula and the San Damiano Cross.

The May Tempo Forte began May 7 and took place at the General Curia in Rome. Highlights included the meeting of the General Council, with the Conference of Ministers Provincial in Italy and Albania. Several ongoing projects – including the upcoming Plenary Council and the Chapter of Mats for friars who are solemnly professed less than 10 years – were discussed. A full report is available on the Order’s website.

The International Council for Missions and Evangelization and its executive committee, of which Russel Murray, OFM, is a member, met from April 22 to 27 in Jerusalem. During the meeting, the friars reviewed the reality of the Order’s evangelizing mission throughout the world, discussed having an ongoing formation space for all of the Order’s secretaries of mission and evangelization, developed an action plan for the next two years, and prepared a message for participants in the Plenary Council.

General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, and Fr. Lino Greg Redoblado, OFM, General Definitor for Asia and Oceania, visited the Custody of Mary Mother of God in North India at the end of April. They visited Mumbai, the small village of Maolm-Naotoli, Bengaluru, Peravoor, and Guwahati. An article about their visit was posted on the Order’s website. Earlier in April, Fr. Michael Perry, and Fr. Lino visited the Custody of St. John the Baptist in Pakistan. They traveled to several locations, including Lahore, Khipro, Mirpurkhas, and Karachi.

At the beginning of Ramadan, the Order’s Special Commission for Dialogue with Islam – led by Michael Calabria, OFM – released a letter sending greetings and good wishes to the Muslim community on behalf of the Franciscan community. On May 23, the ninth day of Ramadan, the Moroccans for Pluralism Association organized an interreligious iftaris, or “breaking of fast” at sunset for members of the three Abrahamic religions in Casablanca. Leading prayers and exchanges were Iman Sheikh Omar of Casablanca, the Chief Rabbi of Casablanca Rabb Joseph Israel, and Custos Fr. Manuel Corullón, OFM.

►Joseph Rozansky, OFM, president of the International Board of Directors of Franciscans International, presented FI’s annual report for 2017 on behalf of the organization. The publication details FI’s main activities, highlighting the scope of its work and providing an entry point into its advocacy work at both local and international levels.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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