Order Update: General Minister Shares Easter Message

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

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.

General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, released his annual Easter letter on March 29. “This year, the Order holds its Plenary Council in Nairobi, and at the heart of this meeting will be the theme of listening,” he wrote. “In order for us to have a creative understanding of what the Word of the Lord is saying to us in daily events and in our lives as friars, active listening is essential. I thought that my letter should be written in that spirit, and that the limitless springs of the Word could provide us with some key biblical texts, leading us to deeper insight into the mystery of the Resurrection – and especially how this foundational event impacts the life of every believer.” Click here to read Fr. Michael’s letter in its entirety.

From March 3 to 7, the General Minister visited Holy Name of Jesus Province in Brazil, accompanied by Fr. Valmir Ramos, OFM, general definitor for the region. The province is celebrating 75 years in Brazil this year. The visit included stops in Anápolis, Brasilia, and Catalão.

The president of the Italian Franciscan Youth, Riccardo Insero, answered questions regarding the pre-synod meeting that took place from March 19 to 24 in anticipation of the 2018 Synod “Youth, Faith and Discerning Vocations,” which will take place in October. During the pre-synod, young people from various countries came together to create a shared document that was given to Pope Francis on March 25. The document will become part of the instrumentum laboris, the document that the Synod Fathers will consider. “The synod has been welcomed by all Franciscan youth with great enthusiasm, in that it sees that the Church wants to question itself not just autonomously but rather in conjunction with the contribution of the youth themselves, and that is a source of great joy,” said Riccardo. “We feel the need to be accompanied, we know that we cannot ‘do it on our own’ and witnesses are more needed than ever for the youth of today.”

Fr. John Wong, OFM, custos of Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei and a member of the OFM Commission for Dialogue, spent a week in February with the Order of Interbeing, a Buddhist monastic family founded in 1966 by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. Fr. John is working with the Order of Interbeing to create a workshop for Franciscans working in Buddhist-majority countries and/or interested in dialogue with Buddhists. “The weekend united Buddhist mindfulness exercises with Gospel passages for meditation on Christ’s invitation in Matthew 11:29-30, ‘Rest in me,’” according to the Order’s website.

The International Council for Formation and Studies held its second meeting of the sexennium (2015-21) from March 11 to 16 at the General Curia. Fourteen secretaries for formation and studies participated, with all conferences of the Order represented. In addition to discussing the status of formation in each conference, the friars evaluated six continental congresses on formation that have been taking place since 2017 and which will continue until 2019. The congresses deal with “the theme of accompaniment in the context of ongoing formation, with particular attention being given to the training of guardians and the link between ongoing formation and vocations promotion,” according to the Order’s website.

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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