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Order Update: John Duns Scotus Commemoration and Other News from Curia

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 throughout the month.

► In Rome at the Pontifical University Antonianum,  General Minister Br. Michael Perry, OFM on Nov. 8, gave closing remarks and the final message at the annual Academic Act, which this year honored Blessed John Duns Scotus. In his message about the 13th century philosopher-theologian, Fr. Michael highlighted the lessons that might be drawn “for our world in which the sacred dignity and worth of each individual is so casually cast aside and violated in the name of one’s own unfettered freedom, autonomy and selfish gain.”

► The final document of the 2018 Plenary Council of the Order, known as the CPO or PCO, has been released. In its foreword, the General Minister said: “Listening to the many talks and contributions during the PCO, I had the joyful realization that we Friars Minor are deeply anchored to the Gospel and to the example of Jesus. And it is the Gospel that helps us to deepen our faith, our hope and our ability to love and to dream. It is the Gospel that invites us to draw on God’s passion for each one of us, so as to translate it into our concrete commitment to our brothers, the Church and the world. The strength and light for our ongoing conversion is the Gospel. All this will lead us to an active listening to our brothers. It will make us listen to the hopes, disappointments and dreams that each one brings with him.” Friars interested in the presentations made at the June 12 to 28 gathering in Nairobi, Kenya, may access the document on the OFM website. It contains 60 pages of information available in seven languages.

► On Oct. 22 at the Pontifical University, Br. Julio César Bunader, OFM, General Vicar  of the Order and vice grand chancellor of the university, along with Br. Cesare Vaiani, OFM, general secretary for formation and studies, participated in the inauguration ceremony of the 2018-19 academic year.

► From Oct. 10 to 15, the members of the OFM General Definitory, or council, visited the friars of the Custody of the Holy Land. The program enabled the general administration to devote time to learning about the significant aspects of the life and mission of the custody as well as visit the holy places and take part in various celebrations with the fraternities and the local Church. The events included Mass in the Shepherds’ Field in Bethlehem, a procession to the Grotto of the Nativity and visit to the fraternity of Bethlehem, and a visit to the archaeological museum of the Holy Land in the convent of the Flagellation in Jerusalem.

► In Central Asia, the Franciscan presence was restructured last month. On Oct. 1, a decree from the General Minister separated the two Kazakhstan fraternities of Almaty and Taldikorgan from the Foundation of St. Francis of Assisi in Russia and Kazakhstan. Five friars (three Poles and two Koreans) make up the Kazakhstan fraternities that now depend on the Province of St. Hedwig, while seven friars (three Italians, two Russians and two Poles) make up the fraternities of Russia.

► Four books were reviewed in the November issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s monthly newsletter. Two may be of most interest to Americans. The first, Franciscans and American Indians in Pan-Borderlands Perspective: Adaptation, Negotiation and Resistance from the Academy of American Franciscan History, was released to coincide with the approaching 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, Fla. The second, Praying the Secular Franciscan Rule, offers a 2,000-year-old way to pray Scripture and the Holy Rule.

► Franciscans who are participating in the International Climate Conference (COP24) in Poland from Dec. 3 to 14 have organized various events to share their vision in a spirit of dialogue and solidarity. They include a formation meeting, inter-denominational events, and a climate march/conference with the theme “the climate crisis and the role of the faith community in working for climate justice.”

— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas

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