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 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
► The teaching skills of Br. Peter Mokaya Tabichi, OFM, 36, a math and physics teacher in rural Kenya, were recognized last month when he received the 2019 Global Teaching Prize at a ceremony in Dubai. He plans to donate the $1 million prize associated with the award. News of Br. Peter’s accomplishment and generosity was reported by many news outlets, including Catholic News Agency, the Washington Post and CNN.
► The first 2019 issue of Contact, the quarterly publication of the Order’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Office, has been released. In addition to reports on an assortment of social justice events taking place around the world, the January-March issue provides information about upcoming webinars on climate change. An April 15 webinar (at 2 p.m. Eastern time) will feature two speakers – Dr. Danny Richter of Citizens Climate Lobby and Br. Keith Warner, OFM, of St. Barbara Province. A series of webinars about migration is also scheduled for this year. Speakers will share their visions, experiences and suggestions based on their regional contexts, according to a report on the Order’s website.
► General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, recently spent a week in Peru visiting friars in various locations. A March 26 to 29 stay with the Province of Francis Solanus in Lima was followed by a visit to the Province of the Twelve Apostles, also in Lima. He concluded his trip with a meeting in Iquitos, Peru, with the bishops of the vicariates of Peru. According to a report on the Order’s website, the visit was also an opportunity for a meeting with the missionary brothers of the Amazon project fraternity in Caballococha, Peru.
► During the Order’s March General Council meeting, Fr. Sergio Galdi D’Aragona, OFM, of the Custody of the Holy Land and the General Commissary of the Holy Land in Italy, was elected secretary for the 2021 General Chapter. Born in Salerno in 1965, he has a Ph.D. in political science and a master’s degree in European citizenship and public administration, as well as a baccalaureate degree in sacred theology. He made simple vows September 2007 as a member of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land and made his profession of solemn religious vows in October 2011. Since being ordained a priest in 2013, he has held several roles, including Secretary of the Holy Land, General Commissary of the Holy Land based in Naples, Italy.
► A video showing the House of the Child in Bethlehem, which is the beneficiary of donations from around the world made on Good Friday, was posted on the Order’s website. A collection is taken at Catholic communities throughout the world for the benefit of the Holy Land. These donations are then sent to the Custody of the Holy Land and are used for the maintenance of the Holy Places and the Christians of the Holy Land. One of the fruits of this collection is the House of the Child, a facility founded in 2007 that welcomes children with difficult family conditions.
► In February, friars and laypeople gathered at the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome for a JPIC course titled “Care of the Environment Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogue.” In a report on the OFM site, Fr. Jaime Compos, OFM, said, “We believe that the care for the environment must be transversal and must involve all people, along with politics, religious and economy.”
► An ongoing formation course, “The Road to Emmaus,” is being organized by the inter-obediential fraternity of Emmaus. It is a collaborative effort with the Custody of the Holy Land, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum of Jerusalem, and the general curias of the OFM and Conventuals. Offered to OFM and Conventual friars with more than 10 years of solemn profession, it will comprise five weeks of reflection, fraternal sharing and pilgrimages to the holy places of the Holy Land – a true journey in the footsteps of Jesus’ disciples.
► Several commemorations of the 800th anniversary of St. Francis’ encounter with Sultan al-Malik al-Kamal have taken place over the last month – including a two-day session of ongoing formation on the Interreligious Dialogue in the Present Situation, which was sponsored by the Province of Vietnam. Russel Murray, OFM president of the Order’s Commission for Dialogue and general animator for evangelization, was the guest speaker. A photo of the more than 70 participants is included in a story on the OFM website.
► Additional news about members of the Order of Friars Minor can be found in the April issue of Fraternitas, which includes the General Minister’s April schedule and book recommendations.
– Br. Jim is a communications assistant in the HNP Communications Office. Jocelyn Thomas contributed research.
- “Order Update: Gatherings in Thailand, Philippines” – March 13, 2019, HNP Today
- “Franciscan Brother from Kenya Wins International Teaching Award” — March 25, 2019, Crux
- “Kenya Teacher Selected as World’s Best Has Galway Connection” – April 2, 2019, Irish Times
- “Canadian Documentary and Other ESC News” – March 27, 2019 HNP Today