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 General Council held its most recent meeting during its so-called “Tempo Forte” from May 13 to 20. Among the items on its agenda were:
- A number of General Visitors were appointed to various provinces, including:
- Michael Johnson, OFM, currently stationed in Boston, Mass., as the general visitor for the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe of Albuquerque, N.M.
- Fr. Anthony Selvaraj, OFM, who lived with HNP friars at Arch Street, for the Custody of St. John the Baptist of Pakistan.
- Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, former provincial of St. John the Baptist Province, for the Province of St. Paul the Apostle in Malta.
- The council members finalized details for the Chapter of Mats for Under 10, which will take place in Taizé, France, from July 7 to 14.
- A Manual for Guardians, prepared by the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies has been approved for distribution.
The General Council then met with the presidents of the OFM conferences and the Custos of the Holy Land from May 21 to 24. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, represented the English-speaking Conference. Among the meeting’s highlights were:
- General Vicar, Fr. Julio César Bunader, OFM, presided at an opening Eucharistic Concelebration.
- Discussion on the various ways in which the conferences assimilated the 2018 CPO final document, and its use in preparation for the General Chapter of 2021.
- The presidents received the new Guardians’ Manual and the aid developed by the Fidelity and Perseverance Commission: Our Vocation – Leaving or Remaining Faithful, as well as reports of the activity of the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelization, and the General Office of Animation for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.
- An in-depth presentation on the subject of abuse guided by Kevin Mullen, OFM.
- Fr. John Puodziunas, OFM, former provincial of Assumption VM Province, presented a report on the economic and fiscal management of the structures and bodies belonging to the General Curia over the last four years.
- General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, presided over the concluding Eucharist.
► On May 25, at their General Chapter in the Sacro Convento in Assisi, the Friars Minor Conventual elected Fr. Carlos Alberto Trovarelli, OFM Conv, as their new general minister. Born in 1962 in Cinco Salto (Rio Negro), Argentina, Fr. Carlos belongs to the religious “Rioplatense” Province of St. Anthony of Padua in Argentina and Uruguay. He previously served as the assistant general for the Federación América Latina Conventuales.
► The latest issue of Acta Ordinis Fratrum Minorum (2018/03) is now available online.
► The Order’s website reported the acquittal of three friars in Milan, Italy. Fr. Giancarlo Lati, OFM, former treasurer of the General Curia of the Order of Friars Minor; Fr. Renato Beretta, OFM, former treasurer of the Saint Charles Borromeo Province of Lombardy, and Fr. Clemente Moriggi, OFM, former treasurer of the Conference of Provincial Ministers of the Friars Minor of Italy, were found not guilty by the criminal courts. The trio had been wrongfully accused of complicity in aggravated embezzlement in connection with a substantial amount of funds transferred to a fraudulent financial broker from their three entities.
► The OFM Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogue, on behalf of the entire Order, sent greetings to Buddhists to acknowledge the celebration of Vesak, which commemorates the birth, full awakening, and passing of Siddharta Gautama, Shakyamuni Buddha. The greeting, in part, said: “In our age, there has been immeasurable violence in our environment, in public places, in sacred spaces, in homes and in the hearts of people. We affirm the Buddhist path of non-violence, by facing the many challenges to harmony and peaceful –co-existence. As followers of Jesus Christ, and as brothers of St Francis of Assisi, we too uphold in these shared values of humanity. Pope Francis encourages us to promote tender mercy, to uphold the dignity of every person, and to care for our common home.”
► The Order’s website reprinted the letter from Pope Francis, in which he invited young economists and entrepreneurs from around the world to a meeting in Assisi. In the letter, the pope said, “Francis of Assisi is the outstanding example of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology. I think of the words spoken to him from the Crucifix in the little church of San Damiano: “Go Francis, repair my house, which, as you see, is falling into ruin.” The repair of that house concerns all of us. It concerns the Church, society and the heart of each individual. Increasingly, it concerns the environment, which urgently demands a sound economy and a sustainable development that can heal its wounds and assure us of a worthy future.”
► The latest issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s monthly newsletter, is available online. Among the topics featured are:
- A conference in Kyrgyzstan on The History of Christianity in Kyrgyzstan.
- June schedule of the general minister.
- A May 13 conference of the International Pontifical Marian Academy, titled “The Date Palm of Mary: Fraternity between Christians and Muslims,” which coincided with the 8th centenary of the encounter between St. Francis and the Sultan, as well as the beginning of Ramadan.
- A network of youth associations in Morocco that implemented an initiative in which olive trees were planted in front of churches, synagogues and mosques to raise awareness about the values of respect and mutual knowledge.
- The fraternity at the OFM friary in Monteripido, which for years has hosted religious who come to Italy for the month of August to learn Italian, has created a partnership with the Perugia University for Foreigners to offer specially designed courses at the friary.
- JPIC events in June, including:
- June 3-9: The International Council for JPIC is meeting at St. Saviour Friary in Jerusalem for the biennial gathering of all JPIC coordinators of the OFM conferences. Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, is representing the ESC at this meeting.
- June 10-13: Meeting of the Order’s JPIC animation committee.
- June 24: OFM JPIC webinar on “Living Laudato Si’ in Asia” with Fr. John Leydon, MSSC, at 4 a.m. EDT. The link to participate is https://zoom.us/j/681956076.
— Br. Jim is communications assistant for the HNP Communications Office and webmaster for USFranciscans.
- “Order Update: Ramadan Letter Released” – May 8, 2019, HNP Today
- “General Minster releases follow-up Letter to Plenary Council” — Aug. 8, 2018, HNP Today
- “Serving as a General Visitor” – May 24, 2017, HNP Today
- “Film about Muslim-Christian Relations Premiers in the U.S.” – March 16, 2017, HNP Today
- “Guardians’ Meeting Focuses on Fraternal Life” – Sept. 24, 2014, HNP Today