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Order Update: Ramadan Letter Released

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.

A traditional meal (lftar) eaten when breaking the Ramadan fast.

► On May 5, the Order released a message in acknowledgment of the month of Ramadan. Written by Michael Calabria, OFM, the Order’s Special Assistant for Dialog with Islam, and three members of the OFM Commission for Dialog with Islam, the letter places emphasis on support and unity, and notes the fraternity shared by Christians and Muslims since the early Islamic era. Addressing “our Muslim brothers and sisters throughout the world,” the letter states, “This is a holy time as you commemorate and celebrate God’s revelation of the Qur’an as a guide to humanity.” The letter goes on to say, “Tragically, in today’s world, both Muslims and Christians are still forced to flee from their homes due to persecution, war, and injustice. Even those who have fled the arenas of war are not entirely safe as seen so tragically in the recent events in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka.

► In its concluding document, the XV General Chapter of the Order of Franciscans Secular (Nov. 4-11, 2017) stated that “Secular Franciscan fraternities, at all levels, are to seek the most suitable means to foster the vitality and growth of Franciscan Youth within their particular realities, accompanying and animating YouFra with all that is necessary to ensure young people are supported along their human and spiritual journey.” The Conference of the Spiritual Assistants decided that the Koinonia of the year 2019 be dedicated to the theme “Walking with the young people: a vital challenge for OFS”.

► The Easter letter from General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, titled “The Disciples Rejoiced When They Saw the Lord,” discusses how the 800th anniversary of the encounter between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil offers friars an opportunity to reflect on open and respectful dialogue with Islam. Specifically, the General Minister said, “The powerful call for dialogue and the building of an open, plural and supportive society, as well as the response we must give to the severe migration crisis were issues that Pope Francis placed at the heart of his message [on his visit to Morocco]. The pope made an energetic call to walk a path together to help us overcome tensions and misunderstandings by opening ourselves to a spirit of fruitful and respectful collaboration.”

►Fr. Michael Perry is visiting several provinces this month. Last week, from May 1 to 4, he was in Vietnam visiting the members of the Province of St. Francis of Assisi. The General Minister is scheduled to visit the Province of Sts. Francis and James in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, from May 25 to 31. Fr. Michael is also scheduled to attend the “Tempo Forte” of the General Council (May 13 to 24), and while there, he will participate in the meeting of the OFM conference presidents from May 21 to 24. HNP Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, will represent the English-speaking Conference at that gathering. Other details about the General Minster’s schedule can be found in the May issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s monthly newsletter.

► Four new provincial ministers have been confirmed. They are:

  • Fr. Nelson Tovar Alarcón, OFM, for the Province of St. Paul the Apostle in Colombia.
  • Fr. César Külkamp, OFM, for Province of the Immaculate Conception BVM in Brazil.
  • Fr. Antônio Pacheco Ramos, OFM, Province Our Lady of the Assumption in Brazil.
  • Fr. Fredy Gálvez Angulo, OFM, Province of St. Junípero Serra in Baja California, Mexico.

► Several new general visitors have also been announced:

  • Fr. Domagoj Runje, of the Province of the Most Holy Redeemer, Croatia, for the Province of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Croatia.
  • Fr. Francisco Gómez Vargas, of the Province of St. Paul the Apostle, Colombia, for the Province of Sts. Francis and James, Mexico.
  • Fr. Enrique Muñoz Gutiérrez, of the Province of Sts. Peter and Paul, Mexico, for the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Central America and Panama.
  • Br. Marko Gongalo, OFM, of the Province of St. Michael the Archangel, Ukraine, for the St. Francis of Assisi Foundation, Russia.

 — Br. Jim is a communications assistant for Holy Name Province and webmaster for USFranciscans.

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