Plenary Council Concludes in Kenya

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

NAIROBI, Kenya — The Order’s Plenary Council concluded on June 28 with a liturgy and an address from General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM.

For 17 days, friars from conferences around the world gathered to share their experiences and challenges as Friars Minor in the 21st century. The Plenary Council’s purpose is to provide assistance to the General Minister and his Definitory, or council, in governing and inspiring the Order of Friars Minor, to build deeper relationships and strengthen communication between the General Curia and the conferences, and to help prepare for the next General Chapter.

Fr. Michael explained that, on the return of the Definitory’ members’ return to Rome, they would review the reports from the conferences that were presented during the council, as well as the material that emerged from discussions during the council. The Definitory will then prepare a Plenary Council document for the entire Order.

The Definitory will likely propose several initiatives for Order-wide implementation. Fr. Michael speculated that the initiatives will focus on topics like migration, challenges presented by “Laudato Si’”, and evangelization and mission – common themes in provinces around the world. These initiatives “will help create a deeper sense of belonging to a worldwide brotherhood capable of engaging the world in a manner that promotes integral human development, the fullness of humanity and the environment fully alive,” according to Fr. Michael.

Updates regarding the Plenary Council are available on the Order’s website.

Other recent news from the Order includes:

The third continental congress for formators of the English-speaking Conference concluded on July 7 at Mount Alvernia Retreat Center in Wappingers Falls, N.Y. After a week of work, the group produced a document called “May the Lord Teach You Yours,” which is intended to give practical recommendations for the conference’s future work, as well as some indications for the General Chapter. A full report about the event, which was attended by several HNP friars, will be available in a future issue of this newsletter.

The second meeting of the fundraising partners of the Order of Friars Minor took place at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wis., from June 1 to 2. John O’Connor, OFM, was among the participants. The two-day meeting focused on fundraising activities, project coordination and collaboration between the Order’s associated entities and individual friars. Fr. Michael Perry, General Minister since 2013, gave a presentation about the Order’s immediate and future needs, stating that “there is a need for us to create avenues for promoting the common mission that we share, namely, of supporting and encouraging Franciscans and their collaborators on the ground and of promoting the evangelizing mission of the Church, directly but also mostly indirectly, through the promotion of justice and human charity.”

The international fraternities in Istanbul and Smyrna, Turkey, and the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelization will present an ongoing formation course on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue from Oct. 14 to 28 in Istanbul. The course is open to Friars Minor and to members of the Franciscan family. It will focus on ecumenical and interreligious dialogue according to the Franciscan charism, particularly Islamic-Christian and Jewish-Christian dialogue. The course will cost €600 and includes a three-day visit to historical sites in Cappadocia. Applications are due Aug. 31. More information is available on the Order’s website.

Friars who would like to learn Spanish while working and living with young people and homeless people are invited to the “Hogar Bonanoite” community in La Coruña. After two hours of classes each day, participants will be invited to meet and speak Spanish with one of the residents and one of the young volunteers from the House. Classes are available in July and August. For more information, visit

Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

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