ROME — Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, joined presidents of the 14 OFM conferences throughout the world last week at a special meeting here with the General Council (also sometimes refered to as the “General Definitorium”) to plan for next year’s General Chapter. John represented the English-speaking Conference.
The May 12 to 14 meeting included prayer services, an address by the General Minister, discussions and meals. Liturgies were offered in three official languages of the Order — Italian, English and Spanish.
The week began Monday with a liturgy celebrated by General Vicar Francesco Bravi, OFM. That was followed by an address by the General Minister, in which José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, shared the “progress of the Order – its projects, joys and worries.”
José thanked the provincial ministers for attending the fifth meeting of the presidents of the conferences.
“Your active and proactive participation has been a great help to the General Definitorium and to me personally,” he said.
Celebrating the Gift of Vocation
He added, “Celebrating the gift of our vocation is the theme of the third stage of the itinerary of the VII Centenary of the founding of the Order.”
He implored the audience: “As presidents, to encourage and promote within your conferences, an evaluation of the places, ministries and situation in which the friars live and work so that the entities of your conferences, and the friars who are in them, may be in a constant attitude of discernment in order to distinguish that which comes from the Spirit and corresponds to our form of life from that which is contrary. Be true animators of the evangelical qualify of the friars’ life.”
Following the talk, attendees discussed the General’s talk in small groups. The next session featured the presidents’ presentations, including an overview of the conference that described the challenges, collaborations and future plans. “In the afternoon, we continued discussing in small groups the issues challenging the Order as a whole,” John said.
John Presides, Offers A Homily
John presided and gave the homily on Tuesday. The group also discussed the process for electing the General Minister and General Council, along with the format for next year’s General Chapter and possible agenda topics.
On Wednesday, attendees spent part of the day discussing the Order’s finances, and part of the day touring the Antonianum and St. Isidore’s College. The meeting ended with a festive dinner Wednesday evening.
John, who remained in Rome for the May 15 to 16 meeting of the board of trustees of the OFM Jubilee Fund, said, “There was a very good sharing among Provincials during the three days.”
The Jubilee Fund meeting dealt with grants for programs of the friars in developing nations of the world, according to John. “We reviewed the amount of money available, as well as investment policies and world money markets.”
The meetings were held at the General Curia of the Order on a hill overlooking the Vatican.
Shown in photo with John is Joseph Rozansky, OFM, who currently heads the Order’s justice, peace and intregrity of creation office in Rome.
The next meeting of the English-Speaking Conference is in Chicago in October.
Photos of the General Minister and members of the ESC and General Definitorium can be found in the photo gallery of Holy Name Province’s Web site. They were taken in Manhattan and on the campus of St. Bonaventure University.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.