The reflection below, the sixth in a series, was written when Provincial Minister John O’Connor returned from the spring meeting of the English-speaking Conference earlier this month. The previous installment appeared in the March 13 issue of HNP Today.
NEW YORK — I have just returned from a meeting of the ESC provincials in Malta. It was an enriching and a fascinating experience. The days of meeting were long but, I believe, very productive; one evening didn’t end until 10:30 p.m.
We began the week with a meeting of the sub conference of the ESC consisting of the provincials of the United States. During that session, we discussed the preliminary report of the Interprovincial Collaboration Commission.
On Monday, we began the main meeting of provincials with several hours of sharing what is going on in our lives and ministries as provincials. This sharing is similar to that which is now being done at our Holy Name Province fraternal gatherings. Among the topics discussed were the appointment of Fr. José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, as the titular archbishop of Bellicastrum and secretary of the Congregation for Religious, the upcoming election of a new general minister, the reconfiguration of the General Secretariat for the Franciscan Missions, the possibility of a full-time executive secretary for the ESC, the discussion of the upcoming plenary council in Warsaw, Poland, in November, and the issue of fidelity and perseverance in the Order.
As is the custom at our ESC meetings, we took a break on Wednesday and toured the island of Malta. It is a beautiful and fascinating country with a rich history, and warm and welcoming people. On Thursday, we had a superb all-day presentation by Joseph Rozansky, OFM, on justice, peace and Franciscan leadership.
We concluded the meeting on Friday by electing Fr. Hugh McKenna, of the Province of Ireland, as the conference’s new vice president-president elect. Fr. John Hardin, OFM, of St. Barbara Province of California, was thanked for his two years of service as president of the ESC and Fr. John Puodziunas of Assumption Province began his term as the new president. Our next meeting will be in San Diego in October of this year. All in all, it was a great week.
Closer to home, who could not be shocked and upset by the tragic bombing in Boston? It is incredible that two individuals could be filled with so much hate as to take the lives of innocent people, including an eight-year-old. It will be interesting to see if authorities can find the motive as they question the suspect that survived.
In the meantime, our hearts and prayers go out to those families of the victims and those who survived and are badly injured. Our friars at St Anthony Shrine in Boston held a thanksgiving prayer service for the many first responders who rushed to the scene to help. We pray for all those affected by this tragedy.
— Fr. John, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the 15th friar to serve as Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province. His term concludes next summer at the 2014 Chapter.