The General Chapter of the SFO was held from Nov. 5-12, 2005, at the Barbara Micarelli Spirituality Center run by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Infant Jesus in Santa Maria degli Angeli near Assisi. One hundred and three people from close to 80 nations participated in the Chapter. These included 62 capitulars, 17 observers, seven presenters, seven translators, and 10 in the secretariat. All four General Spiritual Assistants (OFM, OFM Conv, OFM Cap, and TOR) were present. Richard Trezza, Spiritual Assistant to the Seculars attached to Holy Name Province, also attended this chapter.
The opening Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. Vincenzo Coli, OFM Conv, the Custos of the Sacro Convento, was the presider. The closing Mass was celebrated by the General Minister José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels.
In addition to the central theme of the Chapter, “Franciscan Novitas: Mission and Witness,” that was presented by Carol Gentile, SFO, and Lester Bach, OFM Cap, other important presentations can also be mentioned: the report of the General Minister of the SFO, the report of the Conference of General Spiritual Assistants, a presentation of the results of the demographic survey, a practical interpretation of article 53.5 of the General Constitutions, five testimonies on “how to live our mission and offer our witness in diverse continents and cultures,” a report on emerging fraternities, the actual state of “Franciscan youth as collaborators and coworkers in the mission of the SFO,” the approbation of motion regarding the situation of the SFO in Italy, the method in which the CIOFS Presidency is dealing with this in relation to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and, finally, an “analysis of the economic situation of the SFO and a revision of the agreement made at the Chapter of Madrid” and the possibility of finding new criteria for contributions to CIOFS.
The study and analysis of the various themes were done in linguistic groups: two Spanish groups, two English groups, an Italian group, a French group, and a German group.
The message sent to all SFO fraternities at the conclusion of the Chapter can be read using the link below.