U.S. Provinces Vote to Take Part in Collaboration

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

The following is a compilation of this month’s news from the website and Facebook page of the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, composed of provinces from Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta and the United States.

St. Barbara Province in California was the first province to vote to be part of the national conversation regarding the reconfiguration of the American provinces. Of the 95 friars considering the proposal, 91 voted ‘yes’ at one of a series of provincial gatherings held in March and April.

The proposal being presented to each province states that friars of that province will commit to participating in a process that will reduce the current number of provinces in the U.S. by creating one or more new provinces that will better serve the friars’ Franciscan fraternal life and mission.

“We were so happy to be participating in discussions as to the future of Franciscans in the United States,” said Provincial Minister Fr. John Hardin, OFM. “It was an overwhelming vote of approval to have a ‘place at the table.’ As many of us have said, this is a very historic moment in the life of the friars in the United States. We want to be part of forming that future in collaboration with the other six provinces.”

The friars of St. John the Baptist Province in Ohio also voted in favor of the proposal during their Provincial Chapter from May 19 to 23. Of the 107 friars in attendance, 104 were in favor and three were opposed.

During the chapter, Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, was reelected provincial minister and Fr. Frank Jasper, OFM, was reelected Provincial Vicar. Fathers Jeffrey and Frank are shown above with their Provincial Council. More information about St. John the Baptist Province’s Provincial Chapter can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Holy Name and Our Lady of Guadalupe provinces will vote on the proposal during their Provincial Chapters next week. A schedule of upcoming provincial gatherings can be found in the March 2014 issue of A Place at the Table.

The English-speaking Conference posted many other topics on Facebook, including:

  • Photos of Pope Francis visiting with General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, and the friars in the Holy Land during his pilgrimage there. During a surprise visit to St. Saviour’s Monastery, the pope thanked the friars for their work in the Holy Land. 
  • The ordination of Fr. David Collins, OFM, of the Irish Province  
  • The election of a new administration for St. Joseph Province in Eastern Canada and St. Paul the Apostle Province in Malta

 Compiled by Maria Hayes