New Rector of the Pontifical Antonianum University: Br. Agustín Hernández OFM

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On 22 May 2020 the Congregation for Catholic Education, in the person of Card. Giuseppe Versaldi has appointed Br. Agustín Hernández Vidales, OFM Rector of the Pontifical Antonianum University for the three-year period 2020-2023.

Former Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Vice-Rector of the Pontifical Antonianum University, Br. Agustín was born in Corupo in Mexico on June 14, 1970 and obtained his doctorate in philosophy from the aforementioned university with a thesis on Human happiness in the “Philebus” of Plato. 64 C 1 – 65 A 6, an indication towards the divine.

Communique from the General Definitory – Tempo Forte of May 2020

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The Tempo Forte took place from Monday 11 to Friday 22 May 2020, preceded by some extraordinary sessions. One of the main issues was the holding of the next General Chapter of the Order, scheduled for May 2021 in Manila, Philippines. As we have already announced, the General Definitory after several sessions of discernment, study and dialogue rescinded that decision with great regret due to the general uncertainty. Instead, a new process involving the Presidents of the Conferences, in weighing up and developing a new plan for the holding of the General Chapter will take place.

During this Tempo Forte, the Definitory met with the General Bursar, the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary General for Formation and Studies and the Director of the Development Office, to address various issues related to their areas of responsibility.

Several other issues were discussed, including the postponement of Provincial and Custodial Chapters scheduled for these months.

The acts of some of the elections that took place both within and outside Chapter were ratified and lists of candidates for the service of Minister Provincial for 7 Entities of the Order, as well as the office of Rector of the Pontifical Antonianum University, were approved.

Br Stefano INVERNIZZI was elected President of the St. Francis Foundation in Russia and will be assisted by Councillors Br Bernardin TURMAN and Br Julius BASZNIANIN.

Br Gustavo WAYAND MEDELLA, of the Province of the Immaculate Conception, in Brazil (São Paulo), was elected General Visitator for the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, in Brazil (Anápolis). Br Ivan SESAR, General Definitor, was elected General Delegate for the supervision of the construction project for the Shrine of St Anthony in Laç, Albania.

Several scholarships were awarded and renewed (26) for the friars residing at the “Blessed Gabriel M. Allegra” Fraternity, in Rome, who study at the PUA or other Roman pontifical academic institutes.

The Definitory evaluated the current situation and suppressed the “Cono Sur” Conference of Ministers Provincial in the session of 11 May: the three entities that composed it have become part of the Conference of the Ministers Provincial of Brazil (CMPB).

As always, several cases of departure from the Order were dealt with as follows, in addition to those examined in previous months:

  • Dispensation from temporary vows: 5
  • Dispensation from solemn vows: 8
  • Dispensation from obligations deriving from priestly ordination: 7
  • Dismissal from the Order: 4


It was decided to bring forward the ordinary session of the next Tempo Forte in July and reduce it to a single week. It will now take place from 6 to 10 July 2020.

To the praise of Christ and the Poverello of Assisi. Amen!


Rome, 27 May 2020


Br. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM
Secretary General

Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani & Venerable Cosma Spessotto OFM

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Promulgation of Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

On 26 May 2020, the Holy Father received in audience His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorised the same Congregation to promulgate the decrees relating to:

  • the miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed María Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first Superior General of the Institute of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family; born on 12 November 1862 in Castelletto di Brenzone, Italy, and died there on 2 February 1934;
  • the martyrdom of the Servant of God Cosma Spessotto (né Sante), professed priest of the Order of Friars Minor; born on 28 January 1923 in Mansué, Italy, and killed in San Juan Nonualco, El Salvador, in hatred of the faith, on 14 June 1980.



Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani

Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani (1862-1934) devoted herself from a young age to catechesis, the apostolate and the works of mercy. She accepted the call of the Lord through Blessed Giuseppe Nascimbeni, parish priest of Castelletto di Brenzone. He wanted her to assist him in founding the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. As the first Superior General, she made a substantial contribution to the drafting of the Constitutions, inspired by the Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi. Her work complemented that of the Founder in giving his religious family the distinctive features of the spirit of prayer, industriousness and humility that have marked its life and action in the Church and the world. When Nascimbeni died in 1922, she continued to lead the Institute with fortitude and prudence, great wisdom and fidelity to God’s will. Before her death she had the consolation of seeing the work continued by about 1200 Sisters, scattered in 150 daughter houses in Italy and abroad, serving many apostolic and charitable activities. She was beatified in 2003. The miracle presented for canonisation took place in 2011 in the Diocese of Bahía Blanca in Argentina, in favour of a little girl suffering from a severe neurological pathology.


Venerable Servant of God Cosma Spessotto

The Venerable Servant of God Cosma Spessotto was born in Mansuè (Treviso) in 1923. He was a religious of the Friars Minor of Veneto and was ordained a priest in 1948. From a young age, he was keen to go as a missionary to China but was unable to do so after the expulsion of Catholic missionaries. He was sent to El Salvador, where he carried out the ministry of parish priest in the diocese of San Vicente, in present-day Zacotecoluca. He was a faithful witness to the Gospel in a context marked by profound social injustice and torn apart by bloody feuds. He called people, by word and works of mercy, to peace, dialogue and respect for life. His work of reconciliation brought him hatred from Christ’s enemies, who killed him at the hands of assassins, while he was at the altar after celebrating Mass in the parish church of San Juan Nonualco on 14 June 1980. The Cause of Beatification began in June 2000.

Franciscan Missionaries mark 100th Anniversary of the birth of John Paul II with his favourite song

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If you’d like a video that really lifts the heart, then click on the link that takes you to “Barge” (My Boat), sung by dozens of people all over the world to honour the first truly international Pope, St. John Paul II. You’ll certainly know the lovely melody — it is sung in many languages throughout the world. “Lord, when you came to the seashore”, is the first line in English. (In Spanish, “Tú has venido a la orilla.”)

Franciscan Missionaries from the North Slavic Conference of the Order joined with the Polish/Irish band Carrantuohill (the name of Ireland’s highest mountain) as well as people from as far apart as Papua New Guinea, Italy, Ecuador, and Tanzania. The well-known chorus is very relevant to missionaries and also to the memory of Karol Wojtyła, the great missionary born 100 years ago: “O Lord, in my eyes you were gazing, kindly smiling, my name you were saying. All I treasured, I have left on the sand there; close to you, I will seek other seas.”

The Franciscans who sacrificed their lives in the time of the plague

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Franciscan history has in its pages very many names of religious who sacrificed their lives to remain at the side of the sick in times of epidemics. 407 religious have died of the plague  since 1619 to the present day, according to the official sources of the Custodial archives and others are alleged to have died in the earlier centuries, even though they are not documented. Over the centuries, the Franciscans in the Holy Land have played a fundamental role in Jerusalem in looking after the sick and in the spiritual assistance of the faithful.

During the great epidemics of the plague in 1347 and 1370, the activity of the Franciscan doctors in the Holy Land was decisive, thanks to the friars’ expert knowledge. The Custody of the Holy Land brought friars competent in science and medicine from Europe, as we are informed in the  “Miscellanea” of the Holy Land. The writings of pilgrims who returned from the Holy Land also show that the Franciscan doctors were held in high esteem by the locals and also by the Muslim authorities.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem himself was treated by the doctor of St Saviour’s Convent, Fr. Giovanni da Bergamo, as P. Boucher reports in “Le bouquet sacré” (Lyon,  1660). Another famous case is that of the Pasha of Akko, Muhammed al-Gezzar who several times requested the presence of Fr. Francisco Lopez, a doctor in Jerusalem, in his palace (Tierra Santa magazine, issue no. 18, 1938).

In the Holy Land, where leper colonies did not exist (there is information about them only from 1785 onwards),the Franciscans had to self-impose precautionary measures, aimed at limited infection in the times of epidemics. As soon as news arrived that the plague had reached the city, the Custodial Discretorium, the governing body of the Custody,  decreed what was known as the “lockdown”: nobody – religious or lay – was allowed to leave the convent and all contacts with the outside world were mediated by a person in charge, who was also appointed to ensure the respect  of this rule. It is something similar to what has happened recently with the Covid-19 pandemic, when the Custos of the Holy Land asked the friars not to leave the convents until new instructions.

“When I read the measures of the Custos, the first thing that came to mind was precisely the lockdown,” says Fr. Narcyz Klimas, deputy archivist of  the Custody. “I immediately compared the past and the present. As then, some friars today have had permission to go out.” In the past, some religious remained outside during the time of the plague, and they were usually the parish priest and  the parish collaborator. Called the “exposed” in jargon, in carrying out their activity of looking after souls, they ran the risk of contracting the disease and dying. Isolation from the rest of their brothers, shut up in the convent because of the “lockdown”, made their deaths even harder. The Franciscans, however, offered themselves for the care of their flock with a spirit of charity, naturally trying to protect themselves as they could. One example is the use of a particular instrument, the  “comunichino”: these were silver pincers which ended with a sort of communion-plate or paten which was used to distribute the Eucharist without coming into close contact with the faithful (for further information see Medicine in the Holy Land: a symbol of international and interreligious charity)

The study of medicine has always been important in the Franciscan Order. St Francis himself, in Chapter VI of the Franciscan Rule recommends looking after the sick, because “if a mother loves and cares for her child in the flesh, a friar should certainly love and care for his spiritual brother.” This is also why the Franciscans carried on for centuries the activity of the pharmacy of St Saviour, which we find mentioned from the 14th century. “For a very long time, the friars’ pharmacy was the only one in Jerusalem,” explains Fr. Narcyz. ”Many Arabs came for treatment, including Muslims and even Jews until about 1935.” (for further information see “The Pharmacy of St Saviour in Jerusalem”).

The Custody of the Holy Land continues today to pay great attention to the dignity of the human being, connected with the environment that surrounds him, which are subjects dealt with by the Commission for Justice Peace and Integrity of the Created.

In this period of the pandemic, the Custody has provided material and spiritual support, through parishes scattered around the Holy Land, and has continued to pay part of the salary of the employees who live in the Palestinian territories, who do not have the guarantee of economic aid such as redundancy pay.

‘’The role of the friars in the pandemic is still be important from the spiritual point of view,” continued Fr. Narcyz. “Our friars pray for the sick and have also been a support in this time of Easter. When people saw the friars go past in the streets of the Old City praying along the Via Crucis on Good Friday, they once again felt courage.”

The history of the Franciscans in the Holy Land in the Custody archives still continues today to be an important mine of experience to draw on in difficult times. “The Custos of the Holy Land often uses the sources of our Custodial archives,” Fr. Narcyz continues, “as in the case of the prayer to St Anthony, which he has asked up to recite in these difficult times. It has been adapted from the prayer of the triduum to St Anthony of 1917, when the friars asked St Anthony to intercede against the threat of falling into the hands of the Turks during the Anglo-Turkish War. As thanks, on 13th June 1920, St Anthony was proclaimed the patron saint of the Custody of the Holy Land.” In 1915 as well, when Jerusalem was invaded by locusts, the friars turned to St Anthony, showing that his intercession is also useful in times of natural calamities. “Every evening after the prayer of the Vespers, we continue to pray to St Anthony and we will do so until this pandemic ends”.

Beatrice Guarrera | custodia.org

CTC No. 55 (05.2020)

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Just when all the articles had arrived and were ready to be sent away for translation, we found ourselves in ‘lockdown’! Since then, the restrictions that have been established in order to limit the devastating effects of Covid19 mean that we’re living a quite different form of ‘enclosure’. Lent and Eastertide 2020 have been such an extraordinary time for everybody throughout the world, and that includes us Cloistered Sisters. We have experienced a ‘new’, real, tangible time of communion in prayer and a genuine sense of sharing the pain of our suffering brothers and sisters.

We had planned that issue 55 of cTc would be about ‘life in abundance’, and in light of the present situation this theme has taken on a powerful meaning.

We hope you will find these articles lifegiving they flow from our sisters’ hearts and their daily commitment to the Living God. The sisters tell their personal or community stories in a very direct way so you can hear their voices, and also read the fraternal sharing from Br. Fernando, our General Delegate, who made a recent visit to our Sisters in francophone Africa.

We are given the opportunity to walk alongside the different life pathways opened up by the Holy Spirit in and through those who welcome His holy work in their ordinary human lives past and present, open to the future. Different cultures, different colours, but in a single direction; the new Jerusalem. It is there that we find “the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Rev 22:2). Life in abundance!

Enjoy your reading!

Poor Clare Sisters of the Editorial Team


Download PDF – CTC No. 55 (5.2020)

English – Español – ItalianoFrançais 

Franciscans around the world join the Laudato Si’ Revolution

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  • A global campaign of the Franciscan charism.
  • Franciscans are launching a year of celebrations and activities to promote and live the values of the Laudato Si’ encyclical.
  • They declare their grateful communion with Pope Francis and his recent designation of the “Laudato Si’ special anniversary year.”


From 24 May 2020 to 24 May 2021, the Franciscan Family will join in a global campaign to celebrate and implement the Laudato Si’ encyclical of Pope Francis.

The idea came up during the International Council for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, held in 2019 in Jerusalem. The Franciscan brothers decided to organise a global campaign together with all people who admire St Francis of Assisi, “is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically” (LS.10). Thus was born the Laudato Si’ Revolution, which has about 45 participating institutions.

The Laudato Si’ Revolution is a global campaign whose objective is to encourage and promote integral ecological conversion, that is, an environmental, economic and social ecology. The human and social dimensions are at the heart of our campaign, as we want the values of social and environmental justice, care and respect for creation and intergenerational solidarity to be part of our daily lives.

The health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of our fragility and our limits. We have seen with sorrow the death of so many people, no one has been untouched by this international emergency, and so everything is intimately related. Despite the uncertainty, we do not lose hope.

In the words of the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), Michael Perry, “this is not the time to close in on ourselves, Laudato Si’ encourages us to reach out, to step out. He reminds us that we are all connected, that the cry of the poor is our cry, and so is the cry of the earth”.

Today, more than ever, we have the opportunity to think about a new world that is possible. In this context, we believe that the teachings of the Laudato Si’ encyclical can offer a more human and fraternal framework for thinking about an integral and more just development for the whole human race.

That is why Br Michael Perry invites us to join a revolution, “not a revolution in the political sense, but a spiritual revolution. A conversion of mind and heart that brings us closer to the reality of life”.

Along with events to be held around the world, the initiative presents a series of resources for liturgy, reflection and formation.

All the information is available at www.laudatosirevolution.org.

Press Release: General Chapter

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Because of the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and the atmosphere of uncertainty in which the whole world suddenly finds itself, the General Definitory has rescinded the decision (taken during its meeting on July 19th, 2019) that the next General Chapter of the Order would be held in Manila, the Philippines, during the month of May 2021.

In the coming weeks, the General Definitory will initiate a process of dialogue and discussion with the OFM Conference Presidents in order to study and refine all the elements that will allow the General Chapter to be celebrated in a manner appropriate to the emergency situation in which we find ourselves.

At this time, and until further notice, the body responsible for the preparation of the General Chapter continues to function.

The Printer’s Small Library: A Digital Exhibition of the Franciscan Printing Press in Jerusalem

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The digital exhibition, The Printer’s Small Library. Books, Reference Works and Handbooks on the Shelf of the Franciscan Printing Press in Jerusalem, is online.

It is a precious testimony of one of the most fascinating cultural enterprises ever undertaken by the Franciscans in the Holy Land since 1847. But it is also an example of the bibliographic tools used in a typography between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The “printer’s small library” does not often survive, making it impossible to fully comprehend the fundamental concepts and expertise that the art of printing requires. However, some of these publications are preserved among the vast material found in the editorial archive of the Franciscan Printing Press, at times with the stamp “Franciscan Press”, a truly precious and rare record, useful to better understand the working methods of a typography before the digital age.

For more information: www.bibliothecaterraesanctae.org


Segíteni jó

Kolozsvári Ferences Templom -





Segíteni jó!

Február 11-én egy egyszerűbb kamera segítségével elkezdtük közvetíteni a Szentmiséket a Kolozsvári Ferences Templomból, azzal a szándékkal, hogy segítsük azok lelki gyarapodását, akik idős koruk vagy betegségük miatt nem tudnak Szentmisére járni. Illetve azokra is gondoltunk, akik helyi közösségükben részt tudnak venni Szentmisén, de emellett szívesen bekapcsolódnának az általunk bemutatott liturgiákba, vagy csak átelmélkednék az itt elhangzott prédikációkat.


A korona-vírus megjelenése óta naponta közvetítünk egy Szentmisét, két zsolozsmát, és e hónapban a misék előtti májusi ájtatosságot.


Ezt egy telefon segítségével tesszük, amit elhelyezünk az oltár előtt. Ez a megoldás addig működik, amíg újból meg nem lesz engedve, hogy a kedves hívek is részt vegyenek a Szentmiséken (reméljük az időseknek is, mihamarabb), mert akkor már a telefonos közvetítő felszerelést nem tarthatjuk ott az oltár előtt.


Annak érdekében, hogy templomunkból a közeljövőben is rendszeresen és jó minőségben tudjuk közvetíteni a Szentmiséket, szeretnénk ehhez megfelelő felszerelést beszerezni (valamink már van…).

Aki szívesen segítene bennünket és támogatná anyagilag is ezen szolgálatunkat azt megkérjük adományát (bármilyen csekély is legyen az) küldje el az alábbi számlaszámra:

RO24RNCB0106026604440001 (Biserica Franciscana)


Aki megteheti, természetesen személyesen is elhozhatja.

Elérhetőségünk: kolozsvariferencesek@gmail.com / 0746774701


Egy kis humor a végére:

Akinek van és ad, ez igazságos, mivel ő is kapott.

Akinek nincs és ezért nem tud adni, ez természetes, megértjük és továbbra is imádkozunk érte.

Akinek nincs és mégis ad… az árulja el nekünk is, hogy hogy csinálja! ;)

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p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; direction: ltr; color: #000000; line-height: 115%; text-align: left; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background: transparent } p.western { font-family: "Liberation Serif", serif; font-size: 12pt; so-language: hu-HU } p.cjk { font-family: "Noto Serif CJK SC"; font-size: 12pt; so-language: zh-CN } p.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Devanagari"; font-size: 12pt; so-language: hi-IN } a:link { color: #000080; so-language: zxx; text-decoration: underline }

p { margin-bottom: 0.25cm; direction: ltr; color: #000000; line-height: 115%; text-align: left; orphans: 2; widows: 2; background: transparent } p.western { font-family: "Liberation Serif", serif; font-size: 12pt; so-language: hu-HU } p.cjk { font-family: "Noto Serif CJK SC"; font-size: 12pt; so-language: zh-CN } p.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Devanagari"; font-size: 12pt; so-language: hi-IN } a:link { color: #000080; so-language: zxx; text-decoration: underline }

“And I am” Vocations Campaign in Poland Enjoying Media Attention

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The Franciscan Youth and Vocation Center of the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Poland has released a series of videoclips for the Week of Prayer for Vocations and has received an enthusiastic response from the media.

The videos present testimonials from various friars talking about their vocations. Using the same formula for everyone, each friar introduces himself, then he describes his dreams before he entered the Order and then concludes with the phrase: “I Jestem” (And I Am).

Some of the friars interviewed (in Polish) were:

Br. Albert who spoke why he did not pursue his dream of becoming a lifeguard or an athlete. Now 27 years old and a Solemnly Professed friar, he feels fulfilled that he belongs totally and forever to the Order of Friars Minor.

Br. Euzebiusz dreamt of becoming a surgeon, a dancer, to have a family and a house with a big garden and…a long beard! He is 34 years old and has been in the Order for 15 years.

Br. Henoch was an altar server and wanted to be a physiotherapist. He is 29 years old and is currently studying philosophy.

Br. Marcin, 32, used to work in a pub, enjoys hip-hop and was recording music to become a rapper.

Br. Pio loves Japanese cartoons and wanted to be a soccer player like the figure Captain Tsubasa.  He worked in a hospital, in a coalmine and in constructions. He is now 35 years old and a student of theology.

Br. Hiacynt had a dream to become a hero like Bruce Lee in films, later to become a soldier and a husband. He is 43 years old and is finishing his post-novitiate formation.

Each of their stories reveals the uniqueness, beauty and sacredness of every Franciscan vocation.  The videos can be viewed on the FCMP Trzej Towarzysze YouTube channel.


A szabadtéri Szentmisék rendje

Kolozsvári Ferences Templom -

Fontos tudnivalók a Szentmisék bemutatásának rendjéről
a készenléti állapot időszakában

Kovács Gergely érsek atya körlevelének alapján a következőkre hívjuk fel a kedves hívek figyelmét:
- Mindenben kövessük a hatóságok járványügyi előírásait, különös figyelmet fordítva azokra, amelyek a közös terek és tárgyak használatára vonatkoznak. Mindenki gondoskodjon védőmaszkról, amelyet az előírásoknak megfelelően használjon, és vigyázzon arra is, hogy tartsa meg a személyek közt előírt fizikai távolságot.
- Mivel a templomtérben még nem mutathatjuk be a Legszentebb Áldozatott a hívek részvételével, ezért azzal a lehetőséggel élünk, hogy a szabadban, kolostorunk udvarán mutatjuk be a Szentmisét. A résztvevők számára kötelező a védőmaszk viselése és az előírt másfél méteres távolság betartása.
- A járvány idején csak a kézbe történő áldoztatást alkalmazhatjuk.
- Azokat a személyek, akik az influenza tüneteit mutatják, kérjük, tartsák magukat távol a közösségtől, ne vegyenek részt a Szentmiséken és kerüljék a társas érintkezés bármiféle lehetőségét.
- A legnagyobb veszélynek a betegek és az idősek vannak kitéve. Ezért őket hangsúlyozottan kérjük, hogy vigyázzanak magukra, ne tegyék ki magukat a fertőzés veszélyének, lehetőleg maradjanak otthon.
- A személyes gyónás a gyóntatószéken kívül történik. A gyóntató és a gyónó is használjon védőmaszkot és ne egymás felé fordulva beszéljenek egymással.
- A perselyezést a Szentmise végén végezzük, egy erre alkalmas kosár, doboz kihelyezésével.

Kolostorunk udvarán a Szentmisék rendjének bemutatása a készenléti állapot ideje alatt a következő:
Május 16, Szombat, 18-óra (17:15-től lorettói litánia)
Május 17, Vasárnap, 9 és 12-óra. (A Szentmisék előtt negyedórával lorettói litánia)
Május 18, Hétfő, 18-óra (17:15-től lorettói litánia)
Május 19, Kedd, Szent Antal nagykilenced 6. hete, 10 és 18-óra. (A Szentmisék előtt negyedórával lorettói litánia)
Május 20, Szerda, 8-óra, 7:30tól zsolozsma és lorettói litánia
Május 21, Csütörtök, 18-óra (17:15-től lorettói litánia)
Május 22, Péntek, 18-óra (17:15-től lorettói litánia)
Május 23, Szombat, 18-óra (17:15-től lorettói litánia)
Május 24, Vasárnap, 9 és 12-óra. (A Szentmisék előtt negyedórával lorettói litánia)

Amint láthatják a kedves testvérek, a Szentmisék időpontjai nem változnak!
Kérjük, tartsák be a Főpásztor rendelkezéseit.



Franciscan friar and volunteer doctor at the service of COVID patients

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On 5 May 2020, ilpopolotortona.it published an article “From Assisi Friary to Covid Hospital”, an interview with Br. Andrea, Franciscan and volunteer doctor who shares his skills in the service of the sick:

Andrea Dovio, 44 years old, Franciscan, Friar Minor of the Seraphic Province of Umbria. Friar of the Portiuncula Friary in Assisi and a doctor of internal medicine. He graduated in Turin, his hometown, where he later obtained his Doctorate and then specialised in Internal Medicine, working at the “San Luigi” Hospital in Orbassano until he was 32 years old, in 2008, when he felt that his vocation was elsewhere. But what is Father Andrea doing here in Tortona today?


“I am here out of love for the Lord Jesus, because it is from his words and his gestures that the meaning of service flows. During this pandemic, like all my confreres, I felt the need to rethink my activities so that I could help those in need. Immediately, from the second week of March, there was a strong call for me to put my medical skills back at the disposal of those who were in need”.

Friar Andrea was ordained a priest in Assisi by Bishop Domenico Sorrentino on 23 June 2018. He spent the last five years in San Damiano first as a priest and then as vice-master of novices, then at the Portiuncula where he is still Secretary of the Province. It has been a long time since he practised medicine, but he did not forget anything about his work before entering the friary, neither his knowledge nor his approach to the patient.

“At the outbreak of the emergency, I asked myself: how can I serve my neighbour? Listening to the reports of the epidemic and the repeated appeals of the political and health authorities, I felt, on the one hand, the power of the Doctors’ Code of Ethics which in article 8 states that “in the event of catastrophe, calamity or epidemic” the doctor must make himself available. On the other hand, I felt a sense of solidarity with so many friends and colleagues serving at the front line, together with the desire to help the people, the people of God, the sick, as both the Pope and our Provincial Minister have invited us to do. Moreover, history has always seen religious in the front line in plagues, even though I am aware that we are not in the 1600s and certainly some models are not applicable today”.

Friar Andrea, therefore, decided to write to his superior, Friar Claudio Durighetto, asking him to accept his desire to assist those suffering with Covid. “At first I was thinking of the Red Cross, then, knowing your bishop Vittorio and knowing the situation in Tortona, I made my way to this hospital”.

Read the complete text (in Italian) by Matteo Colombo on www.ilpopolotortona.it


Franciscans International: 30 years at the United Nations

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Dear Sisters and Brothers,

It is with great joy that I present this publication on behalf of the Conference of the Franciscan Family:

Download the booklet


As we mark the 30th anniversary of our common ministry at the United Nations, the stories before you offer a window into the work of Franciscans International, both past and present. With it, we also pay tribute to Brother Dionysius Mintoff OFM and the late Sister Elizabeth Cameron OSF, who first recognized the need for Franciscans to engage with the international community in search for common, just, lasting solutions to the most intractable of social and environmental problems.

When they suggested bringing our voices to the UN in 1982, many of us immediately felt a strong affinity with this idea. The core values enshrined in the founding charter of the UN echo Francis’ and Clare’s dedication to peace, the poor, and the planet. We also felt a responsibility. If the UN is indeed the forum where leaders of the world gather to make the decisions that affect all of us sharing this common home, we need to be there – to build bridges, to bring people together, and to share our testimony.

Although the development of our ministry has, at times, been tumultuous, it has always been a powerful channel for dialogue and positive change. Through its presence in New York and Geneva, it amplifies the voices of our sisters and brothers working at the grassroots, where many share their lives with the people and are subject to similar conditions – those that are contrary to the will of God and an affront to human freedom, dignity, and integral development of persons, communities, and nations.

Thirty years after FI was officially recognized by the UN, we find ourselves at a crossroads in history that is defined both by its promise for progress as well as the threat of regression and isolation. As we face this challenge, we remain convinced that FI’s role as our voice at the UN remains as important as ever.

On behalf of the Generals and Representatives of the Conference of the Franciscan Family, I wish to state unequivocally our gratitude to all those Franciscans and others who have worked directly or indirectly with FI over these past three decades, and to guarantee our commitment to the mission for which itwas created and towards which it continues to journey.

Peace and all good.

On behalf of the Conference of the Franciscan Family,

Br. Michael A. Perry, OFM
Minister General


Members of the Conference of the Franciscan Family (2020)

Michael Perry OFM • Carlos Alberto Trovarelli OFMConv • Roberto Genuin OFMCap

Amando Trujillo Cano TOR • Deborah Lockwood IFC-TOR • Tibor Kauser OFS

THE FRANCISCAN EXPERIENCE & RESPONSE: COVID19 & BEYOND – Video conference of the Order about COVID-19

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On 29th April the Order held a high-level online consultation on the Order’s response and learnings from the global COVID19 crisis. Attendees include the General Minister, Br. Michael Perry, and representatives from Missionszentrale der Franziskaner, Franciscans International, Franciscan Mediterranean Network, Franciscan Network on Migration (RFM), representatives from the JPIC Animation Committee and JPIC Conference coordinators.

The participants talked about how the COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated social and economic divisions in society. There is a fear that the pandemic will see more deaths from poverty than from the virus itself. The lockdowns and the economic slowdown have seen a disproportionate loss of income amongst those living at the peripheries. The immediate need we face is the call for food and safe shelter.

With the growth of “strong man” governments around the world, there is a growing lack of trust in government by those at the margins. Restriction to protect people’s health are often viewed as a denying the human rights of people. The lack of consideration of the needs of marginal communities has seen the poor delivery of medical and support services and conflicts with the police. There is an increased feeling amongst marginalized people that they are forgotten and “voiceless”.

Fear of the stranger has grown during this crisis. While borders may have been closed for health reasons there has also been a hardening of heart against non-citizens. This is being expressed in fear of strangers, racism and harsher rhetoric against foreigners, particularly refugees. Migrants are often being told to “go home” and not included in support programs.

Governments are already discussing plans for economic recovery from the pandemic. There is a fear that their economic models are not people focused. Already we are seeing discussions by governments about the weakening of laws in the areas of climate change, environmental protection and workers’ rights, to promote economic growth. Who benefits from this notion of economic growth?

There are challenges and opportunities presented to the Order by the pandemic experience.

In the period of lockdown and social isolation people have increasingly turned to support from family and their local community. That support is not only material but spiritual.  People are not just sharing food but communal songs, stories and art. There is a renewed sense of belonging to a local community. In lockdowns and social isolation, we are discovering we need each other.

A dramatic drop in pollution in urban areas, caused by the economic slowdown, has opened the eyes of people to the potential of what the world could look like if we acted to care more deeply for the environment.

The online conference had a discernment discussion on how God was calling the Order to respond through these “signs of the times.”

We asked the question: Are the friars prepared to serve with those at the periphery? It was proposed that we need to look to ensure formation experiences lead friars into the life of the marginalized, help them embrace the leper, and see the world through their eyes. In times of struggle we need to have our hearts in the right place to be able to give what little we have to those most in need.

Our Order’s international networks, which provide mutual support and understanding, sharing of resources and give a voice to those at the peripheries, are a strength of the Order.

Our ministries could be enhanced, at both the global and local level, by increased dialogue and cooperation with those with expertise in community development. Too often we focus just on the immediate material needs of people rather than acting to support community development and resilience.

The call of God to St Francis, “Go rebuild my House”, is God’s call to us today. Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and social teachings are a prophetic challenge to our Order.

Our Franciscan spirituality, with its focus on fraternity and the environment, does have something to say to the world today. However, they cannot remain ideas! Our spirituality, our development of model of an Economy of Care and the teachings from Laudato Si’ need to be made concrete in the lives of the friars and the communities in which they serve.

Br. Joe McKay, OFM
JPIC Coordinator of SAAOC – Brisbane



Feast of the Discovery of the Holy Cross of Christ: experience of healing and the reality of Salvation

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The Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land celebrated at the Holy Sepulchre the feast of the discovery of the Holy Cross. A devotion celebrated since the year 327 when Saint Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine, found in this very grotto the Cross on which Jesus was crucified. A devotion witnessed over the centuries by St. Rufino, St. Ambrose, the pilgrim Egeria, the historian Socrates and others.

A staircase of 27 steps leads to the chapel of the Armenians, where a painting represents the scene of the Finding. Then a further 21 steps lead down to the cave.

Here, always following the indications useful to counter the spread of the Coronavirus, the first Vespers were celebrated and, during the night, the Eve of the celebration half an hour after midnight.

On the morning of May 7, the Solemn Mass was presided by Br. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, concelebrated by the Vicar Custodial Br. Dobromir Jasztal, Br. Salvador Rosas, President of the Franciscan Convent of the Holy Sepulchre, Br. Ibrahim Faltas and the Franciscan community.

“This year,” the Custodian stressed in his homily, “the feast of the rediscovery of the Holy Cross and the readings we have heard acquire a special meaning because of the pandemic that is afflicting the whole world.”

At the end of Mass, there is the procession to the place of the Resurrection, three rounds around the shrine over the tomb of Jesus and one last round around the Stone of Anointing, passing under Calvary where the Cross gave us Salvation.

In the Holy Sepulchre and in all the sanctuaries of the Holy Land where a Franciscan community lives, there is a constant prayer for all humanity.


Holy Land Custos
“Our communities here at the Sepulchre, at the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, in Nazareth, but also in all the other shrines, are intensifying the rhythm of community prayer: we are praying particularly intensely for all the sick, for those who work in hospitals and for those who have to make decisions that are not always easy.”

Br. Francesco Patton wanted to reflect on one aspect in particular: the passage from the experience of healing to the experience of salvation.


Holy Land Custos
“The experience of healing is a very important thing. We know this when we are sick: the desire is to heal. But the experience of healing in a Christian perspective is insufficient; it is somehow a kind of allusion to a much deeper reality, which is the reality of Salvation. It is the realization that my life is already in God’s hands, and the realization that God’s life is already sown within my existence and my person: I am united in a profound relationship with Jesus Christ, His Spirit dwells in me and the whole Trinity dwells in me. This is the experience of salvation, the experience of a life with God that already begins now and that one day will pass through the Paschal experience of death to be shared fully and forever in the life of God.”

At the Edicule, at the altar of Mary Magdalene and in the Chapel of the Apparition to the Virgin Mary, the friars sang: “Hail Cross, the only hope, / which brings Easter joy”. And Brother Francesco Patton shared with everyone a prayer composed by St. John Paul II:

“O triumphant Cross of Christ, inspire us to continue the task of evangelization! O glorious Cross of Christ, strengthen us to proclaim and live the Gospel of salvation! O victorious Cross of Christ, our only hope, lead us to the joy and peace of the Resurrection and eternal life! Amen”


Source: cmc-terrasanta.org

Br Marco Tasca OFM Conv appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Genoa (Italy)

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Letter of the Minister General, Br Michael A. Perry, in the name of the General Definitory and the Friars of the Order, to Br Marco Tasca OFM Conv., former Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, appointed by the Holy Father Metropolitan Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Genoa (Italy):

Dear Br Marco,

May the Lord give you peace!

In the name of the General Definitory and of the whole Order of Friars Minor, I give thanks to the Most High, Almighty, Good Lord that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, chose you, dear Brother Marco, to serve Holy Mother Church as Bishop in the Archdiocese of Genoa, successor of the Apostles, witness of the Risen Lord and servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world.

On this happy occasion, I wish to express to you personally, dear Brother Marco, my deepest gratitude for the precious gift of your friendship and collaboration which, in seeking to do God’s will, we shared during the time of your Generalate. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gracious and far-sighted fraternal approach that you made me a part of, and that enabled us to work as true brothers for the good of the Order and the Church.

I assure you of my remembrance in prayer to the God of Mercies that your episcopal ministry will be fruitful and rich in graces for you, for the Franciscan Family, and for the People of God who are now entrusted to you.

May the Good Lord bless you and give you joyful fidelity, renewed every day by the voice of the Holy Spirit.


Br Michael A. Perry, OFM
Minister General

See original in Italian: PDF

Friars in India: “Thank you for helping us help others”

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“We thank the friars for their readiness to go out and reach out to the needy. How? By offering food! That’s the basic need at this time. There are thousands of people who live from hand to mouth, on a daily basis. With the deprivation of jobs, there are many who have lost their livelihood! And COVID-19 has done this to millions.”

With these words, Br. Praveen Henry D’Souza, Provincial Minister of the Province of St. Thomas the Apostle, India, illustrated how it is the poor who suffer most during this global pandemic. Br. Praveen was giving a presentation of the friars’ activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — this is his way of thanking the benefactors who have helped the friars help others.

Since the lockdown, the Province of India has been engaged in a wide variety of activities, including:

  • The Anthony’s Bread Centre has made food parcels available to families and individuals, helping an average of 700 people daily.
  • The local parish in Dindigulhas distributed sacks of rice and other relief supplies to daily labourers, blind people,and marginalised
  • The Franciscan NGO,Nesakkaram SEEDS, went to the slums of Chennai to distribute provisions and vegetables to poor families, and especially to the migrant families who have been left without They assisted over 1,000 families in a week.
  • The friars and people of Francis Friary in Kochi got a loan of 11 sewing machines from homes and convents and have made and distributed more than 6,500 masks for hospitals, police, drivers, migrant workers, fishermen, those who live by scavenging, and the poor.
  • With the support of benefactors, the friars have also helped leper colonies, remote tribal villages, nomad communities, and many other vulnerable members of Indian society.


Br. Praveen ends his message of thanks to the “many people who have come forward to help us to help others. There are many out there who want to reach out but have no idea how. To them I can still say: the friars will do this on your behalf! We are just a call (or click) away. The small presentation (PDF) here will give you an idea of number of people that we have reached and the growing need that will be a challenge to meet. But I know that the Lord will send his angels and messengers to meet these needs!

As unemployment grows, Sao Paulo Friars serve up to 4,000 meals daily

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Catholic News Service interviewed our friars in Sao Paulo, Brazil about their new food distribution center dubbed “The Franciscan Tent” as a response to the growing number of people seeking food due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hunger came before the fever (a main COVID-19 symptom),” Franciscan Brother Jose Francisco de Cassia dos Santos told Catholic News Service.

Santos, who heads the Franciscan Solidarity Service, has been distributing meals to the homeless in the center of Sao Paulo for more than 13 years. The traditional solidarity service, dubbed the Priest’s Tea, usually drew a few hundred homeless people, who congregated the St. Francis rectory. Now, said Santos, the majority of people in line waiting for the Priest’s Tea are those who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Santos said since March 24, when the city installed stay-at-home measures to combat the new coronavirus, the number of people seeking food more than quadrupled, forcing his team to set up another distribution center to feed the population: The Franciscan Tent.


Read the complete story at cruxnow.com