A rendi központ hírei - olasz nyelven

Fake letters from the Minister General

We would like to inform you that in recent hours Ministers Provincial all over the world have been receiving fake letters with requests for money sent from a fake address linked to the Minister General. This is a scam, which we have reported to the Postal Police.

The letters are well done, with letterheads, false signatures and with the currencies of the countries where the entity being contacted is located. We, therefore, ask you to exercise extreme caution and contact the Order’s General Secretariat directly if you have any doubts.

The Archbishop of São Paulo announces the death of Cardinal Claudio Hummes

It is with great sorrow that I announce the death today of Hi Eminence Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo and Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, at the age of 88, after a long illness that he endured with patience and faith in God.

Born in Salvador do Sul (RS) on 08.08.1934, he entered religious life in the Order of Friars Minor; he received priestly ordination on 3 August 1958 and episcopal ordination on 25 May 1975. He was Diocesan Bishop of Santo André (SP), Archbishop of Fortaleza and Archbishop of São Paulo. He was appointed a member of the College of Cardinals by Pope Saint John Paul II in the Consistory of 21 February 2001. From 2006 to 2011, he worked alongside Pope Benedict XVI in Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.

Returning to Brazil, he served as President of the Episcopal Commission for Amazonia, the (National Conference of Brazilian Bishops) (CNBB) and the newly created Ecclesial Conference of Amazonia (CEAMA).

I invite all to raise prayers to God in gratitude for the late Cardinal Hummes’ hardworking life and in suffrage on his behalf that God may welcome him and give him eternal life, as he believed and hoped. May God welcome our deceased brother, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, into his eternal home and let everlasting light shine upon him.

His body will be laid to rest in St. Paul’s Metropolitan Cathedral, where Masses will be celebrated at times to be announced in due course.

São Paulo, 4 July 2022

Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer

Archbishop of São Paulo

Panama: the new Franciscan Network for Migrants group

A new team at the service of migrants in Panama: the group of volunteers joining the Franciscan Network for Migrants was born last April and has just received its first visit from the Order’s General Office for Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation. Br Jaime Campos, outgoing general animator of JPIC, and Br Daniel Nicolas R. Blanco, the new animator in charge, returned to Italy last week after visiting various fraternities and volunteers in the countries of Central America where the Franciscan Network for Migrants operates.

The new team is based in Panama City, with a shelter for migrants. They also work in Chiriqui, on the western border with Costa Rica, and near the Darién forest in the south. Their work focuses first of all on identifying the needs of people who find themselves forced to move from their country due to hunger and lack of work or opportunities. Many of them arrive in Panama after crossing the Darién tropical forest on foot, so dense, tangled and full of swamps that it forces the Pan-American highway to come to a halt, only to resume in Colombia. Venturing into that stretch of forest has cost the lives of countless migrants amidst the dangers of nature, hunger and the drama of falling victim to groups of drug traffickers and paramilitaries. Those who manage to stay alive are then taken in by the state of Panama, which also transports them by bus at night to the border with Costa Rica in the north. Most of them do not intend to stay in Panama, only to arrive on the other side of the border.

Near the Darién forest, there is now a state centre for migrants in transit, which Br Jaime and Br Daniel wanted to visit. “As observers, we want to see to it that the rules are respected, and the rights of the migrants are guaranteed,” explain the friars. The centre is not equipped to receive all these people, who can be as many as a thousand a day”. The two Franciscans also visited another reception centre, which in one day alone received more than 500 people from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Cuba. Many Cubans go to the United States by taking the reverse route to the usual one: they go to the South and go up by land to increase the chances of success and avoid being rejected and repatriated. Today in Panama, three Franciscan parishes and other Franciscan schools are also involved in JPIC activities.

“During this journey, I returned to my home Province with a different outlook,” says Br Daniel, the new general animator of JPIC. “This Franciscan Network for Migrants leads to an inter-provincial relationship between fraternities. It is a network, which the Order did not have before”. The journey of the two animators of Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation was intended to encourage the friars in their work in the service of JPIC values and to facilitate the handover, now that the new animator is Brother Daniel. “With our Network, we want to sensitise the countries of Central America and the international community on the reality of migrants,” explains Br Daniel. “We want to work for the dignity of migrants and for their human rights to be guaranteed”.

Today the Franciscan Network for Migrants has seven teams spread across the USA, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Panama and El Salvador. “On our trip, we also met with teams from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and Panama,” continue the friars from the JPIC general office. “Each country has its own challenges, and we tried to encourage our teams to collaborate. In this sense, given the new emergencies and the new needs of the groups, a campaign has been launched online to find new volunteers, especially among the friars, to offer some of their time in this important work of supporting migrants in difficulty.

In El Salvador today, work is being done on the theme of spiritual, social and psychological accompaniment, following the traumas suffered by those forcibly returned to the country or those who are rejected and forced to return. In Guatemala, the working group was practically re-founded with the addition of three new congregations of Franciscan sisters. “During our stay, we went to meet the new Provincials of the congregations of sisters who are involved in the network to communicate our gratitude and appreciation to them,” said the friars. As Franciscans, we are called to welcome, and today those who need a welcome are precisely the migrants”.

Beatrice Guarrera

The Minister General meets the new Ministers Provincial and Custodes

“The wisdom of the Spirit enlarges our boundaries and helps us to look at the broader horizon”: these are the words with which the Minister General, Br Massimo Fusarelli, opened the annual meeting between the Definitory and the Provincial Ministers and Custodes, elected in the last two years. “This requires the development in us, personally and with our brothers, of a contemplative look at reality, not just a functional and almost managerial one. It is a matter of exercising that believing vigilance at the heart of the Christian faith and our profession as brothers and minors”.

Starting from the problems and challenges that the Order faces today, the Minister invited the participants to have a vision of faith: “Here, in our lives and in the service of washing the feet of the brothers, we can discover the source of joy in becoming more and more capable of recognising what the Lord has accomplished among us, in the brothers and our Fraternities at different levels.

The Minister’s address was followed by a moment of questions and dialogue. In this dialogue, the restructuring of the Order, the growth and ageing of some provinces and the position of some entities concerning the challenges that today’s society presents to the Church were discussed.

The first day of work ended with the Eucharist for the name-day of the Minister General, presided over by Br Ignacio Ceja, Vicar General of the Order. During his homily, the Vicar General emphasised three important aspects of the lives of the apostles Peter and Paul, which are of great help to the new ministers: the deep faith in the Lord Jesus, the life experience of being part of the Church and the dynamism of the evangelising mission.

In the following days, all areas of service of the friars will be explored, from ongoing and missionary formation to the offices of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, from the financial management of the fraternities to the accompaniment of friars in difficulty. A spiritual day with a pilgrimage in the Rieti valley is also planned for next Saturday.

 

Participants in this meeting:

Br Afonso LAGE NHAMPOCA LUÍS (CUS. SAINT CLARE, MOZAMBIQUE)

Br Ángel Gabino GUTIÉRREZ MARTÍNEZ (MexicO – SS. Francis and James)

Br Anthony CHIRCOP (Malta)

Br Carlos Antonio DA SILVA SANTOS (Brazil – Holy Name of Jeses)

Br Carlos PAZ (Most Holy Trinity, CHILE)

Br Christoph-Maria Hörtner – Custody of Switzerland

Br Evaldas Darulis (Prov. Saint Casimi, LITHUANIA)

Br Fernando Aparecido DOS SANTOS, (BRAZIL – Sacred Heart Custody)

Br Francesco PILONI (Assisi)

Br Friedrich WENIGWIESER Austria & Italy – St Leopold Province

Br Hilton DE SOUZA (HOLY CROSS, BRAZIL)

Br Joaquín ZURERA RIBÓ (Spain – IMMACOLATA)

Br Joel COSME TORRES (Mexico – Holy Gospel Province)

Br José Alirio URBINA RODRÍGUEZ (Colombia – Santa Fe)

Br Joseph (Joseph Sang-uk) KIM (Holy Martyrs of Korea)

Br Lino Gregorio REDOBLADO (Prov. San Pedro Bautista – PHILIPPINES)

Br Livio CRISCI (Tuscany)

Br Luciano DE GIUSTI (Lazio-Abruzzo)

Br Luis Enrique SALDAÑA (Central America & Paname – N.D. de Guadalupe)

Br Milan KRIŠTO Croatia – SS. Cyrilli et Methodii (Translator)

Br Paulo Roberto PEREIRA (Brazil, Immmaculate Conception)

Br Rogério VITERBO DE SOUSA (Brazil – Custody Our Laday of 7 Joys)

Br Ronald WALTERS (N.S. Guadalupe – USA)

Br Simone GIAMPIERI (Marche)

Br Stéphane DELAVELLE (Custody of Holy Martyrs of MAROCCO)

Br Tomislav ŠANKO (Saint Jerome – ZADAR)

Br Raimondo Girgis OFM appointed Apostolic Administrator of the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo

Pope Francis has appointed as Apostolic Administrator sede vacante of the Apostolic Vicariate of Aleppo of the Latins, in Syria, Br Raimondo Girgis, until now Vicar General of the same circumscription.

Br Raimondo was born in Damascus, Syria, on 6 January 1967, took his first vows in 1989, his solemn vows in 1992, and was ordained a priest on 23 July 1993.

The appointment of Br Raimondo comes after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the pastoral governance of the Vicariate, presented by Bishop George Abou Khazen, OFM.

While we thank Bishop Georges for his generous pastoral service in challenging times in Syria, we wish Br Raimondo well in his pastoral service with abundant fruits of reconciliation and peace for the tormented land of Syria.

Br Marcos Iván Saravia Orellana, new Minister Provincial in Peru

On 28 June 2022, the Provincial Definitory of the Province of St Francis Solano of Peru, meeting in Lima, elected Br Iván Saravia Orellana as Minister Provincial.

Br Iván Saraiva Orellana was elected after the previous Minister Provincial, Br Alejandro Adolfo Weisse Leòn, was appointed by Pope Francis as Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Requena in Amazonia.

Reliving the encounter between St Francis and the Sultan in the Great Mosque of Rome

Christians and Muslims together, sharing a fraternal moment: this is the spirit that inspired the event on 27 June in the Grand Mosque of Rome, entitled “The Dates of Mary. Reliving the meeting of St Francis with Sultan Malek al-Kamel”. The meeting, which the Minister General also attended, was organised by the Grand Mosque of Rome itself and the Pontifical Antonianum University through the Pontifical International Marian Academy (whose representatives were received a few days ago in audience by the Pope in the Vatican).

“The event is part of a series of meetings deepening the dialogue between us Franciscans, as Christians, and the Muslim world, particularly here in Rome,” says Minister General Br Massimo Fusarelli.

The Minister explained that the title of the day, “‘Mary’s Dates”, recalls a Muslim tradition found in the Koran and also found in the Proto-gospel of James: “On the flight into Egypt, Mary, under the shade of a palm tree, sees a date and the palm tree bends towards her, a miraculous event that recalls the care that the Lord has for Mary and the care that Mary has for her child Jesus”.

The afternoon of fraternity opened with a guided tour of the Grand Mosque, where participants were welcomed by the Imam of the mosque, Nader Akkad. Then a conference was held in an adjoining room, where dialogue and the encounter between Christians and Muslims were discussed, particularly recalling the 1219 meeting between St Francis and Sultan Malek Al-Kamel.

“Religious representatives and lecturers took the floor,” the Minister continued, “including two lecturers of Islamic religion who went on to discuss the presence of ` for promotion and reflection.

Speakers included: Abdellah Redouane, Secretary General of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Italy – Grand Mosque of Rome; Stefano Cecchin, President of the Pontifical Academia Mariana Internationalis and of the Muslim-Christian Marian Commission – CMMC; Nader Akkad, Imam of the Mosque and Co-President-Founder of the CMMC; Agustin Hernandez, Rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum-PUA; Layla Mustapha Ammar, Lebanese Islamologist and CMMC; Giuseppe Buffon, Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the PUA; Rosanna Maryam Sirignano, Lecturer in Arabic Language and Islamic Studies, CMMC; Daniela del Gaudio, Lecturer at the Seraphicum and PAMI Councillor; Francesco Zecca, Oikos Project Manager and coordinator JPIC Friars Minor Italy and Albania – CMMC. The meeting, which took place in a fraternal atmosphere of listening and sharing, was concluded by sharing dates and coffee.

B.G.

The friars in Ukraine four months after the start of the war: “Let us pray and help people”. 

Four months after the war in Ukraine began, the friars stand by the people, exhausted by the suffering and lacerations brought by the conflict. The Order of Friars Minor, from the very beginning, has been active in offering welcome, listening and help to the people in the conflict zone and the neighbouring countries.

“In the first days of the war, there was great disorientation, a crowd fleeing, from every corner, from east to west. Right from the start, we put ourselves at the service of the local population, helping, listening, and providing initial assistance. Just today, 32 aid packages were delivered. Since the beginning of the conflict, more than a thousand life-saving parcels of food, health kits and hygiene and first aid materials have been offered to the people and soldiers who requested them”. The Minister Provincial of Ukraine, Br Daniel Botvina, who lives near Kyiv, continues: “I know many people who died in battle. I remember a woman in her 60s showed me her house, but she told me it is gone now, completely demolished. I remember a mother with a seven-year-old girl from Zaporizhia: she told me that once the Russians entered the villages, they made a list of empty houses, took these houses, occupied them, and now the Russians live in them. The Russian soldiers take the empty houses and give them to their families. Now we live in the moment, fearing that we might die at any moment. I have no thoughts for the future. Let us pray and help”. Br Daniel ends his description by thanking the whole Order infinitely, all the benefactors and all those who have been close to him and the friars in Ukraine: “I want to thank the whole Order and every single benefactor for every single act of generosity. I have felt great closeness from the Minister General and every friar in our order”.

In Ukraine, the friars minor are present with 17 houses and 60 friars. Since the day after the beginning of the conflict, many benefactors, friars and friaries from every corner of the earth have responded generously to the appeal of the Minister General, Br Massimo Fusarelli, enabling an ever-greater response to the needs of people, families and children.

In the basement of the Konotop friary

In Konotop, on the border with Russia in a predominantly Orthodox area, in one of our friaries, the two friars present experienced the Russian invasion and managed the aid to the population for some periods barricaded inside the structure, housing several families in the basement of the friary.

“We have done the shopping for people, especially the disabled and the elderly, for those who could not escape, and we have delivered food and parcels house to house to more than 1,500 people, risking our lives. Every day we offer bread to 200 people who stop for Mass, even if they are not Catholic, just to feel part of a living community. Among them is a young man named Arthur, father of three children, who, near Konotop, while driving his car home, was hit by five Russian bullets. With his last strength and praying, he reached a field hospital where he was miraculously saved”. Thus, Br Romualdo, one of the two friars, recalls: “During the mass in the basement, we only had one candle lit, the gunfire made the walls tremble. I heard the Russian tanks near the friary, I prayed even louder, and we huddled around that candle, a symbol of life and hope”. Today Konotop, a town of 80,000 inhabitants in the Sumy region, seems to have reached an agreement for a peace truce through its mayor.

Support for the people of Kyiv

In the capital, Kyiv, four months after the start of hostilities, there is an atmosphere of apparent calm, interrupted by sirens and running into the basement. However, fighting rages today in the east and south of the country, and many Ukrainian citizens are returning to decide to fight. According to Frontex data, 2.3 million people have returned to their country since the beginning of the war.

In Zhytomyr, west of Kyiv, we have seven friars, continuously helping 50 families every day, some 600 since the beginning of the conflict. The desire to fight alongside the Ukrainian forces is growing among ordinary people. Our houses are open to all. I remember the story of a mother, partially paralysed and with two children: she let her husband go to fight, realising that the need to defend her land was her greatest desire. Wife and husband talk for 10-15 seconds every week with quick, rapid messages: ‘it’s raining’ or ‘it’s not raining’ means, bombs are falling, or bombs are not falling’. These were the words of Br Cristian, a Ukrainian who had returned to his country for a visit when the Russian invasion suddenly began. Br Cristian was in Rome, but now he cannot return, he does not want to.He went to Ukraine for the funeral of his dad. He is in the city of Zhytomyr, where he documents the destruction of the war and helps people. “The kindergartens here are reopening, but only those with basements for shelter from the bombs. Often it is the parents, with the teachers, who dig the necessary shelters with a shovel so their children can be educated”.

The closeness and help of the friars

According to the UN agency UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), 7,567,024 refugees from Ukraine have crossed into neighbouring countries in search of safety. A further 8 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine. Even today, an estimated 15.7 million people urgently need protection and humanitarian assistance. The Order’s friaries are active in supporting and sustaining Ukrainian refugees in Italy and countries neighbouring the site of the conflict, especially in Poland. More than 130,000 displaced people are finding help in Italy,and the Franciscan friariesoffer assistance and help to more than 200families every day, especially women and children.

The Minister General, Br Massimo Fusarelli, immediately showed closeness, listening and solidarity with the Ukrainian people and all the friars in the area. Br Massimo visited friaries in Ukraine and was part of an international delegation of religious leaders for an “Interreligious Pilgrimage of solidarity with the Ukrainian people”, representing the Catholic world and delivering a message of solidarity and hope from the Holy Father, Pope Francis. These are his words: “During Holy Week, I had the unhoped-for opportunity to visit the western part of Ukraine, meeting friars and refugees. Meeting people, listening to their stories, seeing their faces and contacting their pain allowed me to understand and see things from another point of view. I was able to experience the concrete help we are providing and the solidarity that every single benefactor has allowed us to give, providing life-saving food and medicines. Today, a great pain remains in me, the pain of the weakest, of children and their mothers protecting their little ones from an uncertain future, from bombs and the sound of gunfire. However, I carry with me the pride of a people that does not give up. The aid we are providing, food and medicine are lifesaving. Ukraine is the conflict today, but there are other conflicts, other suffering and deaths. In Africa alone,28 conflicts are goingon that are little talked about. This is a test case for reacting to the issues of charity, peace and justice”.

Francesco Stefanini

CTC Nr. 59 (06.2022)

We offer you this No. 59 of Communion and Communication while Easter time is still approaching its fullness. After the day of Pentecost, the disciples of Jesus who had been scattered after his death, began to learn to walk together, guided by the Holy Spirit who is the Lord of communion.

The texts which will follow are accounts of federal experiences, community ones and personal ones which may find a common understanding in the dynamic of a shared journey.

We Poor Clare Sisters, who live our response to the Father’s love in the context of the monastery, follow the Son of God who made himself the Way. Fr. Fábio reminds us of this in his reflection about Clare the synodal woman. In Clare, the metaphor of the journey and also that of the contest are frequent as we know: this paradox, which is only apparently so, is extremely fruitful.

We, so many people, are making this journey together. From the four corners of the world the sisters show us, in these pages, some of their travelling companions. These are the sisters themselves, sisters of the monastery, of the federation, of the monasteries to be re-energized. These sisters form the local Church in which the monastery is situated even while they are women from other Churches and Christian communities as well as being people of the places in which they are putting down the roots of new foundations. And our travelling companions are also those who have travelled the Way before us. The sisters of Camerino tell us of one particular encounter which they are living with Camilla Battista da Varano, whose body has been entrusted to their care. Further, there are those companions of the journey who, whether they knew it or not, had helped us to understand that to be a Poor Sister was the Way for us. From Mbarara in Uganda we have received a testimony in just this sense.

Let us also continue to travel together then through the pages of cTc.

Happy reading!

English – Español – Italiano – Français

The sisters of the editorial

The international fraternity of the Nagasaki project: a living testimony of peace

An international fraternity in Nagasaki that could be a living witness to peace: it was in 2010 when the then Minister General Br José Rodríguez Carballo had this inspiration while visiting the Franciscan Province of the Holy Martyrs of Japan. In a place that witnessed death and destruction due to the atomic bombing in 1945, the Minister thought of the opportunity to build an international community that could become a proclamation of peace itself, that could bear witness to what it means to live in peace.

His inspiration remained so until 2018, when it was brought to life with the collaboration of the OFM Conference of East Asia, which includes Japan, Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, China and Taiwan. The OFM Conference asked the friars of these provinces to offer themselves for the project, of which today three friars are part: Br Francis Furusato of the Japanese Province, Br Berardo Yang of the Chinese Custody and Br Albert Marfil of the Philippine Province. The friars of the Nagasaki project are included in the regular community of Nagasaki, where the other brothers carry out pastoral service in the parish and educational service in the kindergarten.

“We live our ordinary life as friars minor in the community, where we eat together, pray regularly in Japanese, work,” explains Br Albert Marfil, a friar for about 38 years. “Besides this, to build a community of peace, we read, study and share the writings of St Francis”. Nagasaki is a place that still retains traces of the horror caused by the atomic bomb, which killed thousands of people. “One of the friars of the Nagasaki friary was nine years old when the event took place,” says Brother Albert, “and is, therefore, a living witness of what happened in this genocide”. The dropping of the atomic bomb is not the only event of suffering that took place there. In the period between the 16th and 19th centuries, Nagasaki was, in fact, a place of severe persecution and martyrdom. “For more than two centuries, there were no missionaries, but Christianity continued in hiding,” says Brother Albert. “Christians hid in caves, mountains, islands, in small sanctuaries that still exist today”. These are remote and hidden places – such as the Gotō Islands (an archipelago belonging to Japan in the East China Sea) and Hirado Island – where the friars periodically go to pray. The descendants of the first Christians still live there, and the pain of the persecutions that the Christians had to endure is still alive. This is why the fraternity of the Nagasaki project, after this difficult period of the pandemic, hopes to be able to return to welcome pilgrims to visit and pray at these hidden shrines. The friars also organise meetings to educate people to pray for peace.

Since last year, several friars have been interested in this project, and now that Japan is finally reopening its borders, they will be able to come to Nagasaki to experience life there. “We are a complete community in mission,” continues Br Albert. “We do our best to pray together, celebrate the Eucharist, eat together, spend moments of recollection and adoration together. This is the Franciscan way of seeking peace for Nagasaki and the whole world: peace comes from prayer”. The friars also collaborate with the JPIC office to raise awareness and encourage the elimination of the atomic bomb weapon. In this regard, they also organise meetings to tell of the effects the nuclear bomb has had on people and the planet and support various other religious orders.

Br Albert always wanted to live in a community of prayer and knows how important this is for peace: “What we share with people should come from our relationship with God. Peace comes from God, and whatever we announce or proclaim must come from God and our relationship with Him and with each other”.

Today in Nagasaki, in the Peace Park stands a large ten-metre bronze statue: from there, he shouts his appeal to the whole world for lasting world peace and a prayer that such a tragedy will not be repeated.

B.G.

 

 

International Formation and Studies Council returns

“Yesterday, we opened the meeting with a greeting from the Vicar General, Br Ignacio Ceja, who also conveyed greetings from the Minister General and encouraged us in our work”. This was said by Brother Darko Tepert, Secretary General for Formation and Studies of the Order, on the side-lines of the meeting of the International Council for Formation and Studies, which takes place in Rome from 21 to 24 June 2022. “The Vicar pointed out that the last General Chapter gave several tasks to the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies and invited the International Council to offer help in this regard to the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies”.

Today, the second day of the meeting, as we read in the programme, the councillors devoted themselves to the theme of Franciscan identity. Br Darko explained: “The question of our identity was very present at the last General Chapter, and we saw that there are many concerns throughout the Order in this regard. As the General Chapter says in the final document, we must work hard to start again with our commitment to be truly lesser brothers.

In addition to the Franciscan identity discussed today, the participants have on the agenda for the next few days the preparation of two conferences: one of the Franciscan study centres (to be held next year) and the other of the lay brothers, planned for 2024, which will be at the level of the OFM conferences. Also on the table are topics such as safeguarding minors and vulnerable people, evangelisation and the offices of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

Apart from the organisers – Br Darko Tepert, General Secretary, and Br Hieronimus Yosep Dey Rupa, Vice Secretary -, representing the Secretariats of the OFM Conferences, the following Secretaries are taking part in this meeting: Br Samuel Ceglowski for the North Slavic Conference, Br Antonino Milazzo for the Custody of the Holy Land, Br Bruno Peixoto for Confres, Br Charles Bernard for the SAAOC Conference, Br Danijel Nikolić for the South Slavic Conference, Br Elton Viagedor for the EAC Conference, Br Fernando Ferrario for Conocla, Br Danijel Nikolić for the South Slavic Conference, Br David Pool Paredes for the Guadalupana Conference, Br Elton Viagedor for the EAC Conference, Br Fernando Ferrario for Cono Sur, Br Larry Hayes for the ESC Conference, Br Marco Huatay Flores for the Bolivarian Conference, Br Milko Gigante for COMPI, Br Solomon Sekabata Mphela for the African Conference and Br Thomas Abrell for COTAF.

 

 

Minister General in Chile: “God asks us to look forward with confidence in his grace”

“On the occasion of taking part in the Episcopal Ordination of Br Isauro Covili, former Vicar General of the Order, I came to Chile with the General Definitor for this area of the Order, Br César Külkamp, and other friars of the Curia”. These are the words of Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, who went to Chile for a Fraternal Visit to the Most Holy Trinity Province of Chile and the Episcopal Ordination of Br Isauro, who was appointed Bishop of Iquique on 23 April last.

The Minister described the activities carried out in Chile since his arrival on 15 June: “As soon as we arrived, we were able to meet the Provincial Definitory, take stock of the general situation of the Province and in particular the reasons that led the government of the Order to choose a Definitory and appoint a Provincial from another Province. We reviewed the situation since these first months since the Chapter, the challenges that lie ahead, and we also planned an agenda so that the government of the Order can accompany this Province in the current three-year period”.

On the second day of his stay in Chile, the Minister met about 50 friars of the Province – which numbers 68 in all – gathered in an assembly in the Friary of San Francisco de Asís de Santiago, the oldest Franciscan friary in Chile. The Minister shared the joy experienced in that assembly: “Re-reading the present moment of the Province, starting from the paraphrase to the Our Father of St Francis, I gave the friars the positive message of the Fatherhood of God who accompanies us even in the most difficult moments of trial, who asks us to look forward with confidence in his grace and build the future”.

Besides visiting the friars of the Most Holy Trinity Province, Br Massimo had meetings and fraternal dialogue with the Capuchin and Conventual friars who are in Chile and with the Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Celestino Aós Braco OFMCap. Br Massimo said: “With him, I had a broad and profound discussion on the present situation of society and the Church in Chile. His Vicar General also helped us to reflect on various aspects, including the condition of young people”.

On the morning of Saturday, 18 June, in Iquique, Br Isauro Covili received episcopal ordination from the hands of Cardinal Celestino, accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio to Chile, Mgr Alberto Ortega Martín, and the Franciscan Bishop of Osorno, Mgr Jorge Concha Cayuqueo, OFM. In his message, the new bishop asked to continue to be called “Hermano Isauro, hermano obispo” and invited the faithful to deepen their Christian commitment to peace and care for creation. He also indicated as a priority the development of “healthy and safe environments, so that situations of abuse never occur again, in Chile and in the world”. As pastor, he asked for forgiveness on behalf of the diocese he presides over today from all those who have suffered any kind of abuse.

The Minister General’s visit to Chile, which began on 16 June, ends on Thursday 23rd.

 

Br Gabriel Romero Alamilla elected Provincial of San Filipe de Jesús

The Province of San Filipe de Jesús in Mexico, gathered in Chapter at Tapilula (Chiapas), elected on 15 June 2022 Br Gabriel Romero Alamilla as new Provincial and Br Mario Hernández Jiménez as Vicar Provincial. The Provincial Definitory is composed of: Br Tomas González Castillo, Br Mario Gabriel MooChale, Br Carlos Alberto Chablé , Br Israel Bernal Fernández and Br Victor Lenin Zenteno Trejo.

Br Gabriel Romero Alamilla was born in Chetumal, Mexico, took his first vows in 1990, his solemn vows in 1996 and was ordained a priest on 18 December 1997. Until the days before his election, Brother Gabriel was the director of the ‘La 72, Hogar – Refugio Para Personas Migrantes’ home in Tenosique, Tabasco. “La 72” is dedicated to humanitarian assistance to migrants in transit and asylum seekers, who can find food, a place to rest and a different kind of accompaniment there according to their needs.

The Chapter, which began last 13 June, ends on Saturday 18 and is presided over by Visitator General Br. Edwin Alvarado Segura of the Guadalupe Province of Central America.

Communique from the General Definitory – May 2022 Tempo Forte

The May Tempo Forte took place from 9 to 21 May 2022, including the Conference Presidents’ Meeting from 17 to 20 May 2022.

After a serious and careful discernment process, on 13 May, the General Definitory elected Br Ignacio CEJA JIMÉNEZ as Vicar General of the Order; he succeeds Most Rev. Isauro Ulises COVILI LINFATI, Bishop-elect of Iquique (Chile).

During this Tempo Forte, the General Definitory approved amendments to the Particular Statutes of 7 entities of the Order, and scholarships were granted to several new students for the academic year 2022/2023, together with an obedience to reside in the “Beato Gabriele M. Allegra” Fraternity, at the CISA.

Also, on 13 May, the General Definitory had the opportunity to meet with members of CIRE, with whom there was ample time for dialogue on the economic and financial issues of the General Curia.

During the present Tempo Forte, the lists of candidates for the service of Minister Provincial and Custos of the following Entities were approved: Provinces of San Felipe de Jesús in Mexico, St Francis in Poland, St Francis in Mexico, and St Elizabeth in Germany; Custodies of St Anthony, in the Philippines, and Fegnxiang.

The following acts of elections were ratified:

  • of the new Government of the Provinces of St Michael Archangel, in Italy, of Blessed John Duns Scotus, in France and Belgium, of St Pedro Bautista, in the Philippines, of the Holy Spirit, in Canada, of the Most Holy Saviour, in Slovakia, of St Jerome, in Croatia, of the Holy Cross, in Slovenia, of St Hedwig and the Assumption BVM, in Poland; and of the Custodies of St Clare, in Mozambique, and of the Protomartyrs, in Morocco, dependent on the Minister General;
  • of the new Definitors of the Provinces of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain, of the Most Holy Redeemer, in Croatia, of San Pablo Apóstol, in Colombia, and of the Holy VII Martyrs of Calabria, in Italy;
  • which took place in the Capitular Congress of the Provinces of San Pedro Bautista, in the Philippines, of Holy Cross, in Slovenia, of Saint Stephen the King, in Transylvania-Romania, of Saint Francis-Herald of Peace, in Indonesia and West Papua, of the Immaculate Conception BVM, in Brazil, of Saint Barbara, in the USA, of the Holy Trinity, in Chile, and of Saint Pablo Apóstol, in Colombia, and of the Custody of Saint Clare, in Mozambique.

The Reports at the conclusion of the Canonical Visitation of the Province of the Immaculate Conception BVM in Brazil and the Province of St Casimir in Lithuania were analysed.

The Report on the Status of the St Francis of Assisi Foundation in Papua New Guinea, dependent on the General Minister, was again reviewed and discussed in an attempt to better outline this entity’s potential future and the Friars enrolled in it.

The St Francis of Assisi Foundation in Myanmar, hitherto under the care of the General Minister, has been entrusted to the care of the San Pedro Bautista Province in the Philippines.

The following cases of separation from the Order were dealt with:

  • Dispensation from temporary vows: 1
  • Indult of exclaustration: 4
  • Indult of dispensation from solemn vows: 3
  • Indult of secularisation ad experimentum: 2
  • Indult of secularisation pure et simpliciter: 1
  • Indult of dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state and of leaving the Order: 8
  • ipso facto dismissal from the Order due to unlawful absence: 4

Two cases of graviora delicta and five cases of possible delicts contra sextum were examined.

The following were elected Visitators General:

  • Br Jan Kapistran LAZOVY, of the Province of the Most Holy Saviour, in Slovakia, for the Province of St Wenceslas, in the Czech Republic;
  • Br Sergiusz (Marek Adam) BAŁDYGA, of the Province of the Assumption BVM, in Poland, for the Province of St Mary of the Angels, in Krakow;
  • Br Rufino LIM, of the Province of the Holy Martyrs of Korea, for the Province of St Francis of Assisi, in Vietnam.

On 21 May, Br Miljienko ŠTEKO, of the Province of the Assumption BVM, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, was elected Guardian of St Anthony’s International College.

From 17 to 20 May, the Definitory welcomed the Conference Presidents who discussed some of the Mandates formulated by the last General Chapter. There were four days of work with a brisk pace, where the following topics were discussed:

  • the Synod-style journey that will lead to the celebration of the Chapter of Mats in 2025;
  • the safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults;
  • the revision of the system of voluntary solidarity contributions and the economic-financial formation meetings for Ministers, Custodes and Provincial and Custodial Bursars;
  • the restructuring of the Conferences and Provinces; in this context, Sr. Francoise MASSY, former Superior General, and Sr. Yolanda DELLAMAN, General Councillor, of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary (FMM), were invited to share the important “Path of Transformation” which their Congregation has undergone since the end of 2014;
  • the International Congress of Lay Brothers;
  • the drafting of the Ratio Evangelizationis;
  • the UNIFRA Project.

The next Tempo Forte is scheduled from 11 to 22 July 2022, immediately after the meeting with the new Provincial Ministers and Custodes, from 29 June to 8 July.

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

 

Rome, 16 June 2022

Br Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM

Secretary General

India: St Thomas the Apostle Province is Growing

With 160 solemnly professed, 50 temporarily professed friars, and 18 novices, the Order of Friars Minor in India is growing.Today, the friars in India – whose first presence dates back to the 15th century with the Portuguese friars – care for the poorest and the sick, children and orphans, as well as being active in inter-religious dialogue and in raising awareness for a sustainable lifestyle.The local fraternities run several centres: these include a home for people living with HIV/AIDS, a home for children and orphans and several schools, where the Franciscan values of universal brotherhood, peace, justice and care for creation are sown.

For the care of the young friars in formation, an important event took place last month at St Louis Friary, Palamaner, the cradle of the Franciscans in India.FRISM ’22 (Friar Students’ Meet – 2022) gathered 64 friars, including novices, temporarily professed and newly solemnly professed, from 25 to 31 May 2022.

At the centre of the inaugural session were speeches by Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, Br Darko Tepert, Secretary General for Formation and Studies, Br Michael Perry, former Minister General, and addresses in the presence of Br John Wong, Definitor General and Br Noel Muscat, Visitator General, and Br Praveen D’ Souza, Minister Provincial.Br Massimo invited the young friars to offer themselves for missions worldwide.Br Darko reminded the young men: “The Franciscan vocation is not a property, but a gift from God”.

On the sidelines of FRISM ’22, the General Meeting of Formators was also held, which became an opportune time for the formators to interact with and listen to the student friars.During the session, the formators and young friars exchanged the joys and difficulties of formation and the expectations of the formation programme.

The indoor games (table tennis and carrom) and outdoor games (basketball and volleyball) in the afternoon and the fun of the evening activities brought much joy and laughter to the friars’ faces.

The friars also witnessed the entrance of 9 novices, the simple profession of 16 friars and the renewal of vows of 31 student friars.

Returning to the convent of St Louis, at the Palamaner campus, where all the student friars spend a year as novices, was like going back to the origins of their Franciscan vocation.FRISM ’22 ended with the celebration of first profession on 31 May 2022.

First, of its kind, FRISM created a wonderful platform for interaction and inspiration among the friars themselves, which the students appreciated.For many, it was an experience of joy, fervour, brotherhood and fullness of life.

Uganda: the new inter-obediential course for missionary formation

It started on the feast of St Anthony of Padua and will last for six weeks. The new Inter-Obediential Missionary Course in Africa (IMCA) is hosted by the friary of St Francis of Assisi in Kampala – Munyonyo, Uganda. From 13 June to 25 July 2022, 18 Franciscan friars (six Conventual friars, six Capuchin friars and six Friars Minor) will have the opportunity to refine their formation and then make themselves available for missionary service in the peripheries of the world.

“For about 20 years, a missionary formation course had been taking place in Brussels, and it was carried out with the three orders,” explains Br Francisco Gómez Vargas, OFM, Secretary General of the OFM Missions and Evangelisation Office. “From the previous government of the friars, a proposal came out to find a diffferent way to continue it. Therefore, the missionary course in Brussels has not been interrupted but continues differently. “The idea was to move the course to the context where the mission will take place,” continued Br Francisco. “So it was moved to Uganda to change the cultural and religious context. There is talk of one course a year to be held on different continents: the first in Africa, then in Asia and then in Europe. “In Europe, there could be two: one in the countries where religion still has a weight and one for the more secularised countries,” explains the Secretary of Missions and Evangelisation. “We want to train missionaries who know how to work in the individual contexts, and we have chosen friars who will actually go on mission”.

The Inter-Obediential Missionary Course is held at the Munyonyo Friary of the Friars Minor Conventual, with the participation of lecturers from the various branches of the Franciscan family and the supervision of the course animators, Br Evans Pax Masechu, OFM Cap and Br Dennis T. Tayo, OFM, and Br Dario Mazurek, OFM Conv.

In week 1, general notions about the African continent, health issues in Africa, and the history of evangelisation in Africa will be given. The basics of missiology (biblical, theological, historical, ecclesiological and African) will then be taught in week 2. Week 3 will examine mission and inculturation in Africa in week 3. Week 4 will be devoted to mission, dialogue and reconciliation, while week 5 will investigate the relationship between mission and economy (projects, self-support, welfare promotion, evangelical poverty). Finally, the last week will explore the challenges of mission (globalisation, migration, multiculturalism, clericalism, abuse and safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults, and new communication technologies).

The Friars Minor Conventual have been present in Munyono, part of Uganda’s capital Kampala, since 2013. In 2017, the Archbishop of Kampala asked the friars to develop and promote the area where St Andrew Kaggwa, St Denis Ssebugwawo and St Pontian Ngondwe were martyred in 1886 and where the martyrdom of Charles Lwanga and his companions also began. As a result, the shrine of Munyonyo was erected, and the pastoral care was entrusted to the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. The friars care for the local Christians through the parish and the many pilgrims who regularly visit the place.

B.G.

“Chiara is god’s gift to us to reassess the lives of the saints”

Ten years after the young mother’s death, whose process of beatification and canonisation has been opened, her husband and spiritual confessor celebrate her life. A simple and great model for all.

“Love remains”. Tomorrow it will be ten years since Chiara Corbella Petrillo ascended into Heaven, at the age of 28, because of cancer. Yet, her widower Enrico Petrillo summarises in this morning’s testimony at the Domus Pacis in St. Maria degli Angeli (Assisi) the love that remains of her. Not only in her family, friends and those who knew her but in thousands of people who met her only after her death through the book that summarises her experience, “We were born, and we will never die”, published by Porziuncola and now translated into 16 languages. Or through the website www.chiaracorbellapetrillo.org, where many leave messages and requests for intercession, as well as on the Facebook page of the same name.

After a decade, the interest in the servant of God “continues to be alive”, stressed Brother Vito D’Amato, Friar Minor and spiritual guide of the couple since their engagement, present with Enrico this morning at the testimony. In September 2018, the cause for beatification and canonisation was opened in Rome. Chiara is a gift that God has given us also to re-evaluate the lives of the saints who are alive. St Francis of Assisi did not know that in his “yes” at the Portiuncula, there would be Clare. He was a model and inspiration for her. Clare is contained within St Francis, he within Christ, Christ within the bosom of the Father. “When the other lives inside you, you see them everywhere, in love, and you don’t die anymore”, added Brother Vito, explaining the meaning of the souvenir image created for the anniversary by a friend of Enrico’s.

For those who do not know Chiara’s story, she was a bride and a mother who accepted the Father’s love and understood with her life that “the opposite of love is possession”. She wrote this in the letter for her third-born son Francesco, born 12 and a half months before his mother died of a carcinoma discovered during pregnancy, undergoing surgery but renouncing invasive treatments that could have damaged him. Before him, she had given birth to Maria Grazia Letizia and Davide Giovanni, who lived only a few minutes due to various congenital diseases. “The synonym for poverty is love: everything is a gift. If God asks you for something, it is to give you much more. You feel loved when God gives you a child and takes him away from you because he gives you eternal life and removes your fear of dying”, commented Brother Vito. So, Chiara and Enrico experienced “a mysterious joy, a grace”, added Enrico. “How can you welcome a disabled child, who stays with you for nine months in the belly, and then you have to say goodbye to him when he is born? We felt loved because there were these two special children.

To welcome them was to welcome God, to believe that history was no accident. Maria and Davide are an eternal gift; we knew their good was to finally stand before God to whom they brought a little of us. A child in Heaven forces you to look at Heaven because they are there. I do not know why God chooses these paths, but to look up to Heaven is a gift so that you cannot lose your life”. He concluded: “Chiara died happy because she understood that even in death there was a gift; pain and death did not have the last word, they did not separate us from the Lord: she taught me that. By the grace of God, she is not a heroine to be put on an altar: she was one of us”.


“St Francis discovered the new face of God in this Portiuncula, precisely in the encounter with the other: the lepers opened up this reality to him,” recalled Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General of the Friars Minor, presiding over the solemn afternoon Mass in the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, concelebrated by many priests including Br Francesco Piloni, Minister Provincial of the Friars Minor of Umbria and Sardinia, in the presence of hundreds of faithful: lay and religious, families and engaged couples, young and old. “Here, 16 years ago, Chiara Corbella had the impression that she had her bridegroom in front of her; she began to welcome Enrico as a gift. If the encounter is true, you will never tire of finding in the other a new light. There is no Franciscanism chosen as livery, medal, or paint: there was a unity in the encounter with the other that allowed them to feel themselves in a new way. Why? With the Gospel, Francis interpreted his human reality by breaking the mould, and those who come face to face with him reread their humanity in a new way, to the point of blessing it. Francis accompanied them to the gift of a deeper peace, even in their troubled engagement. If we discover that we are beloved children, as Chiara experienced, we can die happy now. Chiara is not a courageous woman but a woman who allowed herself to be loved”. And he concluded: “Chiara’s smile points us to Heaven, a smile of light that our time needs so much. I am now approaching the mystery of her life: it does not seem to me an icon but a full life in the encounter with the Lord, her husband, her children, and so many. Francis of Assisi left a profound trace in her”. And he then announced that the cause for the beatification of the Servant of God would pass to the postulation of the Friars Minor: “We have recognised that the Servant of God has characteristic traits of the Franciscan charism: it will also be a way for us friars to understand that the charism of Francis takes on new and unexpected colours”. The assembly greeted the news with warm applause.

(12/06/2022)

Laura Badaracchi – www.famigliacristiana.it

Saint Anthony, herald of peace and fraternity

13 June is the feast day of St Anthony of Padua, one of the most popular saints of the Catholic Church, patron saint of the Custody of the Holy Land and the Saint who gives his name to many provinces of the Order of Friars Minor. Anthony – who in former times was called Fernando Bulhões – was originally from Portugal, was born in Lisbon in 1195 and died in Padua when he was only 36 years old.

In the early morning of 13 June, Minister General Br Massimo Fusarelli presided over Mass for the feast of St Anthony in the basilica of St Anthony in Afragola. In the Italian municipality, a metropolitan suburb of Naples, there is a shrine dedicated to St Anthony of Padua, whose local cult dates back to the early 1600s. In 1636, the land was bought, and the first friars minor lived there. Legend has it that the Afragolese, frightened by the tremendous eruption of the nearby volcano Vesuvius, turned to Saint Anthony in December 1631. Vesuvius ceased its activity, and from then on, the Afragolese remained devoted to the Saint of Padua.

In the homily of the Mass, celebrated at 6.30 a.m. – after a night of prayer and the transitus of the Saint -, the Minister General emphasised the words peace and reconciliation: “We know well how urgent they are at this time in the world because of war,” he said, “first of all the one in Ukraine, due to a cowardly aggression, and also because of so many other wars that are taking place on the planet, often forgotten”. According to the Minister, it is easy to find the inspiration for this theme in St Anthony. When the young monk Ferdinand became a friar minor, he was struck by the example of the first Franciscan martyrs in Morocco, who let themselves be killed for Christ. “If terrible violence overwhelmed them, they responded with meekness and passionate love for Christ,” continued the Minister General. “And here was the transformation of Anthony, who could not follow them in martyrdom but would be a herald of peace and fraternity.

It is precisely in this that Anthony gets to the heart of the Gospel as St Francis heard it and lived it: “Peace and the proclamation of peace are the fruit of the mercy that the Lord uses towards us through the lepers of all times, the little ones and the poor, and through that first poor person who for each of us remains himself”. According to Br Massimo the Christian does not reduce peace to a good feeling, to a value to be exercised, but peace is “the gift that God the Father gives to us in the Spirit of Christ the Saviour”, and this is why Anthony, when speaking of peace, does not start from the outside, but from the inside: ” Br Anthony takes us to the deepest human and evangelical core,” said the Minister, “if you want to change the world, begin to change yourself; if you want to bring peace to others, begin to heal the violence that is within you and that every day expresses itself in so many small ways that you often do not even realise”. Br Massimo spoke of the violence we exercise through the uncontrolled use of words that offend, humiliate, and devalue others, but also of many other types of violence that the chronicle delivers to us with sad repetition.

“We do not give ourselves peace; we receive it,” said the Minister General. “Anthony knew well that only the Lord comes at the deep root of the heart, and confession is the place where we can break pride, that is, the self-sufficiency of our ego, and open ourselves to forgiveness given and received”. Anthony of Padua, therefore, invites us to work for peace and justice, starting with each one of us: “Anthony struggled so much in the few years of his preaching for reconciliation in the cities he visited and for justice towards the poor,” said Br Massimo. He did not achieve great results humanly speaking, at least if we think of the lasting ones, but he left his mark. He made us see an alternative humanity, different from the Gospel. So even today, in situations of war, we need not stop at sociological analyses and the like, but to go to the heart, begin with our conversion and announce to all that peace is a greater gift”.

The Minister General then entrusted to St Anthony “the prayer for peace in Ukraine, in many regions of the world, in us and among us, even in the Church, even in our communities”.

 

B.G.

Br Ignacio Ceja Jiménez takes the oath as the Order’s new Vicar General

I, Br Ignacio Ceja Jiménez, in assuming the office of Vicar General, promise to always maintain communion with the Catholic Church, both in my words and in my actions” with these words, Br Ignacio took the oath as Vicar General of the Order before the Minister General, Br Massimo Fusarelli, the Definitory and the friars of the Community of the General Curia.

The oath was taken during the celebration of First Vespers of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity in the General Curia Church in Rome on 12 June 2022. Before the oath of office, Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, addressed these words to the new Vicar: “Dear Br Ignacio, called to serve the Order as Vicar General, you have once again said your ‘here I am‘. You have pronounced it since the beginning of your Franciscan life and repeated it on various occasions during your journey, and today a new ‘here I am’ is asked of you, also outlining the role of the Vicar. “Your presence, discreet and fraternal, will help carry out our service in the Definitory. It will be a help for this House where the Vicar is usually more present than the Minister. You will also help in dealing prudently, and with an eye to the future with the various issues we are called to face in our service of animation and government of the whole Order”.

Br Ignacio Ceja Jiménez was elected Vicar General on 13 May, following the appointment of Br Isauro Covili Linfati as Bishop of Iquique, Chile, who had been elected by the General Chapter.

Oldalak