A rendi központ hírei - olasz nyelven

Franciscan Mission in Cuba: Three Months ‘Come and See’

Three friars, from Guatemala, Mexico/USA and Ireland/Central America, members of the International Mission in Cuba have completed one year and a half in November of this year, just as four new friars arrived. They are from Bosnia, Egypt, USA and Brazil.  Internationality is also strongly reflected in the one hundred and twenty other religious congregations working here. The objective of the three months is to provide a space to see and discern, before making a definitive decision to opt for Cuba.  The programme includes theoretical content, pastoral experiences both in the city and countryside and personal accompaniment.

Friars are studying a variety of themes, including the history of Cuba and of the Church here; religious syncretism (especially the influence of African religions); political, economic and social realities; Christianity in a Marxist environment, the history of religious life, as well as the present reality and many other themes.

They will also spend a month living and working in the east and the centre of the country. They will be hosted by two dioceses – Bayamo and Ciego de Avila – which have been identified as places very much in need of missionary support. Both dioceses had significant OFM presences in the past. It is hoped that our presence will extend once again outside of the capital.

Based on experiences, a one-page series of criteria has been developed, to help friars and their provincials discern missionary vocations for Cuba. If anyone is interested, please contact the mission office in Rome, or the friars in Cuba at gfoconaireofm@gmail.com

St. Francis Patron of Ecologists: Fortieth Anniversary Celebration

Forty years have passed since St. John Paul II declared St. Francis of Assisi patron of ecologists in the Bull Inter Sanctos of 29 November 1979.

Gradually a process of greater awareness of the care of creation has been developing in the Church. Since the 1980s, the Order has been reflecting, discerning and promoting actions that favour an awareness of the environmental crisis that we face these days. During his pontificate, St. John Paul II introduced the reflection on “the ecological question” in the Church, presenting St. Francis of Assisi as a model.

During the present pontificate of Pope Francis, once again the focus has been on the Saint of Assisi, being offered as a model of an authentically integral life, where the concern for creation also touches social issues. In the encyclical Laudato si,’ we repeatedly find the figure of St. Francis, through his lifestyle and perfect relationship with all creation. Let us remember that the Canticle of the Creatures gives the name to this encyclical.

In celebrating the 40th anniversary of St. Francis, patron of ecologists, the JPIC Office of the Order wanted to commemorate this date in a symbolic place for Franciscan spirituality: St. Damian’s Church in Assisi. In this small church on the outskirts of Assisi, St. Francis confronts his vocation with Christ and begins to do penance. In this same place, two years before his death, he composes the Canticle of Creatures where he synthesizes his strong human commitment to all creation to praise God.

Together with the World Catholic Climate Movement, we organized an act of prayer and reflection on the canticle of creatures in St. Damian. We were accompanied by about one hundred young people from Assisi, as well as the mayor of Assisi, Stefania Proietti, Bishop Domenico Sorrentino, Bishop of Assisi, P. Josh Kureethadam, S.D.B. of the Commission for Creation of the Dicastery for integral human development, the brothers of the fraternity of San Damiano (Novitiate) and the JPIC animators of the Italian Conference (COMPI). After the prayer, we marched to the main square of Assisi to join the millions of young people around the world who demand new policies in the face of the climate crisis. The “climate strike” march ended in front of the city hall of Assisi, where the young people shouted: “Laudato si”! For an integral ecology, live Laudato si’.

Venerable Olinto Fedi, Founder of the Institute of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate




On Thursday, 28 November 2019, the Holy Father Francis received His Eminence the Most Reverend Cardinal Angelo Becciu, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints,  and authorized the promulgation of Decrees regarding:

the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Olinto Fedi, diocesan priest, Founder of the Institute of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, born in Signa, Florence, on 3 October 1841, and died there on 23 January 1923.


The Venerable Olinto Fedi (1841-1923) was a priest of the diocese of Florence. He exercised his pastoral activity in the parish of San Mauro a Signa, for about 60 years, from 1864 to his death. Attracted to Franciscan spirituality, he professed the rule of the Third Order and in 1876 founded the Institute of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate with its headquarters in San Piero a Ponti. Through them, he was able to organize an effective program of catechesis and support, according to the people’s needs. He was a model of pastoral charity entirely dedicated to the good of his faithful. He promoted the formation of consciences, associations of Catholic laity, and the defence of workers’ rights. His cause for beatification began in 1999.


Communique from the General Definitory – Tempo Forte of November 2019

Due to the meeting of the General Definitory with the General Visitors, the opening of the working sessions was brought forward to Friday, 8 November. Since the Minister General was still absent, the Vicar General, Br. Julio César BUNADER, presided over the meetings.

The first session was entirely devoted to sharing on the activity carried out by the members of the General Definitory in the weeks after the Tempo Forte in September.

During the following sessions, some issues related to the personnel of the Houses of Rome dependent on the General Minister (General Curia, International College of St. Anthony and College of Lateran Penitentiaries) were discussed.

Br. Estevão OTTENBREIT was elected Visitator General to the Fraternity of the College of Penitentiaries of the Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

Several dossiers were dealt with from the General Procurator’s Office, including the following requests for:

  • information on accusations concerning graviora delicta (2);
  • information re friars in more uxorio relationships (2);
  • dispensation from the obligations deriving from the clerical state and solemn vows (3);
  • secularisation pure et simpliciter (2);
  • dispensation from solemn vows (3)
  • dispensation from temporary vows (1).


The candidates for service as Minister Provincial for the Province of St. Francis of Assisi in Vietnam were approved.

The Acts of the elections that took place were ratified:

  • in the Chapter of the Province of St. Francis in Brazil (Porto Alegre);
  • in the “intermediate” chapters (election of Definitors) of the Provinces of St. Francis in Quito (Ecuador), St. Philip of Jesus (Mexico) and St. Francis Solanus (Argentina);
  • in the Capitular Congresses of 6 Provinces and 1 Custody;
  • extra-capitular: 10 Guardians in four different entities.


Eight Reports presented by the Visitators General at the end of their service were analysed and discussed; so too was the Report on the situation of the two Apostolic Vicariates of Libya, entrusted to the care of the Minister General.

The General Definitory met with Br. John PUODZIUNAS, General Treasurer, who presented the 2020 Budget for the Houses and Entities that are headed by the General Curia; other economic and financial issues were also discussed.

The General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, represented by Br. Cesare VAIANI and Br. Siniša BALJIĆ, shared with the Definitory the activities carried out and presented the outlook on some projects and proposals.

Br. Witosław J. STYK, head of the organising committee of the Chapter of Mats of the Friars Under 10, held from 7 to 14 July 2019 in Taizé, France, shared an evaluation of the event with the Definitory. In general, it was much appreciated by the participants, despite some logistical difficulties that emerged during  the Chapter.

In addition, the General Definitory examined the Evaluation Report of the first ongoing formation course organized by the Inter-obediential Fraternity of Emmaus-Qubeibe (Holy Land) in October of this year, which was attended by eight Brothers (6 OFMConv and 2 OFM), who were very satisfied with the experience.

On 15 and 16 November, the Chapter of Mats of the Friars Living in the Houses of Rome Dependent on the Minister General took place at the Shrine of Our Lady of Divino Amore in Rome. About sixty Friars took part in this event, including the members of the General Definitory.

From 18 to 22 November, the General Definitory met with twenty General Visitators at the General Curia who are engaged in the Canonical Visitation of twenty entities preparing to celebrate their Chapter.

The next Tempo Forte will take place from 12 to 18 December and will be primarily a fraternal occasion to review the annual work of the General Definitory.

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


Rome, 27 November 2019


Br. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM
Secretary General

Braving a Conversation – The Sultan and the Saint celebrated in Calgary, Canada

2019 has marked the 800th Anniversary of the meeting between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil. There have been celebrations, declarations, dialogues, prayers and presentations the world over to mark this occasion. On November 20, Franciscans from Mount St. Francis (Holy Spirit Province Canada) along with the Calgary Interfaith Council and the Calgary Chapter of the Order of St. Lazarus marked this historic event in Calgary, at the B’nai Tikvah Synagogue.

Over one hundred people were inspired and encouraged by the presentations of Br. Jason Welle, OFM, Dean of the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies, Rome and Imam Fayaz Tilly, Chaplain, University of Calgary.

Br. Jason opened the evening with a historical perspective of the encounter between St. Francis and the Sultan. His thought-provoking presentation wove together the facts and truths we know of the encounter, addressed the unknowns of the conversation and reminded those present that the encounter is a “sign of hope in dark ages both then and now.” Br. Jason proposed that this encounter is beyond inter-religious dialogue, it is deeper than friendship, rather it is about brotherhood and sisterhood. Human fraternity is the strongest message of the encounter between St. Francis of Assisi and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil, one that Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb addressed in their joint document “Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.”

Imam Fayaz Tilly continued on in this same strain as he echoed what Br. Jason had highlighted from the document, “In the name of God who has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity, and who has called them to live together as brothers and sisters, to fill the earth and make known the values of goodness, love and peace.” Imam Fayaz in his story-telling enthusiasm reminded the participants that on this planet, “we are one community – one fraternity of brotherhood and sisterhood.” Tilly offered insights and reflections from “prophets” of our times including Mohamad Ali and Mother Teresa as a means of highlighting the greatness of our human fraternity. He highlighted that Islam teaches that we are brother and sister called to love and that like St. Francis of Assisi we must make our walking our preaching.

Both Br. Jason and Imam Fayaz Tilly left those in attendance with the gift of hope. A hope that lives within each of us and calls us to live each day as brother and sister part of the human fraternity – one race which must “continue the conversation and brave the dialogue.”

Chapter of Mats – Rome 2019

Fifty-seven friars from the four houses of the Order of Friars Minor in Rome that are dependent on the Minister General had their Chapter of Mats at the “Casa del Pellegrino Divino Amore” in Rome on the 15th and 16th of November 2019.

The gathering aimed to strengthen the relationship of the different houses by giving special time for the friars to fraternalize and to give updates on the life and ministry of each community. Representatives from the communities of the General Curia, Collegio Sant’Isidoro, Collegio Internazionale Sant’Antonio (Antonianum) and the confessors of San Giovanni in Laterano presented the composition of their respective communities and their particular activities. The participants then were given time for group sharing. Meals and the evening recreation gave more time for fraternal bonding which was even deepened by their celebration of the Mass and the liturgy of the hours.

In this particular Chapter of Mats, the friars also reflected on their responses to the challenges posed by the recent Plenary Council of the Order held in Nairobi, Kenya last June 12 to 28, 2018. Br. Ignacio Ceja, OFM, Definitor General, gave a synthesis of the Plenary Council. After his presentation, the friars shared their reflections on how each community are able to respond to the challenge to reach out to the young people and on the pressing environmental issues.

Br. Julio César Bunader, Vicar General, led the Chapter on behalf of Br. Michael A. Perry, Minister General, who was not able to attend the gathering for health reasons. Nonetheless, he showed his full support to the friars by sending his fraternal message and blessing to them through an email which was read during the Chapter of Mats.

Franciscans in Russia: Celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Franciscan-Catholic School

From 11-15 November 2019, the friars of the St Francis of Assisi in Russia Foundation, dependent on the Minister General, gathered together in Novosibirsk, in the centre of Siberia, to share some days of deep fraternity. This is something which rarely happens because of the immense distances between the Fraternities of the Foundation (which are located in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Ussurijsk). The friars dedicated the first days to a retreat on the theme of ongoing formation: “The identity of our charism”. Then, half a day was given over to proposals for the revision of the “Particular Statutes” of the Foundation and, above all, to the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the “Birth of the Lord” Franciscan-Catholic School directed for twenty-four years by Brother Corrado Trabucchi.

There are only two Catholic schools in the whole of Russia, and one is from our Order. In addition to the friars of the St Francis of Assisi Foundation in Russia, the celebrations were also attended by the Bishop of the “Transfiguration” Diocese of Novosibirsk, Monsignor Joseph Werth, many religious men and women, the teaching and non-teaching staff, some parents, some former students and, of course, the students of the current classes. And it was these students who staged a beautiful show about St. Francis that opened the festivities.

Several people sent their best wishes to the School, including the Bishop and the friars of the Foundation. During the final moment of prayer, the President of the Foundation, Br Stefano Invernizzi, read out a beautiful message of good wishes sent for the occasion by the Minister General, Br Michael A. Perry and Monsignor Werth gave all those present the seraphic blessing of the Minister General.

The Bishop presided over a solemn Mass in the parish of the “Immaculate Conception”, not far from the School, to thank the Lord for these ‘first’ twenty-five years. His Excellency, Monsignor Werth, thanked the friars for their presence in the Diocese and Brother Corrado for his commendable work in the School.


Message of the Minister General for World HIV/AIDS Day 2019

My dear Brothers of the Order,

May the Lord give you peace!

Each year since 1988, the world community is invited to pause for a moment to reflect on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, increase awareness and knowledge, speak out against all forms of stigma, commit to a deeper engagement, and call for an increased response to move towards ending the pandemic as a public health threat. These goals can be achieved by facilitating access to early and affordable diagnosis and treatment for all people who need it, no matter what their social or economic status might be.

There currently are 38 million brothers and sisters living with the HIV virus, with more than 1.7 million new infections in 2018. More than 32 million others have died as a result of complications of AIDS since the HIV virus was first identified. Thanks to increased awareness of the virus and expanded access to life-saving medications, new HIV infections have declined by approximately 37% in the period 2010-2018. HIV-related deaths fell by 45%. More than 13.6 million lives have been saved due to access to improved Antiretroviral drug therapies (cf. UN AIDS Fact Sheet, August 2019) with nearly 23 million people benefitting from these treatments in 2018.

Despite these encouraging developments, there remain regions of the world where HIV infections are increasing. This is especially true in Eastern Europe, central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. In Pakistan, it has been reported that nearly 1,900 children were found to be infected with the HIV virus in a city of 200,000 due to dangerous medical practices. This makes it imminently clear that there can be no room for complacency when dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The theme of 2019 World AIDS Day is: ““Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community”. International publicity about this observance cites many types of communities engaged in the response to HIV/AIDS, including those people who themselves are living with, or vulnerable to, HIV infection. Very little mention is made, however, of the courageous commitment and action by communities of faith – Catholic, Ecumenical, Interfaith – in preventing the further spread of HIV, making available local diagnosis and treatment programs, and developing resources to assure integral development and accompaniment for those living with HIV and for their loved ones.

Following the example of St. Francis of Assisi, we unite with people of faith and of good will everywhere in the pursuit of ending the HIV pandemic. We pledge to fight against all forms of stigma and to encourage our governments and the international community to maintain their political and financial commitments to address the needs of all living with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and to help end this pandemic. We encourage the scientific community in its efforts to understand HIV and to create new ways to thwart its advance. We urge pharmaceutical companies to continue to make affordable access to life saving medicines available to all, especially the poor and excluded.

We unite our prayer with all who are living with HIV, most especially our own brothers: may they experience mercy, acceptance, and love, qualities that St. Francis demanded of his Friars. And may God strengthen the resolve of governments everywhere to do all they can to promote human dignity, provide funding for medical advances, encourage behavior change, and promote morally grounded values to help in the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Franciscan Prayer for 2019 World AIDS Day:

God, you who are the source of all blessings, hear the cry of our brothers and sisters who are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. In your infinite goodness, transform human hearts so that all people everywhere might treat with dignity, respect, and loving care those living with HIV. May our communities become places of welcome, compassion, love, and hope for all.

We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.


December 1, 2019


Fr. Michael A. Perry, OFM
Minister General and Servant


Prot. MG 162/19

Image: UNAIDS.org

Homily for the Conclusion of the 2019 Meeting with the Visitators General

The 2019 Meeting between the Minister General and General Definitory and the Visitators General was held from the 18th to the 22nd of November at the OFM General Curia.

At the Concluding Mass, the Vicar General, Br. Julio César Bunader, shared these words:

We conclude the meeting of General Visitators with the celebration of the Eucharist, and we do it as we began in this church (templo) with the celebration of the Eucharist. It is precisely the “temple” theme that inspires us in the liturgy of the Word.  In the passage from the book of the Maccabees (4:36-37. 52-59), we hear of the consecration of the temple by Judas.  And the Gospel of Luke (19:45-48),  relates the expelling of the merchants from the temple.

Let us meditate, firstly, on the “meaning of the temple”, understood as a place to adore God and a meeting place for the community. Secondly, on the “spiritual temple”, because the community is made up of people who are themselves dwellings of the Holy Spirit; finally, let us remember the memorial of St. Cecilia, to sing a new song to God.

We refer to the “meaning of the temple”. In the time of Judas Maccabeus after the destruction of the temple during the wars, victory is achieved. And the temple is consecrated and purified once again. Judas and his brothers said: “ Now that our enemies have been defeated, let us go up to purify the sanctuary and dedicate it” (1 Mac 4:36). Purification and a new consecration because the pagans had used the sanctuary for their worship.

Therefore, purifying and consecrating the temple because it is the place to give glory to God. That is the meaning of Judas Maccabeus’ gesture: the temple is the place where the assembled community meets to pray, praise the Lord, give thanks and worship. In fact, in the temple, the Lord is adored, and this is valid for every church (templo) and every liturgical ceremony.

As the Evangelist Luke tells us, Jesus also purifies the temple. He “casts out” (Lk 19:45) the pagan attitudes of the merchants who were selling and had transformed the temple into small businesses. Jesus purifies the temple by rebuking when he says: “It is written: My house shall be a house of prayer” (Lk 19:46) and not for anything else. The temple is a sacred place. And we must enter into the sacredness that leads us to adoration.

We speak of the “spiritual temple”. St. Paul tells us that we are temples of the Holy Spirit: “Do you not know that the body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” (1 Cor 6:19); that is, that each one is a temple and that the Spirit of God is within me. This is why he reminds us: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with the way you live” (Eph 4:30).

In this sense, we speak of adoration in ourselves, in our heart, when we make room and give interior space to the Spirit of the Lord. For this to happen, we too must continually purify ourselves because we are sinners: purify ourselves with prayer, with penance, with the sacrament of reconciliation.

We remember the words of Francis of Assisi: “Above all things, we must desire to have the Spirit of the Lord and his holy operation, to pray to him always with a pure heart” (Rb 10:8), so that God may be the absolute of life. And “to those whom the Lord has given the grace to work, let them work faithfully and devotedly, so that, excluding idleness, the enemy of the soul, they do not extinguish the spirit of holy prayer and devotion, which other temporal things must serve” (Rb 5:1-2). To overcome external practices or religious acts, where “holy prayer and devotion” disposes us to worship God, so that any work or occupation may be an expression of consecration to God.

Finally, “a new song”. The memorial of the martyr St. Cecilia, chosen as the patroness of musicians, is an invitation so that the music we listen to resounds in each person and in our heart, especially that we sing to the Lord interiorly. In the Office of Readings of the memorial, St. Augustine invites us to deepen the need to sing with art, with joy and with a new song.

In harmony with the saint, we recognize the value of helping each brother and fraternity not to “sing” for themselves or personal satisfaction, but that instead, we can always sing a new song for the Lord with joy, in fraternal harmony and authentic witness. Stripped of all that is old, to be new men, renewed by grace. Today we are invited to be witnesses of a faith, accompanied by the harmony of a lifestyle able to sing the song of love, forgiveness, fraternity, minority, hospitality and inclusion.

Brothers let us pray for each Brother Visitator and for the service of visiting the material temple, such as friaries, buildings, churches, etc., and the spiritual temple, that of each brother, of the fraternity, of women and men of the people of God. These are the places where we praise God and celebrate the centrality of the experience of God. Draw near with your senses alert, to discover the signs of the Lord’s presence. Be instruments of the Lord so that “the temple” may be fit for worship and so that each brother may sing a new song with joy.

First International Formation Course for SFO-YouFra Assistants

For many years the General Spiritual Assistants for the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) and Franciscan Youth (YouFra) have been dreaming of hosting an international formation course for national spiritual assistants together in one place. With the help of the four General Ministers (OFM, OFMCONV, OFMCAP, TOR), the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants of USA, the National Fraternity of South Korea and the Presidency of International Council of the Secular Franciscan Order (CIOFS), the dream was finally realized on 10-15 November 2019.

The formation course was held at the Seraphicum College of the Conventual Friars in Laurentina (Rome) with the attendance of friars from all four Obediences in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America.  The highlight of the week was the presence of Br. Carlos Alberto Trovarelli, General Minister of the Conventuals (representing the Conference of General Ministers), Br. Amando Trujillo Cano TOR, former General Spiritual Assistant and now TOR General Minister, Tibor Kauser OFS, General Minister of OFS/YouFra, and Ana Fruk, a member of the OFS Presidency council. Their presence meant a lot to the participants, especially the valuable time all the speakers gave as they shared their knowledge, experiences and love for the OFS/YouFra.

The course was meant to awaken not simply the knowledge about the OFS/YouFra, but also to reenkindle within the assistants the love for their service as spiritual assistants, bearing in mind that knowledge is fundamental for a better and a proper service but one should always avoid the temptations to remain at the level of the mind without connecting to the heart.

It is hoped that all the topics dealt during the course will be shared among the brothers and sisters all over the world who could not be present for various reasons. It is the responsibility of every spiritual assistant to seriously take the words of St. Francis of Assisi “let us begin again, for until now we have done nothing” by engaging oneself in ongoing formation so that all spiritual assistants to OFS and YouFra can be counted among those “suitable and well-prepared persons appointed for the service of spiritual assistance.” (OFS GGCC art. 88.1)

Celebrating 550 years of the Friars Minor in Lithuania – and 30 years since their re-emergence

This past year has seen the celebration of many anniversaries, but perhaps none more touching and historically fascinating than the celebration of 30 years of public pastoral activity by the Friars Minor in Lithuania.

Ten days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the friars in Lithuania made the courageous decision to emerge from their underground activities and become the first male religious community to begin public pastoral ministry in the Soviet Union. They drew on the long Franciscan tradition in that region where the Order was established 550 years ago, and they were assisted by the friars who had gone to the U.S. to minister to the Lithuanian diaspora.

A fine program of events was devised for the anniversary, and the accompanying photographs show the wonderful hospitality given to visiting friars from Poland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Australia, the U.S.A., and the Ukraine. The love of the people for the friars was very evident at the wonderful concert in the Palanga Theatre, as well as during the Solemn Liturgies celebrated by Br. Algirdas Malakauskis, Minister Provincial, and H.E. Cardinal Sigitas Tamkevicius. Homilies were delivered by Br. Caoimhín Ó Laoide, General Definitor, and by a son of Lithuania, Br. John Puodziunas, General Treasurer. A beautiful commemorative medal has been produced to celebrate an anniversary that is resonant with hope and with gratitude for the tremendous sacrifices made by untold numbers of people who remained faithful in the face of the Soviet communist oppression.



Koinonia 2019 – 3 (N.103)

Spiritual Assistant and YouFra: the art of vocational discernment


The Synod on young people was on the theme «young people, faith and vocational discernment». Continuing our reflection on the journey with young people in this third issue of Koinonia, we focus on the role of the spiritual assistant in the vocational discernment of the Franciscan Youth (YouFra). All Christians are called to life, to friendship with God in Jesus and to holiness[1] in the current context as it is, “with its risks, its challenges and its opportunities”[2]. YouFra shares the Franciscan vocation with other members of the Franciscan Family. However, being young, many are still in search of their own vocation and others try to mature in the vocation they have discovered. They need to be accompanied in discernment and maturation. The service of spiritual assistance recommended by the OFS legislation has this purpose as well. Therefore, as pastors and traveling companions for young people, the assistant should be an expert in the art of vocational discernment. Starting from the experience of Francis of Assisi, model of YouFra and from some indications offered by Pope Francis in the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christus Vivit, we propose here four elements which, in our opinion, should guide the assistants of YouFra in the vocational discernment for young people. These four elements are: identifying the dreams of young people, helping them to ask the question “Lord what do you want me to do?”, giving them opportunities to serve the poor and then propose some pathways.

  • Koinonia 2019-3“Spiritual Assistant and YouFra: the art of vocational discernment”– Fr. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCAP

N. 103

PDF: EnglishItalianoEspañolFrançais

DOC : EnglishItalianoEspañolFrançais


[1] Cf. Pope Francis, Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit, Loreto, 2019, n° 286.

[2] Pope Francis, Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, Rome, 2018, n° 2.


17th Century Franciscan Chapel uncovered in Florida, USA

An ongoing archaeological dig at Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine, Florida, USA is now open to the general public through Dec. 13. The excavation has uncovered the foundations of the 17th century stone chapel dedicated to Nuestra Señora de la Leche y Buen Parto (Our Lady of the Milk and a Happy Delivery), and provided valuable insight into the day to day lives of the Franciscan Friars, the Timucua Indians, and others who resided at the mission for almost two centuries.

The Franciscan Friars arrived here, at the site where Pedro Menéndez had come ashore in 1565 and founded the city of St. Augustine, as early as 1587 – nearly 200 years before the establishment of the California missions. This relatively unknown period in our country’s history is coming more clearly into focus as scholars study the archaeological site and Spanish-Timucua documents.

Under the direction of Archaeologist Dr. Kathleen Deagan and Historian-Theologian Dr. Timothy Johnson of Flagler College, a team of archaeologists, volunteers, faculty and students from Flagler College are painstakingly uncovering details of the chapel building itself and items such as Native and Spanish pottery, food remains, glass bottle fragments, nails, and beads providing contextual insight into the culture and life at the mission.

America’s oldest shrine, Our Lady of La Leche, was recently designated a National Shrine by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The devotion to Our Lady was fostered in Florida by Franciscan missionaries shortly after they arrived and established Mission Nombre de Dios in 1587. A small convent was added to the stone chapel during the early 18th century to house the friars who tended the shrine.

The Our Lady of La Leche National Shrine at Mission Nombre de Dios is located at 101 San Marco Ave., St. Augustine. This sacred and historic property is owned and operated by the Diocese of St. Augustine and is open to the public daily. The excavation site is open to the public Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no charge for admission, and free parking is available. You can follow this exciting archaeological excavation by visiting the blog: #digNombredeDios hosted by FPAN at Flagler College.

The archaeological dig is made possible thanks to the support of the Diocese of St. Augustine, the Academy of American Franciscan History, The Historic St. Augustine Research Institute and Flagler College. This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida.


More information:
CONTACT:  Kathleen Bagg
(904) 262-1705/office
(904) 434-3909/cell

Message of solidarity from the General Government of the Order

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace;
its effect will be quietness and confidence forever”. (Is. 32:17)


In recent weeks we have witnessed a series of socio-political events that have taken place in Latin America, particularly in Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia, and not least Lebanon, among other countries in the Middle East, which are also going through challenging times. Such events account for the discontent of a large part of the population with the political system or with the economic system (Cf. Evangelii Gaudium n.60) – or both – in the respective countries. But above all, discontent and frustration increase with inequality, iniquity and corruption: Pope Francis has called it “social cancer”.

People – without fear – have taken to the streets to express their discontent publicly and to demand dignity. On some occasions, acts of violence have been unleashed between demonstrators and the security forces. We have witnessed the looting and destruction of shops, public and religious bodies, but what pains us most and worries us is the violence perpetrated against so many men and women, violence that has led to the loss of life itself. We are concerned about the normalization of violence and repression as a means of resolving conflict. “The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity” (Cf. EG n.52).

We invite all those involved, especially democratically elected governments, to rise to the occasion by fostering dialogue and encounter. We encourage our Franciscan brothers and the Franciscan Family to pray and to be actively involved with the people in their just demands, opening our parishes, convents, schools and shrines to shared prayer, creative dialogue, and a sincere search for peace without prejudice. Let us remember that “a Church which “goes forth” is a Church whose doors are open” (Cf. EG. 46).

Our Franciscan spirituality continually invites us to be bridges, promoters and agents of dialogue; builders of humanity. We have had news of how the friars of Chile and Bolivia have been involved in the social developments of recent weeks. We encourage them to continue accompanying and supporting the weakest in society. As a General Definitory, we are with you and with all the people of goodwill who seek a more just and fraternal society.


Rome, 11 November 2019.


Br. Julio César Bunader, OFM
Vicar General


Prot. MG 160/19

CTC No. 54 (09.2019)

This edition No. 54 of “Communion and Communication” is devoted to high-lighting the opportunities given to our Communities, thanks to our belonging to a Federation/ Association.

Many years have passed since the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Sponsa Christi Ecclesia which «advocated the birth of the Federations as structures of communion» (Cor Orans, Introduction). Now we have been blessed with the Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quærere, in which Pope Francis proposes «to present in Vultum Dei quærere the intense and fruitful path taken by the Church in the last decades, in the light of the teachings of the same Council and considering the changed socio-cultural conditions» (ibid). Most part of our Federations have already a story written for many decades.

We invited Sisters from different geographic areas to share their positive and constructive experiences, lived and organized in their Federations/Associations.

As a true response to God’s call at this time, we encourage one another to walk this fraternal path that the Church is asking of us.

Thanks to all the Sisters who shared their thoughts and living stories.

Thanks to all of you who welcome and read these pages.


Download PDF – CTC No. 54 (9.2019)

Español – Français – English – Italiano

East Asian Friars collaborate for 2021 General Chapter

The Ministers of the East Asia Conference (EAC) vowed to support the Philippine Province who will host the General Chapter in Manila, the first time to be held in Asia. This is one of the resolutions made during the Annual Ministers’ Meeting held from October 14-17, 2019 in Vung Tau City, Vietnam.

The Ministers promised to extend assistance to the Philippines through finance and also through friar-personnel which could serve as interpreters and translators during the General Chapter. The friars from South Asia (SAAOC) will be having their meeting this March 2020 and is set to discuss the same topic as one of their agenda.


Franciscan Study Centre

The EAC friars also decided during that same meeting to begin offering short courses in August 2020 to serve as building blocks of the Franciscan Study Center in Asia towards a full academic center as envisioned by FCAO.

Among the short courses to be offered by the Franciscan Study Center in Asia is a Renewal Program (3 months) for friars celebrating their jubilees focused on strengthening human, Christian and Franciscan aspects of our life. The Ministers also planned to offer a training for Guardians and Formators (3 weeks) on Leadership and Management particularly in the area of Professional Standards and Code of Conduct. The three EAC Secretaries will also offer courses in the areas of JPIC, Formation and Studies; as well as Missions and Evangelization, suited to the Asian context.


EAC Lay Brothers Gathering 2020

The Ministers also agreed to hold the Second Lay Brothers Gathering in Vietnam in 2020 to be organized by the EAC Secretariat for Formation and Studies and also to send friar animators and lay partners to the International JPIC Course to be held in the Philippines on May 4-9, 2020.

All the ministers are grateful to the Province of Vietnam for graciously hosting this year’s meeting. The Province of Vietnam also celebrates its 90th foundation anniversary this year.

Text and image: ofm-eac.org

Jubilee of Damietta in France: For the growth of fraternity

The Franciscan Family celebrated the 800th anniversary of Damietta with the Church of France from 25 to 27 October. The Franciscan School of Paris organized a historical symposium. Speakers from the PISAI, the Catholic Institute of Paris, the University of Nantes, of Nanterre and the École Pratiques des Hautes Études followed one another indiscussing: the origins of the meeting, its impact on Francis’ writings, the development of the Franciscan mission in Muslim countries and some Franciscan figures. The highlight of this conference was Saturday afternoon, when Bishop Paul Hinder of Abu Dhabi, Brother Marwan Di’des OFM of the Custody of the Holy Land and Sr. Brygida Maniurka, Franciscan Missionary of Mary in Syria, took the floor. Saturday evening gave way to a time of Islamic-Christian prayer in the diocese of Paris (Parish of the Holy Spirit) where several local and national associations engaged in dialogue were present. Bishop Denis Jachiet, Auxiliary Bishop of Paris, then invited Bishop Paul Hinder and Imam Boubacar Conte to discuss the Document for Human Fraternity signed in Abu Dhabi. On the Sunday, it was Bishop Michel Santier of Créteil who welcomed the Franciscan Family to his cathedral. More than 500 people gathered for the mass broadcast live on the national channel France 2. Most Reverend Jean-Marc Aveline Archbishop of Marseille and president of the Council for Interreligious Relations within the Bishops’ Conference delivered the homily. The day continued with times of workshops where brothers, sisters, lay Franciscans, faithful of the diocese and Muslims shared their experiences of dialogue and encounter. At the end of this anniversary, a declaration “For the growth of fraternity” was made by the representatives of the major religions in France.

Photos ©Guillaume POLIC/CIRIC6OFM France

Communique from the General Definitory – Tempo Forte of September 2019

The General Definitory began its meetings on Friday, September 13th, 2019. The Vicar General, Br. Julio César BUNADER presided because of the absence of the Minister General who has been engaged in a course of physiotherapy in Chicago (U.S.A.) since his accident on August 15th last.

Issues regarding personnel in the houses in Rome dependent on the Minister General were dealt with — the General Curia, St. Anthony’s International College, and the Lateran Penitentiary. Some Final Reports submitted by General Visitators at the end of their Canonical Visitations were presented and studied.

The following General Visitators were elected:

  • Br. Walter SCHREIBER, for the Custody of Our Lady of the Seven Joys, Brazil;
  • Br. Sebastião Agostinho KREMER, for the Custody of Saint Clare, Mozambique;
  • Br. Sergiusz BAŁDYGA, for the Pontifical University Antonianum;
  • Br. Cesare VAIANI, for the Pontifical International Marian Academy, Rome;
  • Br. Ignacio CEJA JIMENEZ, as Assistant to the Visitation of the Custody of the Caribbean, dependent on the Province of Arantzazu, Spain.


A number of files from the Office of the General Procurator were discussed, including the following requests for:

  • information regarding accusations of graviora delicta (3);
  • dismissals from the Order (2);
  • dispensation from the obligations of the clerical state and from Solemn Vows (1);
  • secularisation ad experimentum (2);
  • indults of exclaustration for one, two, or three years (9);
  • dispensation from Temporary Vows (1).


Candidates for the office of Minister Provincial were approved for three Entities that will shortly celebrate their Provincial Chapters.


The Acts of Elections were ratified for the following:

  • The Chapter of the Province of the Assumption (Rio de la Plata), Argentina;
  • The “intermediate” Chapter (the election of Definitors) of the Province of Santa Barbara, USA;
  • The Capitular Congresses of 4 Provinces;
  • Extra-Capitular elections of 7 Guardians and a Provincial Treasurer.


The General Definitory met with Br. John PUODZIUNAS, General Treasurer, to work out some details with a view to the drawing up of the 2020 budget for the houses and entities under the General Curia.

The Definitory participated in the annual Ongoing Formation programme of the General Curia fraternity from September 25th to 27th.

The next Tempo Forte will take place from November 8th to 22nd. From November 18th to 22nd, the General Definitory will meet with the General Visitators who will be engaged in carrying out Canonical Visitation in many Entities of the Order in the coming months. The Visitators will receive training during their time at the Curia.

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


Rome, 29th October, 2018


Br. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM
Secretary General