A rendi központ hírei - olasz nyelven

We are called to a radical choice to live our Franciscan charism authentically

Marking the fifth anniversary of the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si’, on the care of the common home, and at a time when humanity is going through one of the greatest health crises, Pope Francis has declared a special Laudato Si’ anniversary year. The themes addressed in the encyclical take on greater importance in the current context where social and ecological crises have become evident and acute. One need only look at the shameful inequality in access to health care in many countries.

Integral ecological conversion is one of the proposals made by the Pope in his letter, since the problems are not presented in an isolated way, but are interconnected. An integral conversion should encompass, among other things, the political, social, environmental and economic aspects. In this way, it will be possible to face the tremendous socio-environmental crisis that we are experiencing.

The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development calls on all humanity “to celebrate a special anniversary year of Laudato Si between 21 May 2020 and 24 May 2021. “We hope that the anniversary year and the ensuing decade will indeed be a time of grace, a true Kairos experience and “Jubilee” time for the Earth, and for humanity, and for all God’s creatures”. For this purpose, the DPIHD offers a programme highlighting the Laudato Si’ platform of initiatives as a call to various institutions to get involved and commit themselves to a long-term plan – 7 years – as a path towards full sustainability in the spirit of Laudato Si’.

Also, in June, the Interdicasterial Desk of the Holy See on Integral Ecology presented the document On the way to the care of the common home – Five years after Laudato Si’”.  The text is a call to action, providing elements that will guide and contribute to bringing the plans and projects on the care of the common home to life.

These two initiatives of the Holy See encourage and challenge us as Franciscans to commit ourselves to our way of life and our mission of care and safeguarding. Furthermore, we see with joy that, with the Laudato Si’ Revolution campaign, promoted by the JPIC offices of the Order and of the Franciscan Family, we are in full communion and harmony with the whole Church. “As individuals, fraternities, entities and as an international order, we feel strongly challenged to make a clear and radical option in the direction of the ways of living indicated by Laudato Si’” (PCO/18 n. 154).

JPIC Newsletter: CONTACT (04-06.2020)

Brothers and Sisters,

Fraternal greetings from the brothers of the JPIC Office of the General Curia. We present to you the recent edition of the “Contact” Newsletter that allows us to be in communion and informed of the initiatives to promote and experience the values of JPIC.

English – CONTACT

Español – CONTACTO

Italiano – CONTATTO

In this edition of “Contact” we have included a special section on COVID-19, to share various actions that the brothers are carrying out in solidarity during these difficult times. We thank the JPIC animators who have sent these stories to the Office to share with all of you.

Peace and good!

Br. Rufino Lim, OFM
Br. Jaime Campos, OFM
JPIC Office
Rome

Franciscan Scholars of Quaracchi launch stunning new website

The community of Franciscan Friar scholars, called the Collegium Sancti Bonaventurae, is an International Center for Franciscan Studies and Research, with a publishing program called Quaracchi Editions, referring to their original home in a small town in Tuscany just outside Florence. They have since moved to the centre of Rome, in the beautiful setting of St. Isidore’s College of the Irish Franciscan Friars.

Their work aims to make known the important insights of Franciscan writers of the last 800 years in diverse fields of learning, from philosophy and theology to geography and economics.  The catalog of the Quaracchi Editions currently lists over 300 titles of scholarly works reflecting this rich Christian intellectual tradition which includes the writings of John Duns Scotus, Bonaventure, Angela of Foligno, Alexander of Hales, Peter of John Olivi and other Franciscan thinkers.

On 20 June 2020, they’ve launched a new website (www.quaracchi.org) where the Quaracchi publications can be easily accessed along with their journal, the Archivum Franciscanum Historicum. Scholars are also invited to visit the website to see how they can consult the resources of the Quaracchi Library for research projects, specifically those related to some aspect of Franciscan history and thought.

Br. William J. Short, OFM, Director of the Quaracchi editors, expresses his hope that this new website will help bring the centuries-old Franciscan tradition into dialogue with today’s globalized and networked world.  “St. Francis of Assisi was a great communicator in his day, using poetry, song and even dance to communicate the Good News to his contemporaries.  The new Quaracchi website aims to bring into our digital age the rich tradition he founded, with its message of peace-making, love of the poor and care for creation.”

Virtual Chapter of the “Saint Francis of Assisi Foundation in Russia”

On Saturday, June 13 and 20, the “St. Francis of Assisi in Russia” Foundation held its Chapter in a “virtual” format through video conferencing. The Foundation is directly dependent on the Minister General, and the Chapter was supposed to be held in the city of St. Petersburg in May of this year in his presence. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this was not possible. So the friars met under the presidency of Br. Mark Gongalo, Visitator General.

The Minister General was present at this meeting with a message sent to the friars and his blessing. At the beginning of the Chapter, Br. Mark read the Minister General’s Decree and officially announced the election of the new Government of the Foundation by the General Definitory. Br. Stefano Invernizzi was elected President and Br. Juliusz Basznianin and Br. Bernardin Turmann councillors. This was followed by the Visitator General’s report on the Canonical Visitation as well as reports from the following: the President, the Bursar, Ongoing Formation, Ecumenical Dialogue and the Pastoral Care of Vocations in the Foundation during the past three years. The Friars also voted on new Statutes for the Foundation, which will now be submitted for approval to the General Definitory.

While this is the first time that the friars have met in Chapter in this unusual format, they are used to meeting “virtually” to carry out their journey of Ongoing Formation, overcoming the enormous distances that separate the Fraternities of the Foundation. The Foundation consists of eight friars from different Provinces of the Order and nations and three Fraternities located in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Ussurijsk.

The friars are engaged, in the “Implantatio Ordinis”, in the pastoral care of Latin Rite Catholics and ecumenical and interreligious dialogue according to their own Guidelines. Having celebrated the “Virtual Chapter”, now the “Chapter Congress” will also be held in this format in the hope that soon the friars will again be able to experience the joy of actually meeting one another again.

 

 

 

Venerable Servant of God, Mamerto Esquiú OFM, Bishop of Córdoba (Argentina)

Promulgation of Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

On 19 June 2020, the Holy Father received in audience His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorised the same Congregation to promulgate the decree relating to the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God Mamerto Esquiú of the Order of Friars Minor, Bishop of Córdoba (Argentina); born on 11 May 1826 in San Josè de Piedra Blanca (Argentina) and died on 10 January 1883 in La Posta de El Suncho (Argentina).

 

Venerable Mamerto Esquiú OFM

The Venerable Mamerto Esquiú (1826 -1883) in 1841 entered the Friars Minor of the Province of the Assumption in Argentina. As a priest, he distinguished himself particularly in preaching, a ministry for which he was appreciated not only in Church but also in political circles. His calls for peace, brotherhood and civil cooperation helped to create the socio-cultural climate for the birth of the new Argentine Federal State. In a spirit of service and evangelisation, between 1855 and 1862, Father Esquiú also agreed to play an active political role as a deputy and member of the governing council of Catamarca. Eager to return to regular Franciscan life, in 1862 he moved to Bolivia as an apostolic missionary. In 1870 he was recommended for the Episcopal See of Buenos Aires. However, he considered himself unworthy of it and therefore left the country going on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Rome and Assisi. In 1879 he could not refuse the appointment as Bishop of Córdoba. He was consecrated on December 12, 1880. In his ministry, he distinguished himself for his doctrine and authority and promoted holiness as the heart of priestly life and Christian commitment. The foundation of his extraordinary pastoral activity was his intense life of prayer and union with Christ. Marked by his apostolic labours, he died suddenly on January 10, 1883. He was declared Venerable in 2006. The miracle presented for beatification occurred in the diocese of Tucumán in Argentina in 2016 in favour of a new-born girl suffering from severe osteomyelitis of the femur.

Saint Anthony: from Coimbra to the whole world

Lisbon, Coimbra, Assisi, Padua: all places that preserve the memory of St. Anthony, the devotion for which he conquered the world.

The year 2020 is marked by the great jubilee for the 800th anniversary of the martyrdom of the first five Franciscan friars in Morocco and the Franciscan vocation of Anthony, who was then called Fernando Bulhões.

The martyrdom of these friars was a provocation for Anthony, which led him to a change of life.

BR FRANCESCO PATTON OFM, Holy Land Custos:
“Today the provocation of the martyrs continues to be for us something very strong, important, because it puts mediocrity in crisis, we are often mediocre in living the commitments of Christian life, in living the commitments of consecration and of ministry.”

Going up the slopes of the Alfama, in the historical centre of Lisbon, you will find the crypt built on the place where Saint Anthony was born. The church was built on the cave, and the present construction dates back to 1767.

Saint Anthony, born in Lisbon in 1195, died in Padua when he was only 36 years old.

The writings on the Custody of the Holy Land testify to a constant devotion to the Saint throughout history. The choice to name him patron saint dates back to the First World War. After the war, in 1920, with Pope Benedict XV, Saint Anthony officially became the protector of the Custody and on June 13, the day dedicated to Saint Anthony, became a solemnity.

BR NARCYZ KLIMAS OFM, Prof. History of the Church and of the Custody of the Holy Land:
“To confirm these events, we have our chronicles of the Custody of the Holy Land that describe in detail all the steps, the difficult situations, the intervention, how the friars behaved in the face of danger. It is a memory of this event that remains with us. From 1920 to the present day, every year we celebrate this feast.”

Br. Francesco Patton, Custos of the Holy Land, presided at Mass in the Church of Saint Saviour, together with the friars of the Custody, in the presence of a small number of faithful. “100 years later we are still here today to say thank you to Saint Anthony – stressed the Custos – who continues to intercede for us with the Most High, Almighty and Good Lord. A protection invoked in truly difficult times and which has led to a new flowering”.

BR FRANCESCO PATTON OFM, Holy Land Custos:
“At that time, 100 years ago, we know there had been a terrible war, the First World War with more than 20 million dead; there had been the Spanish flu, with another 50 million dead; the Custody was at risk because several times they had tried to expel the friars, the convent of Saint Savior, in which we find ourselves today, had to be blown up. And instead, after this storm, the Custody experienced a moment of great flowering.

I hope that after this phase of great difficulty, which presumably will last at least a year, there will be a new flowering, starting from the return of the pilgrims, from a new awareness of the local Christians and of what it means to be Christians of the Holy Land. And perhaps, starting from new attention of the world to this reality, which is the reality of the Middle East.”

 

Source: cmc-terrasanta.org/

See also www.jubileu2020.pt for information about the Jubilee of the Martyrs of Morocco and Saint Anthony.

Statement on Racism from the U.S. Secular Franciscan Order’s JPIC Commission

How long, O LORD, must I cry for help and you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
Why do you simply gaze at evil?

Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife and discord.

(Habakkuk 1: 2-3)

Once again, the wound of racism in our society has been exposed because of what appears to be careless and irresponsible behavior by persons whom we should trust to keep peace and encourage non-violence: law enforcement officers and public officials.

The National Commission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States, hereby declares that racism is morally wrong. It does not love or respect life. Neither Scripture, our Rule of Life nor our faith justifies it, for any reason, or under any circumstance.

Our Catholic social teaching calls us to respect and honor the dignity of every human life, from the womb to natural death. It makes no exclusions on the basis of color or ethnicity and calls out no other distinction to be excluded. We are called to honor and respect the lives of people we love and people whom we may find it hard to love; people who are like us and people who are different from us.

The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others each have their tragic and brutal circumstances, but share a central question that cannot be ignored: If they had been white, and the circumstances were identical, would they be alive?

As Catholic Christians and Franciscans, we owe it to ourselves to do the following in response to racism:

  • To identify and eradicate the structures in our societal institutions that perpetuate racism, and replace them with structures that are fair and just, and that value the lives and gifts of every person.
  • To pray for an end to racism; indeed, to pray for interracial solidarity, for our laws and our faith practices to reflect our compassion and value for the dignity of every human life; and that we lovers and followers of Jesus and Francis of Assisi, be leaders in bringing about a rightly informed sense of racial equity and justice in our land and in our Church.
  • To identify and confront our own unconscious racial biases. After a shared history of hundreds of years in this country, we all have them. They make their way into our lives and culture, often unnoticed. But we can become more just and open by discovering these unconscious biases and replace them with love and engagement.And finally, we need to have safe and meaningful dialogue about those racial biases. We owe it to ourselves and to our brothers and sisters to develop a strong sense of community and fraternity through peaceful conversations. This is truly a conversion moment where dialogue and education are needed. Our Holy Rule calls us to be “bearers of peace” and we all must bear the burden of peace as we walk this journey towards holiness as brothers and sisters, with open hands and joyful hearts. Come, Holy Spirit! Lord, make it so!

 

Source: secularfranciscansusa.org

 

Pope Francis on the Eighth Centenary of the Franciscan Protomartyrs and the Franciscan Vocation of St. Anthony

2020 marks the eighth centenary of the death of the Franciscan Protomartyrs and the entry into the Friars Minor of the Augustinian Canon Fernando of Lisbon, taking the name of Antonio. For this reason the feast of the Saint of Padua takes on a special significance as Pope Francis points out in his letter to Friar Carlos Alberto Trovarelli, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual.

I was pleased to learn that this Order shall be joyfully celebrating the Eighth Centenary of the Franciscan vocation of St. Anthony of Padua. Eight hundred years ago, in Coimbra, Fernando, a young member of the Augustinian Canons Regular and a native of Lisbon, learned of the martyrdom of five Franciscans who were killed because of the Christian faith, in Morocco, on January 16 of that year. He decided to turn his life around.

He left his homeland and set out on a journey, a symbol of his spiritual journey of conversion. First he went to Morocco, courageously determined to experience the Gospel in the footsteps of the Franciscan friars who had been martyred there. Then he landed in Sicily after being shipwrecked on the Italian coast, an event which happens to so many our brothers and sisters today. From Sicily, God’s providential plan led him to meet up with St. Francis of Assisi on the roads of Italy and France. Finally, he moved to Padua, a city which will always be linked in a special way with his name and where his body is preserved.

I hope that this significant anniversary will arouse, especially in the Franciscan Religious and the devotees of St. Anthony around the world, the desire to experience the same holy restlessness that prompted St. Anthony to travel the roads of the world bearing witness, through word and deed, to the love of God. May his example of sharing in the difficulties of families, the poor and disadvantaged, as well as his passion for truth and justice, still arouse in us today a generous commitment to give of ourselves as a sign of fraternity. I am thinking most of all about the young: this saint, so ancient and yet so modern and brilliant in his insights, can be a model for new generations to follow, so that their journey may be made fruitful.

I associate myself spiritually with all those who shall participate, through prayer and charity, in the various initiatives being promoted for this Eighth Antonian Centenary.  I hope that all of you may be able to say, along with St. Anthony: “I see my Lord!” We must “see the Lord” in the faces of all our brothers and sisters and offer them consolation, hope and the opportunity to encounter the Word of God, upon which they may anchor their lives.

With these sentiments, while asking you to pray also for me, I cordially send my Apostolic Blessing to the Family of Friars Minor Conventual and to all those who are inspired by the spirituality of St. Anthony of Padua.

 

Fraternally

Franciscus

Rome, St. John Lateran, 15 February 2020

 

Sources: ofmconv.net | messaggerosantantonio.it 

See also (in Italian): vaticannews.va

 

The Hagiographer’s Workshop: Tools and Methods for the Study of the Sources

The Scuola Superiore di Studi Medievali e Francescani, in collaboration with the Société des Bollandistes (Brussels), offers its students and researchers from other universities a series of online seminars dedicated to hagiographic sources. The project aims to bring students into the “hagiographer’s workshop”, to get to know and familiarise themselves with the tools and working methods, and to learn how to use them in the study of the sources. The seminars are designed as a specialised course of introduction to hagiographic literature, through practical lessons that offer study methods as well as content, working tools together with theoretical elements. The calendar envisages one seminar per month, from October to May, from 16:00 to 18:30. The participants will use the platform for distance teaching provided by the Pontifical Antonianum University.

Minimum admission requirements: possession of a master’s degree in humanities or a licentiate obtained from ecclesiastical faculties; or enrolment in courses to achieve the above qualifications.

Enrolment: from 14 September to 16 October 2020.

The cost for enrolment is € 200.00

The University Secretariat will issue a certificate of attendance – 3 ECTS – to those who have attended all eight seminars and handed in a final paper of at least five dossiers.

 

Further information:
Scuola Superiore di Studi Medievali e Francescani
Pontificia Università Antonianum
Via Merulana, 124
00185 Roma
Tel +39 06 70373528
http://www.antonianum.eu
https://antonianum.academia.edu/ScuolaSuperiorediStudiMedievalieFrancescani

 

Systemic Racism Must End: Statement from the 6 US OFM Provinces in the Process of Union

At a time when the COVID-19 virus has disproportionately attacked people of color, we have witnessed the killing of Mr. George Floyd and the protests, sometimes violent, which have occurred in our cities in its aftermath. Our hearts go out to all affected.

Even though, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, we decry violence and desire peace, we stand in solidarity with our outraged African American brothers and sisters who demand an end to the deadly violence of racism. We cannot be indifferent when their God-given dignity is violated.

As people of faith, we not only condemn the systemic racism that has led to these events, but we also re-dedicate ourselves to ending racial injustice in our Provinces, in our Church, and in our nation and creating that space where Dr. Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community will flourish.

 

David Gaa, O.F.M.
Provincial Minister
Saint Barbara Province of Franciscans

James Gannon, O.F.M.
Provincial Minister
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province of Franciscans

Kevin Mullen, O.F.M.
Provincial Minister
Holy Name Province of Franciscans

Thomas Nairn, O.F.M.
Provincial Minister
Sacred Heart Province of Franciscans

Jack Clark Robinson, O.F.M.
Provincial Minister
Our Lady of Guadalupe Province of Franciscans

Mark Soehner, O.F.M.
Provincial Minister
Saint John the Baptist Province of Franciscans

 

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

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

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

Communique from the General Definitory – Tempo Forte of May 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Rome, 27 May 2020

 

Br. Giovanni Rinaldi, OFM
Secretary General

Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani & Venerable Cosma Spessotto OFM

Promulgation of Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

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

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

 

 

Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani

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

 

Venerable Servant of God Cosma Spessotto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beatrice Guarrera | custodia.org

CTC No. 55 (05.2020)

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

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

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

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

Enjoy your reading!

Poor Clare Sisters of the Editorial Team

 

Download PDF – CTC No. 55 (5.2020)

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Franciscans around the world join the Laudato Si’ Revolution

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oldalak