A rendi központ hírei - olasz nyelven

THE MINISTER GENERAL VISITS SLOVENIA AND CROATIA

From 28 March to 1 April, Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, accompanied by Br Konrad Grzegorz Cholewa, Definitor General, is visiting three entities of the Order. He is visiting the Province of the Holy Cross in Slovenia and the Croatian Provinces of St Jerome in Zadar, and Saints Cyril and Methodius in Zagreb.

On the first day, the Minister participated in the opening of the Elective Chapter of the Slovenian Province in Ljubljana. Besides the Capitulars, the Minister met with the Archbishop of Ljubljana, Archbishop Stana Zore, OFM. The Franciscan Province of Slovenia has 62 friars distributed in ten friaries and other filial houses, among which three in the United States and three in Austria. The Chapter, which began on the 28th, is presided over by Br Darko Tepert, Visitator General.

The second stage of the visit is in Croatia from 29 March to 1 April, where the Minister will meet with the two Definitories of the Croatian Provinces of Zadar and Zagreb. The Minister will also meet with the friars in formation and with representatives of the Franciscan Family.

MINISTER GENERAL’S BIRTHDAY: BEST WISHES FROM THE VICAR GENERAL

Today, 30 March, is the birthday of Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General. Born in Rome on 30 March 1963, he has been leading the Order of Friars Minor since 13 July last year, serving as Minister General.

Here are the good wishes of the Vicar General on behalf of the whole Order:

(original text: spanish) 

Dear Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister and Servant of the Franciscan Order! Your brothers greet you on your birthday, thanking God for the gift of your life, your vocation, your daily dedication, your care, your joy and your witness as a Friar Minor for the good of the universal fraternity.

We glorify God, Triune and One because He has chosen you to animate and accompany all the brothers of the Order in the Centenary years, living the Gospel, announcing it in fraternity, in simplicity and seeking ways of charismatic fidelity in a rapidly changing world.

We, the brothers, entrust your service and dedication to Our Lady of the Angels, and may the God of the Kingdom, who loves the poor, sustain you, be your hope, and keep you always.

Happy birthday to you.

Br Isauro Covili Linfati, ofm
Vicar General
Rome, 30 March 2022

BR DANIEL FLEITAS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE FRANCISCAN CONFERENCE OF BRAZIL AND THE SOUTHERN CONE

The first Assembly of the newly formed Franciscan Conference of Brazil and the Southern Cone was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 21 to 25 March, with the election of its first President, Br Daniel Alejandro Fleitas, Provincial of the Franciscan Province of St Francis Solano in Argentina. During the closing homily, Br Daniel invited the participants to share their experience with their communities: “Brothers, we have shared four days of listening, experiences and discussions. Let us take this experience of life to our communities and entities. The Conference is not a national experience; the Conference is us. The Conference of Brazil and the Southern Cone is the expression of the proclamation of the good news”.

Br Daniel then thanked all the participants, the General Government of the Order, particularly the Definitor Br César Külkamp, who had closely accompanied the birth of the new entity. He also thanked the friars of the Province of the Immaculate for organising the Assembly through the Minister Provincial Br Paulo Roberto Pereira.

Br César Külcamp, General Definitor, explained the genesis of the new South American entity: “From the beginning of 2019, the Order called upon the three provinces of the Southern Cone to create another conference, capable of integrating and continuing the journey of the previous Brazilian Conference which was made up of 9 entities”. On 13 May 2020, the Minister General suppressed the Franciscan Conference of the Southern Cone, and the three entities were united with the Brazilian Conference, changing its name to “Conference of Ministers Provincial of Brazil and the Southern Cone”. The new Conference now has 12 Franciscan entities, nine provinces and custodies in Brazil, two provinces in Argentina and one province in Chile.

Br Daniel, aged 52, as President of the Conference, will be assisted by Br Fernando Aparecido dos Santos, of the Custody of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Brazil as Vice President, by Br Marino Rohden, Provincial of St Francis of Assisi in Brazil as Secretary and, for the Office of Bursar, by Br Robson Scudela, Definitor of the Province of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil.

The Assembly was attended by 77 friars representing various animation offices of the Provinces of the Brazil and Southern Cone Conference.

MINISTER GENERAL RENEWS HIS CLOSENESS TO THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE

“We continue to follow with pain and anguish the events that have engulfed Ukraine”, reads the Letter that Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, wrote to the Franciscan Family and to all friends and benefactors on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, showing his concern and closeness to the people of Ukraine.

 

Here is the complete letter in different languages:

English  –  Italiano – Español – Hrvatski – Français

MINISTER GENERAL RENEWS HIS CLOSENESS TO THE UKRAINIAN PEOPLE

“We continue to follow with pain and anguish the events that have engulfed Ukraine”, reads the Letter that Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, wrote to the Franciscan Family and to all friends and benefactors on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, showing his concern and closeness to the people of Ukraine.

 

Here is the complete letter several languages:

Français.  –  Hrvatski.  –  English  –  Español – Italiano

THE CUSTODY OF SAINT CLARE IN MOZAMBIQUE ELECTS A NEW CUSTOS

The Friars of the Autonomous Custody of St Clare in Mozambique, gathered in Jangamo, Inhambane, have elected Br Lage Nhampoca Luis Afonso as the new Custos, and Br Jorge Alberto Bender as Vicar of the Custody. In addition, the following were elected as Councillors: Br Ilídio Jacinto Inácio, Br Edson Augusto Nhatuve, Br Orlando Antonio Botomane and Br Pedro José António Costa.

Br Lage was born in Amatongas, in the Diocese of Chimoio, Mozambique. He made his first vows in 1996, solemn vows in 2002, and was ordained a priest on 3 October 2004 in Maputo. He obtained a Licentiate in Developmental and Educational Psychology from the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. Until the days before his election, Br Lage served as Novice Master and Custodial Councillor.

The Franciscan presence in Mozambique dates back to 1898 with the arrival of the first six friars in Beira from the Province of the Protomartyrs of Portugal. The Custody has more than 100 friars distributed in 11 communities in Mozambique, one in Zambia and one in South Africa. The friars work in pastoral service in the various missions and parishes, care of the elderly, education in the schools, spiritual assistance to the Poor Clare Sisters and other brothers and sisters belonging to the Franciscan Family.

The Chapter, which began on 20 March last, ends on Saturday 26 and is presided over by Br Sebastião Kremer, Visitator General from the Province of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil.

 

THE MINISTER GENERAL TO CIME: INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR MISSIONS AND EVANGELISATION

The Minister General, Br Massimo Fusarelli, welcomed the participants of the International Assembly for the Missions and Evangelisation, which is being held at the General Curia in Rome. “I am grateful for this opportunity to meet, which is a chance for me and also for the Vicar General, Br Isauro and Br Joaquín, who are part of the Secretariat, to reflect on and deepen our understanding of the meaning and place of evangelisation in the Order’s current journey”.

Starting from Chapter 14 of the Earlier Rule, the Minister recalled the words of St Francis: “When the brothers go out into the world, let them take nothing with them….”. He highlighted the primacy of going forth and added that it refers to an “itinerant community, on the move, meeting people in different situations and adapting to them. Before any rank, it must help us grow in the awareness that we are a fraternity of brothers”. He invited everyone to think of a Ratio Evangelizationis for a fraternity that rediscovers its identity in the equality of all its members.

Before the address of the Minister General, Br Francisco Gómez Vargas, General Secretary for the Missions, and Br Dennis Tayo, General Animator for Evangelisation, presented the objectives of the sexennium, including the task of preparing the Ratio Evangelizationis for the Order from the Final Document of the General Chapter 2021. This Assembly will also elect the five participants for the International Council for the Missions and Evangelisation (CIME).

Representing the Order’s Conferences, the following Secretaries are taking part in this Assembly, from 22 to 25 March: Br Ernesto Valladores Osorio, Br José R. Rodriguez, Br Juan Alfredo Estrada, Br Nikodem Gdyk, Br Thaddée Bwanacing, Br Ibrahim Sabbagh, Br Francis Lee, Br Eldon Viador, Br Giuseppe Sorrentino, Br Marko Pustisek, Br Matthias, representing Mission Zentrale, and José Dario Mercado, who is reporting on the proceedings.

SISTER GLENNY A. E. MERCEDES, NEW SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE FRANCISCAN MISSIONARIES OF MARY

On 21st March, Sister Glenny Araujo Eufemia Mercedes was elected by the General Chapter of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary as the new Superior General, succeeding the French Sister Françoise Massy, who had led the Congregation for the last eight years. Sister Glenny, 58, is the 11th Superior to succeed the Foundress, Blessed Mary of the Passion, in the governance of the Congregation. Sister Glenny was born in Peru and was a missionary for 16 years in Pakistan, and from 2014 until the day of her election, she served in Rome as General Councillor of the Congregation.

The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary are present on all continents with 23 communities in Africa, 18 in Asia, 18 in Europe, 14 in America and one in Australia.

The canonical election of the new Superior General was presided over by Brother Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General of our Order.

MINISTER GENERAL VISITS THE CUSTODY OF SARDINIA

From 18 to 20 March, Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, accompanied by Br Francesco Piloni, Minister Provincial of the Seraphic Province of St Francis of Umbria, visited the Custody of Sardinia of the Friars Minor.

The Ministers were welcomed by Br Graziano Maria Malgeri, Custos of Sardinia, who shared the joy and expectations of the 27 friars of the Custody: “It is with great joy that we welcome the Minister General and we want him to bless this flock, small and strong”.

On the first day of the visit, on the first Centenary of the birth of St Salvador of Horta, Co-Patron of the Custody, Br Massimo presided at the Mass in the Church-Sanctuary of Cagliari. He said: “This year we are celebrating the feast of St Salvador of Horta in a particular context, one marked by the winds of war coming from Eastern Europe, which together with the pandemic makes us experience our precariousness and powerlessness”, and he said: “How much we need, then, the charismatic power that filled St Salvador of Horta!   The anniversary of the Patron Saint allowed him to clarify how this need for St Salvador is not “to solve problems with a magic wand but to convert our hearts and our outlook… St Salvador of Horta reminds us, today, that God is Lord and that we do not see our problems solved by entrusting ourselves to him in faith. Still, our hearts transformed to welcome God’s presence in a new way”, adding what the two virtues of the Saint were: “humility and patience, the latter as the ability to go through the contradictions and sufferings of life without immediately looking for a solution, a way out or a comfortable refuge”.

During his three days in Sardinia, Br Massimo met the friars of the Custody and visited “S’Aspro”, the Mondo X Community, an institution that welcomes and accompanies people addicted to psychotropic substances and behavioural addictions.

(Image OFM Assisi)

BR SIDIVAL FILA APPOINTED MEMBER OF THE PONTIFICAL ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS AND LETTERS OF THE VIRTUOSI AT THE PANTHEON

On 19 March, Pope Francis appointed Br Sidival Fila OFM, Ordinary Member of the Pontifical Academy of Fine Arts and Letters of the Virtuosi at the Pantheon. With this appointment, Br Sidival will join 50 eminent world personalities who, according to the Academy’s profile, have achieved fame in the exercise of their art and are known for their righteous feelings and moral actions.

“I have known Sidival since 2004 when he became my formator during my years of philosophy and theology,” says Br Francesco di Piede of the Franciscan Province of St Bonaventure, the same Province as Br Sidival. He adds “Sidival is a man in passionate search of harmony, a rhythm of life cadenced and symbolised by the figure of his work, the stitching, the needle that penetrates old and mostly useless fabrics, to be thrown away, which thanks to this work acquire a new image, precious and powerful, thus becoming a work of art, nourishment for the eye and the heart”.

Br Sidival was born in the State of Paraná and is a member of the Franciscan Province of St Bonaventure in Italy. He made his first vows in 1992, solemn vows in 1996 and was ordained a priest on 2 October 1999 in Rome. Since 2006 he has been working in the field of art.

 

Here is a documentary on the life of Br Sidival:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz7oZrbMxDg

FRANCISCAN SOLIDARITY NETWORK: SEEDS OF PEACE IN LITHUANIA

“I would like once again to urge the welcoming of the many refugees, in whom Christ is present, and to give thanks for the great network of solidarity that has formed”.   Pope Francis, Angelus of Sunday 13 March 2022.

The FRANCISCAN SOLIDARITY NETWORK: SEEDS OF PEACE is also active in Lithuania, in the Franciscan Province of St. Casimir. Brother Evaldas Darulis, the Provincial, shares with us their concern to help: “Since the war broke out in Ukraine, we have been meeting as a Definitory to organise how we can practically help the refugees”.  

 As a concrete action, the Province has decided to open the doors of its friaries and parishes: “We have calculated that we can accept 48 refugees from Ukraine in the friaries in Lithuania. One family is already living in Vilnius and two in Klaipeda, one child is attending our kindergarten in Klaipeda, and another is attending our school in Kretinga. We are preparing the parish house in Kretinga to welcome the refugees”.

The Franciscan Network is a project that consists of sharing, via our website www.ofm.org and other channels, the initiatives of welcome, charity and accompaniment that the friars of the Franciscan Family are carrying out in the world in order to be close to and take care of the suffering and misery generated in so many situations of poverty and distress.

Here are the letters in several languages:

Deutsch – English – Español – Français – Hrvatski – Italiano – Português

The testimony of our friars in Ukraine in the barbarity of war

From the Provincial Curia of our Franciscan Friars in Ukraine, this video brings us up to date on the situation being experienced in Zhytomyr, the seat of the Provincial Curia, about 140 km west of Kiev.

Our friars are preparing to come to the aid of those who are unable to protect themselves or to leave their homes. With our prayer and closeness, we ask for the gift of Peace for Ukraine and for the whole world.

FRANCISCAN SOLIDARITY NETWORK: SEEDS OF PEACE

I would like once again to urge the welcoming of the many refugees, in whom Christ is present, and to give thanks for the great network of solidarity that has formed”. These are Pope Francis’ words at the Angelus on Sunday 13 March 2022.

This is the beginning of solidarity throughout the Franciscan world, as in Sicily where “so far we have taken in 18 people, most of them women and children. Two families left after a few days to rejoin other families who are in other European countries” according to Br Antonio Catalfamo, Minister Provincial of Sicily. He sees it as a practical response to the consequences of the war ravaging Ukraine for three weeks now.

Br Antonio added that “the welcome is being made in all our friaries but particularly in the Baida friary in Palermo. Several families too of the OFS are also available to welcome”.

According to a report by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the war in Ukraine has affected 18 million people, of whom 6.7 million are internally displaced, and almost 3 million have fled to neighbouring countries, especially Poland, which has so far taken in almost 2 million refugees. It is estimated that if the situation does not improve, the number of people who have fled Ukraine may rise to 4 million by July.

A FRIAR DISCERNING A MISSIONARY VOCATION IN CUBA

Havana, Cuba, February, 2022

 My name is Br. Matteo Marcheselli ofm. I am a member of the Seraphic Province of St. Francis in Assisi. I am presently in Havana, Cuba, living with the friars as part of a discernment process as to whether the Lord is calling me to minister in Cuba in the near future. I would like to share the following thoughts and some experiences I have had since arriving on the 15th of January in the parish of the Holy Cross, Playa, Havana.

 The following are a few words to share some thoughts after a few weeks in Cuba, at a time we are hearing the dramatic news of war in Ukraine, which occupy our thoughts and sensibilities. I arrived on January 15th and was received by the friars of the Delegation in Cuba, which is an entity of the Custody of the Caribbean (including the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rica), which in turn is part of the Basque Province, Spain. At the moment there are five solemnly professed friars and three in temporary vows studying philosophy and theology in the Dominican Republic. Since arriving I have lived in the parish of ‘The Holy Cross of Jerusalem’ with Br. Gearóid Francisco Ó Conaire (an Irish man, responsible for the delegation and the parish priest, as well as Br. Gerard Saunders (United States). Br. Jesus Aguirre Garza (Mexican and United States), Br. Colombanus Arrellana (Mexico), Br. Luis Pernas (Cuban and recently ordained priest) and Lorisley Petón (Cuban Postulant) live in the fraternity of St. Anthony’s, a Sanctuary also in the parish. All three friars in temporary vows are Cuban, very hopeful for the future of the mission!

For me to live in the context of parish life has been an important opportunity. I immediately began to participate in parish activities, such as lectio divina, with a group of lay people: a really powerful and humble moment, at which I was able to participate in the sharing of life experiences, of listening to one another and to become more connected with reality here, through the daily life events of the people.

With Br. Gearoid Francisco I also visited the sick, a privileged time of encounter with senior citizens, who have lived a radical faith journey, truly edifying, as well as discovering that they are among the poorest of the poor here. Unfortunately, many Cubans are leaving the country searching for a better life, often leaving members of their families alone and even abandoned. I met a congregation of sisters who generously and creatively dedicate their ministry to the care of the elderly, using one of our friaries. It certainly is a beautiful testimony.

The friars threw me in at the deep end, encouraging me to celebrate and preach at the eucharist. I have to say, I appreciated the ‘therapy’, as it helped me overcome my fear and sense of inadequacy; through the sincere kindness of the parishioners, a typically Cuban characteristic of welcome.  Centuries of colonialism and the presence of foreigners has not made the people rancorous, but rather has enabled them to open up to other peoples near and far.

I have observed and have come to appreciate a highly cultured people, many of whom are graduates, while remaining unassuming and humble: for them, many of whom are doctors, biologists and academics, etc. Education is not a reason to feel superior to others, as attested to by their volunteering to clean the church with such a natural simplicity.

The parish was able to access financial support from a German ecclesial organization, Adveniat, to restore the church, one with a unique title, the Holy Cross of Jerusalem.

By living here, I have come to know a variety of other people involved in church ministry. It’s true that missionary life helps facilitate this closeness: for example, Javier, a Spanish man and a consecrated member of the Focolar movement, coordinates the reconstruction project with support from the archdiocese; a group of young artists-carpenters who are presently organizing themselves into a professional association, basing their inspiration on the ‘an economy of communion’, doing an excellently professional job, while giving extraordinary testimony to the value of solidarity.

The parish community, small in number, is beginning to organize itself again after the pandemic, just like the small seed referred to in the gospel.

As I finish this text I am about to travel with Br. Colombanus to the interior of the country.  We will be guests of the Brazilian Capuchin friars in Santa Clara (centre) and Manzanillo (east) for the next two weeks, in order to get to know the Cuban reality outside the capital and to experience pastoral endeavours in other places.

In the pastoral project of the Delegation of Cuba, in fact, there is a desire to open a new presence in another part of the country, where pastoral needs are great and human resources are lacking.

Listening to the missionary friars, one is filled with hope and the desire to ‘take a risk’, to follow the signs of the movement of the Spirit of the Lord, harvesting new fruit with them, after years of suffering and exhaustion in fidelity to their faith.

I have been greatly helped in my discernment process by very concrete criteria shared with me by the friars, the fruit of hard earned experiences on the ground: not to expect too many pastoral results, to creatively search for ways to respond in a very fluid religious context, permeated by syncretism (influences of other religions, particularly African animism), to be patient while living in a very challenging political and social environment, to deal with customs that require a strong and resolute human and spiritual maturity, to be able to adapt to unexpected changes in programs, and especially very illuminating for me, to ‘sit down and evaluate’ as Jesus tells us.

To be living all of this brings me to thank the Lord for the generosity of the friars and the men and women who dedicate their lives to God’s Kingdom.

Throughout this time, I am personally living this experience with a sense of deep gratitude, even though it is ‘uncomfortable’ to step away from oneself, or as the expression goes, from my ‘comfort zone’; needing freedom to listen to what is happening within me and around me; while allowing myself to be accompanied in prayer.

Br. Matteo Marcheselli ofm

St. Francis Province, Assisi

framatteomarcheselli@gmail.com

VISIT OF THREE GENERAL CURIA OFFICES TO THE BOLIVARIAN CONFERENCE IN BOGOTA

“To renew our mission and embrace our future as brothers and minors, as Animation Offices of the General Curia with Br Darko Tepert, OFM, General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, Br Francisco Gómez, OFM, General Secretariat for the Missions and Evangelisation, and Br Jaime Campos, OFM, of the Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), we decided to deepen our work of collaboration both within the Curia and in the service we offer to the Entities of the Order”. This is from the website for the animation for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of our Order and, in this sense, they participated jointly in the meeting of the Franciscan Bolivarian Conference that brought together the Ministers Provincial of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and the Custos of Venezuela, in Colombia, from 21 to 25 February 2022.

“It was an opportunity to get to know the reality that the provinces of this Conference experience, but also to promote collaboration between the provinces themselves and the respective offices of each province,” said Br Darko. “As Secretary for Formation and Studies, I raised the theme of Franciscan identity, which is also important because of how it was treated at the last General Chapter. This theme included the start of preparations for the Conference’s Congress of Lay Friars and then for the International Congress of Lay Friars in 2025”.

“We presented the Guidelines and the Ratio Evangelizations of our Secretariat for the six years, intending to work together as Secretariats,” said Br Francisco of the Secretariat for Missions and Evangelisation. He noted that this meeting was also the first of its kind, hoping that it might be extended to the other Conferences of the Order.

The Animators of the General Offices met all the Provincials and the Secretaries of the specific areas of competence within the Bolivarian Conference. The Bolivarian Conference includes the two provinces of Colombia, Santa Fe and San Pablo, the Ecuadorian Province of San Francisco, the two Peruvian provinces of the XII Apostles and San Francisco Solano, the Missionary Province of San Antonio in Bolivia and the Venezuelan Custody of the Immaculate Conception.

 

Brother Sabino Iannuzzi elected Bishop of Castellaneta

On 5 March 2022, Pope Francis elected as Bishop of Castellaneta, Italy, Fra Sabino Iannuzzi OFM, a member of the Franciscan Province of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Benevento, until now Guardian and Rector of the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata in Vitulano.

Brother Sabino Iannuzzi was born on 24th August 1969 in Avellino. He made his First Profession on 22nd September 1991 and Solemn Profession on 22nd October 1994. He was ordained a priest on 24th June 1995.

Since ordination, Brother Sabino has held the following positions in the Province: Provincial Animator for the Pastoral Care of Vocations, Provincial Assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order and Franciscan Youth, Provincial Secretary, Provincial Delegate for Social Communications, Guardian and Rector.

In 2006 Brother Sabino attended the Master in “Management, Administration and Control of Ecclesiastical Bodies” at the University of the Sacred Heart in Milan. In 2008 he obtained a Licentiate in Sacred Theology, with a specialisation in Pastoral Theology, from the Theological Faculty of Southern Italy in Naples, and in 2021 he obtained a Diploma in Theology of Consecrated Life from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

At the Provincial Chapter of 2007, Friar Sabino Iannuzzi was elected Provincial of the Province of Benevento and was reappointed for a three-year term from 2013 to 2007. It should be noted that during his provincialate he held various offices such as President of the Conference of Ministers Provincial of the Friars Minor of Italy (COMPI) from 2013 to 2016 and President of the Union of European Friars Minor from 2015 to 2017. From 2016 to 2021 he sat on the Board of Directors of the company “Laudato srl”, for the management of the hotel facilities of the COMPI.  In 2018 he was Visitator General and President of the Provincial Chapter of the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Friars Minor of Lecce.

At the local church level Fra Sabino Iannuzzi has been a member of the College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council, a member of the Board of Auditors of the Diocesan Institute for the Substitution of the Clergy and Rector of the Diocesan Sanctuary of the Infant Jesus of Prague in Benevento and for the Archdiocese of Benevento. Since 2017 he has been Episcopal Vicar for Consecrated Life and a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.

At provincial level, he is currently Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly magazine “Voce Francescana”, Legal Representative, and Head of the Fraternity providing a welcoming environment to those discerning a vocation.

The Order wishes the new Bishop well and prays that his ministry in the particular Church of Castellaneta may bear abundant good fruits.

The Pope’s solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Franciscan friar, speaker at the General Audience, is Ukrainian.

 “And this Franciscan friar is speaking now, in Polish: but he is Ukrainian”. These were the words that Pope Francis addressed to Brother Marko Gongalo, OFM, in front of the pilgrims present in the Paul VI Hall for the General Audience on 2 March, at the Vatican.

The presence of a Ukrainian speaker was an opportunity for Pope Francis to express his support for the entire Ukrainian people, forced to hide in shelters by the bombings.

“And his parents are at the moment in shelters underground, defending themselves from the bombs, in a place near Kyiv. And he continues to do his duty here, with us. By accompanying him, we accompany all the people suffering from the bombings, his elderly parents, and so many elderly people who are underground to defend themselves. We carry in our hearts the memory of these people”. The Pontiff added and, addressing Brother Marko, “thank you for continuing in your work”.

Brother Marko Gongalo, of the Franciscan Province of St Michael the Archangel in Ukraine, was born in Zhytomyr, Diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr. He has been a priest since 2011.

The Minister General at the jubilee of the Province of San Junipero Serra

“I arrived in Coyoacan, a historic friary in Mexico City, and then went to the North of Mexico to the Province of San Junipero Serra on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of its foundation,” said Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General. Together with Definitor General Br Joaquín Echeverry, he visited the Mexican Province of San Junipero Serra from 23 to 27 February 2022 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Province’s foundation.

During the five days of the visit, Br Massimo had several meetings with the guardians of the houses of formation and the Secretariat for Formation and Studies of the Province. The high point of his visit was last Saturday, 26 February, when the Minister presided at the Jubilee Mass for the anniversary of the Province’s establishment.

In addition to the meetings with the friars of the Province of San Junipero Serra, the Minister met with the Santa Maria de Guadalupe Conference on his last day in Mexico. This Conference includes the Mexican, Central American Caribbean Provinces. “The final meeting with the Provincial Ministers and Conference Secretaries of the Guadalupe Conference completed these enriching days of meeting, celebration, reflection and prayer,” shared the Minister General.

The San Junipero Serra Province is located in the west of Mexico, on the border with the United States, covering the Mexican states of Baja California North, Baja California South, Sonora and Sinaloa. The friars are engaged in the service of evangelisation in various parishes, education and assistance to immigrants seeking a better life in the neighbouring United States.

It is worth mentioning that the Minister spent the month of February visiting three Entities of the Order: the Province of the Holy Family in Egypt, the Custody of the Protomartyrs in Morocco and finally, the Province of San Junipero Serra in Mexico.

Commission for the Safeguarding of Minors

The second meeting of the OFM Commission for the Safeguarding of Minors and Vulnerable Adults was held at the General Curia in Rome from 23 to 25 February 2022. The meeting was attended by Definitor General and President of the Commission, Br Albert Schmucki, the Vicar General, Br Isauro Ulises Covili Linfati and four members of the Commission, Br Aidan McGrath, Br Teofil Czarniak, Br Joe Cavoto and, via the internet, Br John-Paul Tan.

During three days of work, the Commission held meetings with various Secretariats and Offices of the Curia to initiate a path of collaboration in the area of safeguarding: the General Procuratorate, the Development Office, the OFM Fraternitas Foundation, the Secretariat for Formation and Studies and the Communication Office, the latter to study the possibility of having a specific section for safeguarding on the Order’s website.

On the afternoon of 24 February, a meeting was held with Father Hans Zollner SJ, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Safeguarding of Minors and Director of the Institute of Anthropology and Interdisciplinary Studies for the Dignity of the Human Person at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In this conversation, the importance of the commitment to safeguarding in the contemporary Church’s mission emerged once again.

On the last day, the Commission prepared a questionnaire for the drafting of Guidelines to help the Provinces’ vigilance on this sensitive issue and ensure that the places entrusted to the Order become ever safer environments for all God’s people, especially the most vulnerable.

After their work, the Commission connected with Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, who is visiting Mexico. Br Massimo described various contexts in which the Order is working to safeguard minors. He encouraged the Commission to proceed with confidence in the sensitive and indispensable task of safeguarding, protecting and humanising relationships.

Help to Ukraine through our Friars

“I was able to speak to the Minister Provincial of Ukraine, Br Daniel Botvina, who informed me that the friars are well, especially in the friary of Konotop, a city already occupied by the Russians. They have remained there with the people, so as not to abandon them, and they are safe”. It is easy to imagine the state of mind with which Br Massimo Fusarelli, OFM General Minister, received the news of the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine. However, his letter, inspired by the principles of peace and hope, cannot fail to recall words that evoke anguish and pain. (Read the Minister General’s message)

Those very words allow us to imagine the dismay with which our confreres are living and working in this recent dramatic theatre of war. The words of Brother Romuald, parish priest of the friary of Konotop, describe in detail a scenario that no one thought possible until a few days ago. The streets of daily life have become a battlefield, civilian and military vehicles set on fire, numerous victims scattered throughout the city. And then the despair that settled in the hearts of the population at the realization that the city was no longer under the control of the Ukrainian army.

The parish immediately opened its doors to everyone. The friars responded to the people’s basic needs: a place to spend the night or receive a meal, but also the need for a word of comfort. Most of them are elderly people, women and children who have suddenly found war on the doorstep of their homes. Despite their efforts, our brothers are finding it increasingly challenging to provide food, medicine and the bare necessities for those who have left their homes. The number of people being cared for is increasing, and the friars need help.

The OFM General Curia, through the OFM Fraternitas Foundation, has taken immediate action to provide all possible support to the friars who are personally facing the drama of war.

Their presence is the comfort of a candle burning in the darkness, opposed to those feelings of hatred and despair that cannot take over.

I ask you to donate to support our brothers and sisters who are suffering in Ukraine. In the letter of the Minister Provincial of Ukraine, Br Daniel Botvina, you can find a further witness of the urgency with which we launch this appeal. Thank you.

 

Now more than ever, our Franciscan charism of bringing peace and goodness is revealed where there is unrest, darkness, war.

Children who come to our shelters play, watch cartoons and even forget that there is a war around. Some adults, maybe for the first time in their lives, take the rosary, pray on their knees, learn to sing religious songs and experience true peace that cannot be achieved through tanks or other weapons because we have and believe that peace that Jesus Christ left, Jn 14:27 “I leave you peace, I give you, my peace. Not as the world gives it, I give it to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor be afraid.”

Br Romuald OFM

Oldalak