Meeting of CEME: Executive Council for Missions and Evangelisation

Meeting of CEME: Executive Council for Missions and Evangelisation

The Executive Council for Missions and Evangelisation (CEME) met at the General Curia in Rome on 20-24 May 2019.

Participants included:

  • James BOK (Province of St. John the Baptist – USA)
  • Abdel MASIH (Holy Land Custody)
  • Napoly PASSION (Province of St. Peter Baptist – Philippines)
  • Ivan MATIÇ (Province of Sts. Cyril and Methodius – Croatia)
  • Russel Murray – Animator of Evangelisation
  • Alonso Morales – Secretary General for Missions and Evangelisation


The first part was dedicated to a reflection that included the following topics:

  • Evangelising mission in light of the plan of the Kingdom of God proclaimed by Jesus (Br. Duván A. Tangarife, Province of St. Paul Apostle in Colombia)
  • Present and future of the Kingdom of God and its consequences for evangelisation (Br. Michael Perry, Minister General OFM)
  • Evangelising mission in the light of the Kingdom of God in initial and ongoing formation(Br. Cesare Vaiani, Secretariat for Formation and Studies)
  • JPIC and solidarity as one of the dimensions of evangelising mission (Br. Rufino Lim, JPIC office)
  • Ecumenical and interreligious dialogue as evangelisation (Br. Russel Murray, Animator of Evangelisation)


The proposed topics were followed by an intense dialogue between speakers and participants. This led us to conclude that our evangelising mission consists in following the practice of Jesus, proclaiming the Kingdom, making it present through proclamation, solidarity, dialogue, and celebration.

Later the CEME spoke about what the Order has been suggesting since 2009, and then in 2015, in the sense that, from all the documents that have been produced in the Order on Evangelising Mission in a Franciscan key we can think of a RATIO EVANGELIZATIONIS. This does not ignore the effort that many provinces are already making in this regard.

It is obvious that neither time nor circumstances are available to face this urgent task, but it was thought helpful to leave the next general chapter of 2021 with some general guidelines. These would build on those that emerged in the meeting of the 2018 CEME, which would be worked on in advance between the members of the CEME and the CIME (International Council for Missions and Evangelisation) and the conferences.

Finally, by way of evaluation, the participants saw the different interventions that led to the reflection as very positive, as well as the time dedicated to discussion and exchange of ideas between the members of the CEME.

The participants asked that the role of CEME be clarified better and that they might know the programme well in advance.

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Justice and Peace: the International Council of the Order of Friars Minor in Jerusalem

Justice and Peace: the International Council of the Order of Friars Minor in Jerusalem

The Custody of the Holy Land hosted the two-yearly planning meeting of the International Council of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Order of the Friars Minor from 3rd to 10th June 2019.

The JPIC Office has always dealt with everything concerning Justice, Peace and the Integrity of the Creation, recognized as founding values of Franciscan spirituality. These values are also to be found in the fight against climate change, the protection of Human Rights and special attention to the problems and real violations existing in the 119 countries where the Order is present and works. “This meeting,” said Fr. Jaime Campos, Director of the General Office for JPIC, “allows us to evaluate the work that has been done and to plan, with our discussions, future work with constant attention to the contents of the Laudato si’ Encyclical”.

The session opened with the Celebration of the Eucharist presided by the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, followed by the presentations by the representatives of the various Conferences of the Friars Minor. Coming from Australia, Chile, Colombia, Korea, the Philippines, France, Italy, Mexico, Poland, the United Kingdom, Slovenia and the USA, the Franciscan friars gave voice to the issues in the different places they represent.

The contribution of three organizations which work together and proceed together in close contact with the JPIC Office was central: the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM), the Pax Christi Association and Franciscans International.

Representing the GCCM, the Executive Director, the Argentinean Tomás Insua spoke of the Movement’s goal: to help the Church put Laudato si‘ into practice. To do this, it has to be lived and an “ecological conversion” has to be implemented which transforms both the relationship with the creation and lifestyles. The purpose is to help the Church be more sustainable and involved in the public debate on the climate crisis to protect our common home: “Sister Mother Earth”. During his presence at the meeting, Tomás Insua said: “having the chance to be here is very significant for me: I grew up with the Franciscans, and speaking to them about Laudato Si’ is really an important opportunity. In addition, I see having the chance to pray immersed in the same Creation that saw Jesus when he prayed as a great gift.”

Fr. Markus Heinze ofm, Executive Director, was present on behalf of Franciscans International. This non-governmental organization which represents the whole of the Franciscan family at the United Nations with offices in Geneva and New York, this year celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of its foundation. The mission of FI is focused on the defence of Human Rights. FI, together with the Franciscans, by listening directly to the people involved in the various countries where Human Rights are violated, takes on these issues, presenting them to the various UN agencies. “We work to inform about what is happening in the world and which is not usually shown, trying to raise awareness and eventually to lobbying the United Nations.” Fr. Markus commented: “Meeting here has been important and interesting for two reasons in particular: on the one hand, remembering  the celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the meeting between St Francis and the Sultan, on the other for the crucial role played by the Holy Land in an area where conflicts are an everyday occurrence.“

The meeting came to a conclusion with the preparation of a final document and the celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost. “Being here in Jerusalem is important,” said Fr. Campos “in the past few years the Custody of the Holy Land has encouraged this Office by creating a commission that works intensely. Furthermore, the mission of the Franciscans in the Holy Land is a great challenge that also has an influence on our spirituality.”



Text: Giovanni Malaspina |
Photos: Nadim Asfour/CTS

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Fraternal visit to the Province of St. Francis of Assisi – Brazil

Fraternal visit to the Province of St. Francis of Assisi – Brazil

Br. Michael Anthony Perry, ofm, made a fraternal visit to the Province of St. Francis of Assisi, in the State of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, between 3 and 8 June. Br. Valmir Ramos, ofm, Definitor for Latin Americaaccompanied him. They arrived on 3 June in Porto Alegre at the Provincial Curia where Br. Michael began the visit by talking to some elderly and infirm confreres.  He also met the Provincial Definitory in the Curia to listen to and share the challenges of animating the Order. On 4 June, the Minister General visited the tremendous social work coordinated by the friars of the Province, the CPCA (Centro de Promoção da Criança and do Adolescente) situated in the suburbs of Porto Alegre. The CPCA maintains several projects for the protection and development of thousands of poor children and teenagers as well as street children.

On the 5th, Br. Michael met the friars of the Province at Daltro Filho, Immigrante, and shared some reflections on the Franciscan identity, our mission today and some of the challenges of the Order in the face of rapid changes in the world, in the Church and our Order. Br. Inacio Dellazari and the friars of the Province had the opportunity to share some of the life of the Province with its challenges.

Back in Porto Alegre on the 6th, he celebrated with the Franciscan Family in the Saint Francis Parish and shared a moment of fraternity. Besides the OFS fraternity, sisters of at least five other Franciscan and lay institutes of the Parish were present.

In the morning of the 7th, Br. Michael was able to visit the Institute of Higher Studies of the Capuchin confreres in Porto Alegre, ESTEF (Escola Superior de Teologia Franciscana). Our student friars attend courses in theology and Franciscan spirituality in this institute, and some of our professed friars teach there.

At the end of the visit, Br. Michael celebrated with the Poor Clares in the San Damiano Monastery in Porto Alegre. It was his birthday, and he celebrated with the friars of the Provincial Curia.

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One friar to another: Thank You, Saint Anthony

One friar to another: Thank You, Saint Anthony

Saint Anthony of Padua lived a remarkable life as a Franciscan friar, but his ministry happened completely by accident. In this video, Br. Clifford Hennings OFM pays homage to this famous Franciscan and discusses his ongoing influence on Catholics the world over.

One of my favorite saints is Saint Anthony of Padua, a Franciscan saint. One of the things that I liked about him is that his whole ministry was an accident. I mean, here he was, a guy who wanted to go and be martyred, and he was on a trip, and he went to North Africa, and on the way he got sick, so sick that they put him on a boat and said, You’re going back to Portugal.

While he’s on his way back to Portugal, a major storm comes in and blows it completely off course. And rather than landing in Portugal, he crash-lands in Southern Italy. And so now he finds himself in a country where he doesn’t know the people, it’s not his native tongue, and what does he do? He just begins to trust in God and to wander around.

Eventually he finds some other Franciscans, settles as a hermit, and starts to live a quiet life in a place that he never thought he would be. Until one day through a miscommunication, the Dominicans and the Franciscans were getting together and the Dominicans thought that the Franciscans had the preacher, and the Franciscans thought that the Dominicans have the preacher. Nobody had a homily prepared. And somebody had the idea to say, you know what, Anthony, Anthony can do it.

He preached with such fire and such eloquence that everybody was moved to tears. And from that moment on he became the world’s most famous preacher of the day, bringing forth tens of thousands of people traveling throughout Europe. And it all began because of an accident.

I think that his example shows us that if we trust in God and we believe that he’s with us always, sometimes even when we seem to be steered off course, we are ultimately walking in the footprints of Christ.

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Encounter and Dialogue in the Footsteps of St. Francis: A Buddhist Pilgrimage to Assisi

Encounter and Dialogue in the Footsteps of St. Francis: A Buddhist Pilgrimage to Assisi

This past May witnessed an extraordinary commemoration of the culture of encounter initiated by St. Francis and Sultan al-Malik al-Kamal 800 years ago: a Walking Mindfulness Pilgrimage from the Sanctuary of La Verna to Assisi by Buddhist Monastics of Plum Village (France) and group of their Lay Practitioners.

On May 10th, the pilgrims, who entitled their pilgrimage In the Footsteps of St. Francis, were warmly welcomed at La Verna by Br. Francesco Brasa, Guardian, the Brothers of the Fraternity. After four days of gracious hospitality at the Sanctuary, during which they participated in the daily Procession to the Stigmata and were privileged to hear Br. Masseo’s account of the Stigmata read to them by Br. Francesco, the pilgrims set out on foot to Assisi, where they arrived on May 26th.

Br. Massimo Chieruzzi, the Animator for Dialogue of the Seraphic Province, warmly welcomed the pilgrims to Assisi, who at that point number 9 monks and nuns and over 100 friends and Lay Practitioners, including many from across Italy. In his welcome, Br. Massimo recalled St. Francis’ encounter with the Sultan. While noting that we do not know all that transpired between the Saint and the Sultan, Br. Massimo stated that “What we know for sure is that it was a peaceful meeting, in which a friendship and a mutual enrichment was born between the two. …May our meeting follow in this channel of hope!” (click here Br. Massimo’s welcome address)

Day of Mindfulness followed as the pilgrims, accompanied by their friend Br. John Wong, Custos of Singapore-Malaysia-Brunei and Member of the OFM Commission for Dialogue, who also welcomed them at La Verna, visited the places sanctified by the lives of Sts. Francis and Clare. These visits included a “Walk of Mindfulness” to the Sanctuary of San Damiano, where the local Fraternity and its Guardian, Br. Massimo Reschiglian, hosted the pilgrims for lunch.

For all those who participated in this extraordinary pilgrimage, it was, indeed, a meeting that followed the channel of hope that St. Francis opened 800 years ago. May many more be caught in its waters of encounter, dialogue and friendship!

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