From the 3rd to the 7th of March 2018, the general Minister, Br. Michael Anthony Perry, visited the province of the Holy Name of Jesus in Brazil accompanied by Br. Valmir Ramos, the area Definitor. This year this province celebrates 75 years of presence in the central area of Brazil.
The visit was begun in Brasilia in the friary that cares for a school and a parish in that capital of Brazil. The next day Br. Michael went to Anápolis, where the province has its curia. There he met the temporary professed friars and the postulants of the province, with whom he spoke about Franciscan identity and the formative process necessary to live the charism today. He visited social works supported by the province: hospital where the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany work, Bethany House that cares for AIDS patients, and two radios stations. He had a meeting with the Poor Clare Sisters assisted by the Friars. On the 6th he met all the friars of the province and shared the situation of the Order in the world today as well as the urgent need to authentically live our charism in light of the 5 priorities, despite all the activities and pastoral work in the service of the Church.
Alla conclusione della visita, Fr. Michael è andato a Catalão, dove si trova il noviziato interprovinciale della Provincia Santissimo Nome di Gesù, Custodia delle Sette Allegrezze della Madonna e Custodia del Sacro Cuore di Gesù. Al noviziato lui ha realizzato un incontro con i formatori e i Ministri di queste Entità.
At the end of the visit, Br. Michael went to Catalão, where there is the interprovincial novitiate of the Holy Name of Jesus Province, the custody of the Seven Joys of the Madonna and custody of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. At the novitiate he met with the formation directors and the Ministers of these entities.
Br. John Wong, Custos of Singapore-Malaysia-Brunei and a member of the OFM Commission for Dialogue, spent a week in February with the Order of Interbeing, a Buddhist monastic family founded in 1966 by the renowned Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
From 9-11 February, Br. John visited Sangha Salento (Lecce, Italy) for “Three Days Together,” a program he co-led with the Italian monk Br. Phap Banh. The weekend united Buddhist mindfulness exercises with Gospel passages for meditation on Christ’s invitation in Matthew 11:29-30: Rest in me. The publicity artwork, which depicted Christ inviting a disciple to find rest in him, was an original piece by Br. Phap Banh.
On the significance of the weekend, Br. Phap Banh told Br. John, “There is something very nice in an Italian Buddhist Monk and a Christian Malaysian Monk meeting together to offer peace. Many Italian people, hurt by Catholicism, are looking for something true, something alive in other religions. The teaching of [Thich Nhat Hanh], so simple and so deep, is bringing me to my true home: to Jesus alive in us. This is the best gift we can offer to ourselves and to the others.”
From 12-17 February, Br. John visited Plum Village, the monastic home of the Order of Interbeing in New Aquitaine, France. Br. John joined the monks and nuns of Plum Village in their mindfulness exercises, fraternal life, and preparations and celebrations of the Lunar New Year.
Br. John is working presently with the Order of Interbeing to develop a workshop for Franciscans working in Buddhist-majority countries and/or desiring dialogue with Buddhists. Please see “ofm.org” for future announcements.
It was in this of spirit of encounter and discovery that Br. John left Plumb Village and joined the Commission for Dialogue for its meeting in Mostar.
Dear brothers and sisters of the Franciscan family, we communicate with great joy to you that the page for the “3rd Franciscan Missionary Congress of Latin America and the Caribbean” is now online. Via this page, you can follow the preparations for this great event. Please visit it and spread the news.
We are inviting our brothers and sisters of the American Continent to attend the “3rd Franciscan Missionary Congress of Latin America and the Caribbean”, in Guatemala, from 22 to 27 January 2018, in the context of the celebration of 50 years of UCLAF. The topics to be covered are: “New scenarios-new challenges: Caring for the creation- Human mobility – The culture of peace”.
Forging a new bilingual Pan-Canadian OFM Province, Franciscan friars from the two existing Canadian Provinces, are planning a Chapter of Union on October 21-25, 2018 at Star of the North Retreat Centre in St. Albert, Alberta. The launch of the new Province, which will include a public celebration on the evening of October 22 in St. Albert Parish Church, will be assisted by the presence of the Minister General. A recent update went out to all friars who will belong to the new Province. The update summarizes progress confirmed at a February 22-23, 2018, meeting of the two Provincial Definitories in Montreal, Quebec.
The Chapter of Union will be the second of two important gatherings this year. On April 23-26, Canadian friars will assemble at Centre de Spiritualité des Ursulines in Loretteville, Quebec, for a Chapter of Mats to break open the theme Revitalisation and Evangelisation: Go Repair My House. Capuchin friar David Couturier and diocesan priest Jean-Philippe Auger will animate reflections on the renewal of Franciscan life within the Canadian context. This event aims to draw the friars closer together in their common mission to evangelise as they seek to revitalise their presence in Canada.
As preparations proceed, several committees, including a Mission and Evangelisation Committee, a Formation and Studies Committee, a Finance Committee, a Statues Committee, a Communications Committee and a Liturgy Committee are working in tandem with the existing Definitories, a Transition Committee (tasked to organise both chapters) and a Delegate General. All friars have been invited into a discernment process around the name of the new Province, as an always longed for renewal of Franciscan life and mission takes shape.
The Holy Father had an audience with Card. Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on 6 March 2018. During this audience, Pope Francis authorized the Congregation to promulgate a decree regarding the miracle attributed to Blessed Vincent Romano, diocesan priest and pastor in Santa Croce, Torre del Greco (Naples). Bl. Vincent was born in Torre del Greco on June 3rd, 1751 and died there on December 20th, 1831.
Bl. Vincent Romano spent all of his life as a priest in Torre del Greco. He was pastor at Santa Croce, whose church he had rebuilt after it was destroyed in the disastrous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 1794. After the example of the Good Shepherd, he guided the community under his care, confirming it in the faith and giving it life through his love. He cared for the poor and sick and was engaged in the social realities of his time, especially in matters associated with seafarers. When he died in 1831, his reputation for holiness was very well-known and he was beatified in 1963. In 1998 the cause for his canonization was entrusted to Br. Luca De Rosa, OFM Postulator General.