“Laudato Si’”- The integral ecology by Pope Francis for the safeguarding of the common home” is the title of the conference that will take place on March 12 at 9 a.m. at the Notre Dame Center in Jerusalem. It has been organized by the Custody of the Holy Land’s Commission for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation with the intention of presenting Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and of discussing the topic of protecting the “common home” with the Israeli and Palestinian communities. In addition to the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, Card. Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Department for Integral Human Development, and Prof. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, the director and founder of the Wasatia Academic Graduate Institute, will also be present. Also participating in the event will be Rabbi David Rosen, the International Director of Interreligious Affairs (AJC) and Prof. Stefano Zamagni, a professor of economics at the University of Bologna and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. The conference is under the patronage of the Department for Integral Human Development, the Apostolic Delegation of the Holy See in Jerusalem and Palestine, and the Assembly of Catholic Priests of the Holy Land. The lectures will take place in the morning and the afternoon on March 12, with simultaneous translation in English and Italian. Admission is free.
An Event Promoting the Message of the Encyclical Laudato Si’
This Cultural Evening expresses our appreciation and gratitude to Pope Francis for his Encyclical Laudato Si’ on the care of the common home and is a sign of restitution to the “Lord God Most High” because we “acknowledge that all good belongs to Him.” For this reason, we Friars Minor wish to share this Event with the Church and civil society so that we may proclaim with one voice: Laudato si’, mi’ Signore.
This Cultural Evening will sensitize everyone to the care of the environment, our common home, as Pope Francis often says, and invite us to commitment ourselves to the values promoted in Laudato si’. Love for Creation belongs to the essence of our Franciscan charism. As Franciscans we are always called to express this love, in the spirit of St. Francis.
Eugenio Maria Fagiani
The Piccolo Coro “Mariele Ventre” dell’Antoniano di Bologna
Fr. Alessandro Brustenghi, OFM
March 23, 2018 – 7:00 p.m.
Basilica of San Antonio al Laterano, Via Merulana, 124, 00185 Rome RM, Italy
On February 12, 2018, the General Minister, Br. Michael Anthony Perry, shared the following words during the opening Mass of the meeting between the two conferences (Brazil and the Southern Cone) in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord give you peace!
“Why does this generation ask for a sign?” One of the greatest difficulties that humans have is our uncontrollable desire to have an absolute confirmation of what we call truth. And the greater our lack of imagination and wonder, the more we seek clarity, even extraordinary, signs to confirm something that, in many cases, we know is true, but for one reason or another we refuse to accept.
In today’s gospel, it happens that way.
“Jesus sighs deeply,” probably out of frustration and sorrow at such a great blindness. and he concludes, “No sign will be given to this generation!” He left them and went to the other side of the lake. It’s no use showing a nice painting to those who don’t want to open their eyes. Those who close their eyes cannot see!
So what does it take for each of us to open our hearts to the novelty that God is looking to offer to the world, to the church and to us that we are friars minor in these times of tremendous change and in these regions of the order?
St. Francis of Assisi offers us a way to move forward. In his testament to the brethren he reveals how the disciples of Jesus must respond in faith to what God is asking of each one of them. It is not a matter of knowledge, although we must study the signs of the times, as the Second Vatican Council reminded us. Nor is it a matter of having control over everything, as if power were the key to a deeper faith. This is something that governments and even the Church, the Order must still learn.
Let’s now hear the words of St. Francis, who received a new vision of God and a new vision of humanity, which led him to embrace Jesus, lepers and all people and nature as brothers and sisters in a completely new and liberated way.
“The Lord gave to me, Brother Francis, thus to begin to do penance; for when I was in sin it seemed to me very bitter to see lepers, and the Lord Himself led me amongst them and I showed mercy to them.And when I left them, that which had seemed to me bitter was changed for me into sweetness of body and soul. And afterwards I remained a little and I left the world.”
The meeting of the General Minister and his Council with the Conferences of Friars Minor of the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile and Paraguay) and Brazil began on Monday, February 12, 2018, in the historic St. Francis Convent in São Paulo, Brazil. The successor of St. Francis of Assisi, Br. Michael Perry, opened the gathering with the Eucharistic Celebration at 7:30 am, with the concelebrants, Provincial Minister Br. Fidêncio Vanboemmel and Provincial Minister Br. Inácio Dellazari, President of the Brazilian Conference.
The meeting of the General Minister and his Council with the friars of the two Conferences continued in the Hall of St. Damasus, in the cloister of the Convent. In addition to Br. Michael, also present were: Vicar General Br. Julio César Bunader and Definitors: Br. Valmir Ramos, Br. Ignacio Ceja, Br. Nicodeme Kibuzehose, Br. Ivan Sesar, Br. Lino Gregorio Redoblado, Br. Caoimhín Ó Laoide and Br. Antonio Scabio. Br. Jürgen Neitzert, the Definitor General from Germany, was not present in São Paulo due to the death of his father.
In attendance from the Conference of the Southern Cone are Br. Isauro Covili (Province of the Most Holy Trinity – Chile), Br. Emilio Andrada (Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin of Rio de la Plata – Argentina and Paraguay) and Br. Daniel Alejandro Fleitas Zeni (Province of San Francisco Solano, Argentina).
From the Brazilian Conference of Brazil: Br. Inácio Dellazari (Province of St. Francis of Assisi), Br. Fidêncio Vanboemmel (Province of the Immaculate Conception), Br. Hilton Farias de Souza (Province of Santa Cruz), Br. Rogério Viterbo de Souza (Custody of the Seven Joys of Our Lady); Br. Marco Aurélio Cruz (Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus), Br. Francisco de Assis da Paixão (Custody of St. Benedict), Br. Bernardo de Souza Brandão Neto (Province of Our Lady of the Assumption), Br. João Amilton dos Santos (Province of St. Anthony), and Br. Flaerdi Valvassori (Custody of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).
Br. Inácio opened the presentations with an overview of the Conference of Brazil and the challenges facing the friars in a country as big as Brazil. He then spoke of the evangelizing work and history of the Province of St. Francis, in Rio Grande do Sul, where he is Provincial Minister.
Br. Fidêncio closed the morning with the presentation of the Province of the Immaculate Conception, the second oldest in Brazil.
The meeting of the Minister General and his Definitory with the Bolivarian and Guadalupe Conferences took place at the port of Veracruz in Mexico from 3rd to 8th February. Attending, in addition to the ten friars of the General Definitory, were ten Provincial Ministers, a Custos and two Provincial Vicars coming from the fourteen entities which make up the two Conferences. The event took place in the context of the 494th Anniversary of the arrival of the so-called “Twelve Franciscan Apostles” in the then “New Spain” in 1524 which marked the beginning of a systematic and orderly evangelization in continental America.
In parallel, whilst sharing moments of prayer, food and fraternity, the meeting of the Under Ten brothers from the twelve Provinces that make up the Conferences was taking place. Thirty-four friars in total took part and as well as sharing their dynamism, dreams and worries, they studied several documents and discussed their vocation, mission and the challenges which they have to confront.
The gathering was enriched by fraternal meetings, analysis of the Entities, reflection and dialogue with the fundamental question of what God is asking of the Friars Minor today in the Church, in the Order and, more specifically, in the Bolivarian, Caribbean, Central American and Mexican regions being always at the forefront of our minds. Having listened to the reports of the Provincial Ministers and Custodians and discussed the matters arising, the Minister General, Fr. Michael Anthony Perry outlined several indications for the renewal of the Entities and made concrete recommendations to them.
To celebrate the arrival in Mexico of the first Franciscan missionaries the Minister General on Saturday 3rd February, blessed a statue of Fr. Martin de Valencia (the leader of the group of twelve) sited in a square of the town of Veracruz, and proceeded then in procession to the Cathedral where he presided at a solemn holy mass and thanked God for the gift of salvation offered by Christ to all peoples. He said, “Today we remember the generosity and dedication of Fray Martin de Valencia and his companions who through their words and actions, and with great sacrifice, rendered the salvation of Christ actual in their time, and recognize the necessity for us to renew ourselves in Jesus Christ so that we may incarnate the impulse that inspired these great missionaries to share the joy of the Gospel”.
In order to raise awareness in those present of various experiences and service that the friars offer in the region some moments were dedicated to that. Fr. Tomás González reported on the situation of the migrants travelling from Central America to the United States through the territory of Mexico and the work that is done in “The 72. The Home of the Migrant”. We visited “Las Patronas”, a group of ordinary women who give something to eat to the Central American migrants, who travel on the goods train called “The Beast” from the south to the north of Mexico. We prayed for peace along the tracks of the same train. There was also a visit to the Franciscan Library of Cholula, Puebla, which has a valuable collection of books and historical documents. There, the Minister General presented a written recognition to Fr. Francisco Morales, doctor in history and Director of the Library, for his contribution to research and publicizing of the history of the Franciscans in the Americas.
The programme concluded with the celebration of the Eucharist in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the city of Mexico, where Fr. Michael, starting from the Gospel passage of the visit of Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth, thanked God for the joy of the meeting and concluded by saying, “however the dialogue between Mary and Elizabeth developed, each one of them discovered something new, a new sense of their identity in God and an inexhaustible blessing which has begun to invade their lives”. In conclusion he invited those present to share with urgency the joy they received from God so that his power could act within each person and in the whole world.
A deep note of thanks to the Conference of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which hosted this meeting, for their fraternal hospitality, and in particular to the friars of the Province of the Holy Gospel of Mexico, led by their Provincial Minister, Fr Juan Medina. The meeting was not only organized in an excellent manner, but it was also an occasion for the brothers to hear, feel, contemplate and savour in many ways the Mexican culture and warmth.
From January 20 to 27, 2018, prayer sessions for the unity of Christians were held in Istanbul (Turkey). Br. Eleuthère, Guardian of the Franciscan friary, the Church of Santa Maria Draperis, reported that their place was chosen for the opening of this event, important for both the Church in general and for the fraternity in particular. This choice was motivated by the cultural plurality of the community at Santa Maria, as well as that of their parishioners. The theme of the week, “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power” (Ex 15,6), prepared by Caribbean Christians, was widely felt by members of the parish communities, largely composed of immigrants from different countries with backgrounds more similar to that of the Caribbean.
“During this week,” said Br. Eleuthère, “despite our being a minority in Istanbul, we experienced the beauty and richness of the churches. All the traditional churches that were represented together with churches of the reformation could easily feel what St. Irenaeus affirmed years ago: ‘Here is the Church.’”
The Franciscan Fraternity of Santa Maria Draperis is part of the International Fraternity for Dialogue, which promotes ecumenical and interreligious dialogue in the name of the Order. The International Fraternity for Dialogue is part of the Blessed Giles Foundation, and is directly dependent upon the Minister General.