US Franciscans https://usfranciscans.org Franciscan Friars of the USA Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:58:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 CTC No. 51 (06.2017) https://ofm.org/blog/ctc-no-51-06-2017/ https://ofm.org/blog/ctc-no-51-06-2017/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 09:45:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/27/ctc-no-51-06-2017/ Recent Posts Categories Categories Mailing List Read on ofm.org.

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Fraternal visit to the territory of the North Slavic Conference https://ofm.org/blog/fraternal-visit-territory-north-slavic-conference/ https://ofm.org/blog/fraternal-visit-territory-north-slavic-conference/#respond Tue, 27 Jun 2017 08:23:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/27/fraternal-visit-to-the-territory-of-the-north-slavic-conference/ 27 Jun Fraternal visit to the territory of the North Slavic Conference Posted on June 27, 2017 in News by Alvin Te, OFM  The Minister General, Fr. Michael A. Perry, OFM, and all the members of the General Definitory went on a fraternal visit to the Territory of the North Slavic Conference of our Order […]

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Fraternal visit to the territory of the North Slavic Conference

 The Minister General, Fr. Michael A. Perry, OFM, and all the members of the General Definitory went on a fraternal visit to the Territory of the North Slavic Conference of our Order from Monday 20th to Sunday 25th June 2017. The meeting began in Prague, Czech Republic, where the General Government arrived Monday afternoon for a visit to the city, and then all went to Wambierzyce, Poland. On this very evening, they joined in fraternal recreation. The following day, they celebrated the Eucharist in the local Marian Shrine. Later on, they left for the Sanctuary of Mount Saint Anna in southern Silesia for the meetings where, first of all, the Provincial Ministers and Presidents of the Foundations: the Byzantine Greeks in Ukraine and Russia-Kazakhstan presented the Entities of the Conference. The next day, they addressed the current issues and the most pressing challenges for the Order and for the Conference. In the afternoon, the members of the Conference, under the guidance of Fr. Ivan Sesar, OFM, General Definitor, elected Fr. Bernard J. Marciniak, OFM, of the Province of St. Francis of Assisi in Poland as President of the Conference.

The fraternal encounter with about two hundred and fifty friars in initial formation, accompanied by their Formators, and the Holy Mass presided by the Minister General were a very meaningful and substantial point of this Fraternal visit. On the morning of June 23, the General Government, the Provincial Ministers and the President of the Russia-Kazakhstan Foundation visited the Marian Shrine of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska and celebrated the Eucharist. After that, they visited the city of Krakow and the Fraternity of the Curiae of the two Provinces: (Immaculate Conception of BVM and Santa Maria of Angels), and the Major Seminary in Bronowice Wielkie.

The Minister General presided over the solemn Eucharist Saturday, June 24th, in Katowice-Panewniki. The entire General Government, the  members of the North Slavic Conference, many Brothers and Sisters of the SFO and GIFRA participated in this Eucharistic Celebration.

After a brief afternoon visit to the city, there was a final meeting of the General Definitory with the North Slavic Conference. They thanked the outgoing President, Fr. Alan T. Brzyski, OFM, of the Province of Saint Edvige in Poland, for his recent years of generous service.

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#FriarFriday – Going Fishing! https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/25/friarfriday-going-fishing/ https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/25/friarfriday-going-fishing/#respond Sun, 25 Jun 2017 18:10:29 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/?p=26676 The Summer Solstice is past, school is out and graduation parties are subsiding. Summer is officially here!

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The Summer Solstice is past, school is out and graduation parties are subsiding. Summer is officially here! Time for vacations, cookouts, travel, and some kind of break in the normal routine. Even if our personal lives have long been disconnected from the pattern of the school year, there is something about summer that evokes the feeling of being free. Perhaps at some level, we remember what is was like to be kids eagerly counting down the days until school lets out, our calendar having one box excitedly proclaiming, “Last Day of School” followed by multiple exclamation points. Alice Cooper’s classic, “School’s Out” is a timeless anthem to those days.

As we get older it gets harder to plan a summer that keeps that feeling of freedom and leisure alive. In our climate controlled workplaces and cars, we are insulated from the heat that reminds us we are in a different kind time. Our indoor lives disconnect us from the sky staying bright so late into the evening. Many families have been unable to enjoy regular meals altogether, so the extra work of firing up the grill and setting up the outdoor table seems too, well, extra, to do on a regular day, just for the heck of it.

In the US we have turned into one of the most driven and productive work forces in the world. At the same time, we have the least generous vacation allowances in the developed world. Even at that rate, Americans tend to take only about half of the vacation time due to them, essentially giving their employers thousands of dollars of free labor. According to a recent survey, the biggest reason is fear — fear of getting behind in their work, fear that nobody else can do their work while away, fear of being disconnected, fear of not meeting their performance goals, even fear of being fired as more and more workers are “at-will” employees.

What a shame that so many of us are unable simply to kick back and relax! And we clergy and religious are not immune to this, in spite of all our encouragement to others that they make space for leisure, holy or otherwise. We, too, can become susceptible to the vain notion that everything depends on us — which, if it were true, would be a sign that we are not doing our ministry well! It is easy to forget that God also rested. Leisure is part of the created order!

Years ago I had a chance to take a ten-day vacation on the beach across the street from the chapel of a Franciscan mission overseas. Promising to be a “low maintenance” guest among the local friars, I committed to spending each day, all day, on the sandy beach doing beach-things. Each day I planned some kind of beach activity — a couple books to read, a walk to one end of the beach four miles in one direction, another walk three miles in the other direction, snorkeling, napping. On the last full day, as I approached the beach and wondered what to do on my last day, it dawned on me that I really didn’t want to do anything at all. Anything. At. All.

What a strange feeling, spending a whole day not doing anything except sitting and watching the day just pass by. It hit me then — THIS is what it must feel like to be relaxed! It had been so long since I felt that way, I truly didn’t even recognize the feeling for a while. What a gift simply to watch the sun arc across the sky toward its setting, locals strolling by whole hawking fresh fruit, souvenirs, and less licit adventures, the only decision being the right time to switch from ice water to rum drinks.

Years ago I used to take the parish youth group for summer retreat on a river where the swimming and canoeing were great, the fishing less so. Still, we fished. During my own childhood fishing was not part of our summers, so I came upon the sport later in life. I’m still not really good at it, though I very much enjoy being on the river. An older friar once observed, “He who can fish, can pray.” Only later did I discover what he meant. When you fish, you have to trust that there really are fish down there, even if you can’t see them. When you pray, you have to believe there truly is a God to hear you, even if you do not see him. When you fish, you think you are tricking the fish into taking your bait, even though the fish will do what it wants and when it wants. In prayer, we think we are persuading God to change his mind about something, even though God will do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. While fishing, sometimes the point is not so much about catching anything but just to be out fishing. In prayer, sometimes the point of praying is just to be praying.

Maybe that’s why Jesus’ first disciples were fishermen.

So this summer, whatever it takes, give God a chance to break through the stress and busyness of your routine. Take your vacation, get away, relax, spend time doing nothing, even if just for a couple of days. Try to recall the simple childlike freedom of summer. Don’t let the cares of your workplace intrude — don’t EVEN check your email! Go someplace where there is no cell phone service. And if possible, fish.

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Sacred Heart Province elects new leadership team http://www.escofm.org/news/sacred-heart-province-elects-new-leadership-team http://www.escofm.org/news/sacred-heart-province-elects-new-leadership-team#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:29:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/23/sacred-heart-province-elects-new-leadership-team/ ENGLISH SPEAKING CONFERENCE | ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR                                                                                               […]

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ENGLISH SPEAKING CONFERENCE | ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR                                                                                                                               Thomas S. Washburn, OFM
PO Box 61128  • New Bedford, Massachusetts 02746 • exec@escofm.org                                                                                                                                   Executive Secretary 

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The Visit to the Franciscan Institute of the Culture of Peace in Split, Croatia https://ofm.org/blog/franciscan-institute-culture-peace-split-croatia/ https://ofm.org/blog/franciscan-institute-culture-peace-split-croatia/#respond Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/23/the-visit-to-the-franciscan-institute-of-the-culture-of-peace-in-split-croatia/ 23 Jun The Visit to the Franciscan Institute of the Culture of Peace in Split, Croatia Posted on June 23, 2017 in News by Alvin Te, OFM As part of the visit to the OFM South-Slavic Conference, Br. Michael Perry, Minister General, with the other members of the General Definitory, visited the Franciscan Institute of […]

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The Visit to the Franciscan Institute of the Culture of Peace in Split, Croatia

As part of the visit to the OFM South-Slavic Conference, Br. Michael Perry, Minister General, with the other members of the General Definitory, visited the Franciscan Institute of the Culture of Peace in Split, Croatia on June 19, 2017. In a presentation given by Mrs. Mirjana Maras, one of the employees, they were informed that the Institute was founded by the Council of the Franciscan Family in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996; its framework encompasses the issues of justice, peace and the integrity of creation; its mission is to promote and work for the values of forgiveness, reconciliation, social justice, dignity of woman, religious dialogue, and safeguarding of creation. This is done by educational programs, workshops, conferences, social advocacy – in collaboration with other institutions and organizations.

The work of the Institute was illustrated by some projects:

  1. A campaign for work-free Sunday in which a petition with over 300.000 signatures was handed in to the Prime minister of Croatia which generated passing a new regulation regarding work on Sundays. The Institute is in the process of founding Croatian Sunday Alliance to become a member of the European Sunday Alliance.
  2. Inspired by the brochure Water for Life issued by the Franciscan JPIC Office in Rome, the Institute has made a research on the bad effects and threats of water privatization, published a study book and launched an initiative to not allow it in Croatia. The initiative has had a significant impact on the public awareness as well as on the new water legislation.
  3. ECO-MAP is an interactive application developed by the Institute to help raise awareness and involvement of citizens in the active protection of the environment. The application has been adopted by the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Croatia to be administered and supervised. The same is expected from the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be followed by a permanent active collaboration between the two states.

After the presentation, the General Minister and the General Definitors expressed a sincere interest in the work of the Institute and inquired about its influence and impact on the Friars. They also asked about the current situation after the war in the 1990’s in that part of the world and if the Institute has adjusted its strategies. The director of the Institute, Ante Vučković, OFM, and his assistant, Bože Vuleta, OFM, in reply stated that the involvement of the friars had not been an expected one and therefore the Institute had been working much more with lay people, students and other organizations. Its membership with the EU helped stabilize the political situation in Croatia, whereas in Bosnia the conflict has not been resolved, and the presence of the Islamic extremists, especially those who had fought in Syria, has made the political situation even more complex and fragile.  Although the Institute in its first fifteen years had an emphasis on forgiveness and reconciliation, it has now shifted to the issues of social justice.

On behalf of all, the Minister General expressed his gratitude and encouragement to all who have been involved in the work for justice, peace and integrity of creation within the Franciscan Institute of the Culture of Peace.

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First Diaconate Ordination of the OFM Myanmar Foundation https://ofm.org/blog/first-diaconate-ordination/ https://ofm.org/blog/first-diaconate-ordination/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:13:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/22/first-diaconate-ordination-of-the-ofm-myanmar-foundation/ 22 Jun First Diaconate Ordination of the OFM Myanmar Foundation Posted on June 22, 2017 in News by Alvin Te, OFM On June 17, 2016, Br. Jerome Vung Za Langh, OFM, was ordained a deacon by cardinal Charles Bo, SDB, D.D., Archbishop of Yangon at the chapel of the Formation house in Dagon, Yangon, Myanmar.  […]

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First Diaconate Ordination of the OFM Myanmar Foundation

On June 17, 2016, Br. Jerome Vung Za Langh, OFM, was ordained a deacon by cardinal Charles Bo, SDB, D.D., Archbishop of Yangon at the chapel of the Formation house in Dagon, Yangon, Myanmar.  Br. Jerome isthe first local friar of the Foundation of St Francis in Myanmar who made Solemn Profession and ordained a Deacon.

Around 20 priests and a good number of religious came for the Ordination. Br. Jerome’s family together with more than a hundred lay faithful came to pray and join the celebration.

Please keep Br. Jerome and the Franciscan missionary work in Myanmar in your prayers.

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Antonianum Rector and Vice Rector Reconfirmed https://ofm.org/blog/antonianum-rector-vice-rector-reconfirmed/ https://ofm.org/blog/antonianum-rector-vice-rector-reconfirmed/#respond Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:10:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/21/antonianum-rector-and-vice-rector-reconfirmed/ 21 Jun Antonianum Rector and Vice Rector Reconfirmed Posted on June 21, 2017 in Formation, News by Alvin Te, OFM A celebration in honor of the Rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum (PUA), Sr. Mary Melone SFA, and Vice Rector, Br. Agustín Hernández OFM, was held at the “San Francesco” Hall on June 15, 2017. […]

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Antonianum Rector and Vice Rector Reconfirmed

A celebration in honor of the Rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum (PUA), Sr. Mary Melone SFA, and Vice Rector, Br. Agustín Hernández OFM, was held at the “San Francesco” Hall on June 15, 2017.

The Antonianum Fraternity, the Mother Superior and other sisters of the Angeline Sisters Community to which the Rector belongs, professors and students took part in the celebration. The Dean of the College of Theology, Br. Alvaro Cacciotti OFM, spoke on behalf of everyone to congratulate the Rector and Vice Rector for having been recently reconfirmed for another three years.

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New Servants of God Agostino Ernesto Castrillo and Umiltà Patlán Sánchez https://ofm.org/blog/castrillo-sanchez/ https://ofm.org/blog/castrillo-sanchez/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:16:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/19/new-servants-of-god-agostino-ernesto-castrillo-and-umilta-patlan-sanchez/ 19 Jun New Servants of God Agostino Ernesto Castrillo and Umiltà Patlán Sánchez Posted on June 19, 2017 in News, Postulation by Alvin Te, OFM Promulgation of the Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints On 16 June 2017, the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect […]

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New Servants of God Agostino Ernesto Castrillo and Umiltà Patlán Sánchez

Promulgation of the Decrees of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints

On 16 June 2017, the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Holy Father authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the following decrees:

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God, Agostino Ernesto Castrillo, bishop of San Marco Argentano-Bisignano, of the Order of Friars Minor; born on 18 February 1904 and died on 16 October, 1955;

– the heroic virtues of the Servant of God Umiltà Patlán Sánchez (née Maria), professed religious sister of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception; born 17 March 1895 and died on 17 June 1970.

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Gentle Giant with a Giant Heart, Remembering Fr. Emmanuel Musara, OFM https://ofm.org/blog/remembering-fr-emmanuel-musara/ https://ofm.org/blog/remembering-fr-emmanuel-musara/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/17/gentle-giant-with-a-giant-heart-remembering-fr-emmanuel-musara-ofm/ 17 Jun Gentle Giant with a Giant Heart, Remembering Fr. Emmanuel Musara, OFM Posted on June 17, 2017 in News by Alvin Te, OFM Friar Emmanuel Musara OFM began his final journey to the presence of the God he so faithfully served on Tuesday May 2, 2017. Emmanuel was currently serving as the Archdiocese of […]

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Gentle Giant with a Giant Heart, Remembering Fr. Emmanuel Musara, OFM

Friar Emmanuel Musara OFM began his final journey to the presence of the God he so faithfully served on Tuesday May 2, 2017.

Emmanuel was currently serving as the Archdiocese of Harare Hospital Chaplain and was a former Custos of the Custody of the Good Shepherd Zimbabwe (chosen as Custos by the friars in Zimbabwe in 2007 – 10 years ago). He was many things to many people during his lifetime, but he is remembered primarily as a humble servant of God who faithfully served the people he encountered. Emmanuel’s gentle soul and his soaring spirit will now find peace and joy in The Eternal Presence. He was in good spirits when I last talked with him despite him not being well. My heart is hurting. This is very sad and a shocking situation

Death is a human reality that St Francis of Assisi embraced as his sister.

In the song which he wrote praising God for creation, St Francis added the line:

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death, from whose embrace no mortal can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your will! The second death can do them no harm. Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks. And serve him with great humility.

St Francis saw Sister Death as a natural part of life through which we transition to continue our life with God. “Welcome, Sister Death!”

Death deprives the body of its life-giving soul, but it does not deny the reality of this life and its openness to the eternal presence of God. In welcoming death as our sister, we might serve as beacons of the Christian hope of new life and live the prophetic call of the Gospel, proclaiming “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

The death of Emmanuel, brings a void to all of us who valued his personal friendship and priestly ministry.

Baba Musara as he was fondly known was a wonderful and gifted priest who served with great care and compassion. Though he had been in declining health in recent months, his death was unexpected.

The first time I met Emmanuel it was like meeting a gentle giant. I am not talking in terms of his stature, which of course he came across as a giant, he was tall, heavy-set, broad shouldered rather I am talking about his heart.

He was loving, caring, and extremely generous. He had an amazing sense of humour, no matter how bad things got. The Franciscan Family will be much poorer because of his death, and I doubt we will see another like him for some time.

Emmanuel was courageous, wise, personally gracious, immensely hard working, and productive, both a role model and a support for the next generation of Friars. Wide in his sympathies, Emmanuel would do without himself and give to others. Even on his hospital bed he still ministered, truly a servant of the people. Away from the public eye Emmanuel made good use of Facebook and WhatsApp to encourage and uplift others. He had a heart of gold. His passing is a loss to us all.

Emmanuel served his people with honesty and integrity, humility and kindness. He knew his calling was to continue the mission of Jesus: “to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives, set the downtrodden free…” (Luke 4:18).

Our God had better plans for him.

If the Good Lord had given him more time, he could have accomplished much more. However, this was not meant to be. It appears our God had better plans for him, a life of peace and rest in His eternal love and glory, another soul who will joyfully sing His praise. Goodbye Manu, all who knew and loved you will surely miss you for years to come. As they continue to live, you will never be forgotten to the end of time. You have done so much selflessly that in our hearts we know that your soul is resting in God’s peace and shining above. Until we meet with you at Jesus’s feet. As our life lasts, God knows we are doing our utmost to work at it. God bless your soul. May God be blest and praised in His angels and in his saints.

Emmanuel’s coffin contains a huge lifetime, because it touched lives, and it saved souls. Emmanuel loved being a priest. The priesthood is a great legacy of service to leave to the world. Emmanuel never took that lightly.

“I have waited for you and you have come.”

But alas, it was time. And Emmanuel passed from this life to the next. The gentle giant with a giant heart has rested. Hopefully he heard the words, “Hey Big Guy, I have waited for you and now you have come” just as St Pope John Paul II said in his last moments, “I have waited for you and you have come.” To our brother, priest, friend, Emmanuel, I say to you thank you for your life, an interesting life that allowed you to be a good priest of Jesus Christ. We pray that you may now be free of pain, free from illness, with the humility that God taught you in these last few months through illness, which is a humility that all of us should believe in and allow ourselves to be cared for by God and our sisters and brothers. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Pax et bonum.

Ashley D. Mwanza S.F.O
Good Shepherd Nhau/News
Zimbabwean Franciscan Mission Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 5 – May/July 2017

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#FriarFriday – The Year of Three Chapters https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/16/friarfriday-year-three-chapters/ https://usfranciscans.org/2017/06/16/friarfriday-year-three-chapters/#respond Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:30:32 +0000 https://usfranciscans.org/?p=26649 In his Rule of Life, St. Francis of Assisi instructs those who are ministers and custodians of the friars to assemble once in every three years.

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In his Rule of Life, approved by the pope in 1223, St. Francis of Assisi instructs those who are “ministers and custodians” of the friars “to assemble in whatever place the general minister may have designated. Let them do this once in every three years, or at other longer and shorter intervals.” (The Later Rule, Chapter VIII).

These meetings, or “chapters,” of the friars have been a part of Franciscan life since the very beginning. In the normal course of the life of the International Order, and of a local province or custody (a smaller regional group), the chapter meets every three years. Each group determines whether delegates or all the friars (depending on the group’s size and local custom), will make up the chapter membership.

The most important business of a chapter is to elect new leadership—a “provincial” or “custodial” minister, a “vicar” (second-in-charge), and “councilors” to serve as advisers. But the chapter also addresses “big issues” facing the community on each level. How best to live together? How to carry on the Gospel mission? What structures can best govern the fraternity? The chapter is also a time for friars to be together in fraternity, enjoying one another’s company in prayer and socializing.

All of this explanation is by way of setting up what was, for me, a most unusual experience: How did I come to take part in three chapters?

For my own Province of St. John the Baptist, in the U.S., it was an election year. Our provincial minister had completed nine years of service in that job, and was ready to hand over his responsibilities to another brother! Our friars were to meet in chapter at St. Meinrad Archabbey, in southern Indiana, in May. But by the time May rolled around, I had already participated in another chapter—on the other side of the world!

Last summer, I was chosen by our general minister in Rome, Friar Michael Perry OFM, to serve as a “general visitor” to the friars of the Custody of St. John the Baptist, in Pakistan. It is the custom among us to have an outsider—a friar of another region and group—to conduct a fraternal “visitation” when there is an election of the main leader—the “minister of the province (or custody). Before this, each friar there gets a chance to meet individually and share with the “visitor” about his life and ministry. The general visitor also learns how the friars in that part of the world carry out their mission and live Franciscan life. Each friar is free to voice personal needs, and—if need be—complaints, in a “safe setting.”

When the chapter meets, the visitor presides and oversees the elections. This practice ensures objectivity and fairness in elections. But more importantly, it connects the friars with the larger Franciscan Order. The visitor’s report to the chapter offers suggestions for change and growth, as well as affirmation, to the friars.

My job as “general visitor” took place in two parts: the month of January and two weeks in April. My task was relatively easy: the friars in Pakistan are a small group—32 friars in solemn vows, and 17 student friars in formation. In April, we celebrated the chapter—a week filled with prayer, discussions, sharing of meals and much fraternity—all in the 100-degree heat of Karachi, Pakistan!

The friars spoke of how they must live Franciscan life as part of a minority religion in a Muslim society. Their faith and that of the people they serve was a great witness to me. It was a privilege meet them and to share their lives.

After my return to the U.S. in April, I traveled to Indiana for my own provincial chapter at St. Meinrad’s. It was good to see many of my brothers. Our chapter was larger: We had 95 friars attending. Our “general visitor,” who came from Ireland, gave a report and conducted elections, as I had in Pakistan. We also had some big issues to discuss—our future life here in the U.S., and important social justice issues which we will seek to promote in the coming three.

When our chapter ended, I had but one night’s rest before flying to New Mexico to take part in my third chapter of the year! This time, I had been “hired” to serve as recording secretary for the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose friars work primarily in New Mexico and Arizona.

Much was similar, with elections and deliberations—but the issues were unique to friars who minister with Native Americans and Spanish-speaking Catholics. The setting, too, was different. It took place in the beautiful “land of enchantment” near towering mountains and wide deserts and big sky.

Back home now, I am glad the “year of three chapters” is over for me! But it has been a great grace. I had the rare privilege of taking part in three gatherings which showed me how Franciscans are the same, no matter where we meet. We love to celebrate our Gospel lives, share stories, pray wholeheartedly for God’s guidance, and face the future with hope. Our languages may vary; our issues differ; but we hearken back to the same Rule in which St. Francis wrote: “Wherever the brothers may be and meet one another, let them show that they are members of the same family” (The Later Rule, Chapter VI).

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