Letter of Convocation

Dear broth­ers,
The time is upon us, there­fore, in accor­dance with no. 171 § 1 of the Con­sti­tu­tions, and no. 106 § 1 of the Gen­er­al Statutes, I here­by

announce and con­voke the 202nd Gen­er­al Chap­ter,

which will be cel­e­brat­ed start­ing Sat­ur­day, May 18, 2019, begin­ning at 4:30 p.m., at the Sacred Con­vent in Assisi, Italy. As an indi­ca­tion, the clos­ing date will be Tues­day, June 18, 2019.
As you have already been informed (let­ter dat­ed August 30, 2018), the Chap­ter will start at the Sacred Con­vent in Assisi and will con­tin­ue (start­ing May 28) at the Sanc­tu­ary of Mer­ci­ful Love in Coll­e­valen­za, Peru­gia, Italy.
Arrivals in Assisi are sched­uled for noon on Sat­ur­day, May 18, and depar­tures start June 18, 2019.

Here are some points regard­ing the upcom­ing Chap­ter:

1. Ordi­nary mem­bers at the Chap­ter.

A. Recall­ing what is set forth at no. 173 in the Con­sti­tu­tions of the Order:
§ 1. The capit­u­lars for each act of the ordi­nary and extra­or­di­nary Gen­er­al Chap­ter are: the Min­is­ter Gen­er­al, for­mer Min­is­ters Gen­er­al, Gen­er­al Defin­i­tors, Min­is­ters Provin­cial, Gen­er­al and Provin­cial Cus­todes, Gen­er­al Del­e­gates, and Provin­cial Del­e­gates accord­ing to the norms of the gen­er­al Statutes. (Gen­er­al Statutes no. 107).
§ 2. When the Min­is­ter Provin­cial or Gen­er­al Cus­tos is legit­i­mate­ly imped­ed the respec­tive Vic­ar shall attend the Chap­ter and should he also be imped­ed a del­e­gate should be sent by the respec­tive Supe­ri­or.

B. More­over, as an excep­tion for this Ordi­nary Gen­er­al Chap­ter only, as request­ed by the 2018 Extra­or­di­nary Gen­er­al Chap­ter, with the unan­i­mous approval of the Gen­er­al Defin­i­to­ry and rat­i­fi­ca­tion by the Con­gre­ga­tion for Insti­tutes of Con­se­crat­ed Life and Soci­eties of Apos­tolic Life (rescript dat­ed Octo­ber 25, 2018), and as an excep­tion to the prop­er law of the Order, sev­en reli­gious broth­ers (one for each of the Fed­er­a­tions) shall par­tic­i­pate pleno iure. They have been elect­ed by the Gen­er­al Defin­i­to­ry on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the Pres­i­dents of the Fed­er­a­tions.

2. Audi­tors at the Chap­ter.

In accor­dance with the Gen­er­al Statutes, those par­tic­i­pat­ing as ‘audi­tors’ at the Gen­er­al Chap­ter are:
—    the Del­e­gate of the Min­is­ter Provin­cial, on the con­di­tion that the Provin­cial Del­e­ga­tion has already exist­ed for a ten-year peri­od and at least ten fri­ars reside there. (Gen­er­al Statutes no. 10 §3);
—    the Procu­ra­tor Gen­er­al, the Gen­er­al Econom and the Sec­re­taries Gen­er­al for For­ma­tion and Mis­sion­ary Ani­ma­tion (Gen­er­al Statutes no. 120; 121; 30 §2; 66 §4).

3. Reports to be pre­sent­ed in the audi­to­ri­um dur­ing the Gen­er­al Chap­ter.

The Chap­ter shall be car­ried out accord­ing to the instruc­tions of the Direc­to­ry for the Cel­e­bra­tion of the Gen­er­al Chap­ter (Gen­er­al Statutes no. 96) and it pro­vides that the only reports to be read in their entire­ty in the audi­to­ri­um (Gen­er­al Statutes no. 117, §3) are: (a) the report of the Min­is­ter Gen­er­al, which shall be an expres­sion of the Gov­ern­ment of the Order (and there­fore shall be worked on with input from the Assis­tants Gen­er­al and con­tri­bu­tions from the Con­fer­ences and Fed­er­a­tions); (b) the report of the Procu­ra­tor of the Order; c) the report of the Gen­er­al Econom.
For the eight oth­er reports called for in no. 117 § 1 of the Gen­er­al Statutes, as well as the ninth report on the revi­sion of the Con­sti­tu­tions, sum­maries shall be pre­sent­ed which shall be fol­lowed by an oppor­tu­ni­ty to briefly dis­cuss the con­tents with the indi­vid­ual speak­ers. All full reports shall be sent out in advance.
We there­fore ask that all the afore­men­tioned reports (cf. Gen­er­al Statutes no. 117 §1) be sent to the Gen­er­al Sec­re­tari­at by Feb­ru­ary 11, 2019, so that the nec­es­sary trans­la­tions can be made and the reports dis­trib­uted before the Chap­ter begins. In addi­tion, I urge the respec­tive speak­ers to pre­pare a writ­ten sum­ma­ry to be pre­sent­ed in the Chap­ter, tak­ing into account the time indi­ca­tions for the pre­sen­ta­tion spec­i­fied by the Gen­er­al Sec­re­tari­at.

4. Top­ics to be dis­cussed in Chap­ter — Instru­men­tum Laboris.

The Instru­men­tum Laboris will basi­cal­ly con­sist of four parts:
A. Spe­cial motions Indi­vid­ual fri­ars and Juris­dic­tions may send the Min­is­ter Gen­er­al pro­pos­als for top­ics to be dis­cussed in the Chap­ter. These shall be sent by Decem­ber 15, 2018.
B.  Gen­er­al Statutes In order to com­plete the prop­er law of the Order (com­posed of the Con­sti­tu­tions approved by the 2018 Extra­or­di­nary Gen­er­al Chap­ter and pend­ing for­mal approval by the Con­gre­ga­tion for Insti­tutes of Con­se­crat­ed Life and Soci­eties of Apos­tolic Life) the 2019 Gen­er­al Chap­ter is called upon to approve the revised Gen­er­al Statutes.
C. Fran­cis­can Dis­ci­ple­ship
D. Ratio Stu­dio­rum

We intend to send the var­i­ous reports and the Instru­men­tum Laboris, trans­lat­ed into the dif­fer­ent lan­guages, to the Capit­u­lars by March 16, 2019. I rec­om­mend that the Min­is­ters Provin­cial and Cus­todes close­ly exam­ine all the doc­u­ments and togeth­er with their respec­tive Defin­i­tors, reflect upon them at Provin­cial meet­ings or by sim­i­lar means, so as to make mean­ing­ful con­tri­bu­tions to the Gen­er­al Chap­ter in order to val­i­date and plan the life of the Order.

5. The date of the elec­tion of the Min­is­ter Gen­er­al

The elec­tion of the Min­is­ter Gen­er­al is sched­uled for May 25, 2019.

Dear broth­ers, the Gen­er­al Chap­ter is “the supreme author­i­ty for the whole Order” (Con­sti­tu­tions 156 § 1), it is also an occa­sion to val­i­date and renew the life of our Fam­i­ly.
In accor­dance with the think­ing of our father St. Fran­cis, the fri­ars at Chap­ter must first “deal with those things that per­tain to God” (Ear­li­er Rule 18, 1; FF 50). The Chap­ter is an inten­sive time of prayer and faith, in which the Order intends to put the pri­ma­cy of God at the cen­ter of its exis­tence and choic­es.
The Chap­ter, then, is a time of fra­ter­nal encounter, of exchange of expe­ri­ences, of mutu­al enrich­ment. The pres­ence of so many fri­ars of dif­fer­ent cul­tures, com­ing from var­i­ous parts of the world, increas­es our sense of fam­i­ly and, at the same time, demon­strates how the same charism can be lived in dif­fer­ent forms.
It is a time, again, of seri­ous and labo­ri­ous exam­i­na­tion through which the Order ques­tions itself on its fideli­ty to the charism of St. Fran­cis and seeks to be faith­ful and rel­e­vant in our time and in our soci­ety.
Fur­ther­more, the Chap­ter is tasked with plan­ning the Order’s path for the next six years, choos­ing a new gov­ern­ment and prepar­ing oper­a­tional guide­lines, moti­vat­ed by Pope Fran­cis’ appeal to reflect on the prophet­ic vision of Con­ven­tu­al Fran­cis­can reli­gious life in the Church today.
In con­clu­sion, I would like to remind you that the Gen­er­al Chap­ter is a pow­er­ful expe­ri­ence for every fri­ar. I ask every­one to pray that the work of the Chap­ter may be car­ried out effec­tive­ly. To this end, I would ask that they offer up their toil and dai­ly sac­ri­fice to the Lord for the ben­e­fit of our fri­ars who are sick and suf­fer­ing. Every­one will be able to fol­low the work of the Chap­ter on the Order’s web­site.

As a moment of com­mu­nion in prayer and sup­pli­ca­tion to the Lord, I rec­om­mend that from Feb­ru­ary 17, 2019, until the con­clu­sion of the Gen­er­al Chap­ter, each com­mu­ni­ty add the prayers attached to this let­ter (or oth­er suit­able prayers pre­pared by the Min­is­ters Provin­cial and Cus­todes) to the invo­ca­tions of Morn­ing Prayer and the inter­ces­sions of Evening Prayer.  More­over, dur­ing the Gen­er­al Chap­ter, every com­mu­ni­ty of the Order shall cel­e­brate the Mass of the Holy Spir­it for three days.

I entrust this time of prepa­ra­tion, and the work of the Gen­er­al Chap­ter, to the inter­ces­sion of the Immac­u­late Vir­gin, our Lady and Patroness, and our Seraph­ic Father St. Fran­cis. To all of you, I wish a life lived in holi­ness.

Rome, Fri­ary of the Twelve Holy Apos­tles, Novem­ber 16, 2018

Fri­ar Mar­co Tas­ca, Min­is­ter Gen­er­al
Fri­ar Vin­cen­zo Mar­coli, Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al