Today work in the Chapter auditorium began at 10:00 a.m. The Capitulars offered best wishes to Friar Miljenko HONTIĆ of the Province of St. Jerome in Croatia for his twenty-seven years of priesthood.
Friar Jerzy NOREL of the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk) presented the Emmaus inter-obediential course. This is an ongoing formation initiative, in Italian, coordinated by the inter-obediential community and the Custody of the Holy Land belonging to the Friars Minor. The course is aimed at friars who have been solemnly professed for at least ten years, to undergo spiritual renewal and resume their journey with more courage. The course lasts five weeks, from September 28 to November 3, 2019. In 2020, the course will be offered again, in English. The course is limited to twelve friar-participants, six from each family, in order to provide a true fraternal experience. Registration must be submitted by July 15, 2019.
Friar Leo PAYYAPPILLY, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in India, addressed the Capitulars with a summary of the situation in the Kerala, which was devastated by a flood last year. He gave an account of what our Jurisdictions contributed, and thanked all the confreres for their help and attentive concern.
Discussion resumed on the Motion for financing missions. It had been reformulated by the Steering Committee. Friar Francesco RAVAIOLI from the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy) presented the new Motion, now entitled the Missionary Projects”. In it, the General Chapter asks the Minister General with his Definitory to consider and evaluate the creation of an office to promote missionary projects in the Order, as part of the reorganization of the General Secretariat for Mission Animation. After some debate, the Motion was approved without iuxta modum.
The Capitulars then moved on to a discussion of the Ratio Studiorum. Friar Emanuele RIMOLI, the Actuary Secretary of the Chapter, gave a speech on how the current text of the Ratio Studiorum came about. In particular, he reported on the Order’s study centers. The material collected from study centers on their proposals to deal with their problems had just been organized.
The Capitulars continued with the group work on the Ratio Studiorum according to Coetus. The groups discussed the text’s strengths and weaknesses and offered suggestions.
In the afternoon, the Coetus secretaries gave a summary of their group’s discussions. Next, the Capitulars voted on a motion prepared by the Steering Committee on Franciscan Discipleship and the Ratio Studiorum. The General Chapter asks the Minister General with his Definitory to review Franciscan Discipleship and the Ratio Studiorum, taking into account the suggestions received during the assembly. Franciscan Discipleship will be approved ad experimentum by the General Definitory by 2022 and be submitted for the approval of the 2025 Ordinary General Chapter. The Ratio Studiorum will be definitively approved by the General Definitory itself, by 2022, because the approval of the Chapter is not required by the Constitutions.
The Capitulars went back to meeting according to Coetus, to give indications for the Ordinary General Chapter of 2025, as requested by the Directory. The suggestions collected by each Coetus will be reported in the Aula. The prevailing indication is for the Chapter to be held in Assisi or its surroundings, in an attempt to reduce the amount time spent doing Capitular work.
The day ended with Mass and an after dinner celebration, since the Chapter work will probably conclude tomorrow.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
In the beautiful passage from Second Corinthians that we hear today Paul speaks of himself and the apostles being an earthen vessel. While the treasure they hold within themselves is precious, the life and death and resurrection of Christ, they themselves are fragile. They had been beaten and flogged and imprisoned. The enemies of the faith could easily kill them, but the Word of God could not be imprisoned.
As we finish our chapter, it might be good to reflect upon ourselves and our friars. We are what we are. We have many good friars, and many more friars who try to be good. We have our faults and we make mistakes. Yet, in spite of this all, God works through us. If you doubt that, just ask some of the people with whom we work what they think of the friars. While there are some exceptions, most of them will speak very highly of who we are and what we do.
Yes, we are earthen vessels, but that treasure does shine through. We thank God for that gift. That which God does through us is so much greater than that for which we could hope.