Today at Mass, we commemorated Friars Michał TOMASZEK and Zbigniew STRZAŁKOWSKI the Blessed Martyrs of Pariacoto, Peru. Friar Dariusz MAZUREK, the Delegate for the Provincial Delegation in Peru was the presider.
In his homily, Friar Jude mentioned that Jesus healed St. Peter’s three denials by asking three questions about how much Peter loved him. The Good Shepherd entrusted his flock to Peter, who would have to overcome all his fears through the power of the Holy Spirit. In this Chapter, the friars who are called to play a role of authority must always ask themselves whether they follow the logic of love or power.
In the Chapter auditorium, the Secretary General congratulated Friar Jarosław WYSOCZAŃSKI on his 33rd anniversary of priesthood.
Discussion in the Aula began with a new Motion presented by Friar Wayne HELLMANN, the Minister Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation in the USA, on behalf of the Conventual Franciscan Federation (CFF). The Government of the Order is asked to make a study on a possible restructuring of the Federations of the Order. According to the authors of the Motion, the composition of the current Federations does not take into account the current numerical, cultural, linguistic and geographical reality of the friars. After some discussion, the Motion was approved.
Then, an alternative text to Motion No. 1, concerning mission, was presented by Friar Dariusz MAZUREK. It proposed that contracts should be made to ensure greater stability in collaboration between the Provinces. In the study of the Franciscan models of mission, the friars should choose to live by adequate means, bearing in mind the virtue of poverty in the charism of the Order, and when possible, promoting the direct involvement of the laity in missionary activity. Finally, the restructuring of the General Secretariat for Mission Animation (SGAM) was requested, to facilitate it in collecting and analyzing information on the state of our missions; proposing development programs for existing missions of the Order and drawing up plans for new presences; and coordinating missionary initiatives for the New Evangelization. Also, a qualified working group was asked to be set up in the Secretariat to achieve these objectives. After some discussion, Motion No. 1 was approved with several iuxta modi.
Friar Gaspare LA BARBERA, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily) presented an alternative text to Motion No. 11 which concerns the redesign of the Jurisdictions of southern Italy. It involves the Province of St. Bernardine and St. Angelo in Italy (Abruzzo), the Province of the Seraphic Father St. Francis in Italy (Naples), the Province of St. Nicholas and St. Angelo in Italy (Puglia), The Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily) and the Provincial Custody of St. Daniel and Companion Martyrs in Italy (Calabria). The original text of the Motion had not been discussed in the Aula, so the Capitulars debated the already amended version. The new proposal called for eventually merging all five Jurisdictions into one Province. However, that would be the final step. The first step would be to unite Abruzzo and Puglia into one Province. Sicily and Calabria would be united into another Province. Finally Naples was asked to redesign its presences before it joined with other Jurisdictions. The whole process must be concluded by Easter of 2024. It will be guided by the Minister General with his Definitory. After a long and complex debate, the text was approved.
The Capitulars returned to work on the General Statutes. After having approved all the articles, iuxta modi and variations, the Capitulars voted chapter by chapter. Finally, the overall text of the General Statutes was unanimously approved.
The friars went on to discuss a text modifying the Special Statute for the Custody of the Sacred Convent of Assisi. The Capitulars approved that all solemnly professed friars who are affiliated to the Custody, whether in perpetuity or for a fixed time, and those residing there by letter of obedience, enjoy active and passive voice in the Custodial Chapter. With this vote the approval of the articles of the Special Statute was concluded. When the Capitulars vote chapter by chapter, the entire text will be approved.
The work continued with the discussion and approval of some iuxta modi on Motion No. 3 concerning the laity. In particular, the Motion asks the Jurisdictions to prepare a report on their collaboration with the laity, in order to share their experience, give everyone an idea of their current situation, disseminate good practices and identify Franciscan models for the future. It then asked the Jurisdictions to hold a Provincial/Custodial assembly of friars and laity to listen to each other and reflect together upon some joint initiatives of evangelization and on vocation animation and the promotion of consecrated life.
Finally, there was a vote on a iuxta modum on Motion No. 5 concerning the use of new media. In particular, the Motion asks the Government of the Order to establish guidelines for the use of this media by 2021, which must then be applied at the Jurisdiction level by 2022.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
In the Gospel this morning, we hear Jesus ask Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Obviously, three times to heal the triple denial. Furthermore, three times is the Hebrew way of saying the superlative. If Peter before was the denialist, now he is , the lovingest.
Jesus also gives Peter the mandate to be the shepherd. In John, Jesus is the good shepherd. Now he is giving that responsibility to Peter. We have to remember that this passage was written down long after Peter was dead, so it stands for Peter’s authority and also that of his successors.
Peter’s authority, like our authority in our community, is based upon love. Authority in the Church is not a question of power, but of service. Remember St. Francis’ attitude toward authority. While each religious should be obedient, each minister should aspire not to acquire and maintain positions of authority.
Do I truly love the friars whom I serve? Do I view my service of them as a privilege, for God has given me the opportunity to die to myself in my service?