Today’s Mass was presided over by the former Minister General, Friar Marco TASCA. Friar Jude delivered the homily. In it, he compared the lives of the soon to-be-elected Assistants General to the lives of the Apostles.
The Apostles were always traveling to proclaim the Gospel. This is not always a blessing, but it is true that the friars need to feel they have a close relation with the government of the Order, so that they may always see themselves within the fraternity of the Order.
In the Chapter auditorium, best wishes were expressed to Friar Tomasz WĘZIK on his 51st birthday, which actually fell on Sunday. Sunday was also the 18th anniversary of the priesthood for Friar Mateusz STACHOWSKI. Today, Monday , is the 30th anniversary of the priesthood for Friar Marek WILK, as well as the 19th anniversary of the priesthood for Friars Stanisław KAWA and Friar Darius MAZUREK.
The election of the General Definitory was next. We should remind you that the office of Definitor is incompatible with any other office in a particular Jurisdiction. Once some necessary paperwork had been completed, the Capitulars began voting.
The Vicar General was elected first. He is Friar Jan MACIEJOWSKI, the current Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk).
Friar Tomasz SZYMCZAK, the current Secretary General of the Chapter, a member of the Province of the Immaculate Mother of God in Poland (Warsaw) was elected a General Definitor and proposed for the office of Secretary General.
Friar Giovanni VOLTAN, the current Minister Provincial of the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy) was elected Assistant General for the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP).
Friar Tomáš LESŇÁK, the current Provincial Custos of the Provincial Custody of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. in Slovakia was elected Assistant General for the Foederatio Europae Mediae et Orientalis (FEMO). Then, Friar Benedict Seung-jae BAEK, the current Assistant General for the Federation of Asian Minors Conventual (FAMC) was confirmed for another term.
Friar Jude Martin WINKLER, the Assistant General for the Conventual Franciscan Federation (CFF) was also confirmed.
In the afternoon, Friar Dominique Joseph MATHIEU of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land was elected Assistant General for the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF). Since he was not part of the Chapter, he accepted the office to which he was called by telephone.
Friar Rogério Pereira XAVIER of the Province of St. Francis in Brazil was elected Assistant General for the Federación América Latina Conventuales (FALC).
Friar Anthony Bezo KUTIERO, the current Provincial Custos of the Provincial Custody of St. Anthony of Padua in Ghana was elected Assistant General for the African Federation of Conventual Franciscans (AFCOF).
The last vote was for the Secretary General; Friar Tomasz SZYMCZAK who had been proposed in the morning, was elected.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 28, will be dedicated to transferring the Capitulars and all the material for the Chapter to Collevalenza, Italy. The work of the Chapter will be postponed until Wednesday, when the discussion of the General Statutes will begin.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
Last week I spoke a bit of the cost of being the Minister General, that he must learn more and more to die to himself. Today we are choosing his definitory. The First Reading provides a bit of insight into the life that we are asking them to lead. Paul travels from Troas to Samothrace to Neapolis to Philippi. Most of the definitors will be living on the road because it is important for them to be with the friars. There was one time in this past mandate that I looked up at the screen with departures and arrivals and I had to ask myself, “Am I coming or going?”
But wherever they are, they will be asked to give witness. In the Gospel Jesus reminds his disciples that there is a cost to this. The disciples were to be thrown out of the synagogue. The assistants will at times have to suffer for giving witness to the truth. And the greatest suffering will surely be the cost of their own conversion, for they must continually purify their hearts and intentions to make sure that it is the Gospel they are preaching and not their own agenda. But Jesus promises his disciples and ourselves that he will send the Holy Spirit.
May the men we choose today be men of Spirit and Life.