On Sunday, most of the Capitulars transferred to the Seraphicum College in Rome, where they enjoyed a day of rest. Today, Monday, the last day of the Chapter, was dedicated to an audience with Pope Francis.
At 9:00 a.m., His Eminence, Angelo Cardinal COMASTRI, the Vicar General for Vatican City, presided over Mass in the apse at the end of St. Peter’s Basilica. The cardinal mentioned the “Little Testament of Siena” of St. Francis of Assisi, which says how “the friars should always love each other, always love and follow our Lady, Holy Poverty, and always be faithful and submissive to the prelates and all clerics of Holy Mother Church.” The new Government of the Order is called to guide the confreres to love each other and love the Church, so that our charism may be lived ever more deeply.
After the Mass, the Capitulars moved to the Clementine Hall, where at around noon the audience with Pope Francis began. After a salutation from the newly elected Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, the Pope then spoke and invited the friars to live as “brothers and in minority.” St. Francis remains relevant because he put the Gospel at the center of his life. Thus today, as his younger brothers, we must proclaim the Good News with our words and our lives.
After imparting his apostolic blessing, Pope Francis bade the Capitulars farewell and thanked them for their prayers for him and his service.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
202nd Ordinary General Chapter of the Friars Minor Conventual
Monday, June 17, 2019, 12:00 p.m. — Clementine Hall
SALUTATION FROM THE MINISTER GENERAL
Most Holy Father,
I thank you, on behalf of all the friars present here, for having granted us a private audience this morning at the end of our 202nd Ordinary General Chapter, which began in Assisi, last May 18.
Like Saint Francis with his companions, we too have come to the See of Peter to affirm our faith and confirm our service to Christ the Lord and his Church and to ask you for your blessing—for me, the newly elected Minister General and the 120th successor of St. Francis, for the General Definitors who will collaborate with me in the Government at the service of the Order, for the friar Capitulars and finally for the whole Order.
We cannot hide what our hearts feel when we come before the “Lord Pope” (as the Saint of Assisi liked to say): that is, besides our devotion, we feel an immense joy and a great familiarity, since we find in the same person, one who is both the Holy Father and “Francis”.
During our Chapter assembly, we were able to look at the life of the Order in recent years. There are many reasons for hope. We have the custody of Franciscan, Antonian and Kolbean places, we have flourishing vocations in some southern countries, activities in new street evangelization and mass media and many missions ad gentes. We have solidarity of resources within the Order, various charitable activities for the most marginalized, open dialogue with our Muslim brothers on the 800th anniversary of the meeting of St. Francis with the Sultan, eco-sustainability projects taking place in some Jurisdictions, and last but not least, seeing friars and lay people who belong to our Franciscan Family rise to the honors of the altars, thanks to your consent.
We are also aware of our many weaknesses, which you know well. Still, we are filled with hope because the Chapter has confidently addressed the challenges which have arisen from our weaknesses: persevering in our vocation and our elected offices; maintaining the evangelical quality of our lifestyle; creating a suitable relationship with the world of social media, responding to the suffering and clamor of the world. Furthermore, we have already confirmed some very concrete challenges, such as the creation of the Franciscan University in Rome, which you strongly desired, as a sign of unity among the Franciscan families.
Holy Father, I conclude by asking for your word of confirmation and encouragement for this great fraternity comprised of Ministers Provincial, Custodes and Delegates from around the world, and I assure you that we will not forget to pray for you, asking for the intercession of St. Francis for your ministry as Father and Pastor.
Finally, let me again express our gratitude, Pope Francis, for having welcomed us and I add heartily, as a personal thanks to you, for the style of being Church which, as a gift of God, you show and teach us.
Peace and All Good, Your Holiness. May God always protect you.
Friar Carlos Trovarelli