Today was the liturgical commemoration of the Holy Martyrs of Uganda, Charles Lwanga and Companions. Today’s Mass was presided over by Friar Franco Buonamano, the Minister Provincial of the Italian Province of St. Francis of Assisi (Central Italy).
Best wishes were expressed to the Provincial Delegation in Uganda and to the newly elected Secretary General, Friar Tomasz SZYMCZAK, on the 13th anniversary of his priesthood.
The work of the Chapter resumed with Friar Jerzy NOREL of the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk) presenting Motion No. 2. In it, the General Chapter asked the Government of the Order to continue the “St. Bonaventure Project”, that is to train and prepare new formators and animators, for our formation centers and for ongoing formation courses promoted by the Federations and by the Order. It also called for collaboration among the Order’s Centers of Study, through the interchange of professors and friars who are experts in various disciplines concerning the charism, history and tradition of the Order. After some discussion, the motion was voted on and approved with some juxta modi.
In the afternoon, the Capitulars discussed and voted on some iuxta modi that had been presented in the previous days. The first to be approved concerned any Province which falls below the number of forty solemnly professed friars or the number of five friaries. Ordinarily, it shall cease to meet the requirements of being a Province and shall enter a transition phase. In this case, the Minister General is to proceed towards either its revitalization or its juridical redefinition.
Another iuxta modum concerned determining the specific manner of contributing towards solidarity within a Jurisdiction. This choice belongs to the Provincial or Custodial Chapter, or to the Minister Provincial with his Definitory, or to the Custos with his Definitory.
An article was then approved regarding the International Assistant of the M.I., an office held by the Minister General. After consulting with his Definitory, the Minister General can appoint a friar as his delegate to assist the M.I.
The Capitulars discussed and approved an alternative text for an article in the General Statutes that specified certain aspects of initial and ongoing formation. Greater focus is to be placed on the social doctrine of the Church and its practical, pastoral and homiletic applications.
The Capitulars discussed and approved another alternative text in the General Statutes concerning projects carried out by the Order and the Jurisdictions. These must always take into consideration the priority of following Christ in fraternal life and in formation.
Finally, a new text was approved, making it possible for the Minister General, after consulting the Federations, to appoint up to seven solemnly professed religious brothers, who are not priests, as voting members in the General Chapter.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
Our first reading today is taken from the Second Book of Maccabees to celebrate the memorial of the martyrs Charles Lwanga and his companions. It speaks of the mother and seven brothers who die during the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes as martyrs for the faith. In the Gospel we hear Jesus tell the disciples that they will have trouble in the world, but that he has conquered the world.
Both of these readings require us to view things from two points of view: that which is happening, and at a deeper spiritual level, that which is really happening. When we become busy with our work, albeit good and worthy of praise, and we don’t look at the deeper level of things, then we are missing the most important level.
A brother who dies in a starvation bunker in Auschwitz, a saint who loves God, loves his neighbors and even his enemies til death. A friar who after many years of being in charge is asked to take another role in the community that does not involve leadership, a friar who accepts the change as the will of God and finds meaning and value in whatever he is doing. A friar who can no longer care for himself and must be helped by others, a friar who graciously accepts the assistance from others and redefines his role as giving the brothers an opportunity to express their love and service by taking care of him.
It all depends how one looks at it.