2019 Ordinary General Chapter

On Sat­ur­day, May 18, 2019, the 202nd Ordi­nary Gen­er­al Chap­ter of the Fri­ars Minor Con­ven­tu­al began at the Sacred Con­vent in Assisi.

Its first duty was to elect the Record­ing Sec­re­tary, Fri­ar Emanuele RIMOLI, who then offi­cial­ly opened the work of the Chap­ter. There were 91 Capit­u­lars and 13 audi­tors (with­out the right to vote). The tal­ly of Capit­u­lars accord­ing to their Fed­er­a­tion of ori­gin was as fol­lows: African Fed­er­a­tion of Con­ven­tu­al Fran­cis­cans (AFCOF) – 9; Cen­tralis Europae Foed­er­a­tio (CEF) – 11; Con­ven­tu­al Fran­cis­can Fed­er­a­tion (CFF) – 13; Fed­eración Améri­ca Lati­na Con­ven­tuales (FALC) – 16; Fed­er­a­tion of Asian Minors Con­ven­tu­al (FAMC) – 8; Foed­er­a­tio Europae Medi­ae et Ori­en­tal­is (FEMO) – 19; and Fed­er­azione Inter-mediter­ranea Min­istri Provin­ciali (FIMP) – 28.

The next day was ded­i­cat­ed to reflec­tion and prayer. His Emi­nence, Luis Anto­nio Gokim Car­di­nal TAGLE, Met­ro­pol­i­tan Arch­bish­op of Mani­la, the Philip­pines, and Pres­i­dent of Inter­na­tion­al Car­i­tas, gave two talks, one in the morn­ing on prophe­cy and anoth­er in the after­noon on mis­sion. He also presided over the Mass.

On Mon­day, May 20, Fri­ar Tomasz SZYMCZAK was elect­ed Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al of the Chap­ter and Fri­ars Jan MACIEJOWSKI, Col­in Charles SAMMUT and Fri­ar Mau­r­izio BRIDIO were elect­ed Mod­er­a­tors. In the after­noon, the out­go­ing Min­is­ter Gen­er­al, Fri­ar Mar­co TASCA, read his report. In it, he men­tioned the vital­i­ty of our Juris­dic­tions in the south­ern hemi­sphere, and the aging of the fri­ars in some of our more ancient Jurisdictions.

As the Chap­ter pro­gressed, reports were heard from the Gen­er­al Procu­ra­tor, Fri­ar Mau­r­izio DI PAOLO; the Gen­er­al Del­e­gate for the Sec­ond Order and Affil­i­at­ed Insti­tu­tions, Fri­ar Ger­mano TOGNETTI; the Gen­er­al Assis­tant for the Sec­u­lar Fran­cis­can Order (OFS), Fri­ar Alfred PARAMBAKATHU; the Inter­na­tion­al Pres­i­dent of the Mili­tia of the Immac­u­late (M.I.), Fri­ar Raf­faele DI MURO; the Gen­er­al Econom, Fri­ar Nico­la ROSA; the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al for For­ma­tion, Fri­ar Louis PANTHIRUVELIL; the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al for Mis­sion Ani­ma­tion, Fri­ar Jarosław WYSOCZAŃSKI; the Pos­tu­la­tor Gen­er­al, Fri­ar Dami­an-Ghe­o­rghe PĂTRAŞCU; the Gen­er­al Del­e­gate for Jus­tice, Peace and Integri­ty of Cre­ation, Fri­ar Joseph BLAY; the Gen­er­al Del­e­gate for Ecu­menism and Inter­re­li­gious Dia­logue, Fri­ar Sil­vestru BEJAN, and the Sec­re­tary of the Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee for the Revi­sion of the Con­sti­tu­tions, Fri­ar Tim­o­thy KULBICKI.

After­wards, the reports were dis­cussed in mixed groups. On Sat­ur­day, May 25, the Capit­u­lars elect­ed Fri­ar Car­los Alber­to TROVARELLI as the 120th Min­is­ter Gen­er­al of the Order. Fri­ar Car­los belongs to the reli­gious “Rio­platense” Province of St. Antho­ny of Pad­ua in Argenti­na and Uruguay. He was born in Cin­co Saltos (Rio Negro), Argenti­na, on June 21, 1962. He made his solemn pro­fes­sion on Octo­ber 4, 1990, and was ordained to the priest­hood on March 25, 1995.

On Mon­day, May 27, the Gen­er­al Defin­i­tors were elect­ed. They are: the Vic­ar Gen­er­al, Fri­ar Jan MACIEJOWSKI, cur­rent Min­is­ter Provin­cial of the Province of St. Max­i­m­il­ian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk); the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al, Fri­ar Tomasz SZYMCZAK of the Province of the Immac­u­late Moth­er of God in Poland (War­saw); the Assis­tant Gen­er­al for the FIMP Fed­er­a­tion, Fri­ar Gio­van­ni VOLTAN, cur­rent Min­is­ter Provin­cial of the Ital­ian Province of St. Antho­ny of Pad­ua (North­ern Italy); the Assis­tant Gen­er­al for the FEMO Fed­er­a­tion, Fri­ar Tomáš LESŇÁK, cur­rent Provin­cial Cus­tos of the Provin­cial Cus­tody of the Immac­u­late Con­cep­tion of the B.V.M. in Slo­va­kia; the Assis­tant Gen­er­al for the FAMC Fed­er­a­tion, (recon­firmed) Fri­ar Benedet­to Seung-jae BAEK; the Assis­tant Gen­er­al for the CFF Fed­er­a­tion (recon­firmed) Fri­ar Jude Mar­tin WINKLER; the Assis­tant Gen­er­al for the CEF Fed­er­a­tion, Fri­ar Dominique Joseph MATHIEU of the Provin­cial Cus­tody of the Ori­ent and the Holy Land; the Assis­tant Gen­er­al for the FALC Fed­er­a­tion, Fri­ar Rogério PEREIRA XAVIER of the Province of St. Fran­cis in Brazil; the Assis­tant Gen­er­al for the AFCOF Fed­er­a­tion, Fri­ar Antho­ny Bezo KUTIERO, cur­rent Provin­cial Cus­tos of the Provin­cial Cus­tody of St. Antho­ny of Pad­ua in Ghana.

On Tues­day, May 28, the Chap­ter was trans­ferred to the Sanc­tu­ary of Mer­ci­ful Love in Coll­e­valen­za, Italy. On Wednes­day, May 29, dis­cus­sion and vot­ing on the Gen­er­al Statutes began. Its chap­ters fol­lowed the themes of the Con­sti­tu­tions. As was done at the 2018 Extra­or­di­nary Gen­er­al Chap­ter, the Capit­u­lars vot­ed arti­cle by arti­cle and there were many iux­ta modum.

At the same time, the Capit­u­lars dis­cussed and vot­ed on the Motions. Of note was Motion No. 8, which con­cerned the revi­sion of a Spe­cial Statute for the Gen­er­al Cus­tody of Assisi and the Sacred Con­vent of St. Fran­cis in Assisi. Its main issues con­cerned the mis­sio of Assisi’s three com­mu­ni­ties (Sacred Con­vent, Fran­cis­canum and Riv­o­tor­to), the priv­i­lege of its “dou­ble belong­ing” and the vot­ing mem­bers of its Cus­to­di­al Chapter.

Motion No. 11 was equal­ly impor­tant. It dealt with the redesign of the Juris­dic­tions of south­ern Italy. It involved 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 approved pro­pos­al called for Abruz­zo and Puglia to unite into one Province; Sici­ly and Cal­abria to unite into anoth­er Province; and Naples was asked to redesign its pres­ences before it joined with oth­er Juris­dic­tions. The whole process is to be con­clud­ed by East­er of 2024.

On Fri­day, June 7, the over­all text of the Gen­er­al Statutes was unan­i­mous­ly approved.

On Sat­ur­day, June 8, Fri­ar Kaz­imierz SZULC, the Provin­cial Cus­tos of the Provin­cial Cus­tody of St. Fran­cis of Assisi in Kenya, pre­sent­ed a Motion to erect the Cus­tody as a Province. Kenya has around forty solemn­ly pro­fessed fri­ars and six fri­aries. Like­wise, Fri­ar Max­i­m­il­ianus Kalef SEMBIRING the Cus­tos of the Provin­cial Cus­tody of Mary Immac­u­late in Indone­sia pre­sent­ed a Motion to erect the Cus­tody as a Province; Indone­sia has eight fri­aries and around sev­en­ty-five solemn­ly pro­fessed fri­ars. After some dis­cus­sion, the Capit­u­lars vot­ed by accla­ma­tion and unan­i­mous­ly approved the erec­tion of both Provinces.

On Mon­day June 10, Fri­ar Louis PANTHIRUVELIL and Fri­ar Franklin Anto­nio DURÁN ZAMBRANO, Sec­re­tary and Vice-Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al for For­ma­tion, sum­ma­rized the con­tents of Fran­cis­can Dis­ci­ple­ship. In its Part I, for­ma­tion is seen as one being con­formed to Christ. Part II deals with the stages of for­ma­tion. Part III is about ongo­ing for­ma­tion as a con­tin­u­ous for­ma­tive jour­ney of the fri­ar; and Part IV deals with the com­pe­tences of the Supe­ri­ors in the for­ma­tion field and in the for­ma­tion of for­ma­tors. The Capit­u­lars dis­cussed the doc­u­ment in the Aula and worked on its eval­u­a­tion, grouped accord­ing to Coe­tus.

On Wednes­day, June 12, the Ratio Stu­dio­rum was pre­sent­ed, again by Fri­ars Louis PANTHIRUVELIL and Franklin Anto­nio DURÁN ZAMBRANO. The first chap­ter deals with the intel­lec­tu­al for­ma­tion of the fri­ars. The sec­ond chap­ter cov­ers the areas of study in var­i­ous for­ma­tion stages. The third chap­ter is about the pro­tag­o­nists of intel­lec­tu­al for­ma­tion. Final­ly, the fourth chap­ter exam­ines the struc­tures and means used for studies.

On Fri­day, June 14, the Motion pre­pared by the Steer­ing Com­mit­tee for Fran­cis­can Dis­ci­ple­ship and the Ratio Stu­dio­rum was approved. 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.

On Sat­ur­day, June 15, An “Open Let­ter to All the Fra­ter­ni­ties of the Order from the Fri­ars Gath­ered at the 202nd Ordi­nary Gen­er­al Chap­ter of 2019” was pre­sent­ed in the Aula. All the con­fr­eres were invit­ed to be signs of reconciliation—friars in har­mo­ny with all of cre­ation. In ful­fil­ment of its final duties, the Chap­ter assem­bly elect­ed the Gen­er­al Econom, recon­firm­ing Fri­ar Nico­la ROSA from the Province of St. Nicholas and St. Ange­lo in Italy (Puglia). Fri­ar Leszek ŁUCZKANIN of the Province of St. Max­i­m­il­ian M. Kolbe in Poland (Gdańsk) was elect­ed the Gen­er­al Exactor.

On June 17, His Emi­nence, Ange­lo Car­di­nal COMASTRI, presided over Mass in St. Peter’s Basil­i­ca. At noon, there was an audi­ence with Pope Fran­cis in the Clemen­tine Hall. 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.” 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