Today, Friar Colin Charles SAMMUT, Vicar of the Province of St. Paul the Apostle in Malta, presided at Mass.
Friar Jude gave the homily and spoke about the glory of God in the Gospel of John. It corresponds to the offering that Jesus made of himself upon the cross. What is the true glory of our Order? We should illuminate everything we say and do with the light of the Gospel.
The work of the Chapter began with the presentation of Motion No. 3, by Friar Francesco RAVAIOLI from the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy). The General Chapter asked the individual Jurisdictions to further study the theme of the friars’ relationship, collaboration and apostolic responsibility with the laity. They were asked to conduct a Provincial/Custodial assembly of friars and laity to reflect together on some common projects of evangelization. After some discussion, the Capitulars voted on and approved the Motion.
Motion No 4 was presented by Friar Roberto BRANDINELLI, the Vicar Provincial of the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy). The General Chapter asked each Federation to promote reflection on issues concerning the current socio-environmental crisis in the world. Using the Pope’s Encyclical Laudato si’ as a reference point, we are to study its main lines of thinking and examine ways to consolidate a common ecological conscience. Each Jurisdiction shall then establish its own local criteria regarding issues of justice and matters of environmental sustainability. Each Jurisdiction is to evaluate and manage its own financial and property assets.
On the same theme, Friar Mauro GAMBETTI, the Custos of the Sacred Convent of Assisi, presented the “Brother Sun Project”. It fosters greater respect for environment through the ecological use of energy, water, materials that are consumed, etc. The result of devoting attention to ecology also yields economic savings. After some discussion, the Capitulars approved the text.
The Motion No. 5 was then presented by Friar Francesco PANIZZOLO, also from Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy). In it, the Minister General with his Definitory, are to carry out a reflection on the new forms of social media used by the religious, and then establish guidelines for using these means of communication in a clear and unambiguous way. After questions, clarifications and discussion in the Aula, the text was approved.
In the afternoon, changes were proposed for some already-approved articles in the General Statutes. The first item was the insertion of new lines of text dealing with exceptional cases, where the Minister General with the consent of his Definitory can allow the existence of a Custody which, due to specific ecclesial, socio-political and cultural conditions, is not capable of becoming a Province.
Another new text concerned Provincial or Custodial Delegates for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation. If a Jurisdiction cannot identify such a Delegate, one can be nominated through collaboration at the inter-Provincial or the Conference/Federation level.
An alternative text was approved which concerned exceptional cases, where for the good of the Province or Custody, the Minister General, with the consent of his Definitory, may anticipate or postpone the Provincial or Custodial Chapter by a period greater than six months.
The final vote of the day concerned the “friary chronicler”. Until now, this position did not exist in either the Constitutions or the General Statutes. This legislative gap was then filled by approving the existence of the office.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
In the Gospel, we hear Jesus pray to the Father that he might be given glory. Normally we define glory as power or magnificence. In the Gospel of John, glory is the outpouring of love. The hour of glory is the cross. The glory which the Father will give the Son is the call to die to himself so that we all might live in his love.
At times we hear the expression, the glory of the Order. Does this mean how many saints we have had, how many institutions we run, how many scholars we have produced? Or does it mean how much each of us is willing to die to self? How much each of us is willing to sacrifice what is comfortable for what is loving? How much are willing to sacrifice our dreams and hopes for the good of the Order? How much do we really believe that our minoritas is an expression of the glory of God?
Father, glorify our children!