The presider at Mass today was Friar Jorge Arturo DOBLES ULLOA, the Custos of the Provincial Custody of Mary, Mother of Mercy in Central America. The Mass commemorated St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr. Friar Jorge congratulated the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany and the many confreres living there.
Friar Jude’s homily was about St. Paul’s greeting to the elders of the Church of Ephesus. We must learn to experience our feelings fully. Religious should not be robots; they should allow themselves to feel, as Jesus Christ did.
Best wishes went to Friar José Luis AVENDAÑO MONSALVE, the Custos of the Provincial Custody of Our Lady of Coromoto in Venezuela, for his 52nd birthday, and Friar Józef BŁASZAK Custos of the Provincial Custody of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Canada for his 43rd anniversary of priesthood.
Friar Miljenko HONTIĆ of the Province of St. Jerome in Croatia presented Motion No. 6. The Motion asks that youth and vocation ministry be inserted into the Order’s Six-Year Plan. The purpose of the Motion is to promote pastoral work with young people following the Synod of Bishops on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment. It is also hoped that each Jurisdiction will identify a Definitor or a Delegate of the Province or Custody so that activities in this field can be more concretely animated. Moreover, one could hypothesize the General Secretariat for Formation having one of its members work part time in youth and vocation ministry. After a broad discussion, the Capitulars approved the motion.
Next, the Capitulars moved on to Motion No. 7. In it, the General Chapter mandates the Minister General with his Definitory to proceed with the revision of the Directory for the Celebration of the General Chapter and the Directory for the Celebration of the Provincial and Custodial Chapter. A presentation was made by Friar James McCURRY, the Minister Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of the Angels in the USA. A revision of the Directory was requested in light of the recently approved Constitutions and the new General Statutes. Moreover, it has been prompted by the experience of the Provincial Chapters in recent years. Particularly for larger Jurisdictions, holding a fraternal assembly before the start of the Chapter has proven to be very useful. The Motion was approved by a large majority.
Motion No. 8 was discussed, which concerns the revision of the Special Statute for the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Assisi. The Custos of Assisi, Friar Mauro GAMBETTI, presented the Motion. Its main issues concern the missio of Assisi’s three communities (Sacred Convent, Franciscanum and Rivotorto), the privilege of its ‘double belonging’ and its Custodial Chapter.
Above all, the special nature of the Sacred Convent, which contains the relics of St. Francis, was reaffirmed. The Custody also wants to offer friars an opportunity to take a charismatic formation course that is in keeping with the Custody’s document, “Propositum Vitae”. The course would provide an experience of life in fraternity, service and study for a specific period.
The Friary of Rivotorto, in addition to serving the parish, is a home for Franciscan spirituality. It is characterized by a Franciscan style that recaptures the values of living in the “Tugurio” (hovel) as St. Francis once did. It offers hospitality for the formation of the friars and welcomes pilgrims, particularly young people.
The community of the Franciscanum is characterized by hospitality and educational activity aimed at the friars; for hosting friars engaged in ongoing formation programs; and for activities performed as part of the “Spirit of Assisi”.
The Delegates are elected in proportion to one of every four friars participate in the Custodial Chapter, according to the system of delegates of both the friary and the Custody. The Custodial Vicar and the Vicar of the Sacred Convent can be two different friars, according to what is needed and the gravity of the commitments involved.
Having already voted two hundred times today, the discussion on the Statute of the Sacred Convent was suspended and the iuxta modum shall be continued with the text of the General Statutes.
A change was approved which asked to determine the manner for the contributions of the Provinces and Custodies for the fraternal solidarity fund, taking into account the economic commitment that they already sustain to support their missions and formation.
The General Chapter then asked for the report of the General Delegate for Communications, including the statistics of the Order. The Capitulars considered this report necessary in order to make a thorough evaluation of the sexennium.
A text was approved concerning filial houses that may be suppressed after a fixed time. In exceptional cases, the filial house may remain as it is, beyond these limits, by decision of the Minister Provincial with the consent of his Definitory.
Each coetus, during its coetus sessions, may grant friar auditors and consultants at the General Chapter, the right to speak and to vote.
Finally a change was made to the text of Motion No. 2 asking the Government of the Order to train and prepare new scholars, as well as teachers and animators, for our formation centers.
Today’s work in the Aula was concluded and will resume on Friday. Tomorrow, the Capitulars will dedicate the day to making a pilgrimage to Cortona, Italy.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI, Chronicler
In the First Reading about how Paul departs from his meeting with the elders of Ephesus at Miletus to go to Jerusalem. They all know that they will never see him again on this earth. They all cry as they send Paul on his way.
At chapters, we make changes of where friars will live and what they will do. At one level, a bit of change is always good lest we become too stable in our ways. But departures always carry a bit of sorrow. It is part of our spirit of detachment, our vow of living sine proprio, but it still hurts.
This challenges us to meditate on the place of emotion in our spiritual life. Can we cry in the Lord, even as Jesus did at the death of Lazarus? Can we rejoice in the Lord, even as Mary and Joseph did at the birth of their Son? Can we express our doubts to come to a deeper faith as Thomas did?
Being a Franciscan doesn’t mean living without emotion, without vitality. An American poet said that we are called to suck the marrow out of the bone of life. May our emotions become a form of prayer in which we lift all of ourselves up to the Lord.