Eng. - OFM

Eng Vol. XLI. Nr. 143 - OFM Rome - Email: rbahcic@ofm.org - 01. 05. 2008
The Fraternity of the OFM in numbers
We are almost half-way through 2008, so it would be good to know our "situation", even if in a summary way! On the 31st of
December, we Friars Minor numbered 15,030 (-226, in respect to 2006). Some details: Postulants, 614 (not included in the
total numbers); Novices, 387; Temporary Professed, 1,603; Solemnly Professed, 12,033 (priests: 10,228; perm. deac.: 69;
Friars with a clerical option: 456; lay Friars: 2,180); Friar Cardinals (6) and Archbishops/Bishops (101): 107; Friars who
died during the year: 301.
The Friars Minor are distributed in 110 countries as follows: Africa and Middle East: 1,088 (+12); Latin-America: 3,609 (117); North-America: 1,616 (-16); Asia-Oceania: 1,301 (+29); Western Europe: 4,917 (-129); Eastern Europe: 2,499 (-5).
The universal Fraternity is structured into 103 Provinces, 7 Autonomous Custodies, 13 Dependent Custodies, 1 Federation,
19 Foundations, 14 Conferences of Ministers Provincial and 3 Unions of Conferences (Asia/Oceania: FCAO; LatinAmerica: UCLAF; Europe: UFME).
The numbers do not speak to us about the quality of our life; they do, however, contain a significant message. They speak of
us, of our family. They help us to understand the challenges which we have to face up to: the "visibility" of our charism, the
pastoral care of vocations, the promotion of culture, the collaboration needed to seek ways which would allow us to give
quality to our life and mission together.
Blessed John Duns Scotus in the VII Centenary of his death
Scotism in the South of Italy:
An International Congress, organised by the personalist and Scotist Study Centre of Castellana Grotte with the aim of
highlighting the spread of the thought of Scotus was celebrated from the 25 th to 28th March to commemorate the VII
Centenary of the death of John Duns Scotus (1308-2008). There were many speakers from various Italian and foreign
Universities. Among them were: Orlando Todisco of the Seraphicum in Rome; Herbert Schneider of the Duns Scotus
Academy in Cologne; Stefano Cecchin, of the Marian Academy in Rome; William Duba (University of Freiberg), who
spoke of Landolfo Caracciolo; Br. Giovanni Lauriola (President of the Study Centre), who illustrated the figure of Br.
Diomede Scaramuzzi. A highlight was the intervention of Francesco Fiorentino (University of Salerno), who brought to light
the work of the Franciscan William of Alnwick, who, as Bishop of Giovinazzo (BA), between 1329 and 1333, intervened as
a mediator in a dispute between Pope John XXII and the king of Naples, Roberto d'Angiò, and his wife Sancia, thus giving
testimony to the presence of the teaching of Scotus in the South of Italy just 10 to 15 years after his death.
Our presence in Asia and Oceania
Asia was one of the first missions of our Order. From Francis, who went to the East, and the journeys, in the XIII century, by
numerous franciscan apostles to the land of Khan (John of Carpine, John of Montecorvino and Roderick of Pordenone…) up
to our time, seven centuries have passed. Today, the Friars are in 19 countries and form 2 Conferences: EAC (Conference of
East Asia) and SAAOC (Conference of South Asia-Australia-Oceania). There was an increase of 325 members from 1989 to
2006. There are some emerging Entities, such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar and East Timor. The latter two are new
Foundations. The fraternity of Myanmar, founded in 2006, with 4 Friars from Vietnam, Korea and Indonesia, is increasing in
number with 1 postulant and 5 aspirants. That of East Timor was canonically erected recently, in 2008, as a Foundation
dependent on the Province of Indonesia, but it is already a promising Entity: it has 11 solemnly professed Friars, 7 novices
and 16 postulants. Our presence in East Timor, a country impoverished and devastated by long periods of war and
instability, is already significant and encouraging.
Formation workshop of the North-Slavic Conference
28 Formators of the North-Slavic Conference OFM met in Piešťany, Slovakia, from the 31 st of March to the 5th of April
2008. Following the presentation by Sr. Hilaria Hatko on the so-called “enneagram, a method of knowing oneself, the
promoter of the workshop, Br. Witosław Sztyk, Secretary for Formation and Studies in the Conference, stated that the
“enneagram”, a term used and described by our confrere Br. Richard Rohr, is an instrument that cannot be ignored as it
could be very useful in the process of formation.
The franciscan formators of Poland, Slovakia, the Ukraine and the Czech Republic participated in the meeting. The
participants had the possibility of meeting with the Formation Fraternity of Bratislava and with Br. Juraj Mihaly, Minister
Provincial of Slovakia, on this occasion.
Regula et vita Minorum Fratrum haec est, scilicet Domini nostri Jesu Christi sanctum Evangelium observare (RB I,1)
Doctorate ‘Honoris Causa’ for the Minister General
The University of St. Bonaventure in the U.S.A., which celebrates the 150 th anniversary of its foundation, awarded a
Doctorate ‘Honoris Causa’ to the Minister General, Br. José Rodríguez Carballo. The act took place at the University during
a solemn academic celebration, at which members of the General Definitory and all the Ministers Provincial of the Englishspeaking Conference participated, on the 1st April 2008. The Minister General and his Definitory were in the United States
of America to meet the English-speaking Conference, in accordance with a decision of the General Chapter of 2003.
Visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Br. Massimo Fusarelli, with Br. Dragan Nimac, of the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, visited the Houses of
Formation of the Provinces of Herzegovina and of Bosnia Argentina from the 29 th March to the 3rd of April. The meeting
with the formators and candidates in each House was fruitful in getting to know the reality better and to transmit the present
trajectory of the Order in this area. It is a land still marked by the war of the ‘90s which afflicted Catholics in a particular
way as many of them had to leave their homes and country. Many parishes have been emptied. The Friars, however, remain
with their people as they have for centuries, trying to continue to live in a multi-cultural and multi-religious reality. Pastoral
activity in parishes and formation are the main areas of evangelisation, in addition to that of some sanctuaries and a school.
The candidates, still in good numbers, asked especially to know the international fraternity of the Order better. The
Philosophical and Theological Study Centre in Sarajevo continues to be a point of reference for our students and for lay and
religious students, by supporting the local development of Christian reflection in a society in profound change. The history
of the presence and activity of the Friars Minor in this land, as a sign of presence among the people and of a capacity to
assume and promote more significant cultural relations, deserves to be better known.
Italy: San Giovanni Rotondo - JPII Jammin Festival
The JPII Jammin Festival is a musical festival dedicated to the Servant of God, Pope John Paul Pablo II (JPII), organised by
the local You.Fra fraternity of San Giovanni Rotondo. It is celebrated each year to commemorate the anniversary of his
death. It was celebrated in the Cinema-theatre of the city of San Giovanni Rotondo on the 28 th and 29th March this year, in
the context of the third anniversary of the death of Pope Wojtyla. There were two beautiful evenings of communion, songs
and joy, transmitted live by the television station ‘Tele Radio Padre Pio’.
Many guests were present at the festival and they took turns to share personal memories of Pope John Paul II. The presence
and testimony of H. E. Msgr. Piero Marini, ex-Master of Ceremonies of the Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations of John Paul
and Benedict XVI from 1987 to the 1 st November 2007; the testimonies of Sean Patrick Lovett, responsible for 105 Live, a
channel of Vatican Radio; of Don Francesco Pierpaoli, director of the John Paul II Centre in Loreto; of Prof. Alessandro
Meluzzi, Psychiatrist-Psychotherapist, Founder of the Ágape Community ‘Mother of Welcome’ and of Br. Ivan Matić,
OFM, Assistant General of the SFO-You.Fra, who recalled the 60th anniversary of the birth of the You.Fra on this occasion,
were particularly gratifying. See: www.jp2jamminfestival.it.
An Aid for parishes
A reflection on the pastoral activity of the Friars, and especially on parochial ministry, was begun during the previous sixyear period when, in 2000, an International Commission carried out a survey throughout the Order. Following the invitation
of the General Chapter of 2003 to continue “the revision of pastoral activity in parishes so that evangelisation could be
carried out in fraternity, minority and corresponsibility”, the International Council for Evangelisation of 2004 proposed to
work out a aid for the animation of parochial pastoral activity. The Executive Committee of the following year prepared a
basic lay-out which was approved by the General Definitory, which also appointed a Commission to draw up a first draft.
The General Secretariat for Evangelisation continued to work on the topic and, at the beginning of this year, the material was
again presented to the General Definitory, which fixed the basic scheme and set the criteria, saying that it was a question of a
short and practical aid with the aim of animating and stimulating reflection by the Friars. The Commission met again,
together with the Secretariat for Evangelisation, on the 1 st of April. The work of preparing the aid continued, fixing the layout, content and language. As soon as the first draft of the text is ready it will again be presented to the General Definitory
and then to the International Council for Evangelisation. The final redaction should be ready by the end of the year.
II European Franciscan Meeting
The II Meeting of European Young Franciscans will be celebrated in Santiago de Compostela from 9 th to 14th August 2009.
The Spanish-Portuguese Conference has taken charge of the preparations for the meeting, which will have, as its central
event, the Walk from Santiago da León to Compostela. Further information at the web site www.santiago2009.es
Regula et vita Minorum Fratrum haec est, scilicet Domini nostri Jesu Christi sanctum Evangelium observare (RB I,1)
New Franciscan Bishops
Vatican City, 27th March 2008 – Benedict XVI appointed H. E. Br. Fausto Gabriel Trávez Trávez, up to now Apostolic
Vicar of Zamora (Ecuador), as Bishop of Babahoyo (area: 6,531; population: 761,000; Catholics: 563,000; priests: 30;
religious: 44), in Ecuador.
Vatican City, 29th March 2008 – Benedict XVI appointed Br. Herkulan Malczuk, up to now Provincial Bursar of our
Province in the Ukraine (former Custos and Minister Provincial of the same Province: 2004-2007), as Auxiliary Bishop of
the Diocese of Odessa-Simferopol of the Latins in the Ukraine (area: 113,363; population: 10,100,000; Catholics: 18,000;
priests: 37; religious: 50). The Bishop elect was born in Raszków-Sloboda (Moldova) in 1965, he was ordained priest in
19992 and made solemn vows in the Order of Friars Minor in 1993.
New Visitator General
Br. Jorge Enrique Concha Cayuqueo of the Province of the Holy Trinity in Chile, for the Province of St. Francis in Quito
New Ministers Provincial
Br. Benoît Dubigeon was elected Minister Provincial of the Province of Blessed Pacificus in West France.
Br. Roger Marchal was re-elected Minister Provincial of the Province of the Three Companions in France/Belgium.
Br. Bruno Ottavi was elected Minister Provincial of the Seraphic Province of St. Francis of Assisi in Italy.
Franciscan Bookmark
"John of Capestrano and the reform of the Church", by Alvaro Cacciotti and Maria Melli, Edizioni Biblioteca
Francescana Milano 2008, pp. 186 (in Italian).
The event of Br. John of Capestrano († 1456) has an extraordinary power for the present. His figure forces us to
review, overcome and, perhaps, reject both unfounded and consolidated interpretations or, worse still, insignificant
stereotyping (or even an excess of significance). The book gathers together contributions from scholars who, fleeing
from facile ‘a posteriori’ judgements and small-minded morality, have the merit of bringing a grandiose plan of
Christianity to light in the work of this Friar Minor; a plan which was religious, but, at the same time, could not fail
to be political on mobilising the institutions of Middle-Europe with the aim of reforming the Church.
 Francis and the Porziuncola. From the “small and poor church” to the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, by
Pietro Messa, Porziuncola 2008, pp. 504 (in Italian).
The Porziuncola, "small and poor church", was important not only in the event of Brother Francis, but also in the
establishment of fraternitas in the Friars and in the history of the Friars Minor. A serious and profound knowledge
of the events, of which the small country chapel of Assisi was a spectator, is, therefore, the indispensable condition
for whoever, at a distance of eight centuries, seeks to understand not only the profound sense of those events, but
also how they are remembered, refigured and celebrated down through the centuries. Indeed, this “From the
Porziuncola to the Basilica pf St. Mary of the Angels" is a journey down the centuries capable of recognising that
the origins are such as a consequence also of a continuous history which sees its origins in it.
Big/small news
Course of ongoing formation on ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue in Istanbul: The International
Fraternity “St. Mary Draperis” in Istanbul, in collaboration with the Commission for the Service of Dialogue and
the General Secretariat for Evangelisation, is offering the Friars Minor and members of the Franciscan Family a
course of ongoing formation on ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue in Istanbul. The course, in French and
English, will be held from the 16th to 28th October 2008. The topics offered are: Formation to dialogue in the
franciscan charism. Ecumenical, Islam-Christian and Jewish-Christian Dialogue. Among the activities of the
course will be a three-day visit to the places of the “Seven Churches of the Apocalypse”. The course costs €500,00.
Those interested should send their booking request to Br. Rubén Tierrablanca, ofm. rtierrablanca@ofm.org or to Br.
Gwenolé Jeusset, ofm. gw.jeusset@yahoo.it or by fax +90-212-2432791 by and not later than the 30th of July 2008.
The first 20 Friars inscribed will be accepted. They will receive the detailed programme of the course. Book early!!!
The heroic virtues of Br. Michelangelo Longo recognised: Pope Benedict XVI recognised the heroic nature of
the virtues practised by the Neapolitan Friar Br. Michelangelo Longo of Marigliano on the 15 th March 2008. Having
lived from 1811 to 1886, the new "Venerable" was Minister Provincial, an heroic ascetic and a wise guide of
numerous souls. Blessed Louis of Casoria († 1885) gave testimony of him, stating that Br. Michelangelo was a
"true son of St. Francis, a perfect Friar Minor, and true man of God”. His mortal remains lie in the franciscan
church of Marigliano (Naples - Italy).
Regula et vita Minorum Fratrum haec est, scilicet Domini nostri Jesu Christi sanctum Evangelium observare (RB I,1)
An International Congress of Phenomenology on The intellectual journey of Edith Stein will be held at the
“St. Francis” Conference Hall of the “S. Fara” Inter-religious Theological Institute in Bari (Italy) on Friday the 16 th
May 2008. Further information can be received from Br. Francesco Alfieri, email: frafrancescoalfieriofm@yahoo.it
Vigil of Pentecost: A prayer meeting for all the members of the Houses dependent on the Minister General in
Rome, as a sign of the celebration of the third stage of the journey, “the grace of our origins”, towards the VIII
Centenary of the foundation of our Order ,will beheld in the College of St. Isidore (Rome) at 19.30 on Saturday
the 10th of May 2008, the Vigil of Pentecost.
Masters for Formators at the Pontifical University Antonianum: It is possible to inscribe in the Masters for
Formators, level I, at the P.U.A. up to the 31 st May. For further information and the method of inscribing in the
course consult www.antonianum.ofm.org Masters in Formation for formators.
The Minister General is offering, in addition to scholarships already granted, another three to any Entity of the
Order which requests one for a student inscribing in the course. The request must arrive by the 30 th of June.
The XII International Council for Formation and Studies will be held, by decision of the General Definitory, at
the Franciscan Theological Institute in Murcia (Spain) from the 24th November to 4th December 2008. The theme
will be integration between initial formation and studies. The delegates from the 14 Conferences of the Order, in
addition to those of the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, participate by right. Another 8 Friars, with
experience in formation, research and teaching, are also invited.
The Aracoeli Cultural Centre is organising a concert in the Basilica of St. Mary in Aracoeli (Rome) for
Thursday the 29th May, at 18.30 hours: The sonority of Bach with Bachian instruments: small cello, oboe and
viola of a harmonising range.
The Aracoeli Cultural Centre, the Province of the Apostles Peter and Paul of the Friars Minor in Lazio, the
Province of St. Bernardine of Siena of the Friars Minor in Abruzzo, the Higher School of Medieval and Franciscan
Studies of the Pontifical University Antonianum, are organising the VI Congress of Greccio, 9th to 10th May 2008,
in the ‘Oasi Gesù Bambino’, in the franciscan sanctuary of Greccio (Rieti -Italy), entitled: Francis goes to the
Lord Pope in Rome.
The VI Congress of Greccio will examine the meeting of Francis of Assisi with Pope Innocent III. It is hoped to
understand the role of the different protagonists (Francis, Guido I, John of St. Paul, Innocent III) in that meeting as
found in the sources and to gather the overall significance of the events which so influenced the future life of the
franciscan movement. The VIII Centenary of the approval of the Rule is the reason for returning to analyse the
facts. The Acts will we ready for the beginning of the Centenary, that is, the 4 th of October 2008. See programma!
Prayers for China: Pope Benedict XVI, in a letter written to the Church in China, proposed the 24th May as a day
of prayer for the Church in China. The Minister General asks all the Friars to join in this intention of the Holy
Father on that day, keeping our Friars who work in that country in mind in a special way.
A Course for animators of JPIC was held in the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome from the 1st to the
10th of April. 29 animators from different Provinces participated. Further information at: www.ofm.org/jpic
A Meeting of the Presidents and Delegates of the Federations of Conceptionists will be held in Toledo, Spain,
from the 24th of May to the 4th of June 2008.
Agenda of the Minister General
05-09 May: ‘Tempo forte’ of the General Definitory.
10 May: Prayer Vigil of the Houses dependent on the Minister general (St. Isidore’s College – Rome).
12-16 May: Meeting with the Presidents of the Conferences of the Order.
18 May: Participation in the Congress of Franciscan Educators in Cusco (Peru).
21-24 May: Visit to the Province of Christ the King (Bologna – Italy).
25-31 May: International Congress of the Presidents of the Federations of Conceptionists (Toledo – Spain).
Let us restore all to the Lord through word and life! 2008-2009
Work is a grace, first of all, because it is a gift from God (cf Rb 5,1), “Who says and does every good thing” (Adm 8,3). It is
a grace because it places us in a relationship with others, especially with the poor. Work, especially manual and humble
work, is one of the best signs which the poor (and not only them), among whom we live and with whom we share life and its
condition, can understand. We, therefore, must prefer that in which the testimony of the franciscan life, the aspect of
solidarity and service to the poor, shine forth. Work is a grace because, in addition to allowing us not to be a burden on
others, it offers us “what is necessary for our bodies” (Rb 5,3) and avoids the tongue or the heart wandering among illicit
things in idleness. Work is a grace, finally, because it makes us collaborators of God the Creator.
Director responsible: Gino Concetti - Redactor: Robert Bahčič
Internet: http://www.ofm.org/fraternitas. Email: rbahcic@ofm.org
Regula et vita Minorum Fratrum haec est, scilicet Domini nostri Jesu Christi sanctum Evangelium observare (RB I,1)