Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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To all OFS and YouFra brothers and sisters,
To all Franciscan friars of the First Order and TOR,
To all the rest of the Franciscan Family, and
To all people of good will,

May the Lord give you his peace!

We wish to share with you the joy of having celebrated the XV General Ordinary Chapter
of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS), from November 4-12, 2017, in Rome, at the Seraphicum
OFM Conv International College! 124 participants – capitulars, observers, guests, speakers, and
supporting teams – from 75 countries gathered to celebrate the gift of our secular Franciscan
vocation to "rebuild" the Church (OFS Cost. 100.1) and to build a more fraternal and
evangelical world! (OFS Rule, 14).

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Press Release

The General Chapter of the OFS today addressed one of the most delicate aspects, the economic support of the International Fraternity, which relies on the irregular contributions of brothers and sisters throughout the world through the National Fraternities.

The Vice General Minister of the OFS, Chelito Núñez, appealed to the sense of co-responsibility that is referred to in Article 30 of the General Constitutions. She used the image of the 'castellers' (human towers) of Catalonia as a symbol for the common effort necessary to achieve the result, in this case the good functioning of the International Fraternity.

Values ​​such as formation, shared effort, teamwork, dynamism, balance, courage, solidarity, tenacity, common sense, integration or diversity, that are found in the 'castellers', serve to define the fraternity we want -- local and global at the same time.

The day also provided presentations on concrete life experiences of Secular Franciscans, such as Eugenia and Elisabetta, who are responsible for the pastoral care of an urban area of ​​Milan (Italy); Franco's, who participates in both public and political life in Latina (Italy); Lorena, whose fraternity in Cadiz (Spain) started a formation project based on caring for the environment, or Ann, who, as a Secular Franciscan, is the spiritual assistant of a fraternity.

The Chapter heard the perspective of Fr. Marco Tasca, General Minister OFMConv., who presided over the Eucharist, and dedicated (the mass) to the Basilica of the (St. John) Lateran. In his homily, he questioned "our way of relating to God," sometimes seeming more similar to how it was before Jesus.

In addition, the group work continued on the different aspects of the 'Instrumentum Laboris', with the aim of arriving at conclusions that will provide the substance for the definitive document that will establish guidelines for the future management of the Order.

Rome, November 7, 2017

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Press Release

The International Fraternity of the OFS today voted to have permanent offices for formation, communication and JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) with the aim of improving the functioning of these areas and decentralizing the management of the CIOFS Presidency.

In the first case, the intention is to better coordinate the work carried out at the international level in regard to both initial and on-going formation, with the ultimate goal of deepening the sense of identity and belonging to the OFS.

Regarding JPIC, a secretariat will be established to coordinate activities and to collaborate with other organizations in the Franciscan Family with similar areas of interest.

Finally, a communications office will be established to bring the life of the international fraternity closer to the brothers and sisters scattered around the world.

The above are measures approved by the General Chapter to improve the management of the Secular Franciscan Order in its entirety. In addition, the Chapter approved the creation of an international register of local fraternities; that national fraternities establish national registers of Secular Franciscans; the establishment of a group of experts; collaboration with the Franciscan Family and the development of a financial strategy.

However, the most emotional moments of the day were when presentations were made on causes of beatification and canonization of two Secular Franciscans who gave their lives as martyrs for their faith: Lucien Botovasoa, a teacher from Madagascar, and Franz Jägerstätter , an Austrian farmer.

Immediately following, a report was given on the beginning process of the causes for the beatification of Augusto Natali (Italy), one of the precursors of the international fraternity, and for General Ministers Manuela Mattioli (Venezuela) and Emanuela de Nunzio ( Italy), whose death was six years ago today.  

Rome, November 10, 2017

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Press release

The OFS General Chapter learned at first hand about the progress of two of the Order’s particularly attractive projects, Africa and Holy Land – Arabia, both of which asked for greater access to formation materials and support fior the growing number of Franciscan vocations among groups of young people.

After being renewed three years ago, Project Africa is now in its second stage, and continues its work of facilitating the growth of local fraternities now surging accross the continent, despite the difficult communcations and huge distances between them.

The aim is to continue with the workshops which untuil now have made it possible to reach  brothers and sisters in different countries, living in both French and English-speaking fraternities.

The project leaders are working on the celebration of the first Panafrican Congress of the OFS, due to be held in 2018.

Regarding the Holy Land – Arabia, this project was begun in the present sexennium. Its aim is to achideve united action in an area that shares a number of characteristics:  cultural and linguisticaffinity and a minority Christian presence, sometimes with limited freedom to express religious  faith.

Some of the regions have the additional difficulty of political conflict affecting their daily lives,  as in Israel and Palestine in the Holy Land, or even a state of war, as in Syria,  which has meant the disappearance of fraternities in Aleppo and Damascus.

Both projects also declared their intention to focus on the transmission of our charism to young people through Franciscan Youth, whose representative also spoke at the Chapter today. Andrea Odak, International Coordinator of Jufra, highglighted the need to give Jufra its proper place within OFS.  The means to do this already exist, and they need to be used, such as simultaneous membership of a fraternity  (of Jufra and OFS)  and the presence of a fraternal animator. 

Rome, November 7, 2017

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