Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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The 4th Asia-Oceania Congress was successfully held last May 3-8, 2013 at St. J. Hasang Education Center, Sejong Self-Governing City, South Korea. It was attended by 56 delegates from 15 countries including some CIOFS Presidency members. The participants reflected on the theme "OFS and YouFra of Asia and Oceania, Journeying in Faith."



The congress brought together the Secular Franciscans, the Franciscan Youth, and the Spiritual Assistants from the First Order, TOR and the Franciscan Religious. It was a very good venue where all the delegates came together to celebrate their fraternal life and Franciscan Spirituality despite language barriers. We were especially glad to meet brothers and sisters from YouFra fraternities in China, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam.

The congress started with a brief country report by the National Ministers of each participating country. Furthermore, we walked the land of the martyrs and heard the stories of tremendous acts of faith of the early fathers of faith in Korea. Through the stories of the earliest OFS whose lives and examples were exemplary, the delegates were even more inspired to journey and carry on their mission as Franciscans. Meanwhile, Doug Clorey, OFS Vice Minister General presented the OFS International Fraternity and Lucy Almiranez, CIOFS Presidency Councilor discussed the OFS as we are challenged from within and from without.


The talk on Spiritual Assistance was graced by the 3 General Spiritual Assistants: Fr. Martin Bitzer, OFMConv., Fr. José Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM, and Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, with their topics on Spiritual and Pastoral Assistance to the OFS and YouFra and Collegiality among the Spiritual Assistants, Faith, and New Evangelization, respectively. Moreover, Ana Fruk, Presidency Councilor for YouFra discussed how to know and promote the Franciscan Youth and fostering bonds between OFS and YouFra.

Apart from the topics discussed, the delegates celebrated with the OFS Korea its 75th Anniversary. Through simple gifts/tokens from the different Asia-Oceania countries, they were able to express the joy and gratitude for the OFS vocation in Korea. Also, the cultural outing in Hwangsae Bawi and Gongju Museum was indeed a "walk in the land of martyrs" and knowing further the rich Korean history in terms of religion and early living.


The 6-day journey of faith in Korea is indeed a significant experience. It was a moment of personal communion with God and intensified the Franciscan Spirituality among the OFS, YouFra, and Spiritual Assistants. It was also a time for them to share their unique experience of faith with one another as they journey in the Franciscan life. We likewise give our deepest gratitude for the tremendous effort put in by the National Council and OFS members of South Korea which resulted in a Congress that was a time of learning, loving and living as one family. A time of meeting St. Francis in the face of our brothers and sisters from all over Asia; an encounter with Christ in the great adventure of our vocation. It truly was sacred time in a sacred land.

Hiyasmin M. Malicdem,

National president of YouFra Philippines