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CONFERENCE OF GENERAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANTS OFS – YOUFRA


2017 - 2                                                                                                 Year 24                                                                                                                          n. 94

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LIVING THE FRANCISCAN CHARISM IN TODAY'S WORLD

40 years after the Seraphicus Patriarch

“The Lord gave me brothers and sisters” (cf. Test. 14):

The secular Franciscans and the gift of fraternity

Fr. Alfred Parambakathu OFMConv

Introduction

From May 29 to June 2 was held a “Capitolo generalissimo” of all the Franciscan families of Umbria to commemorate the fifth centenary of Itevos. The “prophecy of fraternal communion” is what has been experienced and activated in Foligno, in the knowledge that there is no truth, nor Christian credibility in a spirituality that does not become fraternal communion[1]. It would mean that we Franciscans have yet a long way to walk on the footprints of Francis. The present study is a humble attempt to understand the meaning of fraternal bonds in the life of a secular Franciscan.First we will go through the life and Writings of Francis and then will take up the Rule and Constitutions of OFS.

K O I N Ō N I A
...together on the journey

CONFERENCE OF GENERAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANTS OFS – YOUFRA


2017 - 1                                                                                    Year 24                                                                                     n. 93

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LIVING THE FRANCISCAN CHARISM IN TODAY'S WORLD

40 years after the Seraphicus Patriarch

 

SEDUCED BY GOD, SEEKERS OF CHRIST[1]

Secular Franciscans and their relationship with God

Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR

 

K O I N Ō N I A
...together on the journey

CONFERENCE OF GENERAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANTS OFS – YOUFRA


2016 - 3                                                                                    Year 23                                                                                     n. 91

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The Secular Franciscan Order

And the works of mercy

 Lino Temperini Tor [1]

 

"It is my burning desire that, during this year of Jubilee, the Christian people

reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy " [2]

 

The works of mercy

The works of mercy are charitable actions with which we help our neighbor in their corporal and spiritual need" (Catechism of the Catholic Church , Vatican City 1999, n. 2447, pp. 645-646). Following the teaching of Jesus and the example of the early Christian communities, the Catholic Church has always shown a preferential love for the needy in body and spirit.

Jesus also indicates the extent of our merciful love: "Be merciful, as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6,36).

The works of mercy are extracted from the passage of the Gospel according to Matthew on the last judgment (25, 31-46). "Bury the dead" is taken from the book of Tb 1.17f. The current understanding is made by S. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologiae , Pars II-II, q. 23, a. 2-3; q. 32. a. 2 to 1.

Saint Francis of Assisi and mercy

             The centrality of mercy in his spiritual experience. The Poverello of Assisi begins his life of conversion by showing mercy. He was imbibed by the mercy of the benevolent God and wanted to fulfill gestures of mercy. In the Testament recalls: "The Lord led me among the lepers and I showed them mercy" (cf. 2Test 2: FF 110)[1] .

             For St. Francis, "Doing mercy" implies concrete actions and not just sentiments of compassion. He begins by embracing a leper!

             The mercy of God goes through his whole existence and regulates the rhythms of his apostolate in the light of the Gospel message.

In his Testament of 1226, on the eve of his death, he rereads his whole life in the light of divine and human mercy. Guided by the mercy of God, the Poverello of Assisi becomes a servant of mercy and begins to serve the lepers [2].

Saint Francis embracing the leper.

Evangelical poverty and the Third Order of Saint Francis

             "The brothers and sisters of penance", as sons of St Francis of Assisi, are deeply involved in the practice of the most genuine values of the Gospel and, in particular, in the binomial penance/works of mercy. The question of poverty enters into this context.

             The comparison with the First and Second order is enlightening for us to understand the significance of poverty in the background of the Franciscan Family. The First and the Second Order understand "the highest" poverty in its ascetic and Christological aspects. We know the vast literature and the endless debates on the making of the Franciscan poverty. Poverty assumes a theoretical significance and becomes an ideal, a force that stimulates divergent potentialities and attractions. For centuries the problem of evangelical poverty polarized the most engaged intelligences and personalities in the way of perfection. The highest poverty - write the Rb 6,4 and the RsC 8.4 - makes poor in things and rich in virtues. It makes one to be more free to adhere closely to Christ and to the neighbor.

             The "Franciscan Penitents", secular and regular, do not enter into the disputes on the poverty of Christ and the apostles, of the primitive and medieval church, of St. Francis and the followers of the Poverello of Assisi. The Tertiaries, normally, choose the evangelical poverty with the intention of social and charitable assistance. They do not exclude the biblical sense of imitating Christ who "emptied himself" (Phil 2,7) and the function of ascetic purification. These theological significances are present and active, even if often implicitly.

             The constant adherence to the practice of charity and the commitment to the everyday life do not permit the brothers and sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis to pause on abstract and often sterile discussions, if not lacerating and deleterious. A certain pauperistic narcissism, which exalts the poverty as an absolute and idealized value, often away from real life, was not absent in the Franciscan world.

             Instead, when a sister or brother of penance decide to live devoid of movable property or devotes his property by testament to "consociatio poenitentium", has before his eyes and in his heart the multifarious needs of the poor and the amount of charitable services provided to their advantage.

            Coming from the people and remaining "in the world" in the midst of the people, or at least, very close to the existential reality of the people, the Third Order of Saint Francis shares with attention the problems of the people and with generosity performs works of mercy. The orientation to the concreteness in poverty/charity is also motivated by the fact that the Tertiaries, most of the times, belong to the simple people and are persons not interested in too much of academic sophistications, not introduced to theology and not concerned with abstract discussions. They are people immersed in everyday life and feel involved in alleviating the suffering of others.

            It is in this spirit that the fraternities of Franciscan tertiaries are owners of goods and do not despise to accept donations to its title, without legal cover-ups. The goods are not for the exclusive use of the Tertiaries themselves, educated in austere life and in freedom, but for the needs of others!

            Between the word of God, living and with a cutting edge (cf. Heb 4:12), and the effective attention toward the materially and spiritually poor, there is a close consequential link. And the verification of the actualization of the Gospel in the point of view of charitable works constitutes the parameter of judgment at the end of time (cf. Mt 25, 31-46). The service of charity, i.e. the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, will have more weight on the Scale of the Judge. This will be the concrete criterion for assessing our earthly existence.

            "He who does not love does not know God," warns the apostle John (1 Jn 4,8). "He who does not love abides in death" (1Jn 3, 14). In fact, "he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen" (1 Jn 4, 20). It is not for anything else that the invisible God is made visible in Christ, who became man and was manifested to us.

             It is not enough to love in words: you have to love "in deed and in truth" (1 Jn 3,18). The faith of a Christian, negligent to the poor is dead, is an appearance or an illusion, as would say St. James (Ja 2,2s; 14f).

             In the great era of Franciscan Poverty, projected by the apostolic community and modeled in part after the model of the primitive church, the Third Order comes therefore with its own style and characteristic: sharing the bread with the hungry, welcoming the homeless, dressing the naked, speaking for the marginalized, supporting the unemployed, comforting the hopeless, illuminating the lost and encouraging the weak (cf. Is 58,7), etc.

             This is the program of our brothers and sisters of penance, who follow the example of Francis of Assisi who stripped himself of everything and took care of the lepers. Become poor to donate, so that the goods are transformed into works of mercy in the name of Christ.

             The ancient Rule [3] (or Memoriale propositi) of 1221 transposes the spirit of charity of Francis and orders that each penitent give at least one coin so that the ministers of fraternity can meet the needs of the poor (n. 20). It also recommends some works of mercy, even if limited, to the brothers and sisters of penance. The members of the Order must dress poorly, practice fasting and abstinence to be more free and available at the service of the brothers (nn. 1-11 and n. 22f). They must also provide whatever is needed and is convenient to the sick (n. 22).

             The Rule of the penitents, or of Nicholas IV (1289)[4], echoes the Gospel mandate of love that makes themselves at the service of the brothers. The Memoriale propositi speaks of "opera misericordiae facienda" (n. 21) and the Rule of Nicholas IV speaks of "misericordiae opera exercenda" (12.9). The Rule (Rp) urges everyone to donate current money, so that the needs and the convenience of the poor and of the sick are met (12, 3-7).

             Living and clothing like real poor, fasting with perseverance, the brothers and sisters of penance can be solicitous toward the less affluent, who are often marginalized by the rhythms of a restless and often inhuman society (cf. Rp 3, 5 and 8).

The cry of the poor and the voice of the facts

             Franciscan Studies in recent decades have brought to light the precious historical evidences that document the charitable activity of penitents, or Franciscan tertiaries. Either for the cultural limitations or for the fact that they are immersed in the daily life of the society, the Tertiaries do not dedicate themselves to theoretical problems and do not participate in the debate about the nature of evangelical poverty, but look at the face of reality and are attentive to the cry of the needy.  The signs of the times and the appeal of present history urge the tertiaries to intervene in the emergencies of concrete situations.

             The witness of historical sources and archival documents presents us with a great number of penitents, or Franciscan tertiaries, who devoted their goods or part of them to the various works of charity.

            In the past centuries, among the beneficiaries of charity are the poor in general, then the pilgrims, widows and destitute girls, abandoned children, blind, lame, lepers, the wounded in war, the sick assisted in hospital or at home. Prisoners as well were assisted. The penitents build modest hospices, manage canteens for the poor, administer hostels for girls, welcome orphan girls, care for the recovery of the prostitutes, oversee on justice in the markets and on the correctness of the weights, protect public sources, preserve the bridges etc. And all on free service and with their own property! When the means were lacking, the tertiaries went on begging to assist the poor and to keep alive the charitable works. All this variegated dynamism of the works of mercy is amply documented by scientific studies[5] .

            The Secular Franciscans are committed to animate a new world, always in evolution, shaped by the mercy of God who loves and forgives, illuminates and saves, insists but does no violence. He loves us with a benevolent love that gives and asks nothing. He urges us to follow the strategies of divine love and to put in to practice the therapies of charity.

St. Lodovico, King of France, the patron saint of the Franciscan Third Order,

Serves the poor at the table

(Miniature in the biography of G. Saint-Pathus, Ms 5716, sheet 137

In the National Library of Paris)

 NEWS - CHAPTERS - VISITS - MEETINGS

Hungary – National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS of Hungary was held from July 14 to 16 at the National Shrine Mátraverebély-Szentkút, with the theme: "To desire the spirit of the Lord and his works" (cf. Const. OFS, 11). There were 57 chapter members who participated in the Chapter and there was a good number of observers and Tibor Kauser, the Minister General of OFS was also invited. There were also 9 Spiritual Assistants (2 Franciscan sisters, 7 OFM, 1 OFMConv, 1 OFMCap), and Fr. Benedek Dobszay, Minister Provincial of OFM. The elective chapter was presided by Ana Fruk, Counselor to the Presidency, accompanied by Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, General Assistant OFS-YouFra. The later made a presentation of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia of Pope Francis. The opening Mass was presided by Fr. Benedek. There was a meeting of the Spiritual Assistants, the Minister Provincial of the OFM and Fr. Amando on the morning of 15th July to discuss the results obtained and the challenges that the Assistants are experiencing in their service to the OFS. The elections were held on the same day in which Kerekes László was elected National Minister, and Beke Márton as the International Councillor. The new Council and the national Minister were installed by Ana Fruk, during the Eucharistic celebration on Friday July 15, which was presided over by Fr. Amando. On the following day the concluding Eucharist was presided by Fr. Tihamér Papp OFM, the National Assistant of OFS. The Chapter took place in an atmosphere of fraternity, prayer and reflection.

Krakow, Poland - International Meeting of the Franciscan Youth

In preparation for the celebration of World Youth Day, was held the International Meeting of YouFra (IIG) from July 22 to 25, in Azory, Krakow, close to the liceo Zespół Szkół Ogólnokształcacych nr 5, within the territory of the parish of the Immaculate Conception, run by the Friars Minor. The main theme of the meeting was "Mercy is the source of joy, serenity and peace" (cf. Misericordiae vultus , 2). There were 100 participants, among whom there were Franciscan youths, Secular Franciscans and Spiritual Assistants, coming from 27 countries. The meeting was held in a joyful and fraternal atmosphere, wherein was celebrated the cultural diversity of the fraternities present. Among the participants there were six members of the CIOFS Presidency: Tibor Kauser, Ana Fruk, Andrea Odak, Fr. Jose Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM, Fr. Francis Dor, OFM Cap, and Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano TOR. Fr. Amando celebrated the opening mass. On the second day Andrea Odak, Fr. Amando and Ana Fruk made a presentation on the theme of the meeting. On the same day the Holy Mass was presided by Fr. Jan Maciejowski, OFMConv, Provincial of Danziga and the present President of the Conference of the Franciscan Provincials of Poland. The following provincials were also present: Fr. Jarosław Kania, OFM, Prov. Immaculate Conception, Krakow; Fr. Rufin Maryjka, OFM, Prov. S. Maria degli Angeli, Krakow; Fr. Alan Brzyski, OFM - Prov. Wroclaw, and Fr. Tomasz Żak, OFMCap, Prov. Krakow. In the afternoon there was a round table in which the representatives of five national Fraternities of YouFra explained the involvement of their fraternities in the works of mercy. On Sunday, the participants went to the National Park of Ojcowski where they celebrated the Eucharist, presided by Fr. Francis Dor, OFMCap. On the last day, the Franciscan Youths were invited to use in future the text of the celebrations of the YouFra, approved by the CIOFS Presidency, and to participate in the competition for the logo and the hymn of the Franciscan Youth. The Concluding Eucharistic celebration was presided by Minister General Fr. Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, on behalf of the Conference of the MM.GG. of the First Order and TOR. The Liturgy of the Hours on these days was presided by various spiritual Assistants.

Krakow, Poland - World Youth Day 2016

During the World Youth Day (WYD) 2016, held in Krakow from July 26 to 31, six members of the CIOFS Presidency (Tibor Kauser, Ana Fruk, Andrea Odak, Fr. Jose Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM, Fr. Francis Dor, OFM, and Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR) accompanied a significant group of Franciscan Youth. All of them participated in the events of the general program of the World Youth Day and the activities of the "Franciscan Village", held on Wednesday 27th, in Krakòw-Olszanica, via Korzeniaka 16, at the Provincial Curia of the Friars Minor Capuchin (Prov. of Krakòw). The program of the village was comprised primarily of a meeting of young people with the Franciscan General Ministers (Fr. Michael A. Perry, OFM, Fr. Marco Tasca, OFMConv, Fr. Mauro Johri, OFMCap, Fr. Nicholas Polichnowski, TOR, Tibor Kauser OFS, and Sr. Deborah Lockwood, OSF), in addition to some testimonies, to the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a flea market and musical concerts. The Franciscan Village has been organized by the Franciscan Family of Poland and was attended by approximately two thousand Franciscan Youth, religious and friars, including some Ministers Provincial.

Paraguay - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS in Paraguay was celebrated from August 12 to 14, 2016 at the Oasis Franciscano - in Itaugua. The Chapter was presided over by Silvia Diana, member of the CIOFS Presidency and the delegate of the Minister General, Tibor Kauser, and Fr. Jose Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM, Assistant General to the OFS  on behalf of CAS. In a spirit of prayer, fraternity, service and hospitality the Chapter was attended by 30 chapter members and 16 observers, representatives of 1001 Secular Franciscans of Paraguay. Fr. Marcelo Benitez, OFM, the National Assistant of the OFS and Fr. Tomas Acosta, OFM, the National Assistant of the YouFra were present for the meeting. Higino Fabián Díaz Noceda was re-elected National Minister, Alcides Isidoro Martinez was elected International Councillor and Roque Amarilla as International Councillor substitute. The mass of the Installation was presided over by the General Assistant Fr. Jose Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM.

Madagascar - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS-Madagascar was held in Ambositra, a city 282km south of the capital Antananarivo, at the center of the national headquarters of the Inter Franciscan Conference - Madagascar (CIFM) from September 1 to 4, 2016. The Chapter was presided over by Michel Janian, International Councillor, delegate from Tibor Kauser, Minister General OFS, assisted by Fra Fidèle Rakotoariveharitsoa, OFMCap, delegate from CAS. The first day, after Fr. Jean Charles, OFM, guardian of the Islands of Madagascar and Mauritius, presided the opening Eucharist, was mainly devoted to the triennial report of the outgoing national Minister and the works on the National Statutes. The second day was dedicated mainly to a conference and to the group-works on the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia of Pope Francis. The third day, September 3, was dedicated to the elections. There were 25 voting chapter members with 4 assistants, other than the delegate of CAS and the above mentioned Guardian of the Friars Minor. Raboanary Gérard Cécilien was re-elected to the double function of National Minister and International Councilor (second term). Jean Philippe was elected as the International Councilor substitute. The Chapter was held in a good, typical Franciscan climate of peace, brotherhood and mutual respect. On Sunday, September 4, the concluding Mass was celebrated together with the Catholic community of the Parish of Saint Vincent de Paul at Ivato Ambositra. During this Holy Mass, presided by Fra Fidèle, delegate of the CAS, the new Council was presented and received the blessing. The Capitulars shared a lunch with some leaders of the parish community to mark the end of the Chapter and their stay in that place.

Slovakia - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS in Slovakia was celebrated from September 2 to 4, 2016, at St. John Paul II Centre of the Franciscan Sisters of the Transfiguration at Melcice. There were 29 voting chapter members and an invitee, the National Minister of the OFS of Croatia. The Chapter was presided over by Andrea Odak, the Councillor of the Presidency for the YouFra, delegated by Tibor Kauser, Minister General OFS, who was assisted by Fr Francis Bongajum Dor, OFM, General Assistant OFS-YouFra. Josef Gazdik was elected National Minister for the second mandate and Lucia Spodniakova was elected International Councillor for the third mandate. The opening Mass was presided by Fr Josef Konc, OFMCap, National Assistant and President of turn of the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants. The concluding Mass was presided by Fr Bruno, OFM, Regional Spiritual Assistant. It is worth noting that the works were held in a very fraternal climate. None of the National Assistants has been able to be present during the works of the Chapter and none of them had submitted any report. Some assistants had communicated the reason for their absence.

New Zealand - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OSF-New Zealand was held from September 2 to 4, 2016 at St. Francis Retreat Center, Hillsbourough Road - Auckland, a center of the Friars Minor. There were 25 Capitulars with active voice, 6 assistants and some observers. The Chapter was presided over by Jenny Harrington, International Councillor, delegated by Tibor Kauser, Minister General OFS and was assisted by Fra Mario Dorado, OFMCap, delegate from CAS. All the work was done in a typically Franciscan climate of joy, simplicity and fraternity. Lloyd de Melo was elected National Minister, Chantal Healy was elected International Councillor and Colleen Logan International Councillor substitute.

Australia-Oceania - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS in Australia-Oceania was celebrated from September 9 to 11, 2016 at the “St Joseph's center for Reflective Living” in Baulkham Hills NSW 2153. The Chapter was presided over by Jennifer Harrington, member of the CIOFS Presidency and the Delegate of the Minister General of the OFS, Tibor Kauser, and by Fr. Carl Schafer OFM, Delegate of CAS. In a spirit of prayer, fraternity, service and hospitality the Chapter was attended by 35 Chapter Members and two observers. There were two National Assistants to the SFO: Fr. John Cooper, OFM, and Fr. Louis Schmid, OFMConv, and three Regional Assistants. Lola Kelly was elected National Minister, Andrea Burvill was elected International Councillor and Maria Iadanza International Councillor substitute. The Mass of Installation was presided over by Fr. Carl Schafer OFM.

Poland - National Elective Chapter

The 10th National Chapter of OFS in Poland was held in Warsaw, in the Franciscan Center at the convent of the Friars Minor OFM, Province of Santa Maria degli Angeli in via Modzelewskiego 98, from September 16 to 18, 2016. The Chapter was presided over by Ana Fruk, International Councillor, delegated by Tibor Kauser, Minister General OFS, who was assisted in this service by Fr. Robert Rabka, OFMCap, delegate from CAS. There were representatives of the 18 regions of the OFS present in Poland. On the first and second day there were 57 chapter members of the OFS with the right to vote, in addition to some observers. Fr. Rufin Maryjka, OFM, Minister Provincial of the province of Santa Maria degli Angeli and other 12 Friars Assistants (3 National Assistants and some regional Assistants), coming from all the families of the First Order, and 3 representatives of the Franciscan Youth were all present on the first day. On the third day, reserved for the elections, there were 59 chapter members of OFS with voting rights (two new members, elected on the day before, were added to the National Council). From the vote, were elected: Joanna Berłowska as National Minister and Maria Teodorowicz as International Councillor. As regards the climate of the fraternal encounter, the Chapter was held in an atmosphere of dialog, understanding and mutual cooperation. It was well prepared with a lot of commitment from the part of the local fraternities of Warsaw, who were occupied with the organization (preparation of food, service in the kitchen and at the reception, distribution of room and all sorts of help in any problems). The Friars of the local community of the OFM and the 3 National Assistants helped in the spiritual part.

Ecuador - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS in Ecuador was held in Azogues, in the Convent of the Friars Minor “Nuestra Señora de la Nube” from September 16 to 18, 2016. The Chapter was presided over by Marielide de Lima Tagliaferro, International Councillor of Venezuela, delegated by Tibor Kauser, Minister General OFS, assisted in this service by Fr. Jose Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM, Assistant General to the OFS. The National Assistant of OFS, Fr. Willan Mora OFM, and the Regional Assistant, Fr. Freddy Sucuzhañay OFM were all present for the Chapter. In addition Fr. Victor Hugo OFM, the guardian of the Convent of "Nuestra Señora de la Nube" was also present throughout the Chapter. There were 59 chapter members and some observers from the 6 regions of the OFS existing in Ecuador. The Chapter was held in an atmosphere of prayer, work, reflection, dialog and Franciscan joy. On the first day, Carmén del Rocio Sánchez Sánchez led a conference on: "The importance of the testimony of the Secular Franciscan in the present context". Saturday was dedicated to reports and elections. John Hernán Palacios Verdugo was elected as National Minister and Doris Elizabeth Benavides Márquez was elected as Vice-minister. The Mass of Installation was presided over by the General Assistant, Fr. Jose Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM. On Sunday, before finalizing the priorities, Fr. Jose Antonio Cruz Duarte OFM, conducted a conference on "The Spiritual Assistance to OFS and Youfra and its Importance". The concluding Mass of the Chapter was presided over by Fr. Freddy Sucuzhañay OFM.

Mexico - National Elective Chapter

The National Chapter of OFS in Mexico took place from September 23 to 25, 2016, at St. Pope John Paul II Pastoral Center, in San Juan de los Lagos, Jalisco. The Chapter was presided over by Tibor Kauser, OFS General Minister, accompanied by Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, General Assistant OFS-YouFra. There were 84 chapter members and around twenty observers and collaborators. The three national Assistants to the OFS were also present: Fr. Jesus Arrondo Aguerri, OFMCap, President of their Conference, Fr. Abelardo Aranda Echeverria, OFM (who is also the Assistant of National YouFra) and Fr. Francisco Vargas Aceves, OFMConv. The four provincial Ministers (3 OFM and one OFMConv) had also participated in different ways and times. The Chapter members were very happy to have the presence of the General Minister of OFS and to be able to communicate with him in Spanish language. The Chapter was held in an atmosphere of prayer, work, reflection, dialog and Franciscan joy. The elections were held on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25. Angel Guadalupe de la Rosa Quintero was elected as the National Minister and, in accordance with the national Statutes, he took also the office of the International Councillor. Teodora Jaime Rojas was elected National Vice-Minister and automatically became the substitute International Councillor. The opening Eucharistic celebration was presided over by Fr. Juan Medina Palma, OFM, Minister Provincial. During the concluding Eucharistic celebration, presided by Fr. Amando, the new Minister and the National Council were installed by Tibor Kauser. On Wednesday 21, a meeting was held with Regional Ministers and about 500 members of the OFS, coming from different regions of the center and the southeast of Mexico at the Franciscan House in Mexico City. On Thursday 22, yet another meeting was held with about 400 members of the OFS, coming from the regions of the west and the north of the country, at the parish of San Diego, assisted by the OFM friars, in the city of Aguascalientes. In both meetings and during the Chapter the Minister General made a presentation that was much appreciated. Fr. Amando had separate meetings with the spiritual assistants during the meeting at the Franciscan House and during the Chapter.

[1] see L. Temperini, Misericordia, in Dizionario Francescano, Padova 1995, 1141-1150.

[2] Cf. L. Temperini, Francesco di Assisi. Cronistoria Psicologia Itinerario spirituale, Torino 2012.

 

[3] See the critical edition in L. Temperini, Carisma e legilazione alle origini del Terzo Ordine di S. Francesco, Editrice Franciscanum, Rome 1996, pp. 77-109.

[4] The full text in L. Temperini, Carisma e legilazione, cit., pp. 113-155.

[5] For documentation of the concrete works see L. Temperini, Il penitente francescano nella società e nella chiesa nei secoli XII-XIV, in AaVv, La “Supra montem” di Niccolò IV (1289): genesi e diffusione di una regola, ed. Analecta Tor, Roma 1988, pp. 366-367; Id., Penitenti poveri per servire i poveri (sec. XIII-XV), in Il Signore ti dia pace, Bologna 1991, pp. 107-119.

K O I N Ō N I A
...together on the journey

CONFERENCE OF GENERAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANTS OFS – YOUFRA


2016 - 4                                                                                    Year 23                                                                                     n. 92

DOC 

  1. Introduction

Coming to the end of our essays on the principal theme of: Mercy: Transforming Grace and mission, we dedicate this last number to the theme “The Secular Franciscan Order and Works of  Mercy today”.  The corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, to give to drink to the thirsty, to dress the naked persons, to welcome strangers, to assist the sick, to visit prisoners to bury the dead; and the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, to teach the ignorant, to admonish sinners, to console the afflicted, to forgive offenses, to bear the troublesome people, to pray to God for the alive ones and for the living and the dead, are  founded on the Gospel and established by the Catechism of the Church. We want to consider in the first place, the novelty of the actual legislation OFS as regards works of mercy. Secondly, we will consider the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy in the actual legislation OFS.        

  1. The novelty of the present Rule of the OFS

The OFS Rule, approved by the Blessed Pope Paul VI with the Apostolic Letter Seraphicus Patriarca of June 24th 1978 is deeply marked by the reform introduced in the Church by the Second Vatican Council. The present Rule “Adapts the Secular Franciscan order to the needs and expectations of the holy Church in the conditions of changing times."[1]  It is a concrete application of the teaching of the Council concerning specially the universal call to the holiness (cf. LG 5); and to the special place that the laity occupy in the life and in the mission of the Church (LG 4). A revolutionary element that is noticed immediately when we consider side-by-side the 1978 Rule and the preceding Rules of the Tertiary Franciscans, is the centrality of Christ and the Gospel. To begin afresh from Christ and from the Gospel in its simplicity as did Saint Francis of Assisi is the sure way to achieve the renewal of the Church (aggiornamento) inaugurated by the Council. 

The first article of the First Rule, otherwise known as the Memoriale Propositi is the following: "The men that will belong to this fraternity will be dressed in humble non-coloured clothes, that do not go above six ravena pennies to the yard, unless ... "[2]  So, attention was set immediately to the external appearance of the members. The same thing  applies to abstinence,  fasting, way of prayer, Sacraments, visits to the sick, funerals of members etc. everything is normative. In the Rule of Paul VI, instead, norms disappear. "The rule and the life of the Seculars Franciscans is this: to observe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the example of Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the centre and inspiration of his life with God and with."[3] As source, the OFS Rule does not place a series of external devotional or charity practices to accomplish but the Gospel and the person of Jesus Christ to be observed. In effects, humanity cannot be saved even by doing all the good works she is capable of. Salvation is given freely by God in Jesus Christ. "Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy of Father"[4]. When one welcomes Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Saviour and allows him/herself to be guided by His Spirit, the works of mercy are as fruits from a good tree (cf. Mt. 7,17); or like good wine that necessarily overflows from a full vase. Without this lordship of Jesus in the heart of man, due to the evil that is deep seated in the human heart, these outwardly good works can easily become a perversion of the same charity that they pretend to express. Graham Hancock bitterly denounces what he  calls the “charity industry” which ends up making the poor more miserable and the rich richer;[5] a corruption of goodness and of the Gospel.

The General Constitutions are much clearer in their affirmation on this centrality of Christ: "The spirituality of the Franciscan secular is a project of life centred on the person of Christ and on the following of the same rather than a detailed program to put in practice." [6] This doesn't mean to give less importance to the works of mercy, but to watch that the Saviour may not be left out in when people get so busy doing good that alone cannot save the world. The Rule invites therefore Franciscans to a continuous conversion, a daily penitence, without specifying its form or nature. It is in the heart of the faithful and within the Church that such conversion is realised and the works of mercy are fruits of the conversion: "clean first the inside of the cup and then the outside of it will be clean as well" (Matt 23:26).

  1. “I was hungry and you gave me to eat” (Mt 25, 35)

             OFS and corporal works of mercy

“The preaching of Jesus presents to us these works of mercy so that we may understand whether or not we are living as his true disciples.”[7]

Life in Fraternity in a universal Order such as the OFS provides an opportunity for collective works that are always greater than the sum of works that all the single components can do. The OFS Rule states that: "For the necessary expenses to the life of the Fraternity and for works of cult, of apostolate and charity, each brother and sister should  a commensurate contribution to his/her own possibilities." [8]  Charity in this context is understood both within and outside of the same Fraternity. An article of the  First Rule clarifies for us this point: "And each contributes to the bursar a common amount. The bursar himself puts it together ( the money) and, with the consent of the ministers, distributes them among the  brothers and sisters in need and especially among the sick and those that could not have funeral honours; finally among the other poor; and they should also offer part of such money to the Church." [9] In effect, a fraternity that runs out to help other people outside while its own members lack the basic necessities of life, contradicts itself and runs the great risk of scandalizing those that it had to evangelize; "From this they will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (Jn 13,35). The distinctive sign of a ecclesial community is mutual love. " The local fraternity is to be established canonically.  It becomes the basic unit of the whole Order and a visible sign of the Church, the community of love." [10]  Charity in truth always sets priorities. In these times in which Pope Francesco, with his teachings and examples, calls all give particular attention  to those most in need, the call is much stronger for every ecclesial community and even more for Franciscans. Pope Benedict XVI said that a society that does not take care of its poor members is an inhuman and wicked society. Without limiting the horizons of its charity, but because the means are always limited, the OFS Fraternity OFS has the obligation to take takes care most of all of its members in need.

Certain demands of the OFS General Constitutions on the matter: Secular Franciscans …

  • are called to make their own contribution, inspired by the person and message of Saint Francis of Assisi, towards a civilization in which the dignity of the human person, shared responsibility, and love may be living realities
  • They should deepen the true foundations of universal kinship and create a spirit of welcome and an atmosphere of fraternity everywhere.
  • ...  they should actively put forward initiatives that care for creation and should work with others in efforts that both put a stop to polluting and degrading nature and also establish circumstances of living and environment which would not be a threat to the human person.[11]

III. “Seeing the crowds, He felt sorry for them” (Mt. 9,36)

           OFS and spiritual works of mercy

Among the spiritual works of mercy, we want to dwell here solely on admonishing sinners. A sinner is in fact a blind person hurrying to ruin self and others whom he/she draws along. For this reason, to admonish a sinner is a great act of love, a grave responsibility to the prophet: “If I say to the wicked, "O wicked ones, you shall surely die," and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand (Ez 33,8). Silence is accomplice. In these days deeply marked by relativism and individualism, greater love and courage is required to admonish those who are in error.

The second part of the exhortation of Saint Francis to the brothers and sisters of penance, otherwise known as the letter to all the faithful, which constitutes the official prologue to the present Rule, is a strong admonition to sinners: “all those men and women who are not doing penance and do not receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and live in vices and sin and yield to evil concupiscence and to the wicked desires of the flesh, and do not observe what they have promised to the Lord, and are slaves to the world, ...” Today, many will not have the courage to say these words before an audience, but everybody can spread this message on leaflets, for example. For Secular Franciscans to whom the Rule is given by the Church, spreading the Rule together with this writing of Saint Francis is a particular way of participating in the work of the Seraphic father desired so much to send all to Paradise. To admonish a person who is living in sin is to seek a greater good, not only for the individual, but for also for the society. Saint Francis who was aware that he was writing these things under the impulse of the Holy Spirit often gave special blessings to those who would spread them to many: “And all those who will receive this in good faith, will understand them and will send copies to others, if they persevere in them to the end, may they be blessed by the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”[12]

By way of Conclusion; A Mercy with universal dimensions

 In 2016, OFS has between 250-300,000 members spread in 116 countries in the world, amongst which 79 constituted National fraternities. The unity of the Order permits each member and every fraternity to realize works of mercy at a universal level. In this way, in 2009, the CIOFS presidency was able to send a delegation to console the brothers and sisters affected by the earthquake in Haiti. Following this, the Presidency carried on the Project Haiti by giving the contribution of the entire Order to help the needy there. Fraternities at different levels take various initiatives of works of mercy. Charity lived in fraternity at various levels can also be named solidarity, and the practice of solidarity within the Order has permitted the accomplishment of many projects in favour of the needy the world over. Finally, prevention is always more noble than cure, prevention of misery is more noble than curing it. Therefore, for the Secular Franciscan Order, the promotion of universal fraternity, of justice and peace, is a noble way of preventing misery that the present legislation also proposes to its members.

 NEWS - CHAPTERS - VISITS - MEETINGS

Croatia – National elective Chapter

The National elective Chapter of OFS Croatia was celebrated from 7th to 9th October 2016 in the Tabor Franciscan Centre, in Samobor. The Chapter was presided by the General Minister, Tibor Kauser and, for the CAS, by Fr. José Antonio Cruz Duarte OFM, General Spiritual Assistant. 51 brothers and sisters took part in this Chapter in a spirit of prayer, fraternity, service and hospitality; amongst whom, 32 with right to vote. 3 National spiritual Assistants were present together with various regional Assistants of OFS and YouFra. On the 7th, Fr. José Antonio Cruz Duarte OFM gave a reflection on “Living mercy in fraternity”. On the 8th, Tibor Kauser gave a conference on “How to manage OFS: practical applications”. Branka Černugelj was elected National Minister; Vladimir Rosančić was elected InterNational Councilor and Samanta Jadreško InterNational Councilor substitute. For installation, Mass was celebrated after the elections in the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Franciscan convent of Samobor.

France – National elective Chapter

The National elective Chapter of OFS-France was held from 8th to 9th of October 2016 in Bernay-en-Champagne. Present for the Chapter were delegates from 22 Regions, together with 8 regional Assistants and some observers. It was presided over by Attilio Galimberti, Presidency Councilor, delegated by Tibor Kauser, OFS Minister General, Assisted by Fr. Eric Bidot, OFMCap., Provincial Minister of France, delegated by the CAS. All the Chapter work was done in a typical Franciscan climate of joy, of simplicity and of fraternity. According to Fr. Eric Bidot, it was a Chapter of transition even if this process still requires some years. The entire National council was re-elected. Minister and InterNational Councilor: Chantal Auvray; Vice-minister and InterNational Councilor substitute: Claire Déchenaux.

Rome, Seraphicum – CIOFS Presidency

The second CIOFS Presidency meeting for the year 2016 was held at the Collegio Seraphicum from the 15th to the 22nd of October as planned in the programming. It was a week of intense work, of listening, of sharing and of discussion; but also of prayer for the members of the Presidency. On the evening of Saturday 15th, the members shared a fraternal evening and supper with the National Council of OFS-Italy in Via delle Mura Aurelia, 9. On Tuesday 18th, they had a guided visit to the  excavations of the Vatican.

Among the decisions made during this Presidency, we note:

  • The Theme of the General Chapter: “As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world” (Jn 17,18); Sub-theme: Animating and Guiding OFS in the world today.
  • Invitees of the Presidency to the 2017 General Chapter.
  • The emerging fraternity of Malaysia-Singapore is divided in two: the emerging National fraternity of Malaysia and the emerging National fraternity of Singapore, to be effective as from May 2017.
  • The number of YouFra International Councilors will be six;
  • The Presidency approves that the next election of YouFra International councilors and of the respective substitutes will be by email.

Tanzania National elective Chapter

The National elective Chapter of OFS-Tanzania was held from 26th to 30th of October 2016 at the San Damiano Convent of the Capuchin Friars in Msimbazi – Dar es Salaam. It was presided over by Michel Janian, Presidency Councilor delegated by Tibor Kauser, OFS General Minister. He was assisted by Felician Kavishe, OFMCap., Delegate for the CAS. Lucia Nambuo was elected National minister and Felix Mosha was elected International  councilor. The opening and closing Masses were presided over by Fr. Sergi Tarimo, OFMCap., During the closing Mass, on Saturday 29th, Michel Janian installed the newly elected council. The atmosphere at the Chapter was fraternal, calm and transparent.

Canada – Fraternal and Pastoral Visits

At the request of the National council, the Fraternal and Pastoral visits to the National council of OFS-Canada were done together respectively by Tibor Kauser, General minister OFS, and Fr. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap., General spiritual Assistant OFS-YouFra from 27th to 28th October at the Spiritual centre of the Ursulines in Loretteville, Québec. This was immediately followed on the 29th and 30th by the National spiritual Chapter. Present at this fraternal moment were 9 members of the National council including two National spiritual Assistants. As of September 2016, according to the demographic report submitted in preparation for the visit, the National fraternity of OFS in Canada has 12 regions (3 Anglophone and 9 Francophone). They do not yet have a National seat. The archives are kept in the convent of the Franciscans in Montreal. The visitors had sufficient time to listen privately to the members of the council and then to meet with all the council together. They were accompanied by Gilles Métivier, National minister, and Fr. André Chicoine, OFMCap., National spiritual Assistant to, visit the Bishop of Québec, His Eminence, Cardinal Gérard Cyprien Lacroix. Fr. Marc Le Goanvec, OFM Provincial Minister also paid a visit to the capitulars. The visitors further appreciated the commitment of the council in their service to the National fraternity, with a great desire to work together in spite of the challenges posed by the two official languages. The elected treasurer, Leonarda Macnail, also requested to end her service to the National fraternity at the end of the current year due to the increasing demands at her jobsite.

Kotagiri, India – National Chapter

The National Chapter of OFS-India was held from 27th to 29th of October 2016, in the retreat house of the Capuchins in Kotagiri, in the district of Nilgiri, Ooty, Tamil Nadu. Some eighty persons were present including capitulars, 15 spiritual Assistants, 10 observers and other invitees, in addition to Augustine Yoon, Presidency councilor delegated by Tibor Kauser, General minister, and Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, General spiritual Assistant OFS-YouFra, for the CAS. In the morning of the 27th, before the Chapter, there was a meeting of the National council after which Augustine and Fr. Amando were invited to speak on the financial contribution of the National Fraternity of India to the CIOFS Presidency. Present for the opening of the Chapter were His Excellency, Dr. A. Amalraj, Bishop of the diocese of Ootacamund, in addition to a Provincial minister and a Vice-Provincial minister OFMCap. The first part of the Chapter included several ceremonies and speeches, followed by the reports of the councilors and of the National minister and by presentations by Augustine and Fr. Amando. They also discussed on the amendments of the National Statutes and on the steps for its approbation by the CIOFS Presidency. In the afternoon of the second day, there was a visit to the Botanical garden and to the novitiate of the OFMConv.  Since the necessary conditions for an elective Chapter were not met, Augustine nominated, after private consultation, a minister, and a provisional National council with the task of organizing an elective Chapter within a year, and working for reconciliation between OFS members. Both members of the Presidency, Augustine and Fr. Amando, are grateful for the assistance and help given them by the two National spiritual Assistants, Fr. Saviour Karamveril, OFMConv, president in turn of their conference, and Fr. Marion Pulichamakil, TOR and for the fraternal hospitality of the TOR and OFMConv Friars.

USA, Orlando, FA – Fraternal and  Pastoral Visits

Fraternal and pastoral visits to the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Secular Franciscan Order of the United States were made by Chelito Nuñez, OFS General Vice-Minister, and Fr. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap. General Assistant from 31st October to 6th November 2016 at the San Pedro Retreat Center in Orlando-Florida, at the invitation of the NEC.   The first two days of the visit were dedicated to NEC. According to recent statistics, the National Fraternity of OFS in the US has 12,224 professed members and 1076 candidates. There are 30 regional Fraternities and 625 local fraternities, 131 of which are without local spiritual Assistants. The NEC has 8 elected members and the president in turn of the Conference of National spiritual Assistants (CNSA). After a first introductive meeting, the two visitors held private meetings with each of the members of the NEC. Regional ministers and delegates from all 30 regions joined in the following days for a National Chapter. Present also were delegates invited from Guam and from the Virgin Islands, the National spiritual Assistants, Fr. Robert Brady, OFM (president in turn of the CNSA); Fr. Christopher Panagoplos, TOR, and Fr. Allessander Escalera, OFMCap. The diocesan Bishop of Orlando, Mgr. John Gerard Noonan, honored the invitation of the Council and was present to preside over the opening Mass on November 1st. This was an opportunity for the visitors to share with the Prelate on the interests of the OFS. In the course of the visit, Chelito took the necessary time to verify the books and then to sign those that had to be signed. The FPV were important fraternal moments of sharing and of work in an atmosphere of prayer. The closing Mass was presided by Fr. Francis Dor, OFMCap. On Saturday November 5th.

Papua New Guinea – National elective Chapter

The National elective Chapter of OFS in Papua New Guinea was celebrated from 1st to 6th of November 2016 at the ST. Michael Parish in Lae City. The Chapter was a presided over by Augustine Young, CIOFS Presidency Councilor delegated by Tibor Kauser, OFS General minister. As witness of communion with the Franciscan Family, Fr. Joe Quentaip OFM was present, delegated by the CAS. In a spirit of belonging to the same family, of prayer, of fraternity, of service and hospitality, 20 capitulars and 13 observers participated at this Chapter. Also present was the National spiritual Assistant, Fr. Edward Meli, OFM. Erwin Maritua was elected National minister, Sabina Masiri, International councilor and Joel Masiri, International councilor substitute. The Mass for the installation of the new Council was presided over by Fr. Joe Quentaip OFM.

Uruguay – National elective Chapter

The National elective Chapter of OFS in Uruguay was held from 4th to 6th of November 2016. The Chapter was presided by Silvia Diana, Presidency councilor delegated by Tibor Kauser, OFS General minister. She was assisted in this service by Fr. Dorvalino Fassini OFM, delegated by the CAS. He also gave a conference on “Being Secular Franciscan – our challenge today”. The Chapter was marked by an atmosphere of prayer, work, reflection, dialogue and Franciscan joy. Saturday was the election day. Fabrizio Martinez Dibarboure was elected National Minister, and Raul Giudice, Vice-Minister. Mass for the installation of the new council was presided by Fr. Dorvalino Fassini, OFM.

Albania – National elective Chapter

The National elective Chapter of OFS-Albania was held on 12th November at the Saint Francis of Assisi convent of the OFM, in Scutari. The Chapter was presided over by Ana Fruk, Presidency Councilor, delegated by Tibor Kauser, OFS General minister, accompanied by Fr. José Antonio Cruz Duarte, General Assistant OFS-YouFra. 22 capitulars and 15 other brothers and sisters took were at the Chapter. Present also were: the OFS National spiritual Assistant, Fr. Vladimir Mamala, OFM, as well as the Custos, Fr. Aurel Gjerkaj, OFM, who participated in various ways and moments. The capitulars were particularly happy for the pastoral visit that was done just before the Chapter.  Fr. José Antonio Cruz Duarte OFM, General spiritual Assistant OFS-YouFra visited the four local fraternities in Albania, three of which are constituted and one is emerging. The Chapter was marked by an atmosphere of prayer, of work and reflection, dialogue and Franciscan joy. Florinda Sterkai was elected National minister and Paulin Ndreka, National vice-minister. For the first time, an International councilor was elected in the person of Lazer Gega. The Mass for the installation of the new council was presided over by Fr. Aurel Gjerkaj OFM.

Lebanon National elective Chapter

The National elective Chapter of OFS-Lebanon was held at the Centre “Maison Saint François” in Kbannaya – Jal el Dib, the 19th and 20th of November 2016. Participants at this Chapter included 129 electors of the 155 invited, 3 National spiritual Assistants (including the out-going National spiritual Assistant, Fr. Nidal, OFMCap.), the National spiritual Assistant for the YouFra, Fr. Raymond, the major superior of the Capuchin Friars in the Near East, Fr. Tanios Rizk and some observers. The Chapter was presided over by Attilio Galimberty, Presidency councilor delegated by Tibor Kauser, OFS minister General, assisted by Fr. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap. In the morning of the 19th, the visitors and some members of the National council paid a visit to the Apostolic Vicar of the Latin Rite, Mgr, Cesare Esseyan OFMConv. This was followed by the opening Mass presided over by Fr. Tony Chekri, OFM. After Holy Mass, followed a brief greeting to the visitors and then the reports of the spiritual Assistants and of the out-going National minister and some workshop. In the elections done on November 20th, Joseph El Turk was elected National minister and Marise Chami was elected International councilor replace Michel Janian, presently CIOFS Presidency councilor. Gina Chedid was elected International councilor substitute. Mgr Cesare Esseyen presided over the closing Mass at the end of which the newly elected council was installed by Attilio. The Chapter was marked by a very fraternal atmosphere and punctuality. 

Havana, Cuba – Fraternal and Pastoral Visits

The Fraternal and pastoral visits (VFP) to the National council of OFS-Cuba were done by Ana Maria Raffo Laos, Presidency councilor delegated by the OFS General minister, Tibor Kauser; and by Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, from 24th to 28th November, 2016, in Havana. The visitors were hosted by the Capuchin Friars at the convent-church of “Cristo de Limpias” in old Havana quarter. Most of the meetings were held at the Church of Saint Francis in the historical center of the city, managed by the OFMConv. Friars. The visitors held various meetings with the minister and councilors together and then individually, in addition to a meeting with representatives of some local fraternities, a young Franciscan and with two delegates of the major superiors, Fr. Frank Miki, OFM and Fr. Silvano Castelli, OFMConv. The program of the VFP also included a visit to the Archbishop of Havana, His Excellency Juan de la Caridad Garcia, and another to the Apostolic Nuntio of Cuba, His Excellency, Giorgio Lingua. After dialogue with the brothers and sisters present at the meetings, and after having seen the registers and the minutes, the visitors concluded the VFP presenting some observations and concrete recommendations. Ana Maria and Fr. Amando are very grateful for the fraternal hospitality of the secular Franciscans and of the Friars who hosted them and assisted them to attain the objectives of the VFP.

Nigeria – National elective Chapter

The National Fraternity of OFS-Nigeria is one of the emerging National Fraternities. As of November 2016, they have 115 professed members divided into seven canonically erected local fraternities. Spiritual and pastoral assistance is provided solely by Capuchin Friars. They are till date the only friars Minors present on the National territory. This third National elective Chapter was held at the convent of the Capuchins in Olunde-Ibandan on the 25th and 26th of November 2016. 15 electors of the 19 invited, with many observers and three spiritual Assistant were at the Chapter. The Chapter was presided over by Genesi Ngwainbi OFS National minister of Cameroon delegated by Tibor Kauser, OFS General minister. He was assisted by Fr. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap. Before the elective session on the 26th, the participants had a conference from the new National spiritual Assistant, Fr. Anthony Essien OFMCap., on the theme of the Chapter: “Spreading the Gospel in charity as secular Franciscans.” The same brother had presided over the opening Mass in the evening of the previous day. At the elections done on the 26th, Obibuzor Jude Uche was elected National minister and International councilor for the second mandate, while Michael E. Edem was reelected as National vice-minister and International councilor substitute. The atmosphere at the Chapter was very fraternal and the work was done in a spirit of mutual respect and of faith. The afternoon of the November 26th, the newly-elected council was installed by Genesis Ngwainbi during the closing Mass that was presided over by Fr. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap.

K O I N Ō N I A
...together on the journey

CONFERENCE OF GENERAL SPIRITUAL ASSISTANTS   OFS – YOUFRA

 

2016 -2                                                                                     Year 23                                                                                     n. 90

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MERCY: TRANSFORMING GRACE AND MISSION

TO LIVE MERCY IN FRATERNITY

Fr. José Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM

Introduction

What does it mean to live mercy? How do we live mercy in fraternity? These questions pop up immediately when we write about “living mercy in fraternity”. To begin, it will help to define precisely the meaning of the terms, which will help us understand the underlying reality they seek to describe. What do we understand when we say mercy? When we say fraternity? The dictionary defines fraternity as a feeling of affection that binds brothers and sisters together. Fraternity is a feeling of affection for someone who is close, those who are “neighbors”. Consequently, we can say that to live mercy in fraternity is to live mercy among brothers and sisters, among those who are close, who are neighbors.

A doctor of the law asks Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: “Who is my neighbor? (Lk 10,25-27). For Jewish tradition, neighbor is someone who belongs to the family circle, with the possibility of widening the circle to include someone who is part of the Covenant with God, that is, a member of the same community. In this perspective it is not possible to love one’s enemies. In Jewish tradition it is only possible to create fraternity with those who participate in the Covenant, who are part of the people of God. We can say that fraternity is determined by family ties, by pursuing the same objectives and the same beliefs. Christianity widens the concept of neighbor.  In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus presents a new idea of neighbor that goes beyond the the dimension of family or membership in the same community. He invites the doctor of the law to widen his concept of neighbor; it is: “The one who acted with mercy toward him”. Jesus reminds the doctor of the practice of justice expressed in the works of mercy.  Neighbor, fraternity and mercy are terms which are intertwined and relate to one another.

Christianity is characterized by its presentation of “neighbor” in a universal way. Neighbor is all humanity saved by Jesus Christ. Jesus, the new Moses, presents a New Law in the eight Beatitudes. He proposes: “Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. And pray for those who persecute and slander you” (Mt 5,44). His proposal transforms the concept of neighbor. 

In recent centuries equality between all human beings has been presented as the foundation of universal fraternity, ignoring the fact that: “The history of faith has been from the beginning a history of brotherhood, albeit not without conflict... Faith teaches us to see that every man and woman represents a blessing for me, that the light of God’s face shines on me through the faces of my brothers and sisters...Thanks to faith we have come to understand the unique dignity of each person, something which was not clearly seen in antiquity... At the heart of biblical faith is God’s love, his concrete concern for every person, and his plan of salvation which embraces all of humanity and all creation, culminating in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ”[1].

Fraternity – what is it?

Fraternity is the path of fulfillment for human life. It is not possible to fulfill oneself humanly without being in communion with others. Without living in fraternity it is impossible to survive physically, psychologically and spiritually. “In the heart of every man and woman is the desire for a full life, including that irrepressible longing for fraternity which draws us to fellowship with others and enables us to see them not as enemies or rivals, but as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced”[2]. Fraternity is an essential dimension of humankind, because humans are relational beings. “The basis of fraternity is found in God’s fatherhood...It is a fatherhood, then, which effectively generates fraternity”[3].

Fraternity is the dream of God revealed by the prophet Isaiah: “The wolf will dwell with the lamb; and the leopard will lie down with the kid; the calf and the lion and the sheep will abide together; and a little boy will drive them. The calf and the bear will feed together; their young ones will rest together. And the lion will eat straw like the ox. And a breastfeeding infant will play above the lair of the asp. And a child who has been weaned will thrust his hand into the den of the king snake. They will not harm, and they will not kill, on all my holy mountain. For the earth has been filled with the knowledge of the Lord, like the waters covering the sea” (Is 11, 6-9).

When the other is seen as brother or sister, his or her fulfillment becomes a priority and precedes our own fulfillment. Saint Francis calls this fraternal attitude loving obedience.  “And should a subject see that some things might be better and more useful for his soul than what a prelate commands, let him willingly offer such things to God as a sacrifice; and, instead, let him earnestly strive to fulfill the preslates’s wishes.  For this is loving obedience because it pleases God and neighbor”[4].  

When Saint Francis composed the Canticle of Brother Sun in the spring of 1225, he included all of the other creatures, widening in this way the notion of fraternity.  Saint Francis “stretches the idea of human fraternity into that of cosmic fraterntiy, revealing not only an ecological consciouness but also a true relationship with all of Creation”[5].  But we must be careful not “to put all living beings on the same level nor to deprive human beings of their unique worth and the tremendous responsibility it entails”[6]. Cosmic fraternity is not based on the equality of all beings, but rather on the creative love of God. “Every creature is thus the object of the Father’s tenderness, who gives it its place in the world”[7].

Cosmic fraternity can also be grasped by the expression “integral ecology”, where it is understood “that everything is interconnected, and that genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others”[8].

Pope Francis says that we “together form a kind of universal family, a sublime communion which fills us with a sacred, affectionate and humble respect”[9].  This communion is realized “when our hearts are authentically open to universal communion, this sense of fraternity excludes nothing and no one... Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth”[10]

Mercy – what is it?

For Pope Francis, mercy is a program of life. The theme of mercy is abundantly present in his talks, homilies and catechetical teachings, because “mercy is the heart of the Gospel!”[11]. “The calling of Matthew is also presented within the context of mercy...  Saint Bede the Venerable, commenting on this Gospel passage, wrote that Jesus looked upon Matthew with merciful love and chose him: miserando atque eligendo”[12]. Pope Francis chose this expression as his slogan and program of life[13]. He declares that mercy is the face and the name of God[14], and also that “Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy”[15].

In the Bull “Misericordiae Vultus” there is a definition for mercy.  “Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness”[16].

“God is love” (1 John 4:8.16), and “This love has now been made visible and tangible in Jesus’ entire life. His person is nothing but love, a love given gratuitously... Everything in him speaks of mercy”[17].

In the parable of the merciful father (Lk 15,11-32), Jesus reveals how God acts, how mercy overcomes everthing, how it fills the heart with love and consoles with pardon[18].

To Live Mercy in Fraternity

Fraternity promotes mercy, and mercy is only possible in fraternity. Fraternity is the space where mercy is lived.  But fraternity brings about mercy and it is not just the social constitution of a human group.  More than a juridal form designating a human grouping, fraternity is a way of being for its members.

The parable of the merciful father (Lk 15,11-32), “contains a profound teaching for all of us. Jesus affirms that mercy is not only an action of the Father, it becomes a criterion for ascertaining who his true children are. In short, we are called to show mercy because mercy has first been shown to us....  the words of Jesus who made mercy an ideal of life and a criterion for the credibility of our faith: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5:7)”[19].

Mercy shows “God’s action towards us... By its very nature, it indicates something concrete: intentions, attitudes, and behaviors that are shown in daily living. .... As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other”[20].

We are invited open our hearts: “Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognize that we are compelled to heed their cry for help! May we reach out to them and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity”[21].

Conclusion

The Pope tells us: “At times we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives. For this reason, I have proclaimed an Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy as a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective”[22].

Jubilee is always an extraordinary time to live what is essential to human life and resize it according to parameters that are not measurable because God has imprinted in men's hearts a mark of his divinity: mercy, another name for love.

NEWS – CHAPTERS – VISITS – MEETINGS

Roma – Seraphicum – CIOFS Presidency

From April 2nd to 9th 2016, the meeting of the CIOFS Presidency was held at the Seraphicum College, Rome. There was a fraternal and respectful atmosphere among the members of the Presidency. A sign of brotherhood was the farewell given to Br. Martin Bitzer, OFMConv, who ends his service after 12 years. In this meeting the rotation of the chairman and secretary of the CAS on duty took place.   Br. José Antonio Cruz Duarte OFM outgoing president thanked the members of the CAS for the work done and presented the new President Br. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, and the new secretary Br. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap. The liturgy, a sign of union with God, was simple but well attended. With the participation of all we got to finish well all the topics that were proposed in the agenda.

Vietnam – National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS in Vietnam was celebrated from May 13th to 15th in Thu Duc - Ho Chi Minh City, at the Retreat House San Damiano. In a fraternal atmosphere, 40 chapter members took part. The Chapter took place with the support of the Vietnamese Province of the Minor Friars of St. Francis of Assisi. Augustine Yoon, Councilor of the CIOFS Presidency, delegated by the OFS General Minister, presided over the Chapter with Br. Luke Young JinYoo, OFM, as delegate of the CAS. On May 15th, as planned, the election of the new Council took place, and Paul Nguyen Van Hoa was elected National Minister, Anton Phung Bai International Councilor and Joseph Vu Van Khai substitute International Councilor. The elected members accepted the election. The new National Executive Council was installed during the Holy Mass of Thanksgiving.

Malta – National Chapter

Between May 20th and 21st, in the "Franciscan Center" of Floriana, the National Elective Chapter of Malta took place presided over by Tibor Kauser, OFS General Minister, together with Br. Martín Bitzer, OFMConv, General Assistant OFS. Anthony Vella was elected National Minister and Godwin Vella Clark, International Councilor.

Ethiopia - Visit and professions

From May 22nd. to 29th. 2016, according to a decision of the CIOFS Presidency, Jenny Harrington, Councilor of the Presidency Br. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap, General Assistant OFS-YouFra made an extraordinary visit to Ethiopia. The purpose of the visit was to hold a moment of formation for the Spiritual Assistants, to evaluate the situation of certain groups of people formed by the Capuchin Friars in different missions with a view to begin again the OFS in Ethiopia, and that Jenny Harrington, according to her assessment, might accept the profession of some, on behalf of the General Minister OFS, Tibor Kauser. After a day of formation for Spiritual Assistants, the visitors met groups in four different locations: Addis Ababa, Kanafa (in Soddo), Bushulo (in Hawassa) and Meganasse, all followed by the Capuchin Friars, although in Bushulo and Kanafa some nearby Franciscan sisters accompany closely these groups. On Sunday 29th. during the Eucharistic celebration presided by Br. Endale OFMCap, vicar of the Custody of Ethiopia, in the Church of San Francesco in Meganasse, Jenny Harrington received the profession of 23 Secular Franciscans, and then appointed a council to animate the nascent fraternity.  Other professions are planned in the coming months in other cities according to the availability of the Presidency to send someone to receive them. To be noted is the great commitment of the Capuchin Friars in promoting the OFS in their churches and fraternities.

Quito, Ecuador - IX Latin American Congress OFS-YouFra

In Cumbaya, Quito, Ecuador, in the Retreat House "San Patricio" of the Salesian Fathers, from May 25th to 29th 2016, the "OFS-Youfra IX Latin American Congress" was celebrated. From the Presidency of the OFS International Council (CIOFS) Tibor Kauser, OFS General Minister, Chelito Nuñez, General Vice-Minister OFS, Andrea Odak, Councilor for YouFra, Silvia Diana and Ana María Rafo Laos, both Councilor for Latin America, Portugal, Spain and the Portuguese-speaking nations, Br. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, and Br. Martin Bitzer OFMConv, General Assistant OFS-YouFra attended. The event organized by the OFS National Council of Ecuador with the collaboration of the OFS Presidency was attended by 17 national fraternities of the OFS and Franciscan Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean. The theme of the Congress was: "Secular Franciscans, a family of Christian values in America." Moments of prayer (Mass, Lauds, Vespers, Eucharistic Adoration), fellowship and formation marked the event. The nine working groups examined the different issues presented. The members of the CIOFS Presidency coordinated and animated the three workshops: 1. Guidance and animation of the OFS; 2. The Franciscan Youth and the family in Latin America; 3. The spiritual assistance of the local fraternity. The opening Mass (Wednesday, May 25th.) was presided over by Br. Amando, president of the Conference of General Spiritual Assistants, while the closing Mass (Sunday, May 29th.) was presided over by Br. Martin. In this Eucharist Br. Amando made a fraternal acknowledgement of Br. Martin for his 12 years of service as General Assistant OFS-YouFra. The afternoon and evening of Friday, May 27th was devoted to a trip to the "Middle of the World", the historic center of Quito and the Convent of St. Francis, where the participants were welcomed with dances and songs typical of Ecuador and a dinner offered by the national Council and by the OFM Friars. For more information, you can consult the web page www.congresoofsjufra.blmogspot.com .

Italy - Pastoral and Fraternal Visit

The fraternal and pastoral visits of OFS-Italy were made by Tibor Kauser, OFS General Minister and Br. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap, General Spiritual Assistant OFS-YouFra from June 1st to 5th 2016. The meetings and exchanges were made at the national headquarters in viale delle Mura Aurelia 9, Rome. 12 members from the 13 in total of the National Council were present for the visit - the majority remaining from start to finish (the representative of the Franciscan Youth was absent). The visitors started the visits with a Mass presided by Br. Francis in which he prayed for the success of the visits and reminded all of the main purpose of the visits according to the OFS General Constitutions. Then, after a brief plenary session of introduction, the visitors over the following days listened to each member individually and shared with the four Spiritual Assistants together. Tibor also saw all the registers and archives. A day with the regional ministers was planned and realised. Many came to the meeting, each one giving a very brief presentation of the situation of the OFS in his or her region. On the 3rd day, everyone went to the Monastery of Santa Chiara in via Vitellia for vespers with the sisters, followed by a conference held on Mercy by Sister Elena, Poor Clare. Since everything was well prepared and carried out on time, the visits (fraternal and pastoral) were concluded a little early on the afternoon of the fourth day, with a plenary session in which the visitors presented the conclusions and some recommendations.

It is important to note that the work began every day with Holy Mass and morning prayer in the Chapel of the National Headquarters. Both the visitors were very pleased with what they saw as an experience of fraternal relations and commitment to the service of the Order in the National Council of the OFS-Italy.

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Formation workshop for Spiritual Assistants to OFS

On Thursday, June 2nd. a formation workshop for the spiritual assistants of the OFS in Puerto Rico took place at St. Anthony School, in San Juan Porto Rico. The workshop was organized by the National Council and the OFS National Minister, Isabel Lima Pérez, and was directed by Br. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, General Assistant OFS-YouFra. Ten assistants attended the meetings, nine Capuchin brothers and a Friar Minor, including the National Assistant, Br. Luis Gonzalez, OFMCap, and the former National Assistant Br. Luis Oscar Padilla OFMCap. The themes presented and discussed were: 1) The Origin, history and mission of the OFS, and 2) The spiritual and pastoral care of OFS. The workshop was a good opportunity to clarify some doubts and look for ways to improve the service of spiritual assistance to the OFS fraternity. The meetings were concluded with a fraternal agape.

Utuado, Puerto Rico - Formation workshop for Secular Franciscans

From Friday 3rd to Sunday, June 5th a formation workshop was held for the Secular Franciscans of Puerto Rico in the house "San José de la Porciúncula", Utuado, Puerto Rico, organized by the National Council and the OFS National Minister, Isabel Pérez Lima;  it was directed by Br. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR, General Assistant OFS-YouFra. About 60 Secular Franciscans from various local OFS Fraternities of the Island attended the workshop. The themes were: 1) The Origin, history and mission of the OFS, 2) The identity of the OFS, 3) Active presence of the OFS in the Church and in the world, 4) The spiritual assistance and pastoral care of the OFS, and 5) the sense of brotherhood in the OFS. The workshop took place in an atmosphere of fraternity and active participation. The working groups and plenary sessions were very fruitful. The work was accompanied by liturgical celebrations and fraternal recreation, surrounded by an exuberant nature.

Ukraine - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter in the Ukraine was held from June 3rd to 5th at the "House of Mary and bread" managed and restored by the OFS National Council, in Starij Ostropil, Khmielnickyi region. The Chapter was presided over by the delegate of the General Minister Tibor Kauser, Attilio Galimberti, member of the CIOFS Presidency and Br. Rufino Maryjka, OFM, Provincial Minister of the Province of Saint Mary of the Angels of Krakow as the Delegate of CAS. In a spirit of prayer, fraternity, service and reception it was attended by 52 representative chapter members of the 1,300 Secular Franciscans of Ukraine.  The three National Assistants, and a National Assistant of YouFra, and some local assistants were also present. Natalia Almiz was elected National Minister, Dina Francesca Szabalina was elected International Councilor and Christina Lopaczak Deputy International Director. At the Mass of installation, the National Assistant, Br Krzysztof Pelc, OFMCap presided.

Bulgaria - Sofia Chapter of the fraternity

In Bulgaria there is an OFS fraternity in Sofia, the only fraternity established in Bulgaria, and another in Zhitnitsa, of which nothing is known about the canonical erection. The fraternity of Zhitnitsa consists of older and infirm women. The fraternity of Sofia consists of only 6 brothers. The elective Chapter of the OFS fraternity of Sofia in Bulgaria was celebrated on June 17th at the "Center of the Parish Church of St. Joseph” in Sofia. The Chapter was presided over by the delegate of the General Minister Tibor Kauser, Attilio Galimberti, member of the Presidency CIOFS and Br. José Antonio Cruz Duarte, OFM, General Assistant. The spiritual assistant Br. Marcin Grec, OFMCap, and Br. Jaroslaw Babik Guardian, OFMCap, were present. Vesselin Krastev was elected Minister of the fraternity, and Elizabeta Bosilkova was elected vice-minister.

Dominican Republic - National Elective Chapter

The National Elective Chapter of the OFS of the Dominican Republic was celebrated from June 24th to 26th, in Santo Domingo. The Chapter was presided over by the delegate of the General Minister Tibor Kauser, Isabel Lima Peréz, National Minister of Puerto Rico, and Br. Gerardo A. Vargas Cruz, OFM, Custos of the Franciscan Custody of the Caribbean as a delegate of the CAS. In a spirit of prayer, fraternity, service and reception, 14 regional ministers of the 15 regions attended the chapter. Br Juan Miguel Gutierrez, OFM, and Br Fernando Samaniego, OFM, National Spiritual Assistants were present. María Mejía was elected National Minister, Luismi Diego Ruiz was elected Deputy Minister, Aida López was elected International Councilor. The inaugural Mass was celebrated by Br. Gerardo A. Vargas Cruz, OFM.

Lusaka - Zambia – Formation Course

From June 22nd to 25th, a formation workshop was held at St. Bonaventure's University Institute in Lusaka - Zambia for Spiritual Assistants and members of the OFS National Councils of English-speaking East African countries. This was the first planned and realized by the coordination of the Africa Project of the CIOFS. It was attended by 90 delegates including 16 Spiritual Assistants from ten different countries including Angola and Mozambique that are Portuguese-speaking. The project was approved and sponsored in part by the CIOFS Presidency and had as the main theme: "let's start again because until now we have done little or nothing." The animators of the workshops, Jenny Harrington, OFS, and Br. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFMCap, made presentations on the identity and nature of the OFS, guidelines for formation, roles and responsibilities of major superiors and spiritual assistants, and on the social teaching of the Church. A third speaker, Daniel Chidemu from Zimbabwe gave a testimony about the family. All participants were hosted at the three convents of the Friars Minor that make up St. Bonaventure's University Institute. At the end of the work, the participants who were able, made a pilgrimage to the Marian Shrine in Lusaka. The Africa Project Coordinator, Adolph Assagba OFS-Togo did not have a visa for Zambia, and so was absent. But he sent a greeting of encouragement to all the participants. With the grace of God, for next year, members of the Africa Project foresee a forthcoming workshop in French for West and Central Africa. Despite the initial uncertainty and some difficulties in communication and organization, this workshop was a great success, thanks to the support of the Friars Minor of the place.

United States - OFS Quinquennial Congress

From June 30th to July 4th, in the city of Saint Louis, Louisiana, USA, the Quinquennial Congress of the OFS was celebrated. Among the 600 participants were also four members of the Presidency CIOFS: Tibor Kauser, OFS General Minister, Ana Fruk, Jennny Harrington and Br. Martin Bitzer, OFMConv, who, in addition to presenting the different topics asked of them, made up a round table on Saturday, July 2nd. The speakers were as different as the form of presentation of their reports. Work in small groups made possible the participation of all delegates. Br Martin presided over the Mass of Friday, July 1st. Reflections, moments of celebration and fraternal sharing experienced in a very organized and structured environment meant that this Congress took place with great success. The US National Council together with its national Minister Jan Parker demonstrated a great unity and capacity for work which involved a large number of collaborators, starting with the members of the OFS Regional Council based in Saint Louis. The presence of Secular Franciscans from various regions of the United States is a positive sign that opens up interesting prospects for the OFS recovery in that country. For more information, you can visit the website. http://www.quinquennial.org/

Words of Gratitude to Br. Martin Bitzer, OFMConv

The Conference of General Spiritual Assistants would like to thank Br. Martin Bitzer for his fraternal service to the OFS and CAS carried out during these twelve years, extending to him the best possible wishes for his new assignment. Martin Bitzer, OFMConv, was appointed General Assistant of the OFS and YouFra on July 2nd, 2004. Thank you, dear Br. Martin, from the heart.

[1] Pope Francis, Encyclical Letter Lumen Fidei, 29 June 2013, n. 54 http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20130629_enciclica-lumen-fidei.html

[2]Pope Francis, Message for the celebration of the World Day of Peace – 1 January 2014, n.1.

http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/peace/documents/papa-francesco_20131208_messaggio-xlvii-giornata-mondiale-pace-2014.html

[3] Ibid n.3.

[4] Admonition III. Perfect Obedience.  Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, Volume I, p. 130.  New City Press, New York, 1999.

*NB – In medieval ecclesiastical language the term prelate generically designates any person who is responsible for the “care of souls”, from bishops to parish priests.  Francis extended the concept to include the “ministers” of the fraternities, who are called to care for the souls of the brothers (See Earlier Rule IV, 6).

[5] Card. Roger Etchegaray, Homily at the celebration of the Jubilee of the Franciscan Family in 2000: http://www.vatican.va/jubilee_2000/pilgrim/documents/ju_gp_20042000_p-5c_it.html

[6] Pope Francis, Laudato sì, 24 May 2015, n.90. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html

[7] Ibid. n.77.

[8] Ibid. n.70.

[9] Ibid.n.89.

[10] Ibid. n. 92.

[11] Pope Francis, Address to participants in a course sponsored by the Apostolic Penitentiary, 28 March 2014. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2014/march/documents/papa-francesco_20140328_corso-penitenzieria-apostolica.html

[12] Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 11 April 2015, n.8. http://www.iubilaeummisericordiae.va/content/gdm/en/giubileo/bolla.html

[13] Cfr. The explanation of the Coat of Arms of Pope Francis. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/elezione/stemma-papa-francesco.html

[14] Cfr. Pope Francis, Angelus, 18 August 2013. http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/angelus/2013/documents/papa-francesco_angelus_20130818.html 

[15] Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 11 April 2015, n.1.

[16] Ibid. n.2.

[17] Ibid. n.8.

[18] cfr. Ibid. n.9.

[19] Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, 11 April 2015, n.9.

[20] Ibid. n.9.

[21] Ibid. n.15

[22] Ibid. n.3.