In his presentation of the Minister General’s Report to the Chapter, Brother Michael Perry, spoke of the realities and directions of the Order today, and shared his dream of a fraternal and vital Order that promotes a profound human, spiritual, and social transformation, and that responds to the cry of the poor and the cry of the planet.
The Minister General also spoke passionately of the necessity for our Order to the return to the original fraternal character of our founder, and for friars to reject the power and privilege of a clericalist mindset, and instead to live as lesser brothers in prayer and mission. He strongly emphasised the need for common access to resources and equal treatment of all friars, starting with the more widespread implementation of more Franciscan terms such as “Initial Formation Houses” instead of “Seminaries”, and “Brothers” instead of “Fathers and Brothers”.
In addition to the recommendations in the published Minister General’s report, the Brother Michael highlighted the importance of open communication and fraternal dialogue between brothers at all levels, and of ensuring that Chapter mandates are implemented especially at local levels.
The challenge of the Minister General to all Friars is for all of us to examine our vocation of today, and to discern and chart a course our vocation for tomorrow, so as to be sources of inspiration, joy, and hope. This includes being willing to look at the reality around us with honesty, to live our Gospel identity authentically, and to be guided by faith rather than fear in making prophetic choices. Specifically, the challenge includes integrating faith and charity into daily fraternal life and creative pastoral outreach, that unites Formation, Mission and Evangelisation, and JPIC together in a holistic way.
As part of his presentation, the Minister General invited Brother Jaime Campos, Director of the General Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, to share on JPIC developments that are integral to the life of the Order. These include a Laudato Si’ online training centre and animation of various JPIC initiatives. Brother Jaime emphasised the need to deepen the Order’s prophetic lifestyle and charismatic identity, with ongoing dialogue in a spirit of synodality. As part of its communication and sharing of resources with the wider Order, the General Office has its own website on www.ofmjpic.org as well as a Laudato Si’ Revolution website on www.laudatosirevolution.org
Capitulars met in small discussion groups to share their responses to the Minister General’s Report, and also worked in language groups on guidelines for the Order today, that finds its meaning and direction in Christ, for the life of the world.