The 2017 Meeting between the General Definitory and the Visitators General


The 2017 Meeting between the Minister General and General Definitory and the Visitators General was held from the 14th to the 16th of November at the OFM General Curia.

At the Concluding Mass, the Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry, shared these words:

We like the first disciple of Jesus seek spectacular events and miraculous interventions by which we hope to strengthen our faith. When major calamities occur, many believers jump to the conclusion that they are acts of divine retribution, God’s sordid way of correcting misguided and evil human behavior. At other times, we wait for miracles to happen before initiating a process of sincere conversion. Do not misunderstand what I am trying to say. Miracles happen in human history. They represent powerful signs of God’s permanent love and closeness to His people. But we who have been called into the Body of Christ, the Church, cannot base our faith on an occasional outburst of amazing, miraculous grace. Jesus’ invitation in the Gospel to open our eyes to God’s presence everywhere and at all times challenges us to look beyond spectacular and miraculous events in order to perceive the deeper message that he is trying to convey in the Gospel of St. Luke.

Jesus’ parable about the Kingdom of God is an invitation to each of us gathered here today to enter more deeply into the Kingdom relationship that God seeks to offer to us in Jesus. This invitation into ‘friendship’ with God opens within us the path towards a greater sensitivity to the Spirit of God indwelling in human history, present in each and every moment and event, even those events that would normally be declared evil and not worthy of God’s love and mercy.

Even in the midst of such confusion and lack of good will, the Kingdom of God is present. And the same is true everywhere in the world, especially in those regions and Franciscan entities that you, our General Visitators, will visit. When we accept and place our trust in God’s promise that He is with us – Emmanuel – all things become possible; all closed doors become temporary obstacles awaiting the movement of God’s Spirit in the world, a movement of mercy and love capable of opening new avenues of hope, love, mercy, and peace.

The Canonical Visitation is regulated by the Code of Canon Law, by our Constitutions and General Statutes, by the Statutes for the Canonical Visitation and Presidency of the Provincial Chapter, as well as by other documents of the Church. It pertains to the Minister to carry out the Canonical Visitation either personally or through Delegates (cf. SSCV 1). During the Canonical Visitation, the Visitator “represents the Minister and acts in his name (SSCV 8 §1). Even though it may have special legal connotations, the Canonical Visitation must, however, be carried out in the spirit which Francis indicated for visits to the Friars.