Barefoot pilgrims, brothers of all! | Final Document of The Third Franciscan Missionary Congress of Latin America and The Caribbean



Barefoot pilgrims, brothers of all!


Representing our Provinces, Custodies and Foundations, 130 brothers from 19 countries, including 21 lay people and 19 religious, with whom we share our charism and mission, we met at “Monte San Francisco”, Guatemala, the heart of the Mayan world. We met to reflect on the new scenarios from our Latin American and Caribbean context, that challenge us to re-establish the Franciscan charism in this historical time in which we live. It became a new Pentecost for the participants that starts us towards a new evangelisation and revitalisation of our identity.

We lived this Third Franciscan Missionary Congress rooted in the memory of thousands of Latin American and Caribbean men and women, lay and religious, priests and bishops who, in their struggle for justice, gave up their lives in martyrdom. Above all, in the memory of Monsignor Oscar Arnulfo Romero recently canonised, as well as that of friars Cosme Spessotto, Augusto Ramírez, Tomás Zavaleta and Tulio Maruzzo, of “Our Lady of Guadalupe” Province that hosted us, and in memory of our lay brother Luis Obdulio Arroyo, OFS.

With the motto “Barefoot pilgrims, brothers of all,” we feel solidarity with the six thousand five hundred Honduran brothers who only a few days ago left with their migrant caravan for the United States, and with the many men and women who in this last year had to flee from Nicaragua and Venezuela, looking for better living conditions. We experience these brothers’ forced departure from their countries of origin as a metaphor of our humanity in search of a land where there is security and bread for all. This motivates us to renew our commitment to the construction of the kingdom of God, which in these harsh realities continues to invite us to a greater dedication in favour of the most disadvantaged in our world.

We feel profoundly linked to our Order’s journey,which this year celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the foundation of UCLAF, born out of a desire to strengthen our charism and our mission and to deepen the links between the various Entities of the Order present in Latin America and the Caribbean. We thank God for all the fruits we have already gathered from this journey and those we still need to gather. Likewise, in the Congress the contributions of the recently concluded Plenary Council (PCO), held in June 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, and the reflections that emerged from the previous Franciscan Mission Congresses of our continent, strongly resonated.

In response to this rich history of which we are a part and to the future to which this historic moment calls us – if we can face the present with discernment and audacity – we have structured this document in four parts:

First part:       Journey from Córdoba to Guatemala

Second part:    New scenarios that speak to us today

Third Part:      New challenges

Fourth Part:    Franciscans going forth


From this corner of our continent, we offer this document that is meant to be inspiring and provocative “written with feet rather than by hand … written by the feet of those who go outwards, the feet of those who have heeded the command from the Crucifix: ‘Francis, Go!’as well as the call of the leper: ‘Francis, Come!’” (Ite Nuntiate). Written by the feet of the 130 brothers and sisters who took part in this Third Franciscan Missionary Congress of Latin America and the Caribbean. We wish to share it with all men and women of good will: what we have seen and heard in these days of prayer, meditation, reflection and falling in love with our contemplative fraternity in mission.