The first Assembly of the newly formed Franciscan Conference of Brazil and the Southern Cone was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 21 to 25 March, with the election of its first President, Br Daniel Alejandro Fleitas, Provincial of the Franciscan Province of St Francis Solano in Argentina. During the closing homily, Br Daniel invited the participants to share their experience with their communities: “Brothers, we have shared four days of listening, experiences and discussions. Let us take this experience of life to our communities and entities. The Conference is not a national experience; the Conference is us. The Conference of Brazil and the Southern Cone is the expression of the proclamation of the good news”.

Br Daniel then thanked all the participants, the General Government of the Order, particularly the Definitor Br César Külkamp, who had closely accompanied the birth of the new entity. He also thanked the friars of the Province of the Immaculate for organising the Assembly through the Minister Provincial Br Paulo Roberto Pereira.

Br César Külcamp, General Definitor, explained the genesis of the new South American entity: “From the beginning of 2019, the Order called upon the three provinces of the Southern Cone to create another conference, capable of integrating and continuing the journey of the previous Brazilian Conference which was made up of 9 entities”. On 13 May 2020, the Minister General suppressed the Franciscan Conference of the Southern Cone, and the three entities were united with the Brazilian Conference, changing its name to “Conference of Ministers Provincial of Brazil and the Southern Cone”. The new Conference now has 12 Franciscan entities, nine provinces and custodies in Brazil, two provinces in Argentina and one province in Chile.

Br Daniel, aged 52, as President of the Conference, will be assisted by Br Fernando Aparecido dos Santos, of the Custody of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Brazil as Vice President, by Br Marino Rohden, Provincial of St Francis of Assisi in Brazil as Secretary and, for the Office of Bursar, by Br Robson Scudela, Definitor of the Province of the Immaculate Conception in Brazil.

The Assembly was attended by 77 friars representing various animation offices of the Provinces of the Brazil and Southern Cone Conference.