Comunicato of the General Definitory January 2016

The General Definitory held its first meetings of the New Year 2016 between 18th and 29th January, with some extraordinary sessions deferred until the beginning of February.

This year, there was no meeting of new Ministers and Custodes since no Provincial Chapters took place within 2015, in accordance with the decision to move Provincial Chapters out of the same year as the General Chapter.

After their usual session for sharing and reflecting on their activities since the previous meeting, the Minister and Definitory got down to business. In the course of the two weeks, a total of 76 files (plichi) were examined dealing with all kinds of matters from around the Order.

The election of a number of new Ministers was ratified. These include:

  • Br. Fidêncio Vanboemmel, of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, in Brazil;
  • Br. Hilton Farias de Souza, of the Province of the Holy Cross, in Brazil;
  • Br. Claudio Pegoraro, of the Province of Our Lady, Queen of China, in Taiwan;
  • Br. David Gaa, of the Province of St. Barbara, USA.

In the course of the two weeks, several Visitators were elected. These include:

  • Br. Gerald Evans, of the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Central America and Panama, as Visitator for the Province of St. John the Baptist, USA.
  • Br. Cesar Külkamp, of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, in Brazil, as Visitator for the Custody of St Benedict of the Amazon, in Brazil.
  • Br. Joseph Condren, of the Province of Ireland, as Visitator for the Province of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, USA.
  • Br. James Bok, of the Province of St. John the Baptist, USA, as Visitator for the Province of the Assumption of the BVM, USA.
  • Br. Estevão Ottenbreit, of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, in Brazil, as Visitator for the International College of St. Anthony, in Rome.

In addition, due to the resignation on grounds of ill-health presented by Br. Alexis Trần Đúc Hải, of the Province of St. Francis, in Vietnam, Visitator of the Province of St. Thomas, in India, the Definitory elected a new General Delegate to accompany the Province towards the Provincial Chapter in the person of Br. Bienvenido Baisas, of the Custody of St Anthony of Padua, in the Philippines, currently serving in the Custody of the Holy Land.

Finally, following the request presented by the Minister provincial of the Province of St. Francis, in Africa, Mauritius, and Madagascar, along with the Custos of the dependent Custody of the Immaculate Conception, in Madagascar, the Definitory elected Br. Peter Williams, currently a Definitor of the Province of the Incarnate Word, in West Africa, as the Delegate General to assess whether or not the conditions exist for establishing Madagascar as an autonomous Custody.

As always in the meetings of the Definitory, the major offices for the animation of the Order – the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelization, the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, and the Office for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation – all presented brief updates on their recent and forthcoming activities and projects.

The Economo General along with the Vice-Economo and the Legal Representative also gave an update of the general economic situation of the Order. The Budget for 2016 for the General Curia and the houses dependent on the Minister General was presented, examined in some detail and, with some amendments in the light of the discussions, approved.

In the course of the Tempo Forte, the General Definitory met with the International Commission for Economic Affairs which held its first meeting to begin to address the matters committed to it by the General Chapter. A brief progress report was made and some concrete proposals were submitted for approval.

The final text of the animation guidelines for the years 2016-2017 Moving to the Peripheries as brothers and “lesser ones” was approved and sent for publication on the website. A limited number of copies will be printed to be distributed by the Minister and Definitory in the course of their visits to the Entities.

The meeting of the General Definitory with the Presidents of the Conferences will take place between 17th and 20th May 2016. The programme for this meeting was discussed and approved.

The next Tempo forte will begin on Monday, 7th March 2016. In the meantime, let me wish everyone a good Lent!

11th February 2016

Aidan McGrath ofm
Secretary General