Comunicato of the General Definitory July 2016

The Tempo Forte of July 2016 ran from 4th to 15th July. It coincided with the assembly of the Foundation of St. Francis of Assisi, in Russia and Kazakhstan, which was held in the General Curia. This allowed the brothers of the Foundation to meet with the Minister and Definitory formally in session and informally at prayer and at meals and recreation. On 11th July, the Minister and most of the Definitory travelled to Assisi to take part in the joint celebration of the Pardon of Assisi, organised by the whole Franciscan family in Umbria.

After sharing their experiences since the Tempo Forte of May, the Minister and Definitory received updates and progress reports from the General Secretariat for Missions and Evangelisation, from the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, and from the Office of Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation. An update was also received from the General Treasurer’s Office. The Director of the Development Office, Br. Franco Mirri, came to the meeting with some proposals for the organisation of the office.

Having heard the proposals presented by the Conferences of Ministers Provincial, the Definitory appointed the permanent International Commission for Economic Affairs, in accordance with decision n. 9 of the General Chapter 2015. The members of the Commission are: Mr. Wilmer Smeenk (Netherlands), President; Mr. Les Quick (USA); Br. Trevor Dalton D’Souza OFM (India); Br. Antonio Scabio (Definitor General); Br. John Puodziunas OFM (General Treasurer).

A very large number of files (plichi) – 113 in all – was examined during this Tempo Forte. Many of these involved the ratification of elections at the Capitular Congressus and extra-capitular elections, as well as requests for dispensations, secularization, and exclaustration.

On 5th July, the Definitory decided to reunite the fraternities known as International College of St. Anthony and the Fraternity of Blessed Gabriel Allegra into a single Guardianate. Br. Estêvão Ottenbreit, of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, in Brazil, was elected the Guardian.

The General Definitory ratified the election of some new Ministers and Custodes. These included:

  • Br. Robert Campagna, Minister Provincial of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, USA.
  • Br. Fidel de Jesús Ojeda Rutiaga, Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Philip of Jesus, in Mexico.
  • Br. Giuseppe Iandiorio, Minister Provincial of the Province of the Immaculate Conception, in Italy.
  • Br. Manuel Corullón Fernández, Custos of the Custody of the Holy Protomartyrs of the Order, in Morocco.
  • Br. Danyil Botvina, Minister Provincial of the Province of St Michael the Archangel, in Ukraine;
  • Br. Guido Zegarra Ponce, elected Minister Provincial of the Province of the XII Apostles, in Peru, outside of Chapter due to the appointment of his predecessor as Bishop of Huánuco.

The Definitory elected a number of Visitators General who will visit the Provinces and other Entities in the coming year:

  • Br. José Ángel Egiguren Iraola, of the Province of Arantzazu, in Spain, as Visitator of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, in Spain.
  • Br. Oscar Armando Montoya Restrepo, of the Province of St. Paul the Apostle, in Colombia, as Visitator of the Missionary Province of St Anthony, in Bolivia.
  • Br. Francesco Piloni, of the Seraphic Province of St. Francis of Assisi, in Italy, as Visitator General of the Province of St. James of the Marches, in Italy.
  • Br. Emanuil Sabadakh, of the Province of St. Michael the Archangel, in Ukraine, as Visitator General of the Foundation of St. Francis of Assisi, in Russia and Kazakhstan, dependent on the Minister General.

The Minister and Definitory accepted the resignation from his office as President of the Foundation of Blessed Giles presented by Br. Paul Iorio. In his place, they elected Br. Jacopo Pozzerle.

Several Reports submitted by Visitators and Delegates General were received and studied by the Definitory. The following reports were presented:

  • The report of Br. Klaudiusz Michalski, on his visit to the Foundation of St. Francis of Assisi, in Russia and Kazakhstan;
  • The report of Br. Francisco Gearóid Ó Conaire, on his visit to the Province of St. Barbara, USA;
  • The report of Br. Paolo Oh, on his visit to the Province of Our Lady, Queen of China, in Taiwan;
  • The report of Br. Ambrose Nguyen Van Si, on his visit to the Province of Christ the King, in Canada;
  • The report of Br. Wanderley Gomes De Figueiredo, on his visit to the Province of the Holy Cross, in Brazil;
  • The report of Br. Gino Correa, on his visit to the Province of St. Peter Baptist, in the Philippines;
  • The report of Br. Dominique Joly, on his visit to the Custody of the Holy Protomartyrs of the Order, in Morocco;
  • The report of Br. Niall O’Connell, on his visit to the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, USA;
  • The report of Br. German Faustino Tax Bulux, on his visit to the Province of St. Philip of Jesus, in Mexico.

The Minister and Definitory also approved the modifications made to the Particular Statutes of the following Entities:

  • The Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, in Brazil;
  • The Province of the Holy Martyrs of Morocco, in Portugal;
  • The Province of St. Barbara, USA;
  • The Conference of Ministers Provincial of Spain and Portugal (CONFRES);
  • The Province of the Holy Cross, in Brazil;
  • The Conference of Ministers Provincial and Custodes of Brazil;
  • The Missionary Province of St. Francis Solanus, in Peru;
  • The Province of St. Hedwig, in Poland;
  • The Province of the Holy Cross, in Slovenia;
  • The Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, USA;
  • The Province of the Immaculate Conception, in Italy.

The Minister and Definitory examined and approved the Transitory Norms governing the Joint Chapter of the Provinces of Saints Peter and Paul (Rome) and Saint Bernardine of Siena (Abruzzo) which will take place in 2017.

Due to pressures of time, the consideration of other Statutes was left over until the Tempo Forte of September.

During the course of the Tempo Forte, the Minister and Definitory reflected on the situation and accompaniment of some of the Foundations dependent on the Minister General. They had the joy of approving some candidates for the novitiate, for temporary profession, and for solemn profession. As is well known, the situation in South Sudan has become somewhat precarious. The Minister and Definitory were able to link up briefly by telephone with the brothers in Juba to assure them of their fraternal support.

Here in the General Curia, some of the brothers have already left for their annual holidays. In the coming weeks, more will follow. The next Tempo forte is due to begin on 12th September 2016.

21st July 2016

Aidan McGrath ofm
Secretary General