Comunicato of the General Definitory September 2016

The Minister General and the Definitory met for the first few days of the Tempo Forte of September 2016 at the Porziuncola Centre at Bahar iċ-Ċaghaq, Malta. Br. Richard Stanley Grech, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Paul the Apostle, in Malta, was a most attentive host. In the course of the time in Malta, the Definitory reviewed their first year of service to the Order and began to plan their activities for the years 2017-2019. At the heart of this planning was the decision to celebrate the Plenary Council of the Order in Nairobi in June 2018. Much time was given over to a consideration of the themes to be presented to the Council for deliberation. A more formal announcement of the decisions will be communicated at a later date.

Having returned to Rome, the Definitory met on 16th September, then from 19th – 23rd September, and again on 29th and 30th September, dealing with the ordinary business of the Tempo Forte. One of the largest items on the agenda was the consideration of a series of reports presented by Visitators and Delegates General. These included:

  • The report of Br. Pierre Charland, on his visit to the Province of Blessed John Duns Scotus, in France and Belgium;
  • The report of Br. Gergely Magyar, on his visit to the Province of St. Stephen the King, in Transylvania, Romania;
  • The report of Br. Marko Mrše, on his visit to the Province of the Holy Cross, in Slovenia;
  • The report of Br. Amaral Bernardo Amaral, on his visit to the Province of the Incarnate Word, in West Africa;
  • The report of Br. Salvatore Ferro, on his visit to the Province of St Mary of Graces, in Italy;
  • The report of Br. Francisco Oliver Alcón, on his visit to the Province of the Holy Martyrs of Morocco, in Portugal;
  • The report of Br. Joxe Mari Arregi, on his visit to the Province of Santiago de Compostela, in Spain;
  • The report of Br. Dominik Valer, on his visit to the Province of the Most Holy Saviour, in Slovakia;
  • The report of Br. Samuel Cegłowski, on his visit to the Province of St. Michael the Archangel, in Ukraine;
  • The report of Br. Francesco De Lazzeri, Delegate General to the Province of the VII Martyrs, in Italy.
  • The report of Br. Siniša Balajić, Visitator of the Studium Biblicum, in Hong Kong.

In the course of their sessions, the General Definitory ratified the election of some new Ministers and Custodes. These included:

  • Br. Virgile Agbessi, Minister Provincial of the Province of the Incarnate Word, in West Africa.
  • Br. José Enid Gutiérrez, Minister Provincial of the Province of the Assumption of the BVM, in Argentina and Paraguay.
  • Br. André Murhabale, Minister Provincial of the Province of St Benedict the African, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Br. Jesús Germánico Barahona Vega, Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Francis, in Ecuador.
  • Br. Praveen Henry D’Souza, Minister Provincial of the Province of St Thomas the Apostle, in India;
  • Br. Szabolcs Orbán, elected Minister Provincial of the Province of St Stephen the King, in Transylvania, Romania.

The General Definitory also elected the new government of the Foundation of Our Lady of the Angels, in Thailand, dependent on the Minister General: as President of the Foundation, Br Francis Xavier Sutardja, and as Councillors, Br Francis Xavier Rerkchai, and Br Arvind Kerketta.

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

  • Br José Antonio Jordá Tomás, of the Province of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, in Spain, as the Visitator of the Province of Arantzazu, also in Spain.
  • Br Francisco Carvalho Neto, of the Province of the Holy Cross, in Brazil, as Visitator of the Custody of St Clare, in Mozambique.
  • Br Fabiano Aguilar Satler, of the Province of the Holy Cross, in Brazil, as Visitator General of the Province of St. Anthony, also in Brazil.

At the request of the Ministers Provincial of the Provinces of St. Joseph and Christ the King, in Canada, the General Definitory elected Br. Peter Williams, Secretary of the Province of the Incarnate Word, in West Africa, as Delegate General to accompany the process towards the possible unification of the two Provinces.

As is now customary, 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 on the economic situation was also received from the General Treasurer’s Office. The Development Office, and the Communications Office also had the opportunity to brief the Definitory on recent developments.

Altogether a total of 113 files (plichi) were examined during this Tempo Forte. While many of these involved the ratification of elections and other routine administrative matters, sadly several of them contained requests for dispensation from solemn vows, for dispensation from the obligations of ordination, petitions for secularization, and even some processes for dismissal of brothers from the Order.

Having received the opinion of the Juridical Office, the Minister and Definitory approved some modifications made to the Particular Statutes of the following Entities:

  • The Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, in Italy;
  • The Province of the Most Holy Saviour, in Slovakia;
  • The Province of St. Anthony, in Italy;
  • The Custody of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Brazil;
  • The Foundation of St. Francis, in Myanmar, dependent on the Minister General.

The Minister and Definitory reviewed the programme for its forthcoming meeting in November with the Visitators General appointed in the past year, and that of the meeting in January 2017 with the newly elected Ministers Provincial and Custodes.

Apart from all the work, during the period of the Tempo Forte, the Minister and Definitory celebrated the Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis at La Verna on 17th September; the Minister accompanied Pope Francis on his visit to Assisi on 20th September; and the whole fraternity of the Curia (along with friars and friends from different houses in Rome) celebrated the Name day of Br. Michael, the Minister General, on 29th September.

10th October 2016

Aidan McGrath ofm
Secretary General