12 Apr ESC Spring Meeting Held in Ireland
The Provincial Ministers and Custodes of the English Speaking Conference held their annual Spring meeting at The Emmaus Centre, a Christian Brothers retreat Center in Swords, Ireland, from April 3-7, 2017.
During the meeting, the Provincial Ministers of the United States and Canada each met separately in sub-conference to discuss matters relevant to their regions, in particular, the reconfiguration processes currently underway in North America.
The U.S. process is currently moving forward to the next major gathering point in the discussions, the annual meeting of provincial administrations which will take place this August. The goal of this meeting is to have a proposal which can then be advanced to all the friars in the U.S. to consider either one national province or two regional ones. The Provincials also did considerable work on the white paper which is now titled “Making Fraternity Our Mission”. They expect the paper to be finalized by mid-May and distributed to the friars for discussion in chapters or however they choose to discuss it in the United States. The U.S. process now involves six of the seven U.S. provinces as Immaculate Conception Province stepped out of the process earlier this year.
The Canadian Provincial Ministers also met and discussed the ongoing process of reconfiguration in their country. Each of the two Canadian provinces have confirmed decisions to move to a union of the two. A proposed date is October 2018 for the chapter of union. The provinces have already begun to work on joint communications including a new joint Canadian website (http://www.franciscanfriars.ca/). They have also held joint Definitory meetings. Friar Peter Williams, OFM, has been appointed as General Delegate for the process.
Economo General John Puodziunas, OFM (ABVM), joined the Conference on Tuesday to update members on the financial situation of the Order. The news from the Economo was positive. Over the last two years, the financial situation of the Order has improved tremendously. In particular, Fr. Puodziunas thanked the members of the English Speaking Conference for their continual support of the general administration of the Order and their assistance during the recent financial situation.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Provincial Minister Hugh McKenna, OFM, (Ireland), outgoing President of the Conference, expressed his deep thanks. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM (Holy Name) becomes the new Conference President with the conclusion of the meeting. A new vice-president will be elected when the Conference next meets in October in Albuquerque, New Mexico.