Fraternal Visit to the Seraphic Province of St. Francis

On 26-27 September 2016, the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, Br. Michael A. Perry, accompanied by General Definitor for the UFME area, Br. Antonio Scabio, came to Santa Maria degli Angeli for a Fraternal Visit to the Seraphic Province of St. Francis of Friars Minor of Umbria. The visit, conducted together with the Minister Provincial, Br. Claudio Durighetto, and the Provincial Secretary, Br. Adriano Bertero, was divided into two packed days.

The first stage was the visit to the “Casa Papa Francesco” Caritas Center at Santa Maria degli Angeli: the place where the Pope wanted to stop for lunch with the guests during the memorable visit of 4 October 2013, a few months after his election. Then, they continued on to the Shrine of San Damiano where the Minister General and the Definitor met with all the Provincial Definitors, the Guardians and Formators of the Umbrian Province. This brief introduction included Friar Alessandro singing the Canticle of Creatures with a new melody, the result of his research of the original music that accompanied the words of Francis. This was followed by the the presentation of the Provincial Minister of all the places served by and the activities of the Friars Minor of the Province in Umbria, Sardinia, Rome and Nice. In the afternoon at the Monteripido Friary in Perugia, the Minister General met with the friars in initial formation: aspirants, novices, friars in temporary vows and those in formation for Ordained Ministries.

The following day, the Province convened a Plenary Assembly at the Portiuncula with the Minister General. Almost all of the friars of the Province were in attendance to hear the words of Br. Michael. The Minister General concluded the Assembly by offering nine possible steps for the renewal of the life and mission of the Order, the result of a synthesis based on the documents of the Order and by the recent Magisterium of Pope Francis. The assembly then transferred to the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli for the Solemn Eucharistic celebration in the Portiuncula.

The last part of the visit, as it had begun, was a visit to a center of charity: Br. Michael and Br. Antonio went to the Provincial infirmary where, as in the Caritas Center on the first day, they visited the infirmed friars and those who minister there, Brs. Marco, Andreas and Gianfranco.

The whole Province is grateful to the Lord for the gift of this visit, though short, will bear lasting fruit. It is the hope of the Provincial Government to continue the good relationship with the Minister General so that in the local and provincial levels, both can help each other embody the common charism of the whole Order.