25 May An Historic Partnership Begins: OFM Fundraisers Collaborate to Support Worldwide Needs of the Order
“The World is Our Cloister” was the theme of the first meeting of the fundraising partners of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), which took place May 5 to 6 in Rome, Italy, at the Order’s headquarters. The two-day meeting focused on fundraising, project coordination, and collaboration between the different OFM and OFM-associated entities and individual friars.
Ready to move ahead with this initiative are the three partners: the fundraising office of the General Curia, the General Secretariat of the Franciscan Missions, Inc. (Franciscan Missions), in Waterford, WI USA, and Missionszentrale der Franziskaner (MZF), in Bonn, Germany.
These entities will work together, in collaboration, to support the worldwide needs of the Order.
The meeting began with discussion about the priorities of the Order, which include addressing the housing and formation needs of young men in Africa and Asia. Because of the steady increase in Franciscan vocations in these parts of the world, the need to accommodate students in formation is a top priority both now and in the immediate future.
“While we need buildings to house the growing number of young men seeking to become Franciscan friars, we also need to educate and prepare a future crop of friar missionaries who will go on to serve in different roles in the Church,” said Minister General Fr. Michael Perry. “It is not only a plea for money. We must look to the future, identify some of the priority areas, and begin to address these needs through friend raising and fundraising.”
According to Fr. Michael, it is through these fundraising endeavors that the partners will help to engage people and share with them what their partnership means for the future of the Church, the future of human societies – in whatever region or country that is – and the role the Franciscans can play in those areas of the world.
As the dialogue among the partners, and with their respective benefactors, continues, it is important to build a platform for communicating and sharing experiences with each other. In collaboration with the three partner entities, Father Mario DiCicco, OFM (Sacred Heart of Jesus Province – St. Louis, MO USA) and Father John O’Connor, OFM (Holy Name Province – New York, NY USA) work to solicit major gifts from individuals and foundations in the United States. They conduct this work from offices located in the Midwest and East Coast, respectively.
One representative from each of the partner entities will serve on the committee to oversee future meeting planning, regular communications among partner members, and special projects. The committee members are: Fr. Franco Mirri, OFM (General Curia), Tyler Curtis, operations manager of Franciscan Missions, and Fr. Matthias Maier, OFM, president of MZF.
The next annual meeting of the OFM Fundraising Partners will be held in Waterford, WI in spring 2018.
“This is an historic moment. We are trying to alter the course that the different agencies and individuals are taking. We are doing this work at different levels, but heading in the same direction. A coordinated effort will strengthen our work and mission,” Fr. Michael explained. “With this initiative, we are responding as friars both to the needs within the Order so that we may serve the Church and to the needs of the world.”
Submitted by Tyler Curtis, director of operations for the Franciscan Missions office.