Message from UCLAF on its first 50 years to all the friars of the Order

Message from UCLAF
(Union of Conferences of the Provinces of Latin America and the Caribbean)
on its first 50 years.
To all the friars of the Order
 

We Ministers Provincial and Custodes from the four Conferences of UCLAF, met from October 28th to November 2nd in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, together with the Minister General, the Vicar General, the two Definitors for Latin America, the general animator of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation as well as with other brothers invited by UCLAF.

This year, in communion with the 50thanniversary of Medellin, we also celebrate the jubilee of the birth of this animation space within the Order reflecting on the theme: “50 years of UCLAF, Memory and Prophecy”.

Memory, because we are grateful for the gifts and the seeds sown by so many brothers who were part of these 50 years. We are grateful too for the important influence of the proposals from the Second Vatican Council and from the Latin American Episcopal Conferences, in the animation of our charism and movement.

A grateful memory that led us to celebrate in a festive atmosphere the historical richness of UCLAF, which allows us and commits us to continue making progress. We thank our brothers Javier Mac-Mahón, Salvador Gurrieri; Tarcisio Schmidt, Edgar Santos, Guido Zegarra, who began this story, as well as others living among us and encouraging us to hope.

Prophecy because the Friars Minor are sons and heirs of a prophetic, missionary and martyred Church. The testimonies of Bishop Romero, recently canonised, of our brothers Br. Tulio Maruzzo OFM and Luis Obdulio Navarro OFS, Martyrs of Guatemala, among many others, demand of us a renewed dedication to our charismatic way of looking, understanding and transforming reality. We want to live the Gospel, the source of our life and mission, to give witness to greater dignity and humanity for the impoverished of our Continent.

Prophecy because gathered to know, understand and share what the Lord is telling us in our Entities today, we have become aware of the shadows and challenges that our continent is showing us: violence felt in various forms; human mobility of thousands of our brothers and sisters who migrate to other lands. The socio-political and economic situation in several of our countries pains us, among them, Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, the recent situation in Brazil; and the misery of our Church in its scandals wounds us.

Prophecy because we feel challenged by the journey of our peoples in hope and solidarity; by the charismatic call of the care of our Common Home, our sister and mother earth; by the yearning of our young people; by Pope Francis’s search for renewal; and by what the Spirit is saying to the Friars Minor in the recent PCO document.

Memory and Prophecy, because as disciples and missionaries we renew our charismatic identity as brothers and minors to continue announcing the Kingdom of a God who lives in our midst, who encourages us to openness and discernment, imagination and creativity in the face of contemporary challenges.

Memory and Prophecy because we believe in new ways of incarnating our charism. With the eyes and the Spirit of Jesus of Nazareth and of our brother Francis, we renew our identity as brothers and minors among the poor, which must characterise our life, and as taught by the Plenary Council of Bahia, “the poor are our teachers, the poor evangelise us.”

This is what we agreed:

Encouraged by the faith of our peoples, by their prayers and commitments; and in the maternal embrace of Our Lady of Guadalupe we greet them by thanking them for their faithfulness, wishing them the Peace that comes from God.

 

Brothers Ministers Provincial and Custodes
 of Latin America and the Caribbean