Message of the African Conference from the 2019 Meeting in Tetuan, Morocco

The African Conference of the Order met at the Tetouan Fraternity in the Custody of Morocco from 23-27 September 2019.  The leaders of the entities of the Conference were joined by the Treasurer General, the Secretary General of Mission and Evangelization, MZF, and the Definitor General of the region.  The following statement was issued after the meeting:

Approaching the celebration of the Transitus and Solemnity of the Seraphic Father St. Francis, we, Ministers, Custodes and Presidents of Entities of the African Conference of Friars Minor (OFM), meeting in the Tetouan Fraternity in the Custody of Morocco, have the joy of greeting all the brothers of our Entities.

The Lord give you peace!

All together we joyfully appreciate visible signs of hope and God’s presence in our lives and in the midst of this Moroccan people who welcome us and cherish us despite our difference in religion. We are comforted by the positive impact and echo of sympathy and admiration that the Franciscan message of hope, reconciliation and peace finds in the hearts and cultures of the peoples of Africa. the vitality and growth of our entities with the grace of vocations that the Lord sends us everywhere; the presence of brothers engaged in activities of closeness and service to the people, especially those who suffer most, healing their bodily, moral and spiritual wounds. The involvement of many in the pastoral care of welcoming and supporting migrants and refugees seeking opportunities to move to Europe in search of better living conditions, (Morocco);

We are also aware of the great difficulties and challenges that our realities present to our presence, life and witness as Friars Minor in Africa. There are conflicts, violence, wars and refugees in some countries (Sudan); situation of political and social instability (Congo, and Burundi); absolute poverty, endemic diseases, unemployment that causes emigration and mass displacement of citizens; All our Entities are aware of their fragility due to the situation of absolute economic and financial dependence.

We also note the great difficulty we have in communicating with each other, which greatly contributes to nullifying or reducing the effectiveness of our desire to deepen and expand our communion and collaboration. We all recognize the progressive loss of our Franciscan identity. We have seen with great pity the tiredness and diminished enthusiasm, passion and joy in the living of our vocation and mission, the cooling of our first love. Some abandon their initial commitment to the authentic values ​​of our consecration and Franciscan spirituality and settle for superficiality and mediocrity, preferring to lead a double and unfocused life.

Given these situations we have set some priorities for future commitment:

  1. To intensify our efforts in ongoing and initial formation leading to true personal and community conversion and the recovery of the values ​​of our religious consecration and of our Franciscan vocation and identity.
  2. Improve communication between us in order to intensify our communion and collaboration in various aspects of our lives, paying particular attention to the appeal of the Minister General to the Foundation of Nigeria.
  3. Work harder to find ways for self-financing. Propose an economic project studied with the assistance of subject matter experts and presented to the General Curia.
  4. To promote economic policies based on fraternal dialogue open to transparency, and to focus on the true interests of the fraternity rather than individual interests.
  5. Encourage the brothers to the spirit of work as the main source of entry for the Fraternity and the Entity.

 

We end by thanking in heart for all the contributions and clarifications of the participants to our meeting: The Treasurer General, the Secretary General of Mission and Evangelization and the MZF, the Definitor General for the ongoing formation they have given us over the course of these days.

As we celebrate the Jubilee of the 800 Years of Mission and the testimony of the first Brothers sent to Morocco by St. Francis, we remember whose blood shed by faith watered this land and for centuries produced good fruits of interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

Many thanks to the Custody of Morocco, especially the brothers of the Tetouan fraternity for the warm welcome and hospitality they devoted to us, putting everything necessary for the success of our meeting. We also thank the spiritual support of all the brothers through prayers for the meeting of the Conference.

May Our Holy Father St. Francis bless all his sons and daughters and make his mission fruitful and prosperous in Africa and around the world.