Minister General in Chile: “God asks us to look forward with confidence in his grace”

“On the occasion of taking part in the Episcopal Ordination of Br Isauro Covili, former Vicar General of the Order, I came to Chile with the General Definitor for this area of the Order, Br César Külkamp, and other friars of the Curia”. These are the words of Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, who went to Chile for a Fraternal Visit to the Most Holy Trinity Province of Chile and the Episcopal Ordination of Br Isauro, who was appointed Bishop of Iquique on 23 April last.

The Minister described the activities carried out in Chile since his arrival on 15 June: “As soon as we arrived, we were able to meet the Provincial Definitory, take stock of the general situation of the Province and in particular the reasons that led the government of the Order to choose a Definitory and appoint a Provincial from another Province. We reviewed the situation since these first months since the Chapter, the challenges that lie ahead, and we also planned an agenda so that the government of the Order can accompany this Province in the current three-year period”.

On the second day of his stay in Chile, the Minister met about 50 friars of the Province – which numbers 68 in all – gathered in an assembly in the Friary of San Francisco de Asís de Santiago, the oldest Franciscan friary in Chile. The Minister shared the joy experienced in that assembly: “Re-reading the present moment of the Province, starting from the paraphrase to the Our Father of St Francis, I gave the friars the positive message of the Fatherhood of God who accompanies us even in the most difficult moments of trial, who asks us to look forward with confidence in his grace and build the future”.

Besides visiting the friars of the Most Holy Trinity Province, Br Massimo had meetings and fraternal dialogue with the Capuchin and Conventual friars who are in Chile and with the Archbishop of Santiago, Cardinal Celestino Aós Braco OFMCap. Br Massimo said: “With him, I had a broad and profound discussion on the present situation of society and the Church in Chile. His Vicar General also helped us to reflect on various aspects, including the condition of young people”.

On the morning of Saturday, 18 June, in Iquique, Br Isauro Covili received episcopal ordination from the hands of Cardinal Celestino, accompanied by the Apostolic Nuncio to Chile, Mgr Alberto Ortega Martín, and the Franciscan Bishop of Osorno, Mgr Jorge Concha Cayuqueo, OFM. In his message, the new bishop asked to continue to be called “Hermano Isauro, hermano obispo” and invited the faithful to deepen their Christian commitment to peace and care for creation. He also indicated as a priority the development of “healthy and safe environments, so that situations of abuse never occur again, in Chile and in the world”. As pastor, he asked for forgiveness on behalf of the diocese he presides over today from all those who have suffered any kind of abuse.

The Minister General’s visit to Chile, which began on 16 June, ends on Thursday 23rd.