PCO Chronicles: Wednesday 20 June

Today, on 20th June, the Plenary Council of the Order gathered at 9.00 am.

The reading of the passage of the Legenda Maior where St. Francis admonishes the friars to live “after the manner of the poor” and “as strangers and pilgrims” guided the councillors’ day to open their hearts to what God wanted to give them during the day in a spirit of discernment, vision and imagination.

Following the methodology of the “World cafe” this morning’s theme was: “Evangelization in the spirit of Laudato Si’”. Pope Francis in this encyclical highlights how one cannot expect to build a better future without thinking about the environmental crisis and the suffering of the marginalised. And how can we Franciscan friars be an “evangelical” fraternity, always open to the new challenges of society?

What might happen if we started a new way of presenting evangelization and catechesis to young people, using the vision and spirituality of the encyclical Laudato Si’?

The second theme addressed this morning was: “A rapidly changing world”. Our current society is characterized by the speed of the process of change and transformation, a fact that must be accepted. The councillors were invited to examine how our society affects our lives and is affected by these changes and to ask how might it be possible to make positive change, guided by the light of the Gospel.

In the afternoon, the councillors were instead invited to work on two themes: “Instruments of Peace in the face of contemporary violence” and “Religious life and Pope Francis’ vision.”

What would happen if we were able to respond creatively to the new forms of violence in our world today? And what would Pope Francis ask of us if he were here now and what have we friars minor in particular to offer to the Church guided pastorally by Pope Francis? These were some of the questions that helped our discussion.

Afterwards the friars were invited to view a documentary: “The Sultan and the saint” promoted by the University of St. Bonaventure in New York to celebrate the VIII Centenary of the meeting of St. Francis with the Sultan 1219-2019. The documentary was well made and showed the interior and exterior pilgrimage that led St. Francis to meet the sultan. This was very relevant in our current context characterized by disputes and fears among peoples.

Immediately afterwards the friars celebrated Mass presided over by Br. Julio Bunader and animated by the students of our formation house in Langata.

More stories at: ofm.org/cpo2018