Towards One Franciscan University

On March 16, 2016, a gathering of “Roman” professors with the 3 General Ministers of the First Order of Franciscans and the General Minister of the Third Order Regular was held at the Pontifical University Antonianum. The professors present at the gathering are the OFM, OFMCap, OFMConv, lay persons and members of other religious families who teach at the Antonianum and Seraphicum.

In the first part of the gathering, the 4 Ministers outlined the process that has led to the conversation for a unified Franciscan University and the reasons that pushed them to choose the realization of this project and the prospects that lie ahead.

In the second part, the participants divided into seven study groups of professors and lecturers from the various religious families and academic entities. These groups focused on three questions: 1) What is your reaction to the presentation by the Ministers?; 2) Do you have any suggestions for future University?; 3) Do you have any concerns and what kind of difficulties do you expect? Each one wrote her/his personal answers on a sheet of paper and each group also formulated a joint response.

In the third part of the gathering, the assembly heard the feedback of the groups presented by their corresponding secretary. The personal responses of each person and all of the group material were presented to the Commission for the Franciscan University, which will study it and will propose a synthesis, possibly with a project, for the next gathering set for Sept. 30 at the Seraphicum.

The gathering took place in a calm and cooperative manner and gave us something of a foretaste of the future university, a sign of unity, of academic growth and care for the intellectual heritage of the whole Franciscan family.