US Franciscans’ Revitalization and Restructuring: Moving Forward – Together

Techny, Illinois, 22-25 August 2016. At a gathering of the administrations of the seven U.S. Provinces at Techny Towers, the friars affirmed the process of the revitalization and restructuring of Franciscan life in the United States. The overwhelming majority of participants confirmed their desire to move forward towards creating a new reality for our renewed Franciscan life in the United States together.

A major theme in the discussion was the desire for all provinces and members to remain connected and a part of this conversation of fraternal unity. A key component was a decision to move each provincial vote on a new model for our national provincial structure from 2017 to 2018. As the conversation unfolded this week, there was a realization that there would be a tremendous benefit of providing greater information and forging stronger relationships as we move toward the formation of a new configuration.

The Provincial Ministers made a decision that significantly moves the conversation forward regarding future structural models. Following an analysis of the data gleaned nationally over the last year through regional meetings in provinces, the interprovincial gatherings, and an online survey, there was a consensus that there was little support for the models that promoted three or four future provinces. The conversation moving forward will focus on creating a new structure of one or two provinces, although the details of what that would eventually look like are still part of the ongoing conversation.

The Provincial Ministers issued the following statement:

“As we have stated from the very beginning of our journey together, this is a process of brothers. In order to be able to do this as fully and completely as possible, we recognized the need for an additional year. This additional time will make it possible for us to clarify our vision for a renewed Franciscan life in our country, while allowing friars to come to know one another better and experience their common fraternity as they move toward the identification of the new configuration. In addition, the new time line gives us the opportunity for the appropriate collection and analysis of the necessary legal, financial, and demographic data. We recognized that this new timeline was difficult for some provinces to accept, but, we firmly believe that this updated timeline gives all of us the time and the opportunities for further reflection and discussion to bring all of the brothers of the United States on the same page, so that as we have done so far, we can continue to move forward – together. Our unity as a fraternity must be a primary value that we all hold and cherish”.