Virtual Chapter of the “Saint Francis of Assisi Foundation in Russia”

On Saturday, June 13 and 20, the “St. Francis of Assisi in Russia” Foundation held its Chapter in a “virtual” format through video conferencing. The Foundation is directly dependent on the Minister General, and the Chapter was supposed to be held in the city of St. Petersburg in May of this year in his presence. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this was not possible. So the friars met under the presidency of Br. Marco Gongalo, Visitator General.

The Minister General was present at this meeting with a message sent to the friars and his blessing. At the beginning of the Chapter, Br. Marco read the Minister General’s Decree and officially announced the election of the new Government of the Foundation by the General Definitory. Br. Stefano Invernizzi was elected President and Br. Juliusz Basznianin and Br. Bernardin Turmann councillors. This was followed by the Visitator General’s report on the Canonical Visitation as well as reports from the following: the President, the Bursar, Ongoing Formation, Ecumenical Dialogue and the Pastoral Care of Vocations in the Foundation during the past three years. The Friars also voted on new Statutes for the Foundation, which will now be submitted for approval to the General Definitory.

While this is the first time that the friars have met in Chapter in this unusual format, they are used to meeting “virtually” to carry out their journey of Ongoing Formation, overcoming the enormous distances that separate the Fraternities of the Foundation. The Foundation consists of eight friars from different Provinces of the Order and nations and three Fraternities located in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Ussurijsk.

The friars are engaged, in the “Implantatio Ordinis”, in the pastoral care of Latin Rite Catholics and ecumenical and interreligious dialogue according to their own Guidelines. Having celebrated the “Virtual Chapter”, now the “Chapter Congress” will also be held in this format in the hope that soon the friars will again be able to experience the joy of actually meeting one another again.