40 years of Franciscan presence in East Africa

The Minister General and Definitor of Africa visiting the Province of St Francis in Nairobi

03 June 2023

Br Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, and Br Victor Luís Quematcha, Definitor General of the area, are visiting the Province of St Francis of Assisi in East Africa from 2 to 16 June 2023. The Minister was welcomed by Br Frederick Odhiambo, the Minister Provincial, with the friars of the province.

The first stop of the visit was Nairobi, where the Minister Provincial had meetings with the Provincial Definitory, the friars, the Apostolic Nuncio and the Franciscan family. The high point of this visit was on 3 June with the solemn celebration at the Portiuncula Centre for 40 years of Franciscan presence in Kenya.

"Yesterday with the friars and today with the Franciscan family, represented by so many of its members, I experience the vitality and joy of Christian and Franciscan life in Africa. Even in poverty and insecurity, life here is stronger, and I feel it very much from everyone," said the Minister General with great joy at the end of the celebration.

The next stage of the visit will be to the various locations of the friars in Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania. Besides the friars, the Minister will meet the Poor Clares of two monasteries in Rwanda, the Franciscan Family and the local bishops.

The Province of St Francis in East Africa, which covers nine African nations, was created in 1983 by the desire of Br John Vaughn, Minister General at the time, who wanted to celebrate the eighth centenary of the birth of St Francis to renew and strengthen the presence of the Order in Africa and Madagascar. It is significant to recall that Br Giacomo Bini, who later became Minister General, was the Provincial of this Province. 

More than 1300 friars on the African continent are distributed in 15 Franciscan entities: 6 provinces, 5 custodies, 4 foundations and 3 presences. The friars are present in 32 countries on the continent, which consists of 54 countries.

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