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Chapter of the Mats of the Roman Houses dependent on the Minister General

Sacrofano (Rome), 3rd and 4th May 2024

04 May 2024

On the 3rd and 4th May, the Chapter of the Mats of the Roman Houses dependent on the Minister General was held at Sacrofano (Rome). Almost 100 participants from the General Curia, the College of St. Isidore, the College of St. Anthony and the College of the Lateran Penitentiary Fathers, dialogued and reflected on the meaning that the words Charism, Communion and Mission have for the Order today.

The meeting, organized by the General Secretariat of the Order and four members of the Roman houses dependent on the Minister General, was structured by alternating moments of listening, sharing in group workshops and prayer.

After the welcome by Br. Maciej and the greeting of the Minister General, Br. Massimo Fusarelli, the participants (including lay people - men and one woman - and two religious), listened to the intervention of Remo di Pinto, former National Minister for Italy of the OFS, focused on the Franciscan Charism. Remo touched on many themes: vocation, happiness, gratitude, gratitude, mercy, fraternity, prayer, availability, reconciliation, opportunity, proclamation. All connected to the life of Francis, but also to their own personal experience.

These words and a methodology of practical philosophy helped the participants in the following "World Coffee", a workshop of dialogue – mutual listening – which took place in 10 working groups that involved the participants to reflect on the theme of charism, expressed through 5 key words that at the end each group shared with the others.

During the Eucharistic celebration, taking up the words of the Gospel and how Philip expresses the desire to "see the Father", the Minister General recalled how the centre of faith is Jesus Christ Himself and how St. Francis emphasizes Him by writing in the Rule of the Friars Minor that he wants to live the Gospel. "What reality and what words do we receive today to open ourselves to the future? What characterizes our charism today?", asked Br. Massimo, recalling how the charism is a dynamic reality, which starts from the relationship with God and opens up to humanity, to relationships with the women and men of the time.

The afternoon session was opened by the report of the spouses Michela Lazzeroni and Andrea Piccaluga, both of the OFS, who dealt with the theme of Generative Communion. A path made up of several stages – dating, style and heart, fidelity, welcoming at home, sharing life, co-design, generativity, desire and hope, daring – which was the foundation of the second workshop of the day, this time based on "aesthetic practice": each working group, starting from the drawing of each individual participant, completed the phrase "Communion is...". The result was full of surprises, both for the written contributions and for the Artistic!

On Saturday the 4th May, the theme of the Mission was introduced by Sister Paola Fortunio, of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who took inspiration from the liturgy of the day, specifically from Acts 16:1-15, dwelling on two "provocations", as she herself suggested.

The plans of Paul and Timothy seem to go elsewhere than what the Spirit wants. And yet, in the night – today we could say "in the night of the world" – the vision of the Macedonian asking for help makes the two understand where the Spirit wants them to act. "And we," Sister Paola asked, "know how to listen to the cry of the Macedonians of today's reality?"

Arriving in Philippi, Paul and Timothy stay there and meet the local people, including a group of women, who are marginalized by society as such. "Do we know how to reach out to our neighbour, to listen as Jesus did? Isn't our mission today precisely closeness to awaken God's desire in others and restore their dignity?"

Questions were at the heart of the third and final workshop of this Chapter: the groups, whose composition has always changed to promote knowledge amongst all, were invited to ask themselves and the other questions in several steps, completing the work, only at the end, with answers.

Vespers concluded two days full of joyful fraternity, listening and sharing, with our eyes and hearts turned to the future.

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