Congress of OFM Study and Research Centres concluded

The importance of intellectual research in the Franciscan world

08 July 2023

Rome, 8th July 2023. The Congress of OFM Study and Research Centres, organized by the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies (SGFS) and which hosted, from the 4th  to the 7th  July at the General Curia of the OFM, representatives of university-level institutions and the Order's higher scientific research centres, has concluded.

On the last day of the Congress, during the Eucharistic celebration, Br. Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, spoke about faith in Abraham and the importance of intellectual research. "This figure who speaks of provisionality, of being strangers and of the journey - he said during the homily - brings us back to the heart of faith and we can also see a link to intellectual research, which leads to wisdom of heart and life. We cannot seek knowledge that is already established, a faith in pills ready to use, a truth that can be reduced to the measurements of a manual".

In the figure of Abraham fr. Massimo added that of Levi and mercy: "Levi's account shows us how to place ourselves amongst sinners, to obtain mercy. We can think of faith in a new way for our time if we know and experience that we are pilgrims and strangers, missing persons, sinners always in need of mercy. We study theology and create Franciscan thought starting from the margins, where mercy is invoked and expected. Even in research we can become less, because the knowledge of faith surpasses us, it is not reduced just to our words but must enter into the Mystery of God, which is always greater than what we can think on our own".

Invoking the Spirit of the Lord upon the participants, the Minister General concluded by inviting them to remain pilgrims of truth: "Dear brothers of our Study Centres, I hope that you will remain pilgrims of truth, men of mercy and therefore bold in thought and wisdom of the faith of today".

The four days of the Congress were much appreciated by the friars who participated: Words from Br. Raffaele di Muro, OFM Conv, Dean of the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure – Seraphicum in Rome, the Congress was an opportunity to work together and to "increase the quality of our study, our research and our teaching".

Br. Luca Bianchi, OFM Cap, Dean of the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality, said:these days were an "invitation to fraternal collaboration with the whole Franciscan family, if we really want to preserve its charism". 

The Director of the Franciscan School of Theology in the United States, Br. Garret Galvin, OFM, said: "We all have similar concerns, because we are all trying to accomplish something, but we need guidance and general support so that we can come together and do something much stronger."

 Br. William Short, OFM, Director of the Collegium S. Bonaventuræ, said:  the Congress was a beautiful experience of intercultural exchange between colleagues. "At present - said Fr. William –we are inspired by the Magisterium of Pope Francis, we are living a Franciscan moment both in the church and in global society. We must respond with our tradition to today's questions on the main themes, such as the economy, integral ecology, the care of our common home; The Franciscan spirit of peace and reconciliation can give answers to a world torn apart by wars and violence. How can we find "allies" within the Franciscan family, within the Church, within local and international society? The goal is that the message of Christ's presence in the world reaches all levels: the power of love must win over the power of hatred, the possibility of reconciliation must also exist in world conflicts, and there must always be space for peace".

Br. Byron A. Chamann Anléu
Communications Office General Curia OFM

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