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Ireland and Great Britain become one OFM Province

Br. Aidan McGrath confirmed as provincial minister

18 August 2023

On August 17, 2023, fifty friars from the Franciscan Province of Ireland and the Custody of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Great Britain, gathered in Chapter at the Dromantine Retreat and Conference Center, in Newry, Ireland, witnessed the act of integration of the Custody of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary into the Franciscan Province of Ireland and the confirmation of Br. Aidan McGrath as Minister Provincial.  

 "Desirous of guarding the spirit of our Seraphic Father and in order to unite energies to be spent for the good of our Order and the whole Church, we have adhered to the purpose of uniting the dependent Custody of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Great Britain into the Province of Ireland." This was written in the Decree of integration read by the Minister General, Br. Massimo Fusarelli, to the capitulars.

 The decree states that as of August 17, 2023, the British Custody is suppressed and "the friars legitimately enrolled in the said Custody, on the same date, enter the Province of Ireland, with all the rights and duties described by our legislation."

 The Minister General, who took part in the last two days of the Chapter, classified the act of integration as a reading of reality and opening to hope. "After a journey of several years, the two entities arrive at this integration to walk together into the future. May the Lord accompany the journey of these our brothers in a Europe so profoundly changed, in which we know that our mission of living and proclaiming the Gospel in the style of St. Francis is still relevant and necessary."

 In addition to the integration, the Chapter confirmed Br. Aidan McGrath, as Minister Provincial and Br. David Collins, as Vicar Provincial. The Provincial Definitory now consists of Br. Patrick Lonsdale, Br. Stephen O'Kane, Br. Antony Jukes and Br. Damian Casey.

 The Chapter was presided over by the Visitator General, Br. Wim Pot, from the Province of the Holy Martyrs of Gorkum, in the Netherlands.

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