Rome, 18 November: The meeting between the Minister General, Br Massimo Fusarelli, his Definitory and the Visitators General ended today at the OFM General Curia in Rome.
During the Eucharistic celebration that concluded this important event, the Minister General, recalling the figures of Saints Peter and Paul on the day of the Dedication of the basilicas named after them, dwelt on the concept of witness. “The service for the brothers that is asked of us as ministers and servants is first and foremost a witness”, he said during his homily. He continued, “Revelation tells us witness is possible because we have accepted and made our own, even devoured, the little book of God’s word”.
Br Massimo went on to quote St Paul, who, in the letter to the Hebrews, describes the word of God as “living, and effective, and sharper than any two-edged sword; it penetrates even to the dividing point of soul and spirit” (Heb 4:12). For the Minister General, “Witnessing is born out of this struggle, out of this letting oneself be truly pierced by the truth that only God can make of our lives. [...] Only in this way will we be able, God willing, to reach the hearts and lives of our brothers, especially those we call the most difficult”.
Addressing himself directly to the Visitators, who will visit the Provinces and Custodies of the Order in the coming months, the Minister General recalled how Saint Francis truly “devoured” the Gospel and therefore became its herald because he “was not a man who prayed, but a man who became prayer” (2Cel, 95). “In our service as ministers and servants”, concluded Br Massimo, “may the Lord give us the grace to show his Gospel with our lives, our gestures, our looks, and the availability and openness of mercy. May we promote all that we find positive, even if it is very little”.
These five days of meetings and fraternity were greatly appreciated by the Visitators who participated. They all found the experience very useful, especially those who, like Br Pedro Roberto Balingit Manansala, of the Province of San Pedro Bautista (Philippines), was appointed Visitator for the first time and will be going to the Custody of St John the Baptist, in Pakistan: “It will be important to bring to the Pakistani brothers, devastated by the recent floods, the attention, encouragement and listening of the universal fraternity,” he said at the end of Mass.
Courage, strength, and hope are the “gifts” to be brought to the brothers in Mexico, according to the words of Br Edgardo Manuel Pérez Tejeira of the Province of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe of Central America and Panama. He emphasised that Francis is a gift to the Church, an instrument “to find a dialogue with this world”.
The meeting between the Minister General, his Definitory and the Visitators was also a way of experiencing fraternity in a universal sense. Visiting a Province before Chapter is a very delicate and important service, according to Br Mario Wilson Ramos Novoa of the Province of Santa Fé in Colombia), who is going to visit the friars of Peru, and this meeting gave the friars the tools to present themselves first and foremost as brothers. “The Minister General and the Definitory have given us the guidelines to direct the Chapter at the juridical, practical and above all spiritual level”, commented Br Agustinus Nggame, who will visit the Province of St Francis, Herald of Peace, in Papua - Indonesia.
The Canonical Visitation is regulated by the Code of Canon Law, the Constitutions of the OFM and the General Statutes, the Statutes for the Canonical Visitation and Presidency of the Provincial Chapter, and other Church documents. It is up to the Minister General to carry out the Canonical Visitation, personally or through delegates (cf. SSVC 1). During the Canonical Visitation, the Visitator “represents the Minister and acts in his name” (SSVC 8 §1).