for Formation and Evangelization
Prot. n. 089849
Rome, June 18, 2000
May the Lord God, Father, Son and Spirit,
The communion of the Church, which is "made one with the union of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit" (Lumen Gentium 4), is intended to be a sign that invites the peoples of the world to see that it is only by sharing what is given to all that we can walk together on the path of happiness and fulfillment God intends for us. To be a convincing sign, however, it must be visible and effective. Christians must, not as an afterthought but as an integral part of their mission, be radical in their effective concern for the needs of their brothers and sisters. Saint Francis envisaged a 'communion' reaching out to all created things, his brothers and sisters, where nothing is 'appropriated' as one's own, everything is shared according to need (not greed), and God the almsgiver from whom all has come is praised and glorified as the source of all life and communion.
When we friars consciously pattern our life on this fundamental insight our fraternities immediately achieve relevance and authenticity, because we are acting out of the heart of our charism. The General Chapter of 1997 challenged us to a greater solidarity among ourselves and with others, inviting us to lower any barriers that might impede collaboration. It was in this spirit that in 1999 I invited all the provinces and custodies to consider making a special and generous offering from their resources for the support of the needier areas of the Order, on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the Incarnation. In celebrating 2000 years since the "kindness and generosity of God our Savior dawned upon the world" (Titus 3:4) it seemed appropriate to engage in a conspicuous response of solidarity to further the spread of the Good News given "for all the people" (Lk 2:10).
I am very happy to tell you that the response to the one-off Jubilee Fund Appeal has been very generous. So far, 63 of the 127 entities of the Order have contributed what they could. The contributions have varied in size, since no two entities have equal resources, but what matters is that - as Saint Paul says - each one of you has contributed "as each has decided for himself, and not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7). And as well as the provinces and custodies, several individual fraternities and three Poor Clare Monasteries have sent offerings for the Fund. And we have also had contributions from six other benefactors (individuals and groups). In the name of the Order and of those who will eventually benefit, I want to thank you all most sincerely. May the Lord reward you!
I want to let you know exactly where the Fund stands at present. Contributions are held in distinct accounts of two currencies. The Jubilee Fund consists of 905,536.15 Euros and 354,184.84 U.S. Dollars. The Fund is reported separately and the interest gained is being reinvested with the capital. This is in accordance with a set of norms which will govern the investment and eventual disbursement of the Jubilee Fund.
I promised in the letter I wrote to you on September 1, 1999 (prot. no. 088614) that such a set of norms would be drawn up in order to ensure that the Fund was regulated in a transparent and verifiable manner. I can now present these norms to you. They were prepared in consultation with those responsible for our financial affairs and with the Development Office, and have been approved after study by the General Definitory. We have tried to keep them uncomplicated and practical. We think that they will ensure proper oversight of the Fund in accordance with your expectations while at the same time being at the service of the greatest formation and evangelization needs of the Order.
You will find the norms on the attached sheet. I would invite you to note the following points especially:
I want again to thank all who have contributed to the Fund, those who have given generously of their time and specialist expertise in setting up the Fund, and those who will eventually administer it for the benefit of the universal brotherhood and the spread of the Gospel.
Could I finally suggest that while the Jubilee Fund is a one-off appeal, it remains open for the entire time of the Jubilee year? It may be that you have forgotten or just didn't get around to making a contribution. There is no obligation, of course, but perhaps this letter may serve as a reminder, while the norms will clarify what exactly we hope the Fund will achieve. And there is no prohibition on sending a second donation! It may be that you know benefactors who might like to contribute to the Fund. We hope to build it up with the assistance of friends, and especially those to whom we minister and who know our work. There is explanatory material available from the Development Office for that purpose.
I pray that God may "enrich you with every grace, so that you always have enough for every conceivable need, and your resources overflow in all kinds of good work" (2Cor 9:8). Together may we serve the Lord and our sisters and brothers in such a way that many may praise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit "for the gift of God that is beyond all telling" (2Cor 9:15).
Norms for the Jubilee Fund
for Formation and Evangelization
"The Jubilee Fund for Formation and Evangelization" has as its purpose to help our brothers who live in those geographical areas where the Order is being implanted, and likewise those who need the assistance and solidarity of all the friars. (Letter of the Minister General - September 1, 1999 - Prot. N. 088614)
2. The contributions received together with the interest accruing will not be touched before the General Chapter of 2003.
III. ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL
1. The Jubilee Fund will be managed by a Council for Administration consisting of
* three Provincial Ministers named by the General Definitory
* the Director of the Office of Development
* the General Treasurer
2. It will be the duty of the Administrative Council to
* take care of the investment and increment of the Fund in consultation with the Investment Committee already operative n the General Treasurer's Office
* check whether grants from the Fund have been properly used, and indicate to the General Definitory the amount available to respond to requests for assistance.
3. The General Curia's Commission for Financial Requests will examine the requests submitted and make recommendations to the General Definitory.
4. The General Minister will send an annual report to the Provincial Ministers and Custodes concerning the income and disbursements of the Fund.
IV. CRITERIA GOVERNING GRANTS FROM THE FUND
1. The Jubilee Fund will assist initial and ongoing formation in needy entities of the Order by means of grants for
* the friars in initial formation and in preparation for ministries (their board, lodging and education)
* preparing formators by means of study scholarships and by facilitating their participation in conferences and workshops on formation
* the renovation and construction of premises for formation.
2. The Jubilee Fund will assist evangelization in needy entities by means of grants for
* the implantation of the Order as stated in article 116, paragraph 2, of the General Constitutions
* the assistance and direct support of those apostolic activities in line with chapter five of the General Constitutions.
3. Funds will not be allocated for projects which are the responsibility of the Diocese or of other religious institutes.
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