UFME - EUROPEAN UNION OF FRIARS MINOR
l. Birth of an idea
During the General Chapter held at St. Mary of The Angels in Assisi (May-June 1985), the Definitor Generals of Europe, fr. Hermann Schalück, fr. Zenone Stys, fr. Manuel Blanco e fr. Angelo Stellini thought of initiating a discussion with the end result being the involvement of all of the European Friars Minor in a common effort concerning mutual interests, especially relative to evangelization and formation. The implementation of this idea was left open to discussion among the various presidents of the European conferences. They then agreed upon various points of development and advancement. All of which were to be for the primary purpose of better service to the Order and to the Church.
The following were highlighted as some of the objectives:
a) To support a reciprocal understanding of diversity of culture, among churches and among the various ways of living the Franciscan life;
2. Stages of dialogue
b) To support a spirit of international fraternity;
c) To support the renewal of religious life;
d) Consultation, promotion and coordination of initial and permanent formation; the initiation of research and study; the pastoral and social services of the European Provinces;
e) To support in particular the concretization of the three fundamental options of the General Chapter and the working proposals outlined by this same Chapter
3. UFME Statutes
1985 - 1988: preparatory stage: preparation for the first assembly.
9-16 October 1988: The first assembly of the Provincial Ministers of Europe met at Verona; the decision to continue and to consolidate the collaboration of the European Friars Minor; to consider the base lines for this collaboration. In the succeeding period, the operating committee suggested proposals regarding the information process familiarization with the language, justice and peace, formation and studies, refinements of the proposals regarding solidarity between the Provinces, defining the program of the next pilgrimage to Vienna-Budapest and the next Assembly of Minister Provincials of Europe.
19-21 October 1990: Vienna-Budapest pilgrimage, with the symbolic construction of Europe as God's house, the foundation being built on Christ and with the fecundity of The Holy Spirit.
6-11 October 1992: The second assembly of the Minister Provincials of Europe at Vaalbeek, in Belgium; to iron out and consolidate duties for collaboration and for construction of Europe. The operating committee which came forth from the statutes of the European Union of Friars Minor, under the official name of UFME; it will make direct contacts with the segments of The Order which are present in the countries of Eastern Europe; make preparations for the Assembly in Santiago.
10-15 October 1995: The third assembly of UFME, at Santiago de Compostela; reinforces the desire to collaborate among the OFM Conferences of Europe; outlining of a program that wishes to give an account of the new reality of the Order and of Europe. In the successive triennial the operating committee examined the various mandates of the Assembly, seeking to concretize efforts according to the possibilities of the collaboration of Conferences; proposing to redefine the Franciscan presence in Istanbul; institute a committee of young UFME to prepare for the youth event, to be held in Florence from 25 to 28 September 1997; this committee to oversee this activity, helping the operating committee elected in the Santiago Assembly; organization of the youth event in Florence and the participation of UFME at the ecumenical assembly of Graz.
25-28 September 1996: The youth event in Florence with friars coming from every part of Europe; the event was very positively received among the young friars present and in the city; the participants were eager to see a similar possibility to be repeated and addressed this desire to their Provincial Ministers.
23-29 June 1997: A large group of European friars participated in the ecumenical assembly of Graz; The President of UFME being among the invited officials; a youth group was assembled in Hearing.
18-28 August 1997: Realization of the initial stages of the presence of the friars in Istanbul; in collaboration with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, organizing an Ecumenical Fathers seminar which will be held in Istanbul and Cappadocia and the vicinity around Ephesus.
12-18 October 1998: The fourth assembly of UFME met in Warsaw; the Provinces work to sustain the Franciscan Center for Peace, at Split.
Membership and Purpose of UFME
1.1 The European Union of Friars Minor is composed of the members of the Order of Friars Minor and is representative of the Minister Provincials of the European Continent.
1.2 The mandate of the Union is the promotion of collaboration among the Provinces of The Friars Minor of Europe, creating reciprocal relationships within the various ambiances of the Franciscan life, to increase the depth of spiritual experience and cultural formation and for an insightful witness of the gospel in the Franciscan charisma and in a spirit of ecumenism.
1.3. While maintaining the autonomy of the individual province and each conference. The Union has the mandate to promote, in a European environment and with the vision of a unified Europe, initiatives and shared concerns of formation and of studies of the friars, co-involving all of the conferences and European provinces in the work confronted by The Order applicable to the reality of the situation in the countries of Eastern Europe, Develop communal relationships with other religions and the structure of The Order - promote the collaborations of the other components of the Franciscan movement; promote common initiatives in the arena of justice, of peace, and of respect for creation.