From the General Definitory
Communique from the General Definitory – June/December 2009.
Dear Brothers and all who follow us on the Internet.
Once again we are back with you. The Minister General and the Definitory wish to continue communicating with you by means of a bulletin issued from time to time after each Tempo Forte. If it has not happened till now it has been for want of time. We apologise to those who had hoped to see such a communication after the meetings already held. On this occasion, we will give a general view of what we have done since the General Chapter.
1. Following a short meeting of the new Definitory in Assisi during the last week of the Chapter, the new Definitory met with the outgoing Definitory after the Chapter to share some experiences. This meeting lasted two days. One day was devoted to a plenary meeting, the other was given over to sharing situations that were particular to each geographical region.
2. Later on, the new Definitory met in the last week of June to draw up criteria for the renewal of personnel of the Curia and to share their own experiences and perspectives for this new period of service to the Order. During this Tempo Forte the new Secretary General was named, Br Aidan McGrath. In this meeting, the Definitory also dealt with about 40 files about which a decision was necessary and made a last revision of the text of the final document of the General Chapter 2009, Bearers of the gift of the Gospel as well as of the Chapter mandates, so that these could go for publication. At present, we can say that the final document has been published in 9 languages.
3. Some brothers of the Definitory began to study the Italian language and the whole Definitory was able to meet for its first Tempo Forte together from 21 September until 8 October. A second Tempo Forte was held from 9 – 21 November, and a third from 14 – 18 December. In between those Tempo Forte meetings, the Definitory also assembled to consider some urgent matters that could not wait until the next regular meeting.
4. In those meetings, besides considering and deciding over 114 files or matters that came from Provinces, we reflected calmly on the final document of the General Chapter 2009 and on the way to move forward on the Chapter mandates. We also dedicated several days to getting to know each other since we were all new; we told our own stories and shared our hopes and anxieties for the future. It was a rich and beautiful experience.
5. At the same time we were reflecting a lot on the plan for animation for the six–year term 2009 – 2015, establishing certain criteria that we thought were important, taking account not only of the final document of the Pentecost Chapter of 2009 but also of its mandates. This project, with the title “Starting afresh from the Gospel”, we approved in this Tempo Forte of December. In the light of Mandate n. 10 we have prepared a small aid to help the brothers enter into and live this period of discernment or “moratorium” asked for by the last Chapter and that will occupy us for the years 2010 – 2012. We approved this also during the Tempo Forte of December and we are translating it into different languages so that it can reach the Order as soon as possible. We hope that we can send it to the Entities in January.
6. A lot of our time was taken up with nominating to the General Curia personnel with whom we shall share the responsibilities of animation. After setting out certain criteria that seemed to us to be non-negotiable, we dedicated ourselves to the task of finding brothers for the different Secretariats and Offices of the Curia. We must admit that it was not an easy task. Since until today it has not been possible to fill certain offices, we prefer to wait and discern. The Definitory expresses its gratitude to those who have returned to the obedience of their own Provincials and to all those who have accepted to come to live and work in the Curia. This same gratitude is extended to those Entities who have collaborated with the Definitory by permitting a brother to dedicate some years of his life at the service of the Order in the General Curia. At present we are 46 brothers from 21 countries and 33 different Entities.
7. Another important task was to find brothers for the different Commissions which help the general government fulfil the mandates of the Chapter. For the present, we have nominated only the most urgent, i.e. the juridical commission, the economic commission and the commission for recourses to the Minister General. The others will be named in January, when we will communicate the complete list of the Commissions and their members.
8. In addition, we have named the following as Delegates of the Minister General for the houses dependent on him: Br Michael Perry, Vicar General, for the Curia and St John Lateran; Br Vincenzo Brocanelli, for Collegio S. Antonio and Palestrina; Br Roger Marchal, for Bruxelles; Br Nestor Schwerz, for Istanbul; Br Frances Walter, for the house in Waterford, USA; Br Vidal Rodriguez, Secretary General for Formation and Studies, for the Fraternity “Fr. G. M. Allegra” of students in Rome, and for Collegio S. Isidoro. We also named certain “links” for the offices of the General Curia: Br Ernest Siekierka, for the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies; Br Nestor Schwerz, for the General Secretariat for the Missions and Evangelisation; Br Vicente Felipe for the Office of JPIC; Br Julio Cesar Bunader, for the offices of “Pro Monialibus”, SFO and Franciscan Youth.
9. Another work that we considered to be very important was the preparation, study and approval by the Definitory of the economic budgets for the Curia and the houses dependent on the Minister General for the year 2010; these were prepared by the office of the General Bursar and the Economic Commission of the Definitory. Approval was given during the Tempo Forte of December.
10. Another important activity of this particular period was the preparation by the different Secretariats and Offices of the Curia of their plans for animation for the six-year period which we have just begun. This first plan was shared with the Definitory separately by each office, and then on 18 December during a meeting between the Definitory and the heads of all the offices.
11. During this same period, we appointed 10 Visitators General and studied and approved the reports made after 11 canonical visitations. We also approved several requests for financial assistance.
12. In the last few days before Christmas, the Minister General visited 11 Congregations of the Roman Curia to inform the Prefects of what was happening in the Order and to listen to their suggestions; he took part in the six-monthly Assembly of the Union of Superiors General, and along with the Delegate of the Minister General for each dependent house visited six of them: the two in via Merulana, Collegio S. Isidoro, St John Lateran, Palestrina, and Waterford USA. Shortly he is thinking of visiting the houses of Brussels, Sudan, and Istanbul. He took part in a meeting of CONFRES and visited 4 Entities. Different Definitors have accompanied the Minister to the various Conferences for his meetings. It is to be noted that, on 21 December, the inauguration took place of the Aula Magna “Antonianum” which has been completely renovated. The Minister General and Definitory express their gratitude to all who made this possible.
On this occasion, the Minister General, the General Definitory, and the Fraternity of the General Curia wish to all the brothers of the Order and to all our “readers” a happy Christmas, full of peace and goodness from the Lord.
In the name of the General Definitory,
Br Aidan McGrath ofm,