To Ministers Provincial and Custodes
Rome, March 19, 2011
Solemnity of St. Joseph
Dear brothers Ministers and Custodes,
May the Lord give you Peace!
The General Chapter of Assisi in 2009 recommended intensifying the cultural and theological proposal in the Order “especially by valuing our Centers of Study and Research and enabling more Friars to pursue further studies (cfr. Final Document, Mandate 39).
The Chapter stressed the importance of promoting Ongoing Formation at all levels in order to favor formation to internationality, interculturality, and to mission (cfr. Final Doc. Mandate 33, 37), which are aspects that characterize our International Franciscan Fraternity of Ven. Br. Gabriel M. Allegra at St. Anthony’s International College in Rome. The same Chapter requested to continue to support the Study Centers of the Order, especially the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome and the Faculty of Biblical Science and Archeology in Jerusalem (cfr. Final Document, Mandate 38).
One of the ways to obey the capitular dictate is through the Fund for Formation and Studies in the General Curia. This commitment of the Order enables Friars to attain academic titles through a study grant.
First of all, I want to thank the Ministers and Custodes for the generous collaboration which you offer each year to the Formation and Studies Fund. Each of you can assess through the financial yearly report who much money was given and where it’s going according to the different needs of the Order. The opening of the Fund for Formation and Studies has become a real expression of collaboration within our universal fraternity. Many Entities cannot guarantee certain programs of initial formation without this form of solidarity; others would not even be able to form professors and future formators and evangelizers. For these reasons, the General Chapter recommended to continue to uphold the Fund (cfr. Final Document, Mandate 58).
The General Definitory attested that the number of requests from both the Provinces and the Order either for the study grant or for different needs in the area of formation, such as the formation of new professors and formators, ongoing formation, assisting needy Entities in initial formation, languages courses, etc. are all on the rise. Yet, the sheer number of them makes it difficult to really come to the aid of all the needs of Formation and Studies. In fact, most of the Fund is used to help – by means of the study grant – Friar Students from the poorest Provinces and Custodies.
Well aware of this reality, I invite you to continue to offer your contribution to the Fund for Formation and Studies. The General Definitory met in Jan. of 2011 and decided to review the regulations in force and, according to the new changes of the academic process, to establish norms regarding the study grant. Respecting these simple rules will allow the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies to carry out a more complete and attentive service to each Friar Student. The norms are as follows:
- The Order of Friars Minor offered Study Grants for specialization courses (Masters, License, Doctorates) to solemnly professed Friars belonging to an Entity of the Order whom the Definitor General consider to be truly in need.
- The program of study presented by the Minister Provincial and Custode will be considered within the following typologies suitable to the academic curriculum of each study.
- a. Type A (Dogmatic Theology, Franciscan Spirituality, Philosophy, Fundamental Theology, Moral Theology…)
- b. Type B (Canon Law, Biblical Science, History of the Church…)
- c. Type C (Sacred Scripture, Biblical Theology, Sacred Liturgy, Patristic Theology…)
- d. Type D (Psychology, Pedagogy, Pastoral Youth Care, Sacred Music…)
- The study grant lasts a year after which it must be renewed (cfr. n. 15) for a limited time according to the following types of studies:
- Type A (2 years for a license; 3 years for a doctorate)
- Type B (2 years for a license; 3 years for a doctorate)
- Type C (1 for the propedeutic; 3 for a license)
- Type D (3 years for a baccalaureate; 2 for a license)
- Requests for doctorate of Type C and Type D will be considered case-by-case according to the project presented by the Entities and the suitability and ability of the Friar.
- Giving out a study grant is exclusively up to the Minister General with his Definitory after having heard the opinion of the Commission handling financial requests.
- No more than three study grants per year will be given to each Entity. Also, the Minister General can grant study grants to Friars who are candidates for further studies at the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome, at the Faculty of Biblical Science and Archeology in Jerusalem, the St. Bernadine Institute of Ecumenical Studies in Vicenza, and the Franciscan Theological Institute in Murcia (no more than 5 study grants per Entity)
- All the study grants for Friar Students at the Pontifical University Antonianum and other Study Centers of Higher Learning of the Order cover 85% of the expenses for room and board from Oct.1 – June 30 and for academic expenses such as enrollment, courses, and exams. The rest of the 15% must be covered by the Entity itself and will be withdrawn from its account at the General Treasurer’s office at the end of each semester.
- For Friars who do not study at the Pontifical University Antonianum and other Study Centers of Higher Learning, the study grant covers 70% of the expenses for room and board from Oct. 1 – June 30 and academic expenses such as enrollment, courses, and exams. The other 30% must be covered by the Entity itself and will be withdrawn from its account at the General Treasurer’s office at the end of each semester.
- The study grant for the Italian language course at the Pontifical University Antonianum held in September each year covers 50% of the expenses for room and board from Sept. 1-30, as well as enrollment and participation in the actual course. Any additional expenses will be covered by the Entity the Friar Student belongs to.
10. The grant does not provide for books, travels, clothes, extracurricular courses, and his personal needs.
With regards to the request or renewal of study grants, the following norms must be kept:
11. In order to request for a study grant, the candidate must fill out the form which, in turn, must be signed by the Minister Provincial or Custode and sent by regular mail, fax, or e-mail to email@example.com. The form can be downloaded from the official web page of the Order at http://www.ofm.org/borseeng.doc.
12. This also applies to the study grant for the Italian language at the Pontifical University Antonianum.
13. All requests for study grant must be addressed solely to the Minister General by the Minister Provincial or Custode. Enclosed in it must be the program of study the Friar is about to undertake.
14. All requests for study grant must be sent to the Minister General no later than May 30 to ensure a suitable assessment.
15. In order to renew the grant, the placet, signature, and consent of the Minister Provincial or Custode or of the Rector of the Friar Students for the members of FGA or the Local Superior for others. Request for a grant renewal must be accompanied by the certificate of courses and the report card (marks/grades) of the preceding academic year as well as a statement from the Dean or Moderator of the License or Doctorate thesis. Eventual variations of the academic curriculum are always notified by the Minister Provincial or Custode of the Study Grant.
16. Not abiding by these norms can compromise giving out or renewing the study grant.
Convinced that the promotion of the intellectual dimension of the Order will be of great advantage to the growth of the entire fraternity in both its vocation in and mission to the world today, I entrust to you these simple words aimed at rendering more effective our service to the Provinces and Custodies as well as many Friar Students.
I pray to Almighty God to help us grow spiritually so as to become ever more Bearers of the Gift of the Gospel, which his Son, Jesus Christ, and our Father, St. Francis, have both pointed out to us as the way of life in holiness and truth.
Br. José Rodríguez Carballo, ofm
Minister General OFM
Br. Vidal Rodríguez López, ofm
Secretary General for Formation and Studies