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The OFM General Chapter of Assisi in 2009 reaffirmed “the importance of ongoing formation as part of the everyday experience and not just the episodic of all the brothers and asks that it be promoted at all levels of the Order” (mandate no. 33).

Along this line of facilitation, the OFM General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, in view of the timely preparation of the next academic year (October 2012 – June 2013), has wished to gather up basic and necessary information about the formative academic offer of the Order, making it more accessible and clear, while making use also of the new technologies.

In this mosaic of information, we are making known the formative academic offer mainly of the Pontifical University Antonianum, of their faculties (Theology, Philosophy, Canon Law and Biblical Science SBF-Jerusalem), Institutes (Spirituality IFS-Rome, Ecumenism ISE-Venice, Fundamental Theology ITM-Murcia and Religious Sciences RH-Rome), School of Medieval Studies, and the affiliated Philosophical-Theological Centers (Venice, Verona, Milan, Benevento, Lusaka, Buenos Aires, Kolwezi, Liveri, New Leon, Petropolis, Quito).

Let us recall that the General Chapter marked a clear direction stating that “The General Definitory should continue its collaboration with the PUA and with the Faculty of Biblical and Archeological Sciences of Jerusalem in order to continue the effort to improve academic quality. The Provinces and Custodies should show special interest for these Centers, assuring capable friars for research and teaching.” (Mandate 38).

The Order wants to strengthen the theological proposal, appreciating their own Centers of Study and Research in order to devote more Brothers to specialized studies (cf. mandate n.39). For this reason, information is gathered from other Research Centers of the Order (Scotistic Commission, the College of St. Bonaventure-St. Isidore, and the Pontifical International Marian Academy) as well as other Institutions of Study (Petropolis, Canterbury, New York).

In order to facilitate participation, information appears on the Masters in Formation from a Franciscan perspective at the Pontifical University Antonianum; the Course of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation also at the Pontifical University Antonianum; and the Masters in Evangelization in the Franciscan Theological Institute of Petropolis (mandate n. 41).

The SGFE wants to facilitate the exchange of academic experiences that already exists between the Order and the Franciscan family with those of other realities, thus favoring with all those friends who are sensitized with the Franciscan tradition (cf. mandate n. 40).

Although this action is not tempted to use all of the information, nonetheless, we pursue it in a practical way by making use of new technologies, in order to give greater publicity to the cultural offers of the Order. Furthermore, we would be indicating to those interested the tools and resources in these Institutions that offer the necessary information to know their formative academic offer and contact them.

In addition to recognizing the importance of promoting houses of formation and research that favor formation to internationality, interculturality, and the missionary experience (Mandate n. 37), we also wish to provide information about the two great Houses of Studies of the Order in Rome, such as the International School of St. Anthony and the International Franciscan Fraternity of “Ven. Br Gabriele M. Allegra, OFM”, in order to make known its rich international fraternal experience, while focusing primarily on study, teaching and research, mainly at the Pontifical University Antonianum.

A special section contains the Regulations for Scholarships for OFM solemnly professed Friars and its form, whether it be for making a new request or a timely renewal. The goal is to help Ministers, Secretariats of Formation, and Brothers toward to discernment, program, and support anyone who should study and where to study. It also provides flexibility in the procedures and clarity of answers, so that decisions may be as fair and fraternal as possible.

We believe, therefore, that through easy and practical means, we are taking a step further in promoting ongoing formation and studies in the Order, in the entire Franciscan family, and among all those interested in knowing and following the cultural offer of the Order of Friars Minor. We will try to update this information which will remain steadily accessible at www.ofm.org general Secretariat for Formation and Studies.

Fr. Vidal Rodríguez López OFM
General Secretary for Formation and Studies