“THEY MUST DESIRE TO HAVE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD AND HIS HOLY MANNER OF WORKING WITHIN THEM”
Principles of education
The purpose of Franciscan education is that all friars and candidates may follow Christ continuously in the world of today, under the influence of the Holy Spirit,1 in accordance with the form of life and Rule of St. Francis.
§1 The education of the friars must be, at one and the same time, human, Christian and Franciscan.2
§2 Since education must lead friars to full human maturity, the members of the Order are to be instructed so that they can develop their physical, mental, moral and intellectual talents in a harmonious manner,3 and so that they may be prepared for an active participation in social life.
§3 In order that friars may convert themselves daily and fulfil the demands of their baptism, their education is to have a character that is, above all, Christian. It is especially to foster a relationship with God, with mankind and with other creatures, as well as a spirit of ecclesial fellowship, ecumenism and apostolic service.4
§4 The primary task of education is to present and to experience the Franciscan manner of living the Gospel and of learning the practice of fraternal life, minority, poverty and work, as well as the vision of evangelisation and mission within our Order.5
Franciscan education is to be complete and therefore it is to take into account not just the whole person but also each aspect of one’s vocation, especially the dynamic relationship between the personal and social dimension.6
§1 In education, the mystery of God dwelling in each person with his special gifts is to be considered with great reverence, in so far as it concerns the development of fraternity by personal contact and dialogue.7
§2 For the stability of an appropriate education, a sense of responsibility is to be awakened and encouraged, so that each one may learn “to use his freedom with discretion and act on his own initiative and energetically” with the fraternity,8 and so that a healthy critical sense towards events may be fostered.9
The educational environment is to be real and authentic, marked by a familial atmosphere necessary in fraternity.10 Account is also to be taken of the concrete reality of each culture and of the age in which one is living.11
§1 Education is to be open to new forms of life and service inspired by the Franciscan vision of the world and humanity.12
§2 Wherever local circumstances are favourable, education is to be open to the promotion of a common programme with the other members of the Franciscan family.13
In order that the friars may be able to live up to the demands of fraternal fellowship, of service to mankind, and of solidarity with the poor, the gradual acquisition of self-control, along with self-denial after the example of Christ is to be encouraged.14 Discipline, therefore, is to be considered a necessary part of the whole training system.15
Education in the Order is to be organic, gradual and consistent. To achieve this, the general and particular Statutes are to determine the appropriate means, offices and duties.
The authority to regulate and supervise education in the Order belongs to the Minister General with his Definitory.
The on-going formation of the friars is a journey of their whole life, both personal and in community, in which their own gifts, their witness to the Gospel and their choice of calling are constantly developed, after the example of St. Francis, who always invites us anew “to begin to do good”.16
On-going formation is to be based on Franciscan spirituality. It is always to take account of every dimension of the Friar Minor and should be able to further his progress on a personal, spiritual, doctrinal, professional and ministerial level.17
§1 It is the duty of each friar, as the one ultimately and decisively responsible, to take care of his on-going formation and to follow it through.18
§2 Since the primary centre of on-going formation is the local fraternity itself, the duty of making sure that the ordinary life of the fraternity promotes formative action belongs to each friar and, above all, to the Guardian.19
§3 It is the duty of all Ministers and Guardians, with the assistance of Chapters at every level, to animate and direct on-going formation and, in accordance with the Statutes, to provide whatever help is necessary.20
Responsibility for formation belongs to all the friars; primarily, it belongs to the Minister General for the whole Order and to the respective Ministers for the Provinces and other entities of the Order.
§1 In order to establish an adequate formation, the provincial fraternity is to be aware that it is a formative community, insofar as the example of life of all the friars of the Province is of the utmost importance in fostering Franciscan values among all.
§2 The official formation personnel in the Province, for continuing formation, for the pastoral care of vocations as well as for initial formation, are those friars expressly named in accordance with the Statutes. For this serious and responsible duty, suitable friars, particularly mature in Franciscan life, are to be chosen.
§1 The fraternity of a formation house is of great importance for initial formation. And so it is to be made up of friars who, being aware of their special responsibility for formation, give effective aid to those who are being formed to the Franciscan life.21
§2 The responsibility for initial formation falls to all the friars attached to formation houses; in the strict sense, however, it falls to the master or rector and to the formation team if there is one, with each one doing his share in accordance with the Statutes.
§3 In a formation house, the master or rector, along with the friars of the house, particularly with the formation team if there is one, is to direct all formation and to coordinate formative activities. However, this is to be done with due regard for the whole fraternity, whose proper direction belongs to the Guardian.
§1 At each stage of initial formation, one of the formation personnel is to attend to each of those in formation as he makes his way.22
§2 In the closest intimacy of spirit and activity, formation personnel are to be anxious to lead candidates to take an active part in their own formation.23
In accordance with their respective Statutes, the Order and the Provinces are to draw up programmes for the preparation of formation personnel and teachers, provide for their on-going formation, and supply them with the means necessary to carry out the duty entrusted to them.24
Those engaged in formation in the Order, in the Provinces and the Conferences of Ministers Provincial are to consult with one another so that they may study their own experiences, foster mutual cooperation and promote unity of orientation by means of common criteria.25
Pastoral care of vocations
All the friars, especially those engaged in the pastoral care of vocations, are to make the people of God aware of their obligations concerning the vocation of all, and are to help those who come to us to set their intentions within the context of the Kingdom of God.26
§1 Aware also of the attraction St. Francis has, the friars are to take care to present to all people his way of life and values as an essential element of our vocation; the friars are to live with such diligence, genuineness and joy that these others can choose and share this life.27
§2 The responsibility for encouraging and supporting new vocations belongs to all the fraternities and to all the individual friars.28
§3 The pastoral care of vocations is to be carried out in cooperation with other promoters of vocations in the particular Churches, especially with other promoters of the Franciscan family.29
§1 The seeds of a vocation are to be fostered with diligent care in families, in our seminaries and in other institutes where those who offer some hope of entering the Franciscan family are living.30
§2 The purpose of this care is, above all, to foster and promote human and Christian maturity in the aspirants.31
The animation and coordination of the pastoral care of vocations is to be determined in the Statutes.
§1 Initial formation begins on the day a candidate is admitted to postulancy in our Order and lasts until the day of his definitive commitment, ratified by solemn profession.
§2 In the Order, initial formation comprises three stages: postulancy, novitiate and the period of temporary profession.
Postulancy is the period of time during which the candidate asks to embrace our life with the intention of preparing himself properly for the novitiate; during the same period the provincial fraternity, considers its reply concerning his admission to the novitiate, while the appropriate knowledge is being obtained on both sides.32
In order that the purposes of postulancy may be fulfilled, a candidate is assisted by the friars to know himself, to complete his initial Christian formation if need be, to consider the intimate causes of his own vocation, and to attain to and experience the Franciscan life in a gradual way.33
Norms concerning admission to postulancy, the time of postulancy, its organisation and nature are to be determined in the General Statutes and the particular Statutes, with due regard for the requirements of law.34
The novitiate is when life in the Order begins. It is a period of more intense formation. It is organised so that the novices may know and experience the form of life of St. Francis, may form their minds and hearts more deeply in his spirit, and so that, after they have appraised their own calling from the Lord better, their resolution and suitability may be tested.35
§1 For a deeper knowledge of the Franciscan life, the novices are to apply themselves to the study of the Rule and the other writings of St. Francis as well as the Franciscan sources; they are also to study the General Constitutions, the General Statutes, the particular Statutes and the history of the Order and the Province.36
§2 For a more intense experience of Franciscan life, the novices are to apply themselves to exercises of contemplation, penance, poverty, fraternity, work and humble service of the needy of our age, both inside and outside the House, in accordance with the Statutes.37
§1 The formation of novices is to be carried out in an integrated manner, so that their formative journey may be accomplished by a gradual and active sharing in the life of the particular Church and of society.38
§2 With due regard for the requirements of law, the Ministers can, in accordance with the Statutes, decide that several periods of apostolic activity are be spent outside the community of the novitiate in order to complete formation of the novices, provided that the novitiate does not exceed two years.39
Universal and proper law concerning admission to the novitiate, education in it, dismissal from it, its place, its duration, its regulation and its validity is to be observed.40
§1 When the time of novitiate has been completed, if a novice is judged to be suitable, he is to be admitted to temporary profession. By that profession he is incorporated into the Order.41
§2 The Minister Provincial is competent to admit a novice to first profession, after the consultative vote of his Definitory, which is required for validity.42
§3 Universal and proper law is to be observed concerning the time and circumstances of temporary profession.43
The period of temporary profession is that during which formation is brought to completion so that the friars may lead more fully the life proper to the Order and carry out its mission more effectively, and during which the friars prepare themselves to make solemn profession.44
§1 The friars in temporary profession must continue their specifically Franciscan formation in its various aspects, in theory and in practice; if it is thought to be appropriate, they are to do this in conjunction with other members of the Franciscan family.45
§2 This formation is to be given to all the friars in accordance with the General Statutes and particular Statutes, which must define the conditions, time and programme.
§1 When the period of temporary profession has been duly completed, the friars who freely ask and have been found suitable, are to be admitted to solemn profession. By that act they are incorporated into the Order definitively.46
§2 The Minister Provincial is competent to admit friars to solemn profession, after the consultative vote of his Definitory, which is required for validity.
§3 Universal and proper law is to be observed concerning the time and circumstances of solemn profession.47
Other aspects of formation
A. Doctrinal, professional and technical formation
§1 All the friars, in accordance with their talents, are to receive an appropriate formation in philosophy, theology, pastoral care, the sciences and the arts, so that they may be of more use in the building up of the Kingdom of God.48
§2 Special Statutes are to deal with the programme of this formation.
So that the Order may pursue its mission more closely, each Province is to be responsible not just for the Franciscan formation of its members, but also for their education in the sciences and the arts, in accordance with the needs of the Church, the Order and the Province, and according to the grace of work which has been given to each.49
All the friars are to apply themselves eagerly to studies according to their circumstances so that, appreciating the progress of science and the arts, with an open mind, they may be well prepared to announce the Gospel and respond to the culture of our age.50
B. Formation to ministries
No matter what ecclesiastical ministry they have been called to, the friars must be trained by means of the necessary courses and a suitable apprenticeship, whether spiritual or pastoral, with due regard for the requirements of law.51
Education for ministries and holy orders is to be marked with a Franciscan spirit, in such a way that the ministries may be exercised in fidelity to this spirit.52
Admission of friars to ministries and holy orders pertains to the competent Minister Provincial, with due regard for the requirements of law.53
Promotion of studies in the order
§1 Franciscan studies, as well as philosophical and theological studies, are to be encouraged and pursued with special care in the Order and in the Provinces.
§2 The greatest attention is to be given to forming teachers skilled in spirituality, Franciscan history, philosophy and theo?logy, who are to minister spirit and life according to the mind of St. Francis and the other Masters of the Order.54
§1 The Order of Friars Minor has the right and duty to have its own houses of study, which are under General, Provincial, Inter-Provincial or even Inter-Franciscan administration.55
§2 The Order of Friars Minor has the right and duty to have its own houses of study to prepare candidates for holy orders, as well as its own higher institutes of religious sciences.
§3 The houses of study in the Order must observe the norms established by universal and proper law.56