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Eng Vol. XXXX. Nr. 130 - OFM Rome - Email: - 01. 04. 2007
Felix Alleluia!
Best wishes for a Happy Easter to you all, together with the hope that peace, like the resurrection, may be the victory of the utopia which becomes a reality.

Br. Karlo Balić, the 30th anniversary of his death

Born on the 6th December 1899 at Katuni near Split in Croatia, he entered the Order in 1918. In 1923 he was sent to the Catholic University of Louvain where he received a doctorate for a thesis on Franciscan Mariology of the XIII and XIV centuries. In 1933 he was sent to Rome to begin teaching in the new Pontifical Athenaeum Antonianum, where he gave his Inaugural Class, which was the beginning of his career. He later became the Rector Magnificus and had the Our Lady of the Assumption hall built. He was entrusted with the International Scotus Commission to which he gave such a new impulse that he was considered a re-founder. He drew up, in fact, a new “way” for the critical edition of Scotus’ Opera Omnia. Charged by the Order to preside over the Commissio Marialis Franciscana, he founded, in 1947, the Pontificia Academia Mariana Internationalis, an entity for the coordination of all the Mariology Scholars of the world. Through the Academy, Balić began a series of Franciscan Congresses on the Assumption which prepared the dogma of the Assumption, in which Balić participated actively as a member of the Theological Commission appointed by Pope Pius XII. Seeing the valuable contribution to theological research by the International Marian Mariology Congresses, presided over and organised by Balić, the Holy Office entrusted to our theologian the preparation of the document De Beata, to be presented to the Fathers of the II Vatican Council. During the whole of the council period, Balić showed he was one of the most active and useful experts, cooperating in the redaction of chapter VIII of Lumen Gentium. In 1975, in the Aula Magna of the Antonianum on the occasion of the Mariological Congress, Pope Paul VI thanked and gave homage to Balić for all he had done in the name of the Order for the good of the whole Church. Following a period of illness he fell asleep in the Lord on the 15th April 1977. The Pontifical University Antonianum, the International Pontifical Marian Academy and the Scotus Commission are preparing a commemorative programme for November next, on the occasion also of the beginning of the VII Centenary of the death of Blessed John Duns Scotus (1308-2008).

Directiones Domorum 2007
The new edition of Directiones Domorum came out at the beginning of March. This “data-bank” of the addresses of our Order, in addition to having an evidently practical purpose, is also meant to be an instrument for growth in our fraternal communications and our sense of belonging to a family, which, precisely in these years, is preparing to celebrate eight hundred years of presence in the world. It can be learned from the Introduction that the Order is present in 107 countries (2,832 addresses) and is structured into 104 Provinces, 6 Autonomous Custodies, 12 dependent Custodies, 1 Federation and 20 Foundations. This time the data are also on a CD, to facilitate the reader in searching. To keep our data-bank up to date and to facilitate the work in the future, the edition is also an invitation to the Provincial Secretaries to send in each change (the suppression or erection of a House, new address, telephone number or fax…), as soon as it occurs, to Br Dragan Ružić, who is responsible for the Directiones Domorum, at:

There is a typographical error on page 14, from 029 to 036 should read "Hispania", not "Hibernia"

(The page of the General Curia has also been updated; and the Provincial Curia of the Province of St. Francis in Poland (097), Poznan, has a new e-mail address: ).
Two Friars Minor will soon be saints
They are the two Blesseds, Antônio of Sant’Anna Galvão (1739-1822) and Simon of Lipnica (1440-1482), who will be canonised saints during 2007: the first in Brazil, on the 11th May, during the Apostolic Journey of Benedict XVI to the “Terra de Santa Cruz” (The Land of Holy Cross), the other in Rome on the 3rd June, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.

St. Anthony of Sant’Anna Galvão is the first ever Brazilian saint and Simon of Lipnica was the first Polish franciscan vocation, matured in the school of St. John of Capestrano.

The two new saints express the best of our charism and give witness to the special vocation of our Order, called to show to our brothers and sisters the face of mercy and love of God for the estranged and suffering.
Meeting of the Minister General with the President of Ecuador
The Minister General, during his fraternal visit to the Province of Ecuador, met the President of the Republic of Ecuador, Mr. Rafael Correa, and the Vice-President, Mr. Lenín Moreno. The meeting, which lasted 3 hours, took place in the Presidential Palace of Quito on the 8th March 2007. Topics of a humanitarian nature were discussed during the meeting. The social commitment of the Friars in various countries, especially in Ecuador, were also spoken about.
The Minister General will participate in the V General Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America (CELAM)
The Minister General will participate in the V General Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America which will be held in Aparecida (Brazil) from the 12th to 31st of May 2007. Br. José Rodríguez Carballo will attend as an “invited guest” of His Holiness Benedict XVI.

The Minister General will also attend the canonisation of Br. Galvão, a Franciscan and the first Brazilian-born saint, by Benedict XVI. He will, in addition, accompany the Holy Father on his visit to the close-by “Fazenda da Esperanza”, a community for recovering drug-addicts run by Br. Hans H. Stapel, a Friar of the Province of São Paolo.

For a civilisation of love
Br. Louis Vitale, of the Province of California, began to promote peace through non-violent means when he was a young franciscan teacher in San Luis Rey. It was the time of the nuclear arms race. Louis began the protest against the arms race in the Nevada desert, a place of military tests. His involvement in the movement of non-violence led him to serve two periods in jail for having entered Fort Benning, where the School of the Americas, which prepares counter-revolutionary insurrections in Latin America, is situated. His commitment to justice and peace received the support of his Minister Provincial, Melvin Jurisich. Br. Jerry Zawada, a Friar of the Assumption Province joined Br. Louis. They now live in Nevada, in a house close to the area where nuclear tests are carried out. They learned that “predator” drones, pilotless planes, were being sent on mission to Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving from a nearby airbase. Our times are times of unease and suffering, but they are also times of grace. The Friars have plenty of time to pray in their prison cells or in the desert and are convinced that God walks with them and will give freedom and peace to all His creation. It is a struggle for a “civilisation of love” in our times.
Argentina – Interprovincial mission of Cono Sur 2007
In 2001, the Secretariat for Evangelisation of the Cono Sur Conference began a missionary project which, this year, sees a mission in the parish of Christ the Redeemer, in the town of Porto Yguazú. Eighteen Friars of the Entities of Chile, Paraguay and Argentina met in that region, bordering on Brazil and Paraguay, from the 14th January to the 4th February, to make contact with humble and numerous families which are deprived of all security in the possession of their lands and are under threat of being chased out or have their land confiscated, are manipulated by the rotating governors with promises of electric light, a new school (the present one is a tumble-down shack), drinking water and maintenance of the town streets, none of which is ever fulfilled. Despite all this insecurity, the Friars found a population that is rich in faith and hope, which trusts in the closeness of God and which is inserted into a local prophetic church with clear options for the marginalised.

Since it is a region with three frontiers, they met Argentineans, Brazilians and Paraguayans. The joy of meeting God, who leaves a message through His Word and His blessing, given by His emissaries, could be seen in each visit to a family. The Friars went into many families, including those of Baptists and Evangelicals, read and reflected on the Sacred texts, prayed and, before leaving, left a copy of the New Testament together with an image of the San Damiano Cross, the blessing of St. Francis and a prayer for peace, and blessed the house. Despite the difficulties due to the very hot climate and the lack of drinking water and electric light, the enthusiasm for announcing the message never diminished because they were supported by the prayer, charity and affection of the families being visited who, in their poverty, welcomed the Friars and shared what they had with them.

The mission concluded with a Eucharistic celebration presided by the new Bishop of the Diocese and with the participation of many of those the Friars had visited.

The Friars who left the comfort, security and their vacations to participate in this mission are asked to continue the same experience in the places where they live and to gather once again for the next mission. Others are asked to accept the call “to be with Him and to be sent to announce the Gospel”, which Jesus makes each year to the Friars of the Cono Sur.

Brussels – New missionaries in formation
The “Notre Dame des Nations” Fraternity in Brussels is going through a new stage. The formation of 7 new missionaries belonging to the three Orders of Friars Minor, Conventuals and Capuchins, from six different countries (Poland, Italy, Costa Rica, Vietnam, DR of Congo and Brazil), began on the 5th March. These missionaries are being prepared for missions in the following French-speaking countries: The Central-African Republic (Jordan Gazda, ofm), Congo-Brazzaville (Adolfo Marmorino, ofm), Morocco (Erdwin Alvarado Segua, ofm), the Far East (Dominique Nguyen Ngoe Hieu, ofm), Burkina Faso (Thomas Kret, OFMConv), Libano (Jorge Comparo, OFMConv), DR of Congo (Gilbert Kpalakumu Yago, OFMCap).

The fraternity in Brussels is, at the moment, inter-franciscan (ofm, OFMConv, OFMCap), international (the Friars come from 8 different countries and 4 continents), is engaged in formation for mission and for inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue.

The formation will end with a pilgrimage to the franciscan places in Italy.

Croatia – Formation course for the Spiritual Assistants to the SFO and You.Fra

The first course of formation for Spiritual Assistants to the SFO and You.Fra in Croatia was held from the 26th February to the 1st March 2007. About 106 Spiritual Assistants were inscribed in the course.

The National Fraternity of the SFO in Croatia is structured into 5 Regional Fraternities, with about 4,800 professed members. The National Fraternity of the You.Fra is similarly organised into 5 Regional Fraternities with about 1,000 young Franciscans and 68 local Fraternities.

Various Spiritual Assistants of Bosnia/Herzegovina, who enriched those present through the sharing of their experiences of life and mission in that very beautiful but wounded country marked by the recent war, also participated in the course with great interest. Br. Petar Anđelović OFM, National Assistant to the SFO of Bosnia/Herzegovina, said that of the almost 4,500 members of the SFO who lived in Bosnia before the war, only 1,225 in 18 local Fraternities have remained. In Herzegovina, according to the account of Br. Sretan Ćurčić OFM, National Assistant, there are about 700 professed in the SFO, in 5 local Fraternities, and about 1,000 young Franciscans in 15 local Fraternities of You.Fra.

The course was promoted by the Conference of National Assistants of the SFO and You.Fra, with the help of the Conference of Assistants General (CAS). The main speakers during the course were the Assistants General: Br. Martin Bitzer, OFMConv (Collegial Assistance), Br. Samy Irudaya, OFMCap (The role of the Spiritual Assistant in the local Fraternity) and Br. Ivan Matić, OFM (Franciscan Youth and Assistance to the You.Fra.).

The National Assistants to the SFO and You.Fra were the moderators of the work. The participation of the Ministers Provincial, of Br. Jure Šarčević OFMCap, General Definitor, and of Msgr. Josip Mrzljak, Auxiliary Bishop of Zagreb, a professed member of the SFO, who celebrated the closing Mass of the course, was much appreciated. Taking part in the course were Assistants from Croatia and from Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the next course will be held from the 19th to 21st February 2008.

International Council for Formation and Studies in Nairobi (Kenya)

The XI International Council for Formation and Studies was held in Nairobi from the 5th to the 15th February 2007. 12 delegates for Formation and Studies of the 14 Conferences of the Order participated. Ongoing Formation was the topic this year, in addition to the usual biennial assessment of the state of Formation and Studies in the Conferences. The Council dedicated itself especially to the preparation of the II International Congress of the Moderators of Ongoing Formation, which will be held at St. Mary of the Angels from the 13th to the 28th October 2007. An “Instrumentum Laboris” prepared the delegates for their work in Nairobi. It was very significant that this important meeting was held in Africa, where the franciscan presence and Formation and Studies are already well rooted. The delegates, together with the General Secretariat for Formation and Studies, with the help of an expert, worked on the preparation of a draft of the “Instrumentum Laboris” for the Congress of October, defining the objectives and methodology. The meeting with the Friars of Nairobi and an encounter with some social and ecclesiastical realities of the place completed the meeting.

Visit to the "Card. Landazuri Rickets" Theological Institute - Lima (Peru)

Br. Luis Cabrera, Definitor General for Latin America, and Br. Massimo Fusarelli, Secretary General for Formation and Studies, visited the "Card. Landazuri Rickets" Theological Institute of Lima (Peru), run by the 4 Entities in Peru, from the 21st to the 24th February 2007. It is a matter of a reality which corresponds to the orientation of the Order to have its own study centres in which to study deeply the franciscan intellectual tradition and to reinforce inter-provincial collaboration on the level of Formation and Studies. It was possible to clarify and re-launch the purpose and basic choices of the Institute for the future in a spirit of dialogue and collaboration during the meetings held with the academic authorities, the professors and the students.

Visit to the Houses of Formation in the North of Italy

Br. Massimo Fusarelli visited the inter-provincial houses of formation of the six Northern Provinces of Italy, the “Saint Bernardine” Theological Study Centre in Verona and the Institute of Ecumenical Studies in Venice, affiliated to the Pontifical University Antonianum, from the 5th to the 9th March 2007. The collaboration between the Provinces is increasing and the area of formation and studies is an efficacious sign of it. The reality of study and ecumenical practice which is carried out in the Venetian Centre, in particular, is worthy of being promoted and better known by the Friars of the Order, even in view of orienting Friars towards higher studies in this area, which is so vital today.

Chapter of Mats for the “Under 10”
The preparations for the Chapter of Mats for Friars of less than 10 years of solemn profession (Under Ten) continue. The preparatory Commission made an analysis and summary of the responses to the questionnaire which had been sent to the delegates. The summary was sent to the delegates of the Entities so that they might continue their reflection together with all the “Under Ten” Friars. This is because it is hoped to have the reality of the Order, the reflection and the proposals of all the Friars of this age-group before us during the Chapter.

As is already known, the Chapter will be celebrated in the Holy Land, mainly in Nazareth and Jerusalem, from the 1st to the 8th July 2008. We remind the Friar delegates that they should be in Jerusalem in the morning of the 30th June. The questionnaire, the responses, the programme of the Chapter and other information can be found through the link on the Order web-page (

France – Franciscan School
The tenth Franciscan School took place in Lyon. The proposed topic was: “Will and freedom in the franciscan authors of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries”. 27 research students were present, 5 Friars Minor, 2 Capuchin Friars, 14 Poor Clares, 5 Franciscan Sisters, from 7 different countries: Hungary, Romania, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, the Philippines and the Congo.

An opening message from the OFM Minister General encouraged the participants. Professor Marco Bartoli pointed out which were the freedom lived in society and how they were lived by Francis and Clare in the midst of the Friars and Sisters. Jean-Baptiste Auberger, OFM, described the OFM evolution from missionary itinerancy to the universities in the figure of Anthony of Padua. He also recalled the structure of the religious Studia in comparison to that of the lay University, as well as what was specific to the Schools of Paris and Oxford. Professor Bernard Forthomme, OFM, presented a comment on a text of the Breviloquium of St. Bonaventure. A half-day tour to Lyon permitted a visit to the Conventual church and to the tomb of St. Bonaventure (1274), recently entrusted to the Friars Minor. Then Professor Luca Parisoli presented the problems of Peter Olivi and Duns Scotus in this regard, letting us see the closeness and the differences in respect to the responses of Joachim of Fiore and of St. Bonaventure, based on Christo-centrism and the problem of power. Br. Bernard Forthomme concluded the week with a brilliant panorama, inserting franciscan thought into the history of thought from St. Augustine to the present day, without forgetting the Theology of Liberation of Leonardo Boff as a possible response to the challenges proposed by Karl Marx.

Big/small news
The Porziuncola: a fragment of space and time in which franciscan history is reflected. A Congress entitled From the Porziuncola to the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, organised by the Higher School of Medieval Studies at the PUA and by the Province of Umbria, was held at St. Mary of the Angels on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2007. The presentations aroused a lot of interest in the more than three hundred participants in the two-day study. The publication of the Acts is scheduled for the beginning of 2008.

New dependent Custody: The General Definitory approved the erection of the Custody of Madagascar on the 13th March. The new Entity will depend on the Province of St. Francis in Kenya. The Minister General signed the decree of erection on the 19th March 2007.

European Missionary Community: The General Definitory approved the “life project” of the new European itinerant evangelising fraternity on the 12th March 2007. On the same day the Minister General met the Friars who make up the fraternity and officially initiated this new international and inter-provincial experience in the area of evangelisation. The new fraternity is composed of 6 Friars from 4 different countries.

Speculum perfectionis status Fratris Minoris (The Mirror of Perfection). The study meeting wishes to go deeply into one of the most discussed texts of the “Franciscan Sources” and of research regarding St. Francis of Assisi. Following the presentations of Professors Jacques Dalarun and Roberto Lambertini, who will go, respectively, into the philological aspect and the historical significance of the work, there will be interventions by scholars presenting other aspects of this very important work for franciscan history. The meeting will take place in the Higher School of Medieval and Franciscan Studies, Via Merulana 124, Rome, at 17.00 hours on Friday 27th April 2007. Further information may be had from the E-mail address:

Rome Chapter of Mats. A Chapter of Mats of theFriars from the Houses dependent on the Minister General was celebrated in the Salesian Centre, Rome, from the 16th to the 18th March. The Chapter was a great opportunity to grow in fraternity by sharing the joys and difficulties of being Friars Minor, as the Document of the Extraordinary General Chapter exhorts us to do. (Video)

Course on Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC)

The Pontifical University Antonianum, in collaboration with the General Office for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, will organise a theoretical-practical course on JPIC from the 4th to the 22nd June 2007. The initiative is an attempt to fulfil the mandate of the 2003 General Chapter, which had requested that courses, “in which particular attention would be given to the topics of creation and non-violence”, would be established in all the Franciscan Institutes of Higher Education. Further information may be had at:

English language course: The Franciscan International Study Centre of Canterbury, in Great Britain, is offering an English language course this year also. The course will be held from the 2nd July to the 10th August 2007. To inscribe, please contact:; tel. +44 (0) 1227 769349; The cost is £1,845.00.
Fortunato Iozzelli, Joseph Bernard Döbbing ofm, Bishop of and Sutri (1900-1916) between reforms and nationalisms (in Italian), Editrici Francescane 2007.

This book, based on archivist documentation found in Italy and Germany, reconstructs the pastoral activity carried out by Bishop Joseph Bernard Döbbing, OFM, in two small diocese in the north of Lazio at the beginning of the twentieth century. The name of Msgr. Döbbing, born in Münster in Westphalia on the 8th July 1855, is linked to the OFM Province of Rome through his death in the convent of S. Francesco a Ripa (Rome), on the 14th March 1916. See:

The Franciscan Editorial House of Paris presents a new CD-Rom with documents of St. Bonaventure (in French). The CD gathers, under the guidance of Fr. JG Bougerol, the Lexicon of St. Bonaventure: the Legenda Maior and the Legenda Minor of St. Francis; a treatise on baptism, gateway to the sacraments, in St. Bonaventure; The Soliloquium, in a translation by JG Bougerol; and other scientific studies; selected Sermons of St. Bonaventure translated by JG Bougerol, Luc Matthieu and Damien Vorreux. It is a precious instrument for study and research into Bonaventure.
New Minister Provincial
Br. Astijus Kungys, Province of St. Casmir in Lithuania.
Agenda of the Minister General

1st to 8th April: Holy Week.

2nd April: Conference of the Franciscan Family (Rome).
10th April: Participation in the Provincial Chapter of the Province of Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
15th to 19th April: Meeting, together with the members of the General Definitory, with CONFRES (Spain).
23rd to 30th April: Visit to the Provinces of St. Mary of the Angels and of the Immaculate Conception (Poland).
2007: Let us dare to live the Gospel!
Our call to live the Gospel in the context of the celebration of the VIII Centenary of the Order and the further call to live the JPIC dimension specifically, is nothing other that a reminder of our promise to live as followers of Jesus Christ after the example of St. Francis. The Synod of Bishops, in 1971, reminded us that “…the commitment in favour of justice and participation in the transformation of the world is a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel”. Article 1 § 2 of our GGCC states that “The Friars, as followers of St. Francis, are bound to lead a radically evangelical life in a spirit of prayer and devotion, and in fraternal fellowship; they are bound to offer a witness of penance and minority; and, in charity towards all mankind, they are bound to announce the Gospel throughout the whole world and preach reconciliation, peace and justice by their deeds”. Taking on a spirit of solidarity with those who are poor and excluded, and making concrete choices for justice, peace and the integrity of creation are some very practical ways of living our call to be men of the Gospel.


Director responsible: Gino Concetti - Redactor: Robert Bahčič

Internet: Email:

Regula et vita Minorum Fratrum haec est, scilicet Domini nostri Jesu Christi sanctum Evangelium observare (RB I,1)

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