Publication Name
TAU-INFO
Vol. 16 - No. 2 - June

Period
June

 


Year
2004

Volume
16

 


Number
2


 

"For this reason I bend my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ so that, by the merits of the glorious blessed Virgin Mary his mother, of our most blessed father Francis and of all the saints, the same Lord who granted us a good beginning may also give us grace to grow and persevere to the end. Amen!" (TestCl 77-78)

Conference of the Franciscan Family (CFF)

"As is the tradition, the Conference of the Franciscan Family (Ministers General of the First Order, the TOR, the Minister General of the International Conference of the Secular Franciscans and the President of the International Franciscan Conference of the Third Order Regular) met in Holy Week for their bi-annual meeting. The meeting took place from 4th to 6th April in Santiago di Compostela (Spain), commemorating the holy year of the Compostellian saint, James.

The participants arrived at the airport on Saturday evening and were welcomed by Fr. José Gonzalez, Minister provincial, O.F.M. and were received then at the ancient convent of Herbón-Padrón, a few kilometres outside Santiago. The following morning, Palm Sunday, we went to Santiago to participate in the traditional popular procession and the solemn Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Fr. José Carballo, Minister General O.F.M., in the church of Saint Francis.

After lunch shared with the friars of the Convent in Santiago and the local ministers of the OSF, there was time to make a pilgrimage to the tomb of the Apostle, preserved in the marvellous cathedral. A rapid but good visit was then made of the old city and a brief stop at the Poor Clares' convent of Santiago, before returning to Herbón at the end of this intensive day.

On Monday, work began in the quiet countryside of Herbón. The morning was reserved for the meeting of the four Ministers General while the afternoon was for that of the CFF which, by a Decree of 23rd March 2004, of CICLSAL, has been recognised as a juridical entity of Pontifical Right. The new Statute of the Conference was presented to the Assembly by Fr. Ilija Zikovic, Minister General of the TOR, while Sr. Carola Thomann, FCJM, President of the IFC-TOR and Fr. John Corriveau, Min. Gen. OFMCap., gave a detailed account of their visit to Franciscans Inter-national in Geneva.

The members approved the greetings that the CFF would send to the Italian Secular Franciscan Order on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the approbation of the Rule, and the meeting ended with fraternal exchanges of experiences and information.

A special word of thanks was addressed to Mr. Mario di Capua, OFS, for all his dedicated work of love during these past years as Secretary of the CFF. Fr. Stefano Recchia, OFM has now taken his place and he was also offered greetings of welcome for a joyful collaboration.

On Tuesday morning, returning to Santiago, the meeting was concluded with the Eucharistic celebration at the tomb of the Apostle, Saint James. Here the participants renewed their faith and prayed that fraternal communion would always grow among the different components of the Franciscan Family. The next meeting was fixed for 2nd October 2004 in Assisi.


Franciscans International

The members of the Conference of the Franciscan Family (CFF) were invited for a meeting with the Board of Directors of Franciscans International (FI) which took place at the beginning of April in Geneva. Fr. John Corriveau, OFMCap. and Sr. M. Carola Thomann (fcjm) CFI-TOR, participated in that meeting. The exchange about the developments of FI as well as the service of the new Board of Directors was very helpful. In a sisterly/brotherly atmosphere a clarification of questions took place, also in regard to the relationship between the CFF and the Board of Directors.

It was also a good opportunity to meet with Sr. Florence Deacon, the Director of the New York office, and with Fr. John Quigley, OFM, the Director of the Geneva office as well as with his staff and to get firsthand information in regard to the service of FI at the United Nations in Geneva, especially in regard to Human Rights issues.

We from the CFF are very grateful that we as Franciscan Family are so well represented by the United Nations in New York as well as in Geneva in order to be an advocate for the poor as for the whole of creation.

Sr. M. Carola Thomann

Sr. Denise Boyle, FMDM, President of the FI Board of Directors announced a restructuring process for the NGO (Franciscans International) that works at the United Nations. The restructuring will include the new position of 'Director of Animation and Develop-ment in the Americas'. This person will work out of the New York Office where she/he will oversee the outreach programme at the grassroots level throughout the Americas, organise opportunities for education and training in Franciscan approaches to international justice work at the UN; and be responsible for fund-raising in the Americas. To facilitate the new initiative, the Milwaukee FI-NA Regional Office will be closed and its operations transferred to the New York Office of FI.

The FI Board of Directors extended to Sr. Michelle Balek, OSF, Director of the Milwaukee Office, their grateful thanks for her many years of dedicated and generous service to Franciscans International in North America..

Sr. Denise also announced that FI would be re-organising the functions of the Executive Director. The changes are being made to unify the operations of FI worldwide and establish a stronger network of Franciscan cooperation, particularly in areas not yet reached by FI. As an NGO working at the United Nations in New York and Geneva, FI is committed to work for international peace, concern for the poor and the care of creation.

A recent article in The National Catholic Reporter (27th February 2004) described FI's work as "bringing the voices of the least visible of the earth's inhabitants to the briefing rooms of its power brokers." In New York and Geneva, Franciscans International continues to train Franciscans from around the world on how to bring the needs of the poor to the attention of the world's policy makers. Those interest in participating in the work of FI can find helpful material on our website, www.franciscansinternational.org. For more information on the work of FI, please contact Sr. Florence Deacon, OSF, in New York (fdeacon@Franciscansinternational.org) and Fr. John Quigley, OFM, in Geneva (director@fiop.org).


Family News

(In our last issue of Tau-Info, we mentioned that few members send us news, hence the news bulletin is very meagre. Sr. Clara Stang, of the Franciscans Sisters of Little Falls took this to heart and sent us a piece of news of her Congregation: Thank you, Sister Clara.)

"In the summer of 2003, the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, Minnesota, USA, opened a new Franciscan Missionary Centre in the Diocese of Linares, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The four sisters are ministering in a very poor area of rural Mexico. This centre focuses on lay leadership training for Church ministries."

Let us pray that this new venture may be very fruitful for the Church and people of Minnesota.

Iraq

(All eyes are on Iraq these days, watching with anxiety as to how events will turn in that country. Here below we give a brief account of a modest attempt by a small group of Franciscan Mis-sionaries of Mary to bring the Good News to those people)

Inserted in Amman, we FMM have come into contact with numerous Iraqi men and women among the thousands who have fled for refuge into Jordania. A double appeal struck us:
+ option for the poor: is this not the case of these young girls left to themselves?
+ Appeal of the Church in Iraq to help in religious formation and to be a bridge between the young Iraqi girls and the world.
In 1999 we left for Baghdad. Since that time we have had seven missions in Iraq. What have we been able to achieve until now

Mission camps, sessions of religious formation and prayer, formation in crafts and in computer work, in Baghdad as well as Mosul. The watchword is: 'Remain hopeful in spite of everything'.
2002: Plans were made for the realisation of a Catechetical Centre in Baghdad.
2003: Another war broke out: what are we going to find now in Iraq?
Leaving Amman at 2 a.m., we joined the Pon-tifical Mission convoy at 8 a.m. The driver did not leave us during the entire distance on account of possible risks, above all for women. Having arrived at Baghdad at 4 p.m. we found board and lodging thanks to the very cordial welcome of the Dominican Sisters of the Presentation.
On the programme a visit to the Catholic Syrian Bishop, to the Chaldean Bishop, the Apostolic Nuncio, to St. Raphael's Hospital … and all of this with the aim of finding a 'neutral place' - in relation to each of the different Christian rites - for the Catechetical Centre (the realisation of which had been foreseen in 2002) and to organise the distribution of the aid from the Pontifical Mission.

The situation on the ground in Baghdad: private dwellings have undergone less damage than public buildings which are mostly destroyed. Numerous electricity cuts. No telephone. The streets are deserted from 6 p.m. and it is indeed quite rare to meet women unaccompanied, even du-ring the day. A climate of fear persists in the town: fear of settling scores … absence of official struc-tures to deal with the situation.

On 9th June we left for Mosul. Our driver had to find a second car so as not to be alone on this long road. When danger threat-ened he went at 150 kms. per hour! At Mosul, life was going on more normally, thanks to the good understanding between Christians and Muslims and to an attempt made by the local administration. We were able to meet the Assyrian bishop and several priests and thus plan with them the organisation of a programme of catechetical formation, of a retreat, etc., for the month of September 2003.

This is only a very partial survey of what is happening in Iraq. Our visit was very short and our contacts very limited, but we are very happy to have been able to meet again with all the persons we had known before.

We have confidence. The mission will continue. The field of action has been cleared. The collaboration of the Pontifical Mission is assured to us. The harvest is great in Iraq and the Lord of the harvest will not fail to bless it.

*

WELCOME !

We had the joy of welcoming a new staff member to the secretariat. Sr. Daria Koottiyaniel, of the Fran-ciscan Clarist Congre-gation in India has come to collaborate with the IFC-TOR as a resource person for the "Spirit and Life" section in the secretariat. Sister Daria has prepared a keynote paper for the General Assembly and her role will be drawn up as she gets to know the office, the IFC-TOR and the various needs here.


GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE
INTERNATIONAL FRANCISCAN CONFERENCE OF THE THIRD ORDER REGULAR

8th - 13th May 2005

THEME:

THE TRINITY, SOURCE OF PEACE AND RECONCILIATION

Place:
DOMUS PACIS,
Assisi

Last date for registration:
15th October 2004.


Changes in Leadership

The "Franziskanerinnen von der Buße" (No. 058, pg. 14 in the Directory) have a new Superior General in the person of Sr. Anita Heimeri.