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					CURIA GENERALE DEI FRATI MINORI Vis di s. Maria Mediatrice, 25 – 00165 ROMA
Telefono 39 06 684919 – TELEFAX 39 06 6380292 E-mail: segrcapitolo@ofm.org

Prot. 092153 OBJECTIVE: PREPARATORY REFLECTION FOR GENERAL CHAPTER

Dear Minister, May the Lord give you Peace! An brief report to be reflected on in view of the next General Chapter was worked out during the meeting with the Presidents of the Conferences of Ministers on the basis of a foundational proposal prepared by the Definitory General. The brief report, attached to the present letter, bears the title of “Fraternity-in-mission” and has the purpose of involving all the Entities of the Order in the preparation of the Chapter. I invite you therefore to find some way of consulting the Friars of your Entity in the most participative way possible (provincial assemblies, zone chapters, use of the web and email, etc.). It will be necessary for you to make a synthesis, of not more than two pages, and to send it to the President of your Conference before and not later than the 31st October 2002. He in turn will send on a five-page synthesis to the Secretariat of the General Chapter before and not later than the 30th November 2002. I am aware of the restriction in the time during which you are asked to work and I now express my sincere thanks for the contribution you will make to the preparation of the General Chapter of our Order. I salute you cordially,

Rome, 4 June 2002

Br. Francesco Patton, ofm Secretary of the General Chapter

__________________________ To the Ministers Provincial To the Custos Their Address.

THE BRIEF REPORT TO BE REFLECTED ON IN THE ENTITIES OF THE ORDER “Fraternity-in-mission” The general theme is to be developed by following the three points, indicated by the Definitory, which constitute its make-up. a) Evangelisation: to accept, live and announce the Gospel Preface: The Gospel, as St. Francis reminds us in the Rule and Testament, is the proposal of life that the Lord revealed to us, the choice to which we are committed and the mission to which we are called. In the present-day secularised and multi-religious context in which our Fraternity lives, it is important to unite the testimony of life, the announcement of the word and the effort at dialogue. Crucial Points To allow oneself be evangelised:  by the Word of God;  by the sacramental life;  by every-day events, by the poor in particular.      To commit oneself with fidelity to the Life Project: by recovering the sense of profession, by responding to the challenges of our time. To announce the Good News: in fraternity and minority, in its plurality of forms, by contributing to the mission of the local Church.

Listening to the Fraternity  What are the attitudes to be cultivated in order for the Gospel to continue to illuminate and orient our life?  Does our life project (personal and fraternal) respond to the requirements of Profession and the challenges of our times?  What initiatives exist in the area of “ad intra” and “ad extra” Evangelisation within your fraternity, as responses to the challenges of our times?  What acceptance do the instruments that the Order, the Conferences and the Entities themselves propose for the evangelisation of the fraternity (e.g. the “Prayerful Reading of the Gospel” aid) receive in your Conference and Entity?

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b) The service of authority: to give witness to the gospel of fraternity Preface In the Franciscan perspective, the brothers are a gift, authority is a service of communion, obedience is an expression of faith, charity and the capacity to share life. In the present-day context, marked by re-assessment of and respect for the person, but at the same time by a strong individualism and some forms of authoritarianism, it is prophetic to give witness to the value of a fraternity that accepts the service of authority and to the value of an authority that promotes the communion and mission of the fraternity. Crucial points The service of authority is always located in the bosom of a fraternity:  with its originality and resources,  with the resistance to it,  with its practical capacity to obey the Spirit of the Lord.    The Ministers and Guardians: are servants and custodians of the life project of the Friars and of the Fraternity, are part of this project and of this fraternity in listening to the Spirit. The Ministers and Guardians are witnesses to and builders of communion: through growth in moral authority, significance, and coherence of life through visits of animation that touch on the areas of: accompaniment; formation; administration; fraternal correction; evangelisation, by encouraging the co-responsibility of each one. The preparation and choice for this service is decisive for the life and mission of the: local, provincial and worldwide fraternity. The service of authority has to be accompanied by “charitable obedience”. This requires of the brothers: availability, freedom, the assumption of practical responsibility in the animation of the fraternity and in the administrative duties of the same.

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Listening to the fraternity  How is the service of authority taken up by the ministers and guardians, as well as by the rest of the brothers in the local, provincial and worldwide fraternity?  What significant experiences and what difficulties are there in living this service in the local and provincial realities, as well as within the worldwide fraternity?  What formative supports have been and are efficient in helping the ministers and the guardians to carry out their service and the brothers to accept it?

c) The Local and worldwide Fraternity: involved locally but open to the world Preface: St. Francis is aware that the Friars are sent into the whole world, “to let everyone know that there is no other all-powerful except Him (God)”, the early fraternity immediately looked to the horizons of the world, the General Chapters were occasions for “re-vitalising” and “re-sending” the Friars. Today, globalisation, mobility and communication are transforming the world into a village in which the Friars can be a sign of a new humanity and of an authentically “catholic” Church, that is to say, universal. Crucial Points: To make the worldwide nature of the Order evident, it is necessary:  To give priority to the charism rather than to the territorial aspect;  To create the sense of belonging to a worldwide fraternity: - through participation in the missionary projects of the Order of an international and intercultural kind; - through collaboration among the Entities in initial and ongoing formation; - through complementation, reciprocity and collaboration with the whole Franciscan Family and solidarity with all, especially with the poor and marginalised. A point to which it is necessary to pay attention, in continuation with the recent progress of the Order and last PCO, is that values should find a suitable application in the structures on the:  local,  provincial  and entire Order levels. Listening to the Fraternity:  How does your Entity live openness to the other Entities, to inter-provincial collaboration and to the projects of the Order as manifestations of belonging to a worldwide fraternity?  How do we use the means of communication that we already have in order to increase communion and communication on the level of the Order and fraternities (provincial and local)?  How do we show solidarity, in a practical way, on the level of houses, Entities and Order?

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