Photo from Columban Interreligious Dialogue
The General Minister, Br. Michael A. Perry, OFM writes to the whole Franciscan family:
Eight hundred years ago, our Seraphic Father St. Francis set sail for Egypt, finally fulfilling a long-held dream of reaching out to Muslims. He arrived at the camp of the crusading army, among Latin Christians who through years of preaching and the rhetoric of holy war had been taught to scorn Muslims. Those same Muslims had every reason to scorn Francis, assuming that he, like most in the crusader camp, was an enemy and not a bearer of peace. We today celebrate what no one at that moment could have foreseen: that a Spirit-filled man with nothing of his own crossed the battle lines unarmed to request a meeting with the Sultan, was received with grace by that Sultan, enjoyed an extended period of hospitality with the Muslim leader, and emerged from the visit to reflect anew on the mission of the Friars Minor. Francis returned safely to his homeland profoundly moved by the encounter and crafted a new and creative vision for his brothers about how they could go among the Muslims, about the things Friars could do and say “that would please God” (quae placuerint Domino, RnB 16.8). The anniversary of Francis’s encounter with al-Malik al-Kāmil at Damietta in 1219 beckons us to ask again what deeds and words, amid the pluralism and complexity of the world today, would be pleasing to God...
He challenges us: " ...I encourage followers of Francis who lack much personal exposure to Islam to recall the experience of our founder by taking a simple and concrete step: meet a Muslim. Get to know him or her, beyond the pleasantries of a cup of tea and social nicety. Try to learn and appreciate what experience of God animates him or her and allow your Muslim friend to see the love God has poured into your heart through Christ." READ MORE
The Christmas of a God who knocks on our doors
from Br. Michael A. Perry, OFM, Minister General and Servant His full message below...
Newsletter from our new OFM Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans are the spiritual sons of Saint Francis of Assisi. "For 800 years, simplicity, humility, poverty, justice, peace, joy in God and universal fraternity have formed the heart of our approach," says their website.
"The creation of the new Holy Spirit Province of Canada takes us back to the roots of our Franciscan charism. It reflects a desire to be led by the Spirit, even on unknown paths," says a news release. From Baytoday READ MORE
On October 22, 2018 in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, Holy Spirit Province (Province Saint-Esprit), the new Canadian Franciscan Province, has been created. The union of the two Canadian Provinces (St. Joseph and Christ the King) has been formalized by a decree pronounced by the General Minister, Br. Michael Anthony Perry, OFM. The new Provincial Minister is Br. Pierre Charland, OFM.
“The creation of the new Holy Spirit Province of Canada takes us back to the roots of our Franciscan charism. It reflects a desire to be led by the Spirit, even to unknown paths. It takes us back to the experience of Pentecost, and to the core of the Gospel. This is what I hope will characterize the new Canadian province,” says the new Provincial Minister.
The new Province will include 87 friars from the ages of 32 to 97 present in Quebec (Montreal, Lachute, Trois-Rivières), British Columbia (Vancouver and Victoria) and Alberta (Edmonton and Cochrane). The Provincial Curia will be in Montreal at La Resurrection friary.
Reflection by the Minister General
Brothers and sisters, in St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are drawn into the great drama of Christian conversion, of what transpires in our lives when we welcome Christ’s invitation to “follow me!” “You are not foreigners or strangers any longer, you are now fellow citizens with God’s people and members of the family of God” (Eph. 2:18-19), St. Paul writes to the Christians communities not only of Ephesus but to all seven Churches of Asia Minor. Paul’s message goes against all common sense and wisdom of his time, and even of ours. Political leaders in the Roman empire used ethnic, religious, and regional differences as a means to divide, as a means to conquer, and as a means to promote their own positions of power and wealth. I am sure none of this has anything to with what might or might not be going on in the world today! HA! Read More
Special blessings to all of the Franciscan brothers of the new Province! May God bring to completion the work that has begun.
Wait a few seconds and the newsletter will open up below. These newsletters are being shared by our dear dancing Sr. Annette John, FMM, that her community has developed.
Two Provinces of OFM Franciscan friars join
In Canada, there are currently two Provinces of OFM Franciscan friars, the Province of St. Joseph (eastern Canada) and the Province of Christ the King (western Canada). Since its establishment in 1987, The Regional Fraternity of Eastern Canada has been supported by the friars of the Province of St. Joseph, to whom we owe an immense debt of gratitude. At this point in their history, the friars of both Provinces are now forging a new bilingual pan-Canadian OFM Province that will include all of the OFM friars in eastern and western Canada. Two of the major events leading to this unification are a Chapter of Mats which was held recently in Loretteville, Quebec (April 23-26, 2018) and a Chapter of Union which will be held in St. Albert, Alberta in the fall (October 21-25, 2018). The erection of the new Province will take place during the Chapter of Union. We extend our best wishes to our OFM brothers as they journey towards the creation of their new province.
On March 5, 2018, Fr. Laurent Gallant died at the Carrefour Providence in Montreal at the age of 86 years. Sixty-six (66) of these years had been spent in religious life with fifty-eight (58) as a priest.
Over the years, St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity had many connections with Fr. Laurent. During his regular visits to the Island, he always took time to make contact with our fraternity. He facilitated one of the fraternity’s annual retreats as well as a retreat for members in Newfoundland. He also conducted the most recent pastoral visit to our fraternity.
Fr. Laurent was born on December 24, 1931 in Piusville, PEI, son of Antoine Gallant and Marie-Ida Arsenault. He began his early education in Piusville and, in 1944, he went on to l’Université Saint-Joseph de Moncton in New Brunswick (note that he would have only been 13 when he left home to begin his studies off-Island). He entered the novitiate of the Franciscans in 1951 and was solemnly professed in 1955. He went on to study philosophy and theology in Quebec, and to obtain a higher education in France where he studied in Strasbourg, Lyon and Paris; in 1978, he obtained his Doctorate in Religious Sciences and Sacramental Theology from the Catholic Institute of Paris; his theses was on “The Little Office of the Passion of St. Francis of Assisi”.
Over the years, Fr. Laurent worked as both a professor and director of liturgy in various institutions within Canada and abroad. He also participated in numerous committees supporting the formation and study of friars, including being director of novices within his Province. For over 10 years, he was responsible for developing and leading the organization tasked with animating the life of the Franciscan Family in Quebec (SIAF). He also led and participated in the organization of pilgrimages associated with Expérience d’Assise, and was a regular participant in international congresses on medieval studies. In 2014, he was elected on the Definitory Council of the Province of St. Joseph and, since 2015, had been the Director of the Province’s Library.
Fr. Laurent was a remarkable Franciscan, both a scholar and humble brother, who made an outstanding contribution to his community, to the Church and to society at large. He will be greatly missed within the Franciscan Family. May his soul rest in peace. - submitted by Doug Clorey