On May 24-26, 2021, the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Italy (Assisi) conducted the second part of its Custodial Chapter, with the friars of the Custody gathered together, as they had for the first part. They started with a half-day dedicated exclusively to prayer. Friar Pietro MARANESI, OFM Cap., a Franciscanist, led a reflection on the theme: “Helped by Friar Francis to Discern How Best to Please God.” Next, there was Eucharistic Adoration and personal prayer.
The three communities of the Custody, the Sacred Convent, Rivotorto and the Franciscanum then shared a fraternal meal together. At 3:30 p.m., the Capitulars, along with the Assistant General for the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP), Friar Giovanni VOLTAN, met to resume the fifth session of the Chapter. The fifth session had already started – with the authorization of the Minister General – during the first part of the Chapter.
The title of the Instrumentum Laboris was “According to His good pleasure: A Fraternity That Listens.” Each community had previously worked on and discussed the Instrumentum Laboris during their House Chapters. This allowed the Capitulars to advance quickly. After working in groups, they began to prepare the Custodial Four-Year Plan.
The Capitulars drew up the Four-Year Plan, giving it the same title as the Instrumentum Laboris, and voted on it. The expression, “According to His good pleasure” comes from St. Bonaventure who was referring to St. Francis as he tried to discern God’s will. The second part of the title, “A fraternity that listens,” seemed to best summarize the formative path that the Custody intends to consolidate and pursue. While acknowledging that the path taken in the previous four-year period was a gift and a challenge, we intend to consolidate the custodial fraternity into one that, listening to humanity, the Church and the Order, welcomes visitors from everywhere and from every faith, to the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
Four guiding priorities will inspire the Custody’s activities and support its discernment as it moves forward: the practice of minority, welcome, nearness and mission.
Of course, there are also motions for the Custodial Four-Year Plan. They concern the various foundational, motivational, and operational areas of the Custody, as well as planning for the next Franciscan anniversaries, caring for our common home, communications (ad intra and ad extra), the inter-obediential fraternity of Chiesa Nuova in Assisi, the library of the Sacred Convent, and more.
In the sixth session, on the proposal of the Custos, Friar Marco MORONI, the Chapter elected Friar Antonio PARISI as the Guardian of the Proto-Friary of St. Francis in Rivotorto. Furthermore, the Chapter gave its consent to delegate to the Custos and his Definitory the appointment of the Guardian of the Franciscanum Friary, within the next two months.
The Chapter ended with Evening Prayer in the basilica. At that time the friars movingly commemorated Friars Vincenzo COLI and Leandro BENVEGNÙ who both died during the last four-year term.
The Custodial Chapter symbolically concluded on May 24, with the solemn celebration of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Francis. All the friars of the Custody attended together with the multiform Franciscan family present in Assisi.
Friar Mario CISOTTO