All of the Italian Jurisdictions of the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP) are scheduled to celebrate their Ordinary Provincial Chapters in 2021, with the exception of the Province of St. Bernardine and St. Angelo in Italy (Abruzzo), which celebrated its Chapter last year. However, due to the current health crisis, the long-established schedule has undergone several changes.
The General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Italy (Assisi) celebrated its Chapter at the end of February. March and April will see the celebration of the first part of the Chapters for the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily); the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy); the Italian Province of St. Francis of Assisi (Central Italy); and the Province of the Seraphic Father St. Francis in Italy (Naples).
The calendar of the Chapters has been modified several times. For the moment, the Chapters are arranged as follows: the Province of St. Nicholas and St. Angelo in Italy (Puglia), part 1–May 3-7; Sicily, part 1–May 10-15; Assisi, part 2–May 17-22; Naples, part 1–May 25-29; Puglia, part 2–June 7-11; Central Italy, part I–June 14-19; Northern Italy, part 1–June 20-29; Sicily, part 2–July, 12-17; Central Italy, part 2–July 19-24; Northern Italy, part 2–July 26-31, and Naples, part 2–August 2-6.
In order to facilitate the service of those who will be called to govern the Provinces, since the Chapters have been moved forward, some Ministers Provincial and Custodes have asked the Minister General to make an exception, allowing them to elect a new Minister Provincial or Custos as soon as possible. (An election by letter may be possible, with multiple ballots; with the envelopes opened in the presence of the Chapter. Such is the case in Central and Northern Italy).
In the meantime, everything is ready, or almost ready, as far as organizing the Chapters is concerned, including the reports of the Ministers Provincial and Custodes, the reports of their collaborators, and the reports of the Visitators, which include the reports from the Assistant General, Friar Giovanni VOLTAN on his visitation to the General Custody of Assisi and the Province of Central Italy; Friar Vincenzo MARCOLI (Sicily); Friar Luciano FANIN (Puglia); Friar Matteo ORNELLI (Naples); and Friar Tadeusz ŚWIĄTKOWSKI (Northern Italy).
On March 8-12, the Province of Northern Italy conducted its pre-Chapter Assembly using an online platform. This Assembly replaced the one that had been scheduled to take place over two shifts. The online Assembly was a success, giving a foretaste of a new way of celebrating the Chapter. (This success was less about having used the platform and more about having been able to conduct a pre-Chapter Assembly, something for which we always prefer to be physically present). In 2018, the previous Minister General and his Definitory granted the Province’s request to carry out this option. The Order is expecting a new Directory for the Celebration of Chapters, which will incorporate the observations from the Federations. This Directory will soon be approved by the Minister General with his Definitory, thereby initiating its use on an ad experimentum basis until the next General Chapter in 2025 (cf. Motion no. 10 of the Ordinary General Chapter 2019).
Friar Giovanni VOLTAN