On October 6-7, 2020, more than forty friars from the Province of St. Jerome in Croatia gathered for an Extraordinary Provincial Chapter. The Chapter was held in Zagreb, Croatia, and was aimed at approving the new Provincial Statutes.
The meeting began on Tuesday, October 6, with an invocation of the Holy Spirit. Next, the Minister Provincial, Friar Josip BLAŽEVIĆ, spoke to the brothers, greeting them and emphasizing the important aspects of this meeting. He first stressed why the Provincial Statutes, which were last revised fifteen years ago, now needed to be revised again. He explained that at the level of the Order we have already approved new Constitutions and new General Statutes. Commenting on the importance of the new General Statutes, he said that they should present “the ideal to which one tends” and at the same time “the limits outside of which one cannot go.” He told the friars that this revision will not be merely an update and confirmation, but rather a community act, aimed at renewing the characteristics of the Franciscan charism in the Province of Croatia. Furthermore, he mentioned that the revision of this document highlights the importance of discernment, the search for adequate ways to be faithful to the Franciscan charism and finally, ways to transmit the charism to new generations.
After the Minister Provincial made his presentation, a letter from the Assistant General for the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF), Friar Dominique MATHIEU, was read out. The letter mentioned Pope Francis’ new encyclical Fratelli Tutti, and stressed that we cannot face life “in isolation.” Rather, it is through fraternity and helping one another that we can create a better future. The Assistant General went on to say that a Chapter is a good time to evaluate one’s personal and community life. Friar Dominique referred to St. Jerome, the patron saint of this ancient Province, and pointed out that religious life in community is like a “gymnasium”; it is where we are trained in high Christian values and virtues.
After closing remarks, a roll call of the friars present took place, along with the confirmation of the Steering Committee and the Chapter Secretary. The Capitulars continued on to read the paragraphs of the new Provincial Statutes, the observations and the changes and proceeded to vote paragraph by paragraph. At the end of the first day, The Capitulars celebrated Mass in the Church of St. Anthony of Padua. During the Mass, the Minister Provincial, at the invitation of the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, in the presence of the friars and faithful, entrusted the Province to the Blessed Virgin Mary Immaculate.
After the new text of the Provincial Statutes was finally confirmed, the Capitulars went on to discuss other issues currently facing the Province. In addition to the time spent working together, the friars also found moments to meet informally, talk about their experiences and share some Franciscan joy. The new Provincial Statutes will go into effect once any objections have been resolved and the General Definitory issues its final confirmation.
Friar Zvonimir PERVAN