On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, the Italian Province of St. Francis of Assisi (Central Italy) celebrated an Extraordinary Provincial Chapter to deal with financial issues. The Chapter took place at the Oasis of St. Francis Retreat Center in Foligno (Province of Perugia, Italy).
At 10:00 a.m., the Chapter friars began work under the guidance of the Minister Provincial, Friar Franco BUONAMANO. After prayer, Friar Marco BELLACHIOMA was elected Recording Secretary. He then took roll call.
Once the initial formalities were completed, the Provincial Econom, Friar Sergio COGNIGNI, presented a financial report on the Jurisdiction’s first two years of existence. The Province of Central Italy was erected in 2017, with the merger of the Provinces of Lazio, the Marches, Sardinia, Tuscany and Umbria. After some initial and inevitable problems, the Province’s financial situation was stabilized under the management of the new Provincial government. However, urgent decisions needed to be made regarding certain financial burdens such as outstanding debts, the ongoing restoration work in some of our friaries, and unused buildings.
Next, the Procurator General, Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO, gave a brief presentation on the ecclesiastical Magisterium and the proper law of the Order. He focused on the theme of the patrimony of religious institutions. Friar Maurizio was then asked to act as moderator for the rest of the Chapter, where some motions were discussed and approved.
Friar Sergio then spoke about the real estate properties in the Province that needed to be put to better use, focusing in particular on the possibility of having them generate income. An open discussion took place to consider various decisions the Province could make, among other things, to renovate some friaries that are closed. The friars were particularly satisfied with the decision to entrust many of our sites, rent-free, to charities.
After lunch, the Capitulars began to fine-tune the text of the Motions. They decided to give the Minister Provincial, with his Definitory, the faculty to vote on the best use for each real estate property, such as transfer, lease, loan, etc. The Chapter overwhelmingly approved the redesignation of each site presented. The friars were sad to leave some places that had been part of the history of our fraternities. However, they understood that some sites had to be sacrificed in order to better support their confreres in initial formation, the missions in Brazil and Cuba, certain apostolates, and works of charity and culture that the Province carries out.
The Chapter ended with a summary by the Minister Provincial on the status of our communities, emphasizing the latest professions and ordinations, which are a sign of hope for the future. Around 5:00 p.m., the Minister Provincial conferred his blessing upon the Capitulars and the assembly was dissolved.
Friar Aurelio ERCOLI