On May 4-6, 2022, during the Easter season, a formation course took place for the Economs, Exactors, Legal Representatives and Directors of special works of the Provinces and Custodies within the Federazione Intermediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP). The course was conducted at the Seraphicum International College in Rome, with the theme, “Finances at the Service of the Fraternity”

Twenty-eight friars participated in the course, including the Ministers Provincial from the Provinces of Northern Italy, Central Italy, Naples, Puglia and Malta. The Assistant General for the FIMP Federation, Friar Giovanni VOLTAN, was also present. The formation course was brilliantly organized by the General Procuration Office and the General Financial Office.
A much-needed formation course on finances had been anticipated for several years. Due to the commendable planning of the Procurator General, Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO, the course finally came to life.
The course also covered some hot topics, such as the management and sustainability of our entities. The lectures during the course were carried out by extremely competent people. They spoke about juridical, economic, ecological and administrative matters from the perspective of serving the charism and the mission of the religious institute, as well as that of the Jurisdiction and its works.
Seemingly opposing reflections, such as those dealing with daily and practical life, versus those dealing with purely spiritual matters, found several points in common during this symposium. The course also provided food for thought on the concepts of communion, service and self-giving.
In its most basic sense, finances are to be understood as “managing the family assets” in a way that satisfies the needs of the community. In practice, this means making choices that may require a lot of effort. Finances, therefore, are not just about managing assets but about making choices in communion. From this point of view, the management of church assets embraces principles that go beyond individualism. These days, Franciscans are being called to recover St. Francis’ attitude of “sine proprio” in order to face the challenges of living a new kind of poverty, one that is inspired by the principles of transparency, solidarity and fraternity. We are called to an economy of communion with an eye toward the new global lifestyle, rather than local one. Pope Francis refers to this in his encyclical Laudato si’ when he talks about integral ecology. Assets are put at the service of the community in a spirit of sharing.
Therefore, it is good to understand the purpose of assets, before trying to manage them. Moreover, this represents a charism that we must encourage, form and cultivate, always in the spirit of humility and service to others.
The participants very much appreciated making an excursion to Vatican City. They began by touring the archeological excavations underneath St. Peter’s Basilica, where they admired the remains of the Vatican Necropolis. Next, they enjoyed the view from the attic terrace above Maderno’s façade at the front of the basilica. Then, they went to the Canons’ Chapel inside St. Peter’s Basilica, where they met with His Eminence, Mauro Cardinal GAMBETTI, OFM Conv. Cardinal GAMBETTI explained the work he does and answered some questions from the confreres. Friar Agnello STOIA, OFM Conv., then gave the friars a tour of the basilica, with special focus on Michelangelo’s Pietà. The friars concluded their visit with a climb up the steps of the Scala Regia to the Sistine and Pauline Chapels, which were completely empty at that time. After leaving Vatican City, the friars concluded the evening with dinner.
Special thanks to the lecturers during the course, namely, the consultants from the Messaggero Servizi of Padua, the General Econom, Friar Nicola ROSA, former General Econom, Friar Giorgio SILVESTRI, and Sister Annunziata REMOSSI, an official of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Special thanks, as well, to the Cardinal Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Governor of the Vatican City, who opened the doors of Vatican City to the participants and gave them an extraordinary visit.

Friar Fulvio PETTI, Provincial Econom for the Province of Abruzzo