The “Interfranziskanische Arbeitsgemeinschaft” (INFAG) is an association of over forty communities of Franciscan religious women, eight communities of Franciscan religious men, including the Order of Friars Minor, Friars Minor Capuchin and Friars Minor Conventual, and four groups of lay people, including the Secular Franciscans.
On September 26-29, 2022, the INFAG General Assembly for Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium took place at the Schönenberg Conference Center, an institution of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Germany. The Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany, Friar Andreas MURK, participated.
The nearly fifty participants discussed several topics including important issues regarding “transformation processes” of the friaries: “How do we deal with the fact that many communities are shrinking significantly or perhaps even dying out?” “How will monastic buildings be used in the future?” “With whom can we collaborate on these projects?” In this context, special emphasis was placed on the need for religious to network better online. A declaration adopted at the end of the event stated: “The enormous changes in the Church, and in the society in which we are involved as a community, require a change of perspective. The decisions made today are crucial for the path of the Franciscan presence tomorrow….Therefore, our focus is increasingly on fraternal coexistence among the different ways of life of the associated communities….Within the diversity of our spiritual family, we see potential for the future.”
A new Executive Committee was elected for a three-year term. The new President is Sister Edith Maria MAGAR. She is sixty-eight years old and has been the Superior General of the Franciscan Sisters of Waldbreitbach since 2012. The male communities were represented by Friar Markus FUHRMANN, who recently became the Minister Provincial of the Province of Germany belonging to the Friars Minor.
One of INFAGS’s biggest projects is a “Novitiate project” in which several communities of sisters participate. Since the number of novices in the Convents is often very small, this project offers an inter-Franciscan experience for a period of three months. INFAG also offers various training courses for community members, but also for staff members of the convents and their works. For example, a trip to Assisi was organized last summer that focused on the theme, “Franciscan Leadership”.
Friar Andreas MURK