Dear brothers,

I am writing these few words to each of you to express my fraternal greeting and to offer you a very simple but significant proposal.
In recent days, the concrete reality of a viral epidemic, and the alarm it has caused, has been spreading. It is already considered a pandemic due to its rapid spread in over 150 countries. None of us is exempt from the possibility of becoming infected and, in any case, as an Order we feel close to all those affected by the spread of this virus and the consequences that come with it.
Many recommendations and indications have been issued by the various civil and ecclesiastical authorities. Out of respect for ourselves and others, I ask everyone to observe these official rules with the utmost prudence and obedience.
In addition, there have been innumerable reflections about this particular situation on the Internet and in social media. This is a good time for each of us, and for all of our communities, looking from the perspective of faith and our charismatic principals, to deepen our understanding of the current situation, and more, the ultimate and transcendent meaning of existence. It is time for contemplation.

I invite the entire Order to promote a fast specifically for this intention on Tuesday, March 24, the eve of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.

This simple gesture is meant to be a sign of our commitment to pray for the needs of humanity and, at the same time, to be an expression of our trust in God, the Lord of life and history. We are one family, among ourselves and with the whole world. Everything is connected, and in this reality we wish to offer our prayer, our dedication and our loving closeness.
I call upon our Ministers Provincial, Custodes and Guardians to lovingly and responsibly care for the health of the confreres and those who share activities with us. I also ask you to encourage and propose initiatives which, in particular, call for greater prayer and solidarity, without forgetting those who are already suffering great misfortune and exclusion. It is time to show solidarity through our lifestyle, too.
Let us remain strong in hope and, as Franciscans, kindheartedly interested in this world!

My dear brothers, may the Lord give you peace!

Friar Carlos A. Trovarelli
Minister general

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