Provincial Delegation in Chile
Mother Province: Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy)
The decision to open a new presence in Chile was made during the 1994 Chapter of the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua. In 1995, after the first phase of preparation, the Diocese of Copiapó in Chile entrusted the friars with its ancient San Francisco de Asís Friary and Parish. Thus began the first Conventual Franciscan presence in Chile. The first missionaries were Friars Pietro BELTRAME, Giorgio MOROSINOTTO, Maurizio BRIDIO and Ramón ZÁS GARCÍA.
Today, the Jurisdiction has ten solemnly professed friars (one in Padua); one simply professed friar (in Padua); and two friaries.
Santiago: Inmaculada Concepción Friary
This friary was canonically erected on June 13, 1998. At a ceremony on December 8, 2003, with the then Minister Provincial of Padua, Friar Luciano FANIN, attending, the Shrine Church of the Inmaculada Concepción in Santiago was remade into a parish with a small territory while retaining the title of Shrine. Today the Inmaculada Concepción Shrine is a spiritual hub for many groups: children’s catechesis, youth groups, grassroots communities, adult groups, the Secular Franciscans, etc. Dozens of groups operate at the Shrine and many lay people are involved in staffing and leading them. The friars often assist at other parishes and are available to offer spiritual retreats. For the past few years, the Shrine’s Bienvenidos Hermanos Foundation has been working to assist migrants, especially those from Haiti.
Curicó: Jesús de Nazaret Friary and Parish
On November 13, 2009, the Diocese of Talca, Chile, entrusted its Jesús de Nazaret Parish to the Delegation of Chile. The friars arrived in Curicó in February of 2010, and by the end of the month, had taken charge of the parish. They work passionately carrying out different pastoral ministries, leading various lay groups, youth groups focused on Franciscan spirituality, and a number of charitable activities. The friar community is also involved in vocation ministry. Since 2012, this friary has served as the postulancy house of the Delegation. In 2020, the postulancy house was named after Blessed Carlos de Dios MURIAS. Many young men have stayed in this formation community, some for an extended period of time and others for a shorter period. Currently, two friars are in Padua, one is a simply professed friar in formation and the other is a solemnly professed friar finishing his studies.
The Life of the Delegation
The average age of the friars in the Delegation is fifty-two. The Delegation is a small presence, but a dynamic one, and conducts frequent formational and fraternal meetings. Its priorities in recent years have been: the primacy of God, fraternal life, youth and vocation ministry and outreach. The friars are appreciated and recognized in the local church and civil spheres for always making themselves available for various initiatives and proposals. Recently, the friars have been particularly open and sensitive to the plight of migrants. Chile is receiving a large flow of migrants. They initially came from Peru, then Haiti. Now they are coming from Venezuela. Thus, the Bienvenidos Hermanos Foundation was established. The Foundation deals mainly with the legal and housing status of migrants. It networks with other foundations managed by the Jesuits and the Scalabrinian Missionaries.
The 2021 Ordinary Provincial Chapter approved the opening of a Filial House in Angostura, Chile, approximately 50 km [31 mi.] south of Santiago, in order to bolster its youth and vocation ministry with a new “way of life.” This project has since been suspended for various reasons.
Franciscan Missionary Center
General Secretariat for Mission Animation