On September 13-17, 2021, the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily) conducted the second part of its Ordinary Provincial Chapter. The Chapter took place in Pergusa, under the theme: “Friars Minor Conventual, Witnessing and Building Fraternity in the City of Men.” This is the friars’ objective for the four-year period that has just begun.
It is a goal that will utilize all available resources, spiritual resources, human resources (friars and lay people), structural resources (works and friaries) and financial resources.
During the first two days of the Chapter, the Capitulars spent time studying and proposing changes to the Instrumentum laboris, which will form the basis of the Provincial Four-Year Plan. Finally, on September 15, the Capitulars approved the text and various Chapter Motions which express the friars’ desire for courageous and hope-filled renewal.
Several important decisions were made during the Chapter. Three friaries were suppressed in Alcamo, Avola and Carini. The Nostra Signora degli Angeli Friary was erected in Palermo, as a house for friars needing assistance and care. The first part of the Chapter has already approved the “Citadel of Brotherhood and Peace” project which will also come to light in Palermo. It will be a social-educational center for troubled youth in some of the problematic areas of Sicily’s capital city. The Capitulars also strengthened Youth and Vocation Ministry in the Province by welcoming the collaboration and co-responsibility of the laity. Lay persons will also become members of various Provincial Commissions, including the new Commission for Formation, Evangelization and the Promotion of Franciscan Culture and Spirituality. In addition to organizing ongoing formation for the friars, the new Commission is also called to promote and manage ongoing formation within the cultural, spiritual and hospitality structures and works of the Province.
Some notably bold choices were made in the area of financial administration. The Capitulars established a Provincial Center for the promotion and management of resources benefitting Franciscan Works (missionary, charitable, cultural, seminary, etc.) and a non-profit organization connected to it. They also set up a Provincial Solidarity Fund to subsidize the needs of the friaries for the health and medical expenses of the friars.
On September 16, having approved all the Chapter Motions, the sixth session of the Chapter was opened. The Minister Provincial Friar Gaspare LA BARBERA, presided. The Assistant General for the Federazione Intermediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP), Friar Giovanni VOLTAN was also present. At that time, the Capitulars elected the Guardians and other office holders, starting with the Provincial Econom and Exactor, Friar Francesco Saverio BENENATI (second term).
The newly elected Guardians are:
Friar Giuseppe MESSINEO: Guardian of the friary in Comiso (first term);
Friar Daniele Flavio LO NIGRO: Guardian of the friary in Enna (first term);
Friar Francesco Saverio BENENATI: Guardian of the friary in Marineo (third term);
Friar Massimiliano Roberto DI PASQUALE: Guardian of the friary in Messina (first term);
Friar Luca Maria GURRERA: Guardian of the friary in Montevago; (first term);
Friar Daniel Felix MORARU: Guardian of the S. Francesco d’Assisi Friary in Palermo (first term);
Friar Salvatore LO CURCIO: Guardian of the Santissimo Cuore di Gesù Friary in Palermo (second term);
Friar Guglielmo BARBASSO: Guardian of the new Nostra Signora degli Angeli community in Palermo (first term).
The Chapter also delegated the appointment of the Guardians of the friaries in Catania and Trapani to the Minister Provincial with his Definitory.
These elections were followed by the election of the Regional Assistant of the Militia of the Immaculate (M.I.), Friar Salvino PULIZZOTTO, and the presentation of the Regional Assistant of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS), Friar Antonino ARENA, who had already begun service during the previous four years.
Numerous Chapter decisions were made towards redesigning certain aspects of the Province, in light of its imminent unification with the Provincial Custody of St. Daniel and Companion Martyrs in Italy (Calabria). The unifications will take place during the 2023 Extraordinary Chapter. At that time, the other Provinces of Southern Italy will be united. In the face of all this, the Capitulars wanted to send a letter to all the confreres of the Province and the Custody, telling them about the faith and hope that guided the work and decisions of this Chapter.
After the Capitulars prayed for the friars who died during the last four years, the Ordinary Provincial Chapter was concluded.
Friar Francesco Saverio BENENATI