Fraternal Conference Concludes
While we did take Tuesday afternoon, July 4, off, the rest of this week has been busy and very, very rewarding. Fr. Joe Chinnici, O.F.M., from the Santa Barbara Province in California, led us in a workshop on the Franciscan understanding of priesthood and how it fits into the Franciscan vocation. Fr. Joe explained how the early writings of the Order, especially those of Saints Francis, Bonaventure, as well as others, present a very Scripturally based notion of both the ministerial priesthood and the priesthood of all stemming from baptism. This proved to be a very relevant topic for this group since we are all involved in the formation of men entering into Franciscanism, some of whom will also be ministerial priests. (I cannot take the time to explain these notions in this post, but will be addressing them in the very near future.)
A very special guest at our conference was Fr. Finnian McGinn, O.F.M. Anyone who followed this blog when I visited Rome and Assisi a couple of weeks ago may recognize his name. Fr. Finnian is the General Counsel for the English Speaking friars to our General Minister in Rome. (Father took me out for dinner when I passed through Rome on my way back from Assisi.) Since this was a gathering of the formation teams of the English Speaking Provinces of the Order, Fr. Finnian joined us and addressed us this afternoon. He then led us in the Eucharist in the quaint, historic chapel on the property. Fr. Finnian is also from the Santa Barbara Province.
Yesterday afternoon we met in common groups. I led the Vocation Directors in a session discussing various aspects of our ministry. It is good to meet with my counterparts from other provinces to compare notes and share support and fraternity. As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am very conscious of belonging to an international Order and meeting like this, even though it was limited to English speaking provinces, supports my awareness.
Tomorrow evening, Friday, July 7, our two new Postulants will be formally received into the Postulancy by our Provincial Minister. I will post pictures of that event tomorrow or Saturday.