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Aids for Gaining Deeper Meaning from the Constitutions
Letter of the General Minister
Prot. N. 00307/20
To all the Brothers of the Order
May the Lord give you peace!
Amid the many discussions that emerged during our last General Chapter (2018), there was no shortage of explicit references to our Constitutions. The question was raised about obtaining some means that could help us to understand and scrutinize them better. It pleases me to glean from such statements a healthy and blessed will to grow further and with greater authenticity toward our response to God’s call.
Also implied here is an awareness that the charismatic heritage gifted to our Order has as its fundamental point of reference the Constitutions. In fact, it aims “ to show us how best to observe the Rule in the changing circumstances of life in order to safeguard our identity and to give it concrete expression. In them we find a sure means of spiritual renewal in Christ and effective help for each brother to bring to completion the total consecration of his life to God.” (Const. 9:1-2)
It has always been this way through the centuries: the Constitutions have supported the faith and apostolate of us Capuchins, contributing to the bearing of so much fruit in the way of remarkable holiness. Consequently, even today we consider it vitally important to “lovingly devote ourselves to the personal and communal study of the Rule, the Testament and the Constitutions so that we absorb their spirit.” (Const. 9:4)
Having embraced the requests from the Chapter, since the beginning of our term we've tried to identify and ask the assistance of certain brothers who would offer us some better input on all the twelve chapters of the Constitutions. The following is a list of those who committed themselves to helping us with the chapters assigned to them:
- Br. Mauro Jöhri (CU Ticino, Switzerland): Ch. I. The Life of the Capuchin Lesser Brothers
- Br. Angelo Borghino (PR Lombardy): Ch. II. The Vocation to our Life & Formation
- Br. Štefan Kožuh (PR Slovenia): Ch. III. Our Life of Prayer
- Br. Leonhard Lehman (PR Germany): Ch. IV. Our Life in Poverty
- Br. Paolino Zilio (PR Venice): Ch. V. Our Manner of Working
- Br. Gaetano La Speme (PR Syracuse): Ch. VI. Our Life in Brotherhood
- Br. Bernardo Molina (PR Chile): Ch. VII. Our Life of Penance
- Br. Alfredo Rava (PR Emilia Romagna): Ch. VIII. The Governance of the Order
- Br. Gianpaolo Lacerenza (PR Apulia): Ch. IX. Our Apostolic Life
- Br. Anil Sequeira (PR Karnataka): Ch. X. Our Life in Obedience
- Br. Luigi Di Palma (PR Naples): Ch. XI. Our Life in Consecrated Chastity
- Br. William Henn (PR Pennsylvania): Ch. XII. Proclamation of the Gospel & Life of Faith
- Br. Felice Cangelosi (PR Messina): History of the Constitutions
- Br. Roberto Martinez (CU Puerto Rico): Biblical Themes
- Br. Francesco Neri (PR Apulia): Theological Themes
- Br. Josè Luis Cereijo (PR Argentina): Moral Themes
- Br. Janusz Kaźmierczak (PR Warsaw): Franciscan Themes
- Br. Carlo Calloni (PR Lombardy): Saints and Sanctity in the Constitutions
I’m pleased to tell you that most of these requested aids have already been submitted. In the meantime, the first three are currently posted on the General Curia website, and the others will follow on a regular basis. I invite you to begin taking them into consideration. As they’re intended to promote both individual and community study, for example at local chapter, I'm confident they can be quite useful in both initial and ongoing formation.
The aids are published in their original languages, so it would be useful for the Conferences to prepare translations in their pertinent languages and to also provide for their publication in printed form.
I take this opportunity to thank all the brothers who have agreed to participate in this project, knowing that the Lord will reward any of our efforts done on behalf of the brothers. I hope that their contributions will also help us to respond more fully to our Capuchin Franciscan vocation with authenticity of life and joyful hearts.
Rome, 18 May 2020
St. Felix of Cantalice
Br. Roberto Genuin
General Minister OFMCap.