The work of the 12th day of Chapter began with a farewell to Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, the Delegate of Pope Francis, who has been a very much appreciated participant in the first part of the Chapter. The Minister General, Fr. Michael Perry thanked him on behalf of the whole Order for his presence and witness. He also gave the Cardinal some gifts as souvenirs of his time with us. Cardinal Errazuriz Ossa in turn wanted to express his thanks to the friars for the opportunity of sharing this experience with the Chapter Fraternity and he encouraged the friars to continue the process of renewal and openness to new ways of evangelization.
Br. Edwin de Jesus Alvarado, the Minister Provincial of Central America, announced that the Archbishop of San Salvador had asked the Friars of his Province to play a special role in the celebration of the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, martyred 35 years ago, which will take place tomorrow (May 23rd). This is in recognition of the significant part the Franciscans played in keeping Romero’s memory alive.
The main event of the day was the election for the next six years of the Vicar General of the Order. Br. Julio Cesar BUNADER was re-elected as Vicar and, after accepting his election and making the Profession of Faith, he was greeted with warm and prolonged applause from the entire Chapter Assembly. The friars then embraced him one by one in a fraternal sign of support and congratulation.
The afternoon was spent in preparation for the election of Definitors General which included the changes in representation made by the Plenary Council of the Order (2013). The different geographical areas presented candidates, and once the 16 presentations had been heard, 8 straw votes were taken. The counting of votes is expected to take quite a while, given the number of voting papers involved.
This is the penultimate day of the elections phase of the Chapter. This phase will conclude tomorrow when the complete OFM government, whose task it is to animate the life and mission of the Order, will have been elected. Vespers and supper were a welcome end to an intense day of reflection and work!