Friday of the 3rd week of Chapter (day 19), was mainly devoted to work in the various Chapter Commissions, which have been given the task of refining the proposals which will be discussed in the assembly. These deal with important aspects of our life such as: fraternal relationships; caring for Creation; formation and studies; our life of prayer and devotion; the service of authority and government; the charism of poverty and the promotion of a simple lifestyle; guidelines for the financial management of the General Curia; missio ad gentes; and new forms of evangelization. Given the complexity of this work, the respective commissions have been given plenty of time for reflection and discussion before they submit proposals in the plenary.
The first morning session was spent in the commissions, while the second was an opportunity to hear a presentation from the Rector of the Pontifical University, Antonianum (PUA), Sr. Mary Melone, and the Vice-Rector, Br. Agustín Hernández Vidales, who gave a wide-ranging report on the university, which is the responsibility of the whole Order. The Minister General, having expressed his gratitude to Sr. Mary, also acknowledged the contribution of Br. Martin Carbajo Núñez who had been Acting Rector before her appointment.
The Rector and Vice-Rector thanked the Order and all those more directly involved in the work of the University, and they spoke of the challenges facing the PUA, such as a shortage of lecturers and of students, as well as financial constraints. Nonetheless, the aim of the University remains that of providing high quality academic scholarship and teaching in the service of the wider Franciscan Family. This involves an academic commitment to the contribution of Franciscanism to the Church, with its specific traditions and its style of formation for evangelization. It includes particular attention to areas of Franciscan interest – such as Justice, Peace & Care for Creation; Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue; the critical study of the Franciscan sources; and the Franciscan approach to scholarship.
On behalf of the Chapter Members, the Minister General expressed his appreciation of the work which is being done by the PUA and encouraged all those responsible for improving the quality of the University and the effectiveness of its evangelizing mission.
The afternoon saw a return to the work of the commissions and was enlivened by a coffee break featuring a musical performance by a group of Japanese pilgrims associated with the Franciscan Family. This light hearted moment, in addition to the recreation following Evening Prayer and supper, was a welcome contrast to the concentrated work of reflection and discernment that occupied most of the day.