The 9th day of the Chapter, which was moderated by Br. Carlo Serri, began with the customary prayer time, after which the friars entered into an intense and varied programme. Br Juio Bunader is the Vicar General of the Order, but he also is the Procurator – in this role he is assisted by Br. Valentino Menegatti. The morning’s session was given over to a presentation from the Office of the Procurator and Brs. Julio and Valentino were accompanied by Br. Albert Schmucki, a member of the Order’s Commission on “Fidelity and Perseverance”, who reported on the work done by that commission over the last six years.
The information presented by Brs. Albert and Valentino raised many questions about the root causes of the number of friars leaving the Order, and on how best to respond to the situation. The feedback from the reflection groups included a variety of proposals and very much supported the work of the Commission on “Fidelity and Perseverance”. It was felt that it is important for the commission to offer an insightful spirituality which has its source in the relationship between the life of faith, the probability of times of crisis and the accompaniment of the friars, which is essential.
The work of the afternoon dealt with three quite different topics. The first session was devoted to the presentations of the Conferences from all over the world. The reports were supplemented with videos which gave an insight into the richness and variety of Franciscan presence in such a diverse world.
Then Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa presided over the first straw ballot for the election of the Minister General, which showed a large majority in favour of the current Minister, Br. Michael A. Perry.
Finally, the celebration of Vespers included a heartfelt thanks to the outgoing government of the Order, beautifully presented on behalf of the Chapter Members by Br. Bill Short, Chapter Secretary.
Dinner and recreation were further opportunities to express gratitude to the brothers who, during the last six years, have served the Order with generosity and dedication.