The 2015 General Chapter marks a new stage in the area of communications in the Order. E-mail has been used to communicate between the Offices of the General Curia and Provinces and for sending notices and documents, though we have often had difficulty in finding the correct address of a Minister, Custos and even of an Entity. Addresses are often changed in the present world and these changes are not always communicated to the Offices of the Curia. It has been decided, on the recommendation of the OFM Communications Office, to assign an address with an exclusive username and password, which the user (Minister, Custos, etc.) can change when necessary, to each entity (Province, Custody, etc.) on the site of the Order (ofm.org) by using the number already assigned by the General Secretariat for official communications. It is thought that the difficulties which arose in recent years will be avoided and will thus ensure greater continuity in communication even after the normal changes of government in the Entities.
The documents of the 2015 General Chapter, therefore, will be found on the website (www.ofm.org) of the Order and the Chapter Members will receive a username and password which will allow them access the Reserved Area of the site under the tab “General Chapter”. They can read the documents “on-line,” download them later for study or print those they are interested in. The savings from the cost of printing and posting will be notable – an aspect that should not be undervalued at this time.
The members of the Chapter will, in this way, have access to the original documents, the translations just made and the notes of the secretaries of the various work groups without having to wait for the printed and photographic reproductions in the various languages to be put in the mail boxes.
Printers and photocopiers will be available for those who need them, but it is hoped that the new system will reduce the use of paper to a minimum, offering a concrete sign of sobriety in the use of natural resources in line with our commitment to respect creation.
It is expected that many Friars will have an electronic device (Smartphone, tablet, portable computer, etc.) with which they will be able to read, correct and exchange texts and observations on the work being done during the work of the Chapter. Following the indications of the Minister General, the Secretariat of the Chapter will try to encourage, as far as possible, a climate of dialogue, conversation and exchange through the means of communication.
The Communications Office will activate a specific web-site dedicated to the work of the Chapter so that the Order, and anyone else interested, will be informed about the progress of the Chapter.
Every Entity of the Order was requested to send in a video-clip, of a maximum of five minutes, to be projected in the Assembly Hall at the beginning of the various Plenary Sessions of the Chapter in order to make the Friars of the different parts of the world, the people with whom they live and among whom they work “visibly” present.
The Communications Office, on its part, will offer the possibility to experience in real time some significant moments of the Chapter through “live-streaming” and, later, a video-recording for those who wish to follow closely our more powerful moments.
The Communications Office of the Chapter will provide for the circulation of news and short notices about the Chapter work in the three official languages of the Order: English, Italian and Spanish.
Alongside all the technological initiative, however, we still count on the ancient, but effective, Franciscan means of communication, that is, on the sincere and constant prayer of the many Friars and Sisters of the entire world which will support the work of the Chapter Members. A letter could be sent by post to the General Chapter at; “Domus Pacis” (Piazza Porziuncola, 1, 06081 Santa Maria degli Angeli, Perugia PG, Italia). A message of encouragement to the Chapter could always be sent to the e-mail address of the Chapter: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Friars of the Secretariat of the Chapter, together with those of the Office of Communications, are pleased to take advantage of the occasion to wish all the readers of Fraternitas a joyful and peaceful Easter in the Risen Lord.
Br. William Short, OFM,
Br. Sergiusz Baldyga, OFM,
Br. Joseph Magro, OFM,