ELECTION OF NEW MINISTER GENERAL:
Fr. Roberto Genuin, OFM Cap.
September 3 was the election of the General Minister of the Capuchin Franciscan Order, Fr. Roberto Genuin. That evening, the capitulars gathered in the Collegio church for the Eucharist, which happened to be the memorial of Pope St. Gregory the Great. The readings seemed to be chosen for the occasion at hand: the first, from St. Paul (1 Cor 2:1-5), summed up the message of Christ crucified, while the gospel (Lk 4:16-30) told of Jesus' visit to Nazareth and the announcement of his mission — "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor." The General Minister based his reflection on both readings, but the gospel especially, which he commented on clearly and effectively:
"The frankness with which Jesus presents himself is striking: Today this scripture is fulfilled. As if to say, here I am, the one truly sent from God, the one who brings salvation, the Savior. The reaction of the people of Nazareth is understandable in a way; we know him, he's the son of Joseph. How can salvation come from him? He is one of us. It occurs to me to think that sometimes we too find it difficult to really and truly accept that God made himself one of us, took on our flesh, our human situation. ..."
The celebration continued with a group of African brothers who presented the gifts for the Eucharist with their characteristic cadences. For communion, the Indonesian brothers enriched the procession with their evocative song.
The General Councilors were elected in number of ten (one more than the previous Council), with the variant that Africa will have two. Here is the complete list of the Councilors, indicated in order of election: Norbert Auberlin Solondrazana (Madagascar), Francesco Neri (Italy), Carlos Silva (Brazil), Kilian Ngitir (Cameroon), Piotr Stasinski (Poland), Pio Murat (France), John Baptist Palliparambil (India), Victorius Dwiardy (Indonesia), José Ángel Torres Rivera (Puerto Rico), Celestino Arias (United States).
Please pray for wisdom and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit come upon these new leaders of the Order!
Vietnamese friars share the stories of their Vocations.
by postulants Artie Vasquez and Nick Pearce for "Capuchin West" newsletter
One of the features of contemporary religious life is its cultural diversity. Many religious orders came to America from Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries following the migration of their people. In the last twenty years, 20% of candidates for religious life and priesthood have come from Asia, the Pacific Islands, Mexico, and Vietnam (www.NRVC.net).
Currently, there are four Vietnamese friars in our Province: Br. Tran Vu, Fr. Hung Nguyen, Fr. Quoc Nguyen, and Fr. Hai Ho. Each friar immigrated to the United States before entering the Capuchins. They came to a religious order in California comprised of Irish, American, and some Hispanic friars.
Fr. Hung ministers with Vietnamese communities in the Bay Area. He believes that a "vocation to the religious life is a personal calling from God and is not dependent on one's cultural background though culture can have an impact on one's discernment."
This was the case for Fr. Quoc, who during his discernment, hesitated joining the Capuchins as there were no other Vietnamese friars in the community. However, when he learned that Fr. Hung had joined the order, he reconsidered. He felt the possibility of more support. Hung and Quoc attended the same high school in Orange County. Neither knew at that time they would end up in the same Order!
The transition from living as a minority in any dominant culture to a community that recognizes and owns its own diversity requires much patience, understanding, and cultural humility, says Fr. Quoc. He is chaplain at Seton Medical Center, Daly City.
Br. Tran, who ministers at St. Francis High School, La Cañada-Flintridge in the computer and technology labs sees that the brothers "seem to be more open to share gifts, talents, cultures with one another." He feels a strong bond of camaraderie among the brothers. When he met the friars, "I felt immediately attracted, but I did not know that they would help bring forth into my life a new beginning."
Fr. Hai who came to California at the age of one month grew up in a culturally diverse Bay Area which has given him the opportunity to integrate his Vietnamese American identity with what it means to be a Capuchin priest with a unique cultural heritage. Both Fr. Hai and Fr. Hung agree that respecting cultural adaptations is important for friars in the community as well as in the greater Church at large.
As Capuchin Franciscans we follow St. Francis of Assisi as brothers, living the Gospel in prayer, fraternity and ministry, witnessing simply to Jesus Christ and the Church as a joyful presence of hope and salvation to all, especially to those most in need.
PRAYER - Rooted in our Capuchin contemplative tradition and expressed in many forms
As followers of St. Francis, desiring to be conformed more perfectly to the crucified and risen Christ
- We affirm that our prayer is rooted in our Capuchin contemplative tradition and is expressed in many forms.
- We seek to witness both personally and communally to affective prayer.
- We seek to become a living prayer and joyful presence to draw others to Christ.
FRATERNITY - Rooted in mutual love, humble reverence and respect for one another and for all people
We Capuchins are friars minor, rooted in mutual love, humble reverence and respect for one another and for all people.
- Individually and communally, we commit ourselves to be in greater solidarity with the poor.
- We manifest a compassionate caring attitude toward one another as brothers.
- We affirm, animate, support and encourage the building of community.
MINORITY - Following the meek and humble Christ and sharing our joy as lesser brothers by walking with people of every social condition
As brothers of St. Francis, we faithfully follow the meek and humble Christ.
- We cultivate a disposition of humility and respect of the dignity of others.
- We share our joy as lesser brothers by walking with people of every social condition and by being instruments of reconciliation.
- We commit ourselves to the evaluation of our lifestyle, both individually and communally.