On Saturday, March 4, 2023, the tenth annual School of Franciscanism course concluded in Florence, Italy. The course was organized by the Franciscan Movement Organization or “MoFra” of Tuscany.
Classes for the course were conducted face to face from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. every Saturday afternoon between February 4 and March 4, 2023. They were held at the San Francesco Church located in Piazza Savoranola in Florence. Between ninety and one hundred and twenty attendees were present at each class. Another thirty participants attended online using the Zoom Internet platform. Thus, anyone living outside of Florence, or anyone unable to attend in person, had a chance to participate. The theme of this year’s course was: “The 800th Anniversary of the Rule and the Christmas at Greccio.”
The School of Franciscanism was co-founded in 2013, by Friar Paolo FANTACCINI (then the OFM Minister Provincial of Tuscany) and the late Stefano MINIATI (OFS Regional Minister of Tuscany), Between 2013 and 2014, Friar Paolo served as the President of MoFra with Stefano MINIATI as Vice-President. Their goal was to offer Franciscan formation to anyone who wanted to share in the cultural, spiritual and historical heritage created by Franciscanism, or who felt attracted to St. Francis, for whatever reason, and wanted to learn more about the Franciscan charism. The first annual course was launched in January of 2014, in an atmosphere of great optimism and enthusiasm.
To ensure the seriousness of the course, it has since been conducted under the patronage of the Pontifical Antonianum University in collaboration with the Ministry of Education through the Directorate of the Regional School Office of Tuscany.
What, then, is the Franciscan Movement Organization or “MoFra”? The Movement brings together all the religious and lay Franciscan groups who share the charism of St. Francis and St. Clare. Founded in the 1990s, MoFra has since achieved official recognition. It adopted a statute in the early 2000s, from which regional MoFra Organizations gradually derived.
In Tuscany, MoFra is made up of friars from the First Order (OFM, OFM Cap., and OFM Conv.), the Poor Clares, religious from women’s institutes that are members of the Franciscan Religious Movement (MoReFra), members of the Secular Franciscan Order (OFS), Franciscan Youth (YouFra), and members of other Franciscan-inspired Institutes and societies.
MoFra promotes learning, fraternal communion and collaboration among all its members. It bears witness to the Lord through the Franciscan charism. It spreads the Franciscan message through press and multimedia tools and promotes initiatives along the lines of the “Feast in the Square,” an event that allows people to go out into the streets, among the people, open to dialogue, in the style of St. Francis of Assisi.
This year sees the return of initiatives such as the School of Franciscanism, the “Feast in the Square” event, and various proclamation and evangelization days. They are being organized in collaboration with all of the Franciscan groups in Tuscany in order to promote the Franciscan values of fraternity, dialogue and peace.
On Tuesday afternoon, May 23, 2023, the eve of the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Francis, an exhibition opened entitled, “The Gospel and Nothing Else.” The exhibition was inaugurated on the upper floor of the Sixtus IV Cloister of the Basilica of St. Francis. More than a hundred people attended the opening, mainly Franciscan friars from the different Orders present in Assisi.
The event was part of the celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the approval of the Later Rule of St. Francis. Pope Honorius III approved the rule in 1223, through his papal bull, Solet annuere.
Friar Marco MORONI, the Custos of the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Italy (Assisi), explained that the exhibition was a group effort created by some friars of the Sacred Convent. It consists of about twenty panels with photographs and captions in Italian, English and Spanish. It traces some of the themes found in the Rule, and provides an opportunity to learn about the life of the Franciscan friars who have followed the same rule to the present day. It is the foundation of who they are and the choices they make. The themes of poverty, minority, work, mission, fraternity, etc., are laid out in such a way that they can be useful not only to the friars, but also to all those who wish to understand the spirituality of St. Francis and apply it to their lives.
The captions are intentionally brief so they can be more easily read by the many visitors who pass through the Basilica. This way, despite limited exposure to the material, visitors can still become acquainted with the important content of the Rule. The exhibition will remain on display until the end of the year and can be visited during the opening hours of the Basilica. Other friaries are allowed to reproduce the exhibition. They need only request the print files. Thus, the content can be more widely disseminated and known.
The centerpiece of the exhibition, found in the apse of the Upper Church of the Basilica, displays the original parchment stamped by Pope Honorius III. This is an object of fundamental historical importance. It is kept by the friars of the Sacred Convent as a precious relic that has passed through the hands of St. Francis. In it, Francis collected what he called the “marrow of the Gospel”. “The Gospel and Nothing Else” summarizes the Franciscan message.
On Friday, March 31, 2023, Friar Fortunato IOZZELLI, OFM, will give a lecture on St. Francis’ Christmas at Greccio. The lecture will take place at 9:00 p.m. [Central European Summer Time (CEST)], at the Church of San Bonaventura al Palatino in Rome.
The event is sponsored by the Araceli Cultural Center; the Italian OFM Province of San Bonaventura; and the Committee of the Franciscan Family for the Franciscan Centenary. This lecture is part of a series of celebrations commemorating the 800thanniversary of the Christmas at Greccio and the Later Rule of St. Francis of Assisi. Friar Fortunato’s lecture follows the one he gave on March 24, 2023, on the Rule of the Friars Minor. It was also conducted at the Church of San Bonaventura al Palatino in Rome.
You can watch Friar Fortunato’s latest lecture, delivered in Italian, on YouTube at:
Today we are pleased to give you the text which the working group of our brothers and sisters has prepared and we have adopted. This text lends itself to multifaceted use and will help us set out on this journey in communion. The text offers guidelines for organizing the various centenaries at the local level and provides a framework on which to base our formation programs. It is a flexible, worthwhile tool for working on themes of the various centenaries will form the single 2023-2026 Centenary, which will conclude with the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Transitus of our Seraphic Father.
In giving you this tool, we whish you pleasant reading, fruitful work and a happy Centenary.
January 7th, 2023
Greccio (RI), January 7, 2023. In the presence of the 6 General Ministers of the Franciscan Family, the Franciscan Centenary was inaugurated today, beginning a series of events tracing the last stages of the life of St. Francis of Assisi, that will finally lead to the 800th anniversary of the Easter of our Seraphic Father.
“The Centennial celebration will be fruitful upon knowing how to walk together in imitation of Christ and love for the poor.”