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.