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Plenary Council of the Order

The Plenary Council of the Order, held in Sri Lanka from January 26 to February 1, 2016 at the retreat center of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament near Negombo, focused on the theme "Human development and identity".

Our desire to celebrate the Plenary Council for the first time in Asia was a way to show our Sri Lankan friars the ethnic diversity of our Order and to encourage them in their lives as well as the Franciscan Friars of the Third Order.

Given the importance of the issue, the Plenary Council has for the life of the Order, in addition to the Provincial Ministers and/or Delegates of the various Provinces and Vice Provinces, the Formation Directors were also invited to participate.

Unfortunately, owing to the adverse weather situations, some friars were not able to take part in the Council. The friars, in total, are 25 participants.

First day, January 26

The first day of the Plenary Council began with prayer and Holy Mass in English chaired by the Minister General. In his homily, guided by the words of St. Francis, “The Lord he gave me brothers”, he stressed that it is the Word of God (the incarnate Jesus) that unites us and makes us brothers.

After breakfast, the first plenary session began. The Minister General greeted all those present and opened the proceedings by explaining the methodology. Then he announced the following time line:

  • 2016
    • Visitation and Chapter with St. Thomas Province (including Bangladesh)
  • 2017
    • Visitation and Chapter for:
      • St. Jerome Province (Croatia)
      • Immaculate Conception Province (Spain)
      • St. Francis Province (India)
      • Our Lady of Lanka Vice Province (Sri Lanka)
      • Our Lady Of Guadalupe Vice Province (Mexico)
      • Delegation of St. John the Baptist (Sweden)
  • 2018
    • Visitation and Chapter for:
      • Immaculate Conception Province (USA)
      • St. Louis Vice Province (India)
      • St. Joseph Vice Province (South Africa)
      • Our Lady Aparecida Vice Province (Brasil)
  • 2019
    • Visitation and Chapter for St. Francis Province (Assisi)
    • General Chapter from May 23 to June 11, 2019 in Assisi Italy

Then p. John Kochuchira, General Delegate for Asia and Minister Provincial of St. Thomas in India, presented Rev. Father Joseph Benedict Mathias, SJ, rector of the Pontifical Seminary St. Peter in Bengaluru (India). His presentation focused on a “New Pedagogy” for an integral human development as a standard for religious formation.

At the end of this session, the Friars celebrated vespers and concluded the first day with the sharing of dinner.