General Constitutions

DECREE

Congregation
For the Institutes of Consecrated Life
And Societies of Apostolic Life

Prot. N. T. 69-1/90

DECREE

By a mandate of the General Chapter celebrated in AD 1989, the Minister General of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis humbly petitions that certain modifications to the General Constitutions approved in 1974, be made which would conform these Constitutions to the new Code of Canon Law.

The Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has carefully examined and approved these changes in the Latin language, which have been inserted into the text, and a copy of which is kept in its archives, all other matters notwithstanding.

All former copies contrary to this decree are abrogated.

Rome, 2 February 1991
Presentation of the Lord

Giovanni C. Cardinale Hamer
Prefetto

Jesus Torres
Sottosegretario

Fr. José Angulo Quillis, Minister General

Fr. José Angulo Quilis
Minister General
of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis

To all the friars of the Order
Peace and Goodness in the Lord!

Dear Brothers:

Our Constitutions have been the object of a broad and profound study on the part of the friars of the Order, during the period of renewal mandated by the Second Vatican Council.

This long period culminated in the Extraordinary General Chapter, which took place in Rome from January 2 to March 6, 1969. As a result, we received the updated text of the Constitutions that took effect on April 30, 1969.

As my predecessor, the Most Rev. Fr. Louis Secondo, T.O.R. notes in the 1969 edition, this new text has as its foundation the conciliar documents and the teachings of the Church.

Far from being definitive, the updated Constitutions contained the dynamic quality of a continual renewal according to the general principles contained in the Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, in Latin, Perfectæ Caritatis.

This Decree urged communities to return to the sources, the restoration of healthy traditions, the effort to rediscover the proper identity and the characteristic mission of each institute in the Church and in the world.

This new mentality awoke an interest for study, for investigation and for reflection regarding our specific charism. A search for identity, historical and spiritual patrimony as well as our place in the arena of the larger Franciscan Family have become the final product.

In this sense, the International Historical Commission (CSI-TOR) and the “Analecta”, the official periodical of the Order, have given light to the treasures contained in our Franciscan-penitential charism and have contributed towards directing us to our particular characteristics acquired over many centuries of history. Deepening the knowledge of the values of our roots opens new horizons and perspectives for our Order as a response to the challenges of our age and circumstances.

Aside from this, there has been significant contributions made through the preparatory work for the renewal of the T.O.R. Rule, which was done in collaboration with numerous Congregations of the Third Order Regular. In this sense, the Fourth Inter-obediential Congress, which took place in Madrid in 1974, is of special importance. The “Madrid Document” as a product of that Congress, continues to be valid as an expression of our Franciscan third Order penitential life.

The pontifical approbation of the new text of the “Rule and Life”, on December 8, 1982, places in our hands an essential and updated document containing legislative and inspirational values.

With the approval of the new Code of Canon Law in January of 1983, it was necessary that our Constitutions be in accord with the new ecclesiastical norms.

Keeping in mind all these circumstances, the General Chapter of 1983 issued a mandate to the new General and his Council to proceed with the work of contemporizing the Constitutions.

An international commission was thus established in which all Provinces and Vice Provinces of the Order were represented. The first task was to create an interest among the friars and to listen to their suggestions. Meetings were held on various levels: by provinces, nations and continents. Two international plenary meetings took place, one in Rome (1986) and another in Washington, D.C. (1988). These efforts produces the present text of the Constitutions and the text of the General Statues, which were presented, discussed, modified and finally approved by the General Chapter of 1989. On February 2, 1991, the new Constitutions were approved by the Holy See and took effect on that very day.

Since the Constitutions of 1969, with their solid conciliar foundation and accordance to the principles for renewal of the religious life, we have come to the present text of our Constitutions and General Statues. It has been a long process, rich in discoveries, but not lacking in difficulties.

We have also kept in mind the new configuration of the Order which has changed notably since 1968, given the growth of vocations in the traditional missions fields as well as the incorporation of some groups of Regular Tertiaries present in new countries to our T.O.R. family.

I am therefore presenting to you, dear brothers, out new Constitutions and General Statues. These are “our” Constitutions because all of us have had a part in their redaction and because they reflect our image: what we have been, what we are today, as well as what our project for the future will be. These Constitutions summarize the beliefs and the thoughts of our diverse provinces, united by the dynamism of our beloved charism; capable of becoming a part of local churches and uniting different cultures.

Updating is a complex task, especially when augmented by diverse cultures and backgrounds. It will never be perfect or complete. However, what is important to remember is that these Constitutions are “our” work.

The Rule is our inspirational code. The Constitutions represent our fundamental code, that is to say, our essential and stable law. In addition, the General Statues are our complementary code, or they contain the common directives, which may be modified, referring to non-essential aspects, but which assist us to implement what the Constitutions specify. The Provincial Statues serve the same purpose in each province and vice province.

We now have a new mandate: that the Constitutions truly become the stimulus that gives impulse, animation, dynamism, and inspires the ongoing renewal of each friar as well as each fraternity of our beloved Order. For this to occur, the direct participation of all the friars is necessary.

The Constitutions, together with the Rule, form the book of our evangelical life and we therefore have the obligation to read them assiduously, to meditate on them and to pray with them. We should assimilate them so that they will lead us to fruitful creativity in the Holy Spirit and towards continuous and sincere conversion, allowing the printed word to become our spirit and life.

Most Rev. José Angulo Quilis, T.O.R.
Minister General

Rome,
Convent of Sts. Cosmas and Damian
24 June 1992
Birth of St. John the Baptist

INDEX

Part I
The Life and Mission of the Order

Title I
Our Identity

Chapter 1: The Charism of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis (1-6)
Chapter 2: Consecration to the Lord (7-10)

Title II
Acceptance into the Order

Chapter 1: The Increase of Vocations (11)
Chapter 2: Formation in General (12)
Chapter 3: Human Formation (13-16)
Chapter 4: Formation in Religious Life (17-23)
Chapter 5: Formation in the Charism of the Order (24-25)
Chapter 6: Formation in Apostolic Life (26-28)
Chapter 7: Ongoing Formation and Education (29)
Chapter 8: The Director and Other Educators (30-35)
Chapter 9: Stages of Formation (36)
Chapter 10: Postulancy (37-38)
Chapter 11: The Novitiate (39-47)
Chapter 12: Profession (48-61)

Title III
The Spirit of Prayer

Chapter 1: Union With God (62-63)
Chapter 2: The Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours (64-70)
Chapter 3: Growth in Prayer (71-75)
Chapter 4: The Life of Penance (76-80)

Title IV
The Life of Chastity for the Sake of the Kingdom (81-85)

Title V
The Way to Serve and Work (86-91)

Title VI
The Life of Poverty (92-99)

Title VII
Fraternal Love

Chapter 1: Fraternal Living (100-106)
Chapter 2: Charity to the Aged and Infirm (107-109)

Chapter 3: Responsibility to Our Deceased Friars, Relatives, Friends and Benefactors (110)
Chapter 4: Responsibility to Relatives, Benefactors and Employees (111)
Chapter 5: Conduct outside the Fraternity and Journeys (112)
Chapter 6: Hospitality (113)

Title VII
The Obedience of Love (114-117)

Title IX
Apostolic Life

Chapter 1: The Apostolic Life of the Friars (118-122)
Chapter 2: Means of Evangelization (123-131)
Chapter 3: Organization of Evangelization (132-138)
Chapter 4: Concrete Forms of Evangelization (139-152)
Chapter 5: Missionary Evangelization (153-156)
Chapter 6: The Secular Franciscan Order (157-160)

 

Part II
The Constitution of the Fraternity
and the Service of its Government

Title I
The Constitution of the Fraternity (161-163)

Title II
The Mission of the Ministers (164-168)

Title III
Offices of the Order

Chapter 1: Distinction and Conferral of Offices (169-172)
Chapter 2: Resignation and Removal from Offices and Positions (173-175)
Chapter 3: Norms to Be Observed on Votations (176-179)

Title IV
The General Chapter

Chapter 1: Authority and Convocation of the General Chapter (180-183)
Chapter 2: Vocals at the Chapter (184)
Chapter 3: The Sessions of the Chapter (185-190)

Title V
The General Government of the Order

Chapter 1: The Minister General (191-192)
Chapter 2: The Authority of the General Council (193-196)
Chapter 3: The Vicar Minister General (197)
Chapter 4: The General Councilors (198-199)
Chapter 5: The Secretary General (200)
Chapter 6: The Offices of the Order (201)
Chapter 7: The Plenary Council of the Order (202)
Chapter 8: The Inter-Provincial Conference (203)

Title VI
The Government of the Provinces (204)

Chapter 1: Provincial Chapter (204-208)
Chapter 2: Election of a Minister Provincial and Council (209-211)
Chapter 3: The Provincial Congregation (212)
Chapter 4: The Minister Provincial and his Collaborators in Government (213-221)

Title VII
Provinces, Vice Provinces and Commissaries

Chapter 1: Establishment and Suppression (222)
Chapter 2: Vice Provinces (223)

Title VIII
The Canonical Visitation (224-227)

Title IX
Government in the Local Fraternities (228)

Chapter 1: The Local Ministers (229-230)
Chapter 2: The Local Fraternity Council and Chapter (231-232)
Chapter 3: Library and Archives (233)

Title X
The Administration of Goods (234-238)

Title XI
Fraternal Correction (239-242)

Title XII
Transfer from One Province to Another (243-245)

Title XIII
Leaving the Fraternity and Dismissal of a Friar from the Order

Chapter 1: Leaving the Fraternity (246-247)
Chapter 2: Dismissal from the Fraternity (248)
Chapter 3: Effects of Departure (249)

Title XIV
Observance of the Rule and Constitution (250-252)

Part I
THE LIFE AND MISSION OF THE ORDER

Title I: OUR IDENTITY

Chapter 1: The Charism of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis

They wish to live this evangelical conversion of life in a spirit of prayer, poverty and of humility. (TOR Rule, Art. 2)

1. The Third Order Regular of Saint Francis is an evangelical fraternity which has its historical and spiritual origins in the Order of Penance, the penitential movements and in Saint Francis of Assisi.

It traces itself back to the Seraphic Father because he proposed to the penitents desiring a deeper conversion a "form of life" which brought the Order to the state of a regular institute.

The Third Order Regular of Saint Francis is enumerated by the Church among the clerical institutes of pontifical right. (cf cn 588,2; 589; 593).

2. The members of this Order strive to realize their vocation to holiness, initiated at Baptism, which they have in common with all Christians. Their example is Saint Francis of Assisi who chose to follow the Lord Jesus Christ by living the Gospel Way in continual conversion. Like Saint Francis they freely bind themselves to live in fraternity, to observe the Gospel counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. They dedicate themselves to contemplation, to the apostolate and to the works of mercy, giving special attention to the poor.

3. All the friars of the Order have the same rights and fully participate in its life and works. Depending on their ministerial state, however, the obligations of some of the friars may differ.

4. The members of this Order, in imitation of our Seraphic Father who was always prepared for constant renewal, seek to persevere in true faith and penance. Promising obedience and reverence to the Pope they endeavor to spend themselves in building the Kingdom of God in the world in accord with the mind of the Church and the needs of the people of God.

5. In this Order the friars profess solemn vows. As sons of the same Father they are united in a special way with the members of the entire Franciscan family. In particular, they have a special relationship with the other institutes which profess the same Rule as well as with the Secular Franciscan Order.

The friars shall love and faithfully observe all that constitutes the nature of the Order and after the example and teaching of Saint Francis, respect the teaching of the Holy See and the sound traditions of the Order.

6. The Third Order Regular of Saint Francis is placed under the protection of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, its heavenly patron. The friars also venerate as their patrons, Saint Louis, King of France and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Chapter 2: Consecration to the Lord

Led by the Lord, let them begin a life of penance, conscious that all of us must be continually and totally converted to the Lord. (TOR Rule, Art 6)

7. Called by the Lord to follow Jesus Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, the friars consecrate themselves to Him by means of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

The evangelical counsels are truly a divine gift which the Church has received from Jesus Christ and which she preserves.

8. This consecration is a gift for life. Through the charism of daily conversion this consecration is deepened until the friars are fully united to Christ in charity.

9. The evangelical counsels invite us to live more perfectly united to the Paschal Mystery of Christ, so that by dying more radically to sin, we live more fully the new life in the Spirit wondrously manifested in the resurrection of Jesus.

The profession of these counsels is a response to a call to conversion to Gospel values which challenges the friars to go beyond external observance of the precepts and laws in order to achieve an inner harmony with the law of charity and peace.

10. The faithful observance of the evangelical counsels has a special witness value in our time which gives testimony that this world is not a lasting home. Therefore as pilgrims and strangers, the friars seek only Christ and the establishment of his reign.

Title II: ACCEPTANCE INTO THE ORDER

Chapter 1: The Increase of Vocations

11. The responsibility for the increase of vocations rests on the whole fraternity and on each individual friar. This responsibility comes from the consciousness of offering to others a way of life rich in human and Gospel values.

All the friars should fulfill their duty to promote vocations first of all by the example of their lives, and also through evangelizing activities and constant prayer.

Statutes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Chapter 2: Formation in General

Our blessed Father Francis with great diligence personally formed his new sons by teaching them, with new principles, to walk rightly and steadfastly on the way of holy poverty and blessed simplicity. (cf 1 Celano 26)

12. The candidates in formation are to receive a complete education: human, religious, Franciscan and apostolic.

Statutes: 5, 6, 7, 8

Chapter 3: Human Formation

13. The purpose of human formation is to help the candidates develop their natural talents, to gradually acquire a more mature sense of responsibility and to learn to use their freedom to overcome obstacles to growth.

14. This formation is to be carried out in a family atmosphere that fosters a well integrated personal and social formation and is totally consonant with the Franciscan tradition.

15. The candidates are to be trained in strength of character and learn to prize qualities which are held in high regard such as sincerity of heart, constant concern for justice, fidelity to one's word and work, courtesy of manner, discretion and kindness in speech.

Statutes: 9, 10

16. Discipline must be regarded as a strong support of fraternal life and as an integral element of the entire training program. It helps the candidates to be able to accept the authority of the ministers because of inner conviction and spiritual motivation.

Chapter 4: Formation in Religious Life

17, The aim of formation in the religious life is the development of our candidates as religious so that being formed in the spirit of the Gospel and the Rule they may persevere with joy in a life of ongoing conversion.

18. This aspect of formation should be based on an adequate knowledge of the theology of religious life, so that the candidates may value the gift of their own vocations.

19. Candidates in formation are to become accustomed to live intimately united with Christ as friends. They are to learn how to seek Him faithfully in meditation, to communicate with Him by active participation in the Sacred Mysteries of the Church, especially the Eucharist, to see Him in their ministers and their brothers and to experience Him in the common life, in their daily activities and especially among the poor and marginated.

20. They are to love, venerate and follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the servant of the Lord, the "virgin made church" who listened to the Word of God and meditated on it in her heart. (Sal. BVM, 1)

21. Candidates are to be carefully trained for the life of religious chastity, so that, while they rightly understand the dignity of Christian marriage, they may also understand virginity consecrated to Christ and generously choose this virginity after mature consideration.

22. Candidates are to be introduced to a personal and communal style of poverty so that they may be able to live in conformity with Christ and share in His poverty.

23. With special care they are formed into a religious obedience that is free and responsible and through which they choose true Gospel freedom and a total surrender to God.

Chapter 5: Formation in the Charism of the Order

24. Following the example and teaching of Saint Francis, the candidates are to be imbued with love for the Church. Therefore, they should learn to respect its leaders and serve its people.

25. Formation in the Franciscan way of life must have a pre-eminent place for it fosters the vitality of the Order.

Thus, formation in the religious life must be animated by the Seraphic spirit through Franciscan studies, the history of the Order and the writings of Franciscan spirituality.

Chapter 6: Formation in Apostolic Life

26. The purpose of formation in apostolic life is to prepare candidates in accord with their capacities to announce the Gospel everywhere by their word and example.

27. This aspect of formation embraces studies which furnish academic and pastoral preparation and skills. This formation may require the acquisition of technical and professional training, keeping in mind the diverse areas of the apostolate existing within the Order.

Statutes: 11, 12

28. Candidates for the priesthood are to be prepared for pastoral and apostolic life with the necessary courses of study. They should also have adequate practical experience according to the directives of the Church and the particular needs of their Province.

In addition they may also be assigned to apostolic works for suitable periods of time to help them in preparing for the apostolic work of the Province.

Chapter 7: Ongoing Formation and Education

29. Ongoing formation is a continuous process of growth in one's vocation. Every friar should be engaged in the process of self-renewal through each stage of his entire life.

Even after the period of basic formation is ended, the friars shall diligently continue with their own spiritual, doctrinal and practical formation, so that in their vocation they may remain committed to their ongoing renewal after the example of Saint Francis.

Ministers moreover shall provide them with the time and help to accomplish this. (cf cn. 661)

Chapter 8: The Director and Other Educators

Statutes: 13, 14, 15

30. Friars in formation are entrusted to a Director who has immediate responsibility for them.

31. Directors of Formation should be carefully chosen and be mature, well-balanced persons. They should be well prepared in doctrine and studies related to formation. They should also have appropriate pastoral experience and special spiritual and pedagogical training.

32. The task of the Directors is to form each friar in the Franciscan religious life, provide discipline and help him to mature as a person able to live the Gospel way of life.

Statutes: 16, 17

33. All friars are responsible for the formation of our candidates and should be closely united with the Directors in spirit and action and cooperate with them by the example of their lives and prayer.

34. Local Ministers shall see to it that the friars in formation have a competent confessor available to them while permitting them to choose other confessors as well.

35. The Director diligently and prudently sees to it that each candidate has a spiritual director who may also be the confessor for the fraternity.

When convenient or necessary, a spiritual director may be appointed in the house of formation as long as the personal freedom of each friar is preserved.

The directors and their associates are not to hear the sacramental confession of those in formation living in the same house unless those in formation spontaneously request it in particular cases. (C. 985)

Chapter 9: Stages of Formation

Those who through the Lord's inspiration come to us desiring to accept this way of life are to be received kindly. At the appropriate time, they are to be presented to the ministers of the fraternity who hold responsibility to admit them. (TOR Rule, Art. 4)

36. Before the friars consecrate themselves to God by solemn profession, they must spend a suitable time in formation.

Formation encompasses three periods: postulancy, the novitiate, and the time during which the friars are in temporary vows.

Chapter 10: Postulancy

37. Postulancy is the first stage of formation and the period in which a candidate makes the initial decision to live in fraternity in our Order. The postulant gradually comes to know our life and our work, and on the other hand, the fraternity has the opportunity to get to know him and to evaluate his vocation.

38. The purpose of postulancy is to prepare the candidate for entrance into the novitiate. To the degree that it is necessary, a candidate's basic understanding of fundamental Christian doctrine should be completed. Gradually taking his first steps on the path of conversion, he should begin the transition from secular life to religious life in fraternity.

Statutes: 18, 19, 20, 21, 22

Chapter 11: The Novitiate

39. Life in our Order begins with the novitiate. The right of admission to the novitiate belongs to the Minister Provincial with the consent of his Council.

It is their duty to admit only those who demonstrate signs of a vocation, fitting character, and sufficient maturity to live the religious life.

Before being admitted to the Novitiate, superiors shall take care that all is observed which universal law requires for validity. (cf cn 597; 643-645)

Statutes: 23, 24

40. The novitiate is to be made when the candidate has a clear awareness of God's call and has reached a spiritual and human maturity to be able to make a decision to answer that call.

41. The governance of the novices, under the authority of the Major Superiors, is entrusted to a single Director. (see c. 650, 2)

The Director of Novices is in charge of the novitiate and must be a religious of our Order in solemn vows who has the necessary qualities and is legitimately designated as such. (cf can 651)

Statutes: 25

42. The purpose of the novitiate is to help the novice more fully understand the essential demands of the vocation to which he feels called so that he may live the evangelical counsels according to our charism. The experience of living the spirit of penance will strengthen his heart and mind and his intention to persevere in his vocation. (cf can 646).

Statutes: 27

43. The novices "led by the Lord, should begin a life of penance, conscious that all of us must be continuously and totally converted to the Lord." (TOR Rule, art. 6)

They should be gradually taught to renounce, according to the holy Gospel, all which does not look to the reign of God. With the help of the Director they should gradually be introduced to fraternal life. They should be formed in evangelical life by the counsels of obedience, chastity and poverty, and also educated in the practice of humility, the life of prayer and the way of listening to the promptings of the Spirit.

44. During the course of the novitiate the novices should:

  • dedicate themselves to reading and meditating on the Sacred Scriptures.
  • learn various methods of prayer and contemplation that will enable them to have a deeper relationship with God.
  • learn the Rule and Constitutions in the context of Franciscan history and the history of the Order.
  • learn to appreciate the liturgical life and the apostolates of the Church.
  • be instilled with a love for the Church and its pastors. (cf can 652,2)

All of this should be integrated into an understanding of the mystery of the Church according to our charism and should be directed toward a loving knowledge of God and an increase in the life of faith.

45. The time of the novitiate referred to in canon 648, 1, 3 must be devoted to formation. Therefore, the novices cannot be occupied in studies or works which do not contribute to their formation. (cf can 652, 5) Philosophical and theological studies aimed at acquiring certificates or professional degrees are prohibited.

To complete the formation of the novices one or more periods of time for apostolic work outside the novitiate may take place according to the judgment of the Director with the consent of the Minister Provincial (cf can 648,2)

Statutes: 29

46. To be valid, the novitiate must be made in a fraternity properly designated for the purpose. (cf cn 647,2)

The erection, transfer and suppression of the novitiate takes place by the written decree of the Minister General with the consent of the Council after having received the petition of the Minister Provincial who has obtained the consent of his Council. (cn 647,1)

47. In order that the novitiate be valid it must include twelve months spent in the community of the novitiate. Absence from the novitiate for more than three months, continuously or with interruptions, renders the novitiate invalid. Absences that exceed fifteen days must be made up. (cf can 647,3; 648,1; 649)

Statutes: 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Chapter 12: Profession

48. By religious profession the friars assume by public vows the observance of the three evangelical counsels. They are consecrated to God through the ministry of the Church and are incorporated into the Order with rights and duties defined by law. (cf cn 654)

In our Order, temporary profession is made first and then solemn profession.

49. For the profession in our Order the following formula will be used:

Ego, frater N.N., cum Dominus hanc gratiam mihi deditad laudem et gloriam santissimae Trinitatis firma voluntate Christi evangelium perfectius vivendi, in manibus tuis, pater N.N., et coram fratribus adstantibus per tres annos (vel per annum, vel toto tempore vitae meae) voveo Deo omnipotenti vivere in oboedientia, in paupertate et in castitate iuxta Regulam et vitam fratrum et sororum Tertii Ordinis Regularis sancti Francisci assisiensisa papa Ioanne Paulo II confirmatamet profiteor hanc ipsam fideliter servare secundum Constitutiones generales iusdem Ordinis. Me igitur toto corde huic Fraternitati tradout Spiritus sancti operatione, intercedente beata Maria Virgine Immaculatauna cum patre nostro Francisco et omnibus Sanctis, fratribusque adiuvantibus, in Dei et Ecclesiae hominumque servitiummeam perficiam consecrationem.

§1. Temporary Profession

50. Toward the end of the year of novitiate, the novice petitions the Minister Provincial in writing to be admitted to religious profession. In this petition the novice declares that he understands the sacred character and the obligations of the religious life in general, those which particularly pertain to Franciscan life in the Third Order Regular, that he embraces these freely and has the firm intention of persevering in the Order for life. (cf can. 653)

Statutes: 33, 34, 35, 36

51. The novice is admitted to temporary profession with the permission of the Minister Provincial and the consent of his Council, in accord with the requirements of law. (cn 656)

52. The faculty of receiving profession, both temporary and solemn, belongs to the Minister Provincial. He may delegate this faculty to others.

53. Temporary profession is made for a definite period of time. This time must not be less than three years nor more than six years, except in special cases when it may be extended to nine years. The faculty to extend the time to nine years belongs to the Minister Provincial with the consent of his Council. (cf cn 655; 657,2)

Statutes: 37

54. Before a novice makes his first profession, he shall cede the administration of his goods for the entire period in which he is bound by temporary vows. Likewise he should dispose of their use and benefits. So that this disposition may have its effect in civil law, it shall be done in writing or witnessed before a notary, at least before solemn profession. (cf. cn 668,1)

55. The details of this cession of goods or any other matters pertaining to the administration of temporal goods can be changed for sufficient reason with the permission of the Minister Provincial. (cn 668,2)

§2. Solemn Profession

56. By solemn profession a friar is consecrated to God forever and is permanently and definitively joined to the Order.

Statutes: 39

57. In order to profess solemn vows a friar must have reached that degree of maturity which is necessary to live the religious life perpetually. He should be able to live a life of continuous conversion to the Lord, put aside attachment to the things of the world and love and serve the Lord with simplicity of heart and purity of intention.

58. Solemn profession is preceded by adequate preparation in recollection and prayer.

Statutes: 38

59. Before being admitted to solemn profession, the friar must, according to the norm of Constitution 53, present in writing a request to the Minister Provincial declaring specifically that he knows and accepts all the obligations deriving from the profession of solemn vows.

60. It is the right of the Minister Provincial with the consent of his Council to admit friars to solemn profession after examining the report of the Director and the results of the votation of the fraternity where the friar lives. For this votation, all friars who have been solemnly professed have the right to vote.

Before the Minister Provincial admits candidates to solemn profession, he shall be certain that the conditions required by law for validity have been fulfilled according to cn 658 and 689, 1-3.Chapter 13: The Religious Habit and Clothing of the Friars

61. The friars shall wear the habit of our Order as a sign of their religious consecration and the brotherhood they share. (cf cn 669,1)

The clothing which the friars wear shall be simple and in keeping with the vow of poverty which they profess. (cf cn 669,1)

Statutes: 40

Title III: THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER

From the depths of their inner life let them love, honor, adore, serve, praise, bless and glorify our most high and eternal God, who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (TOR Rule Art. 9)

62. The perfect prayer of a friar is an uninterrupted filial dialogue with God in thought and deed. A friar, thus, unceasingly shows his love of God and ever seeks his heartfelt joy in Him alone.

63. The friars are consecrated more intimately to divine worship through the evangelical counsels and especially through the vow of chastity. In freedom of spirit, they strive to treasure this life of prayer above all things so that they may be true followers of Saint Francis who prayed not so much with words as with his entire being. Let them regard personal, communal and liturgical prayer as having the greatest importance in their Franciscan lives.

Chapter 2: The Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours

64. In conformity with the teachings of the Church let the friars, in a spirit of faith, celebrate the Sacred Liturgy, the heart of which is the celebration of the Eucharist. Let them participate in an active manner, fully aware that in the Sacred Liturgy they are celebrating their own redemption and that of the whole world.

65. With due regard for the freedom of each priest to celebrate the Eucharist individually, (cf cn 902), as far as possible let the friars celebrate daily the Eucharist in common since it so visibly and vividly forms and manifests the spirit of fraternity. When they are united to Christ they are united to one another.

Statutes: 41

66. In daily life and in the observance of the vows they profess, the friars offer spiritual sacrifice to God which, when closely joined to the celebration of the Eucharist, becomes a pleasing offering to the Lord.

67. While reverencing the various ways in which Christ is present in the Liturgy, they should hold in special honor the Eucharistic presence of Jesus and, according to Franciscan tradition, preserve the Blessed Sacrament in a fitting manner.

Following the example of Saint Francis let them venerate the Eucharistic presence of Jesus and frequently offer sincere prayer and adoration in this presence.

68. On Sundays and feast days the Eucharistic Liturgy is to be celebrated with greater solemnity.

In order that divine worship and its formative dimension may be clearly appreciated, the friars shall be well instructed regarding participation in the Liturgy from the beginning of their religious life.

Statutes: 50

69. Since the Liturgy of the Hours is the common prayer of the Church publicly praising God and gives nourishment for personal prayer, the friars shall celebrate this prayer in common and, where possible, join with the faithful in singing these praises to the Lord.

Statutes: 42, 43

70. While acknowledging the obligation of clerics to pray the Liturgy of the Hours (c. 276,3), the friars shall pray in common at least Morning and Evening Prayer. If a friar cannot do this, he should pray the same Hours on his own united in prayer with the entire Church and with his brothers.

Chapter 3: Growth in Prayer

71. The Holy Spirit works within the friars enabling them to pray and to call God their Father. Praise is the highest form of prayer because its purpose is to exalt God. Let the friars contemplate who He is and the wonders of His works and finding Him give thanks.

72. The challenge of the spiritual life is to grow in intimacy with Jesus, the Lord. Since participation in liturgical and common prayer is enhanced by personal prayer, the friars are to give a fitting place to personal prayer in their religious lives and seek to develop a mature spirit of prayer and recollection.

73. In the Church's tradition as well as in the Franciscan tradition, the friars recognize various means and practices which enhance growth in prayer. These include time spent in personal prayer, frequent meditation on the Word of God, the writings by and about Saint Francis and the Franciscan masters, the monthly day of recollection, the annual retreat and a personal spiritual director. Special devotion towards the Blessed Mother of God, model and protector of the consecrated life, shall be encouraged, especially the devotion of the Rosary. (cf. cn 663,4)

Statutes: 44, 46, 47, 48

74. The vitality of fraternal life and apostolic witness depends upon commitment to growth in prayer. Each friar and each local fraternity is responsible for this vitality and witness.

Statutes: 45, 49

75. The establishment of a hermitage or a place of retreat in each Province gives better witness to the necessity of integrating the contemplative and active dimensions of our lives. Moreover, it offers the possibility of rediscovering the eremetical tradition of our Franciscan vocation.

Statutes: 51

Chapter 4: The Life of Penance

76. Our Blessed Father, Saint Francis, aware that sin is part of the human condition, became convinced that the call to conversion was a grace from God. "Doing penance" was his response to this gift. This is also the response of the friars and their particular way of actualizing the saving action of God. The works of penance include prayer, fasting, and the Chapter of Faults.

The Gospel call to conversion motivates the friars of this fraternity to constantly reform their own lives, to turn from self-centeredness and to celebrate with joy God's saving action in them. It also motivates the friars of this fraternity to become involved in the world by responding to the human and spiritual needs of the times.

Statutes: 53

77. The call to penance can be found in all the circumstances of daily life. It is the challenge of a friar's vocation to recognize these calls whether they be in the shared hardships of daily work for the Kingdom, the difficulties which are part of the common life, the duties with which he has been entrusted, sickness, infirmities and even the final experience of death.

78. In harmonious unity with the entire Church and in solidarity with the serious problems that afflict humanity, the friars shall abstain from every form of luxury and waste, looking at earthly goods with detachment, but at the same time regarding them with reverence. They should manifest the primacy of the Spirit by the practice of self-discipline and shine as witnesses before all to the goodness of God.

Statutes: 52

79. Because they are friars of penance, the Sacrament of Reconciliation has a special importance. It is not only an opportunity for them to individually obtain a knowledge of themselves and to grow in God's grace, but it is also a "school" where they can learn about the communal dimension of sin and forgiveness.

For this reason, let the celebration of this Sacrament be esteemed among the friars. Let them likewise endeavor to celebrate this Sacrament communally so that together they can have occasion to ask the Lord's forgiveness, to recognize how their sinfulness affects others and to seek mutual ways to restore their fraternal life in the unity of the Spirit.For the same reason they shall daily make an examination of conscience (cf. cn. 664)

Statutes: 54, 55

80. In all they do the friars shall endeavor to communicate a deepened sense of this life of penance and by their actions should invite all to accept this gift of grace.

Title IV: THE LIFE OF CHASTITY FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM

In all of their works the love of God and all people should shine forth. (TOR Rule Art. 15)

81. The friars wish to follow the life of celibate love which Jesus chose for himself. By this vow they freely embrace consecrated chastity, forgoing conjugal love, so that they can serve the Lord with an undivided heart. Let them be a reminder to all the faithful of that wondrous marriage between Christ and the Church which God has effected and which will be manifested fully in the world to come.

82. Chastity, a grace enabling the friars to recognize the Lord's love, is a gift given at the beginning of their religious life, and one which grows and matures until they firmly adhere to Christ by love in all things.

The vow of chastity is a call to conversion enabling the friars to be transformed from self-love to an intimate love of and union with God, and from self-service to unselfish service of the Lord and His people.

83. To better live this gift of chastity let the friars dedicate themselves to fostering authentic fraternal love and the common life which serve as a strong support for human weakness and as a means to alleviate that loneliness of heart which everyone experiences.

84. To foster this wonderful gift, let the friars strive to live a life of faith, making use of humble and constant prayer. Let them seek an intimate union with Christ and a son's devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Conscious of the difficulties of the life of celibacy, let the friars avoid all that endangers chastity and let them apply themselves to the practice of self-discipline, namely, mortification and custody of the senses.

85. Following the example of Saint Francis' noble love and his respect for the human person, our conduct should be both respectful and circumspect. The friars should realize that every true and chaste friendship can foster growth, while possessive and self-gratifying love necessarily leads away from fraternity and from the commitment to serve all.

Title V: THE WAY TO SERVE AND WORK

As poor people, the brothers and sisters to whom the Lord has given the grace of serving or working with their hands, should do so faithfully and conscientiously. Let them avoid that idleness which is the enemy of the soul. But they should not be so busy that the spirit of holy prayer and devotion, which all earthly goods should foster, is extinguished. (TOR Rule, Art. 18)

86. As persons created in the image and likeness of God and as believers in Christ, the friars participate in the ongoing creative work of God, receiving and ministering the redemptive work of Christ. This is what gives all honorable human work its dignity.

87. The friars to whom God has given the grace of work in imitation of the Poverello do their work only for God's glory and honor without ever extinguishing the spirit of prayer and devotion.

88. The friars should humbly and joyfully serve God and His Reign in all of their labors. Manual work and intellectual work, menial tasks and more prominent ones, domestic and apostolic labors are all to be esteemed. They do their work as poor men giving witness to the Gospel in all forms of service and work.

In the fraternity the household responsibilities are to be shared by all the friars in so far as possible.

89. Since turning to God is externally manifested in service to others let the friars work for the growth of the Church and the betterment of the society in which they live. Work is an efficacious means of identifying with the poor and marginalized and with ordinary people who must provide for themselves. Trusting in God's Providence for all let them generously share the fruits of their labor with the poor and needy, willing to sacrifice even their own needs in the face of the needs of others.

90. Work and fraternal life are closely related. Work supports fraternal life and in turn is supported by it. The friars are not to become overly attached to any particular work, to work as an end in itself, or to work in an individualistic way.

91. There is to be a balance between work and contemplation, work and recreation, work and fraternal life. Thus, there is to be sufficient time available for prayer, other communal activity, ongoing education and healthy relaxation. With this balance and the proper use of their gifts, work can greatly aid personal and fraternal growth.

Title VI: THE LIFE OF POVERTY

And let them be happy to live among the outcast and despised, among the poor, the weak, the sick, the unwanted, the oppressed and the destitute. (TOR Rule, Art. 21)

92. Following the example of Jesus Christ, who being rich, became poor to enrich us by his poverty, and imitating Mary, the handmaid of the Lord, the friars promise God to observe the vow of poverty. This vow promotes the liberation of their hearts from attachment to worldly goods, both material and spiritual. It leaves them completely available for the Lord in the service of the Church and all people.

By the vow of poverty they renounce the right to use and to dispose of all goods without the permission of superiors. (Cf cn 600)

93. The vow of poverty in the Franciscan tradition is an important expression of inner conversion. By placing themselves in the condition of poverty, the friars are better able to discover their powerlessness to save themselves and the richness of God's mercy and love. They strive, therefore, to be transformed from being totally self-reliant to being totally dependent on God.

94. In the thought and life of Francis, poverty is intimately linked to humility. Let the friars seek to be converted from being proud and clever into being little and humble, not aspiring to be over others but subject to every human creature for the sake of the Lord.

95. For Francis the word of the Gospel could only be enfleshed by choosing poverty and life among the poor. Let the friars daily make efforts to be converted from interior selfishness and greed in order to become persons who are generous and willing to share all they have.

96. The community is to provide the friars with their necessities. The common life is to be faithfully followed by all.

Care must be taken to understand the personal needs of all as well as the possibilities for abuse. It is advisable that each Province draw up its own norms in this matter.

It is not enough, however, for the friars to be materially subject to their ministers in the use of goods. It is also necessary that they be poor in fact and in spirit conducting themselves like those who possess nothing in this world but having their real treasure in heaven.

97. Whatever money or property a friar acquires becomes part of the common fund of the Province or the Order, as the case may be.

By the solemn vow of poverty a friar renounces the right to possess anything as his own. Therefore, before his solemn profession he shall make a renunciation, in writing, of all his goods and, where possible, this renunciation shall have effect in civil law. This disposition has effect from the day solemn profession is made. (cf cn 668,4)

98. Not only is everything to be held in common among the friars but the same is to be true of the fraternities within the Province. Wherever possible, among the various Provinces of the Order, those of better means are to help others which are in need.

99. Besides individual efforts to live the life of the poor and humble, the friars shall strive to give a corporate witness to poverty by the choice of apostolates, by avoiding excessive accumulation of goods and by renouncing the external appearances of wealth. They likewise eagerly live the spirit of charity both in searching to discover and in generously placing at their disposition personal talents and communal resources.

Title VII: FRATERNAL LOVE

Let them manifest their love in deeds. Also, whenever they meet each other, they should show that they are members of the same family. Let them make known their needs to one another. (TOR Rule, Art. 23)

Chapter 1: Fraternal Living

100. The whole human family is called to form a community of love because each participates in that sacred bond which unites the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. God has called the friars in Christ as he called the first Christians and the first sons of Saint Francis to be with Him and to live together with Him the mystery of fraternal life. In this way they seek God, the center of unity and the source of love, Who reveals Himself in them and in all people, especially the poor, the meek and the afflicted.

The friars shall in their own fraternity observe the common life and they shall not cease to observe it without permission of the superior. (cf cn 665,1)

Statutes: 59

101. Saint Francis, inspired by God to follow the example of Christ, initiated a form of gospel life based on fraternity. Following his example, the friars have embraced this form of life and they form a true fraternity. Therefore, it is necessary that the spirit of unity, sincerity and Franciscan joy should permeate this fraternity.

102. Fraternal unity should be cultivated in a special way by all the friars of each fraternity and Province. Likewise a fraternal dialogue should be promoted so that they can communicate their needs to one another as well as share with each other their gifts and experiences. Let them try to deepen the spirit of brotherly understanding and sincere affection for one another. They should also share these personal gifts with the members of other Provinces of the Order in such a way that they can take part spiritually in the life and works of all friars everywhere.

Statutes: 58

103. All the friars shall honor one another. Their respect is of great witness value and shows to others their fraternity and charity.

104. Common meals should be a welcome occasion for all to nourish the spirit of fraternal charity and be marked by mutual service and fraternal conversation.

Statutes: 56

105. Silence and recreation are conditions favorable to the spirit of brotherhood, work, tranquility, peace and prayer and are demanded by the very life of the fraternity. The cloister is observed to help safeguard the privacy of each friar and to promote a climate for recollection.

Statutes: 57

Necessary discretion is to be observed in the uses of media of communication and whatever is harmful to one's vocation and dangerous to the chastity of a consecrated person is to be avoided. (cf cn 666)

106. When, by some fault, the friars fraternal life is injured, they are to acknowledge their failing with simplicity of heart. Examining their conduct at once with the meekness of Christ, let them pardon one another so that all share in the joy of forgiving and being forgiven. The friars shall also practice fraternal correction with charity and humility.

Chapter 2: Charity to the Aged and Infirm

107. As the Rule admonishes, the friars are to show the greatest solicitude and fraternal charity toward their confreres who are ill or advanced in age, providing them with all the necessary material and spiritual comforts. They recognize the right of each sick friar to be cared for. It is the responsibility of all the friars, especially those in the local fraternity where the sick are living, to care for their aged or infirm brothers.

Statutes: 60

108. Ministers must diligently see that the remedies needed are provided for the sick friars. Together with other friars, they are to visit their sick confreres and comfort them, encouraging them to pattern themselves after Christ crucified in imitation of Saint Francis. All should be eager to offer the sick every kindness with a willing spirit of charity and to keep them in their prayers.

The sick friar on his part, convinced that nothing can separate him from Christ, gives thanks to his Creator for all things. He desires to fulfill the will of God whether it be in sickness or in health.

109. Ministers are to see that the sick friars have the opportunity to enjoy every spiritual benefit especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of the Sick.

Chapter 3: Responsibility to Our Deceased Friars, Relatives, Friends and Benefactors

110. In imitation of Saint Francis, let the friars accept death joyfully as the last offering of their lives and as the passageway to the glory of God. The celebration of death should give clear witness to the faith and hope they place in the resurrection of Jesus. As a sign of fraternal union, deceased friars, relatives, friends and benefactors are remembered with gratitude in accord with our proper law.

Statutes: 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67

Chapter 4: Responsibility to Relatives, Benefactors and Employees

111. Let the friars fulfill their responsibilities toward their parents and other close family members with a deep sense of gratitude and filial love.

In the case of necessity the Minister Provincial, in the name of the fraternity, is to aid them generously from the goods of the Province. In a spirit of charity, the relatives and benefactors of the friars are kept in prayer.

Lay employees are to be treated with justice, receive a living wage and be shown respect and love.

Statutes: 68

Chapter 5: Conduct outside the Fraternity and Journeys

112. The friars when they travel should be mindful of the spirit of poverty and penance which they have promised to the Lord as sons of Saint Francis.

In virtue of the fraternal unity by which they are joined together, each is responsible for the good name of the fraternity and for the promotion of Franciscan peace and joy.

Statutes: 69, 70, 71, 72, 73

Chapter 6: Hospitality

113. Christ lived as a pilgrim on the earth and on the day of judgment will say: "I was a stranger and you welcomed me." (Mat. 25:35) In imitation of Saint Francis, the friars extend this kind of hospitality to all those who come to their houses, most especially the afflicted and those in need, and seek to help them as much as possible.

Toward parents, relatives, friends and benefactors and all those who are united to our spiritual family they should show sincere friendship and gratitude and remember them in prayer.

The friars should also show a special warmth to all their confreres, to all members of the Franciscan Family and to all other religious.

Statutes: 75, 76

Title VIII: THE OBEDIENCE OF LOVE

"... let them seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice and exhort one another to observe this rule which all have professed more exactly, as well as how they might more faithfully follow in the footprints of Our Lord Jesus Christ." (TOR, Rule Art. 25)

114. By the vow of obedience, the friars follow the example of Christ who became obedient even to death on a cross. Both as individuals and as a fraternity, they seek to know the will of God in all things and to carry it out it as an expression of love for His people.

Their profession of this vow challenges the friars to be converted from listening to themselves to listening to God. They find His will expressed in the teaching of the Church, in the guidance of their ministers, in the signs of the times, and in the needs of their brothers and sisters.

115. The obedience of love, far from diminishing the dignity of a person, actually leads to a fuller maturity because obedience to God's will is the greatest expression of personal freedom.

Animated by the virtue of obedience and open to the action of grace, let the friars fulfill with readiness and eagerness whatever is required. Let all dedicate their energy to an active sense of responsibility by placing in readiness the resources of their minds and wills. Let them share their gifts of nature and grace realizing that they are collaborators in the building up of the body of Christ in accord with God's design.

116. §1. In our Franciscan tradition each friar gives primacy to seeking the will of God in prayer and dialogue desiring to give himself to true and loving obedience. (L Leo)

§2. By the vow of obedience, the friars are bound to obey the Pope, as their highest superior. In fact our Order is dedicated in a special way to the service of God and the entire Church and is subject to the supreme authority of the Church in a special manner. (cf cn 590, 1-2)

§3. Moreover, they are obliged to all that legitimate ministers command in accord with the Rule and Constitutions. In difficult cases of conscience, friars are enjoined not to spurn authority but to speak the truth that comes from the heart. (cf. Adm III, 7-9)

§4. They are also subject to the authority of Bishops in those things which pertain to the care of souls, the public exercise of divine worship and other works of the apostolate, yet not in virtue of the vow (Cf cn 678,1).

§5. Whoever knowingly and in a serious matter fails against a precept imposed in virtue of obedience, formally holds in contempt the authority of the minister or gives grave scandal to others by his disobedience must realize that he is seriously culpable.

§6. Ministers are not to impose a precept in virtue of the vow except for a grave reason and after mature reflection. It must be in writing and attested by official witnesses.

117. Ministers are encouraged to look with kindness and mercy upon those who fall from obedience and to offer forgiveness (Cf. L Min 9-10) .

They, like all the friars, must seek to know God's will in all things.

Title IX: APOSTOLIC LIFE

Let them glorify the Lord in all they do. For he has sent them into the world so that they might give witness by word and work to His voice and to make known to all that the Lord alone is God. (TOR Rule, Art. 29)

Chapter 1: The Apostolic Life of the Friars

118. Jesus Christ was sent into the world by the Father, so that, in assuming the human condition, he might "preach the Good News to the poor, heal the contrite, proclaim liberty to captives and to restore sight to the blind." (Lk 4:18)

119. Saint Francis discovered for himself the loving kindness of the Father; by living the Gospel he sought to invite all to a loving relationship with the Father in the Lord Jesus. The friars strive to make this offer believable through their work of evangelization and apostolic endeavors.

Statutes: 77, 78

120. The apostolic works of the fraternity have their roots in the works of mercy performed by the first tertiaries in response to the exhortation of Saint Francis to the penitents, "to bring forth fruits worthy of penance." (I LF,4) In imitation of them, the friars shall perform the works of mercy as a special expression of their own conversion of heart.

121. To publish any written materials that treat of religious or moral questions, the friars need the permission of their Minister Provincial, in addition to the authorization of the Ordinary of the place or other ecclesiastical authority according to the norms of canon 823-831. (Cf cn 832)

122. To preach to the friars in our churches or oratories, it is necessary to have at least the presumed permission of the local minister. (cf cn. 765)

Chapter 2: Means of Evangelization

§1. The Ministry of Witness

123. To live the Gospel is the form of life the friars profess. Each friar should be convinced that the faithful living of the Gospel is an authentic means of evangelization. Francis taught that "we give birth to Him through a holy life which should enlighten others because of our example." (I LF)

124. Our fraternal life is an integral part of our witness to the Gospel. As a visible community of love and peace, it testifies to the power and possibility of the Gospel to create fraternity.

§2. Ministry of the Word

125. Besides the witness of his life, Francis was inspired by the Spirit to give voice to the mystery of the goodness and love of God; so he went from town to town to proclaim the Good News to every creature.

126. In fidelity to the magisterium of the Church, the friars shall undertake the vital task of proclaiming the Gospel, because "faith then, comes through hearing." (Rom 10:17)

127. The friars shall make a constant effort to prepare themselves to proclaim the Gospel by diligent study and personal prayer on the Scriptures.

Statutes: 79, 80, 81

§3. Ministry of the Sacraments

128. The friars shall be mindful that the celebration of the sacraments makes present the Paschal Mystery of Christ in signs which reveal Jesus' perfect response to the Father. By the active participation in the sacraments there is renewed, in time, the constant call of the Father to an intimate relationship with Him in Christ.

129. When the friars celebrate the sacraments they also celebrate their own response of love to the Father in Jesus. Thus, they are enabled to become apostles and witnesses of the mystery of the love of Christ to others.

130. Remembering that evangelization is always an ecclesial act, the friars shall orient the persons evangelized toward entry into the Church through the sacraments of initiation.

Statutes: 82, 83

131. As the friars gather around the Eucharistic table to share the one bread and the one cup, they should be challenged to make new efforts to promote the unity of humankind restored in Christ.

Statutes: 84

Chapter 3: Organization of Evangelization 

§1. Competency of the Ministers

132. It is the competency of the Minister Provincial in consultation with his Council to coordinate the apostolic resources of the Province. (cf art. 138)

Statutes: 85, 86

133. The Ministers, both Provincial and Local, shall promote particular forms of evangelization as apostolates of the fraternity.

134. The friars shall willingly exercise their apostolates, even those undertaken on their own initiative, under the obedience of the competent authority.

Statutes: 87 

No friar shall accept offices and obligations outside the Order without previous permission of the major superior.

§2. The Choice of Apostolate

135. The friars, accustoming themselves to discern the plan of God in the signs of the times, shall base their choice of apostolates on the needs of the people examined in light of the Gospel.

Statutes: 88, 89

136. In the selection of apostolates, the friars should give preference to those which care for the poor and disadvantaged.

137. Mindful that their love is to embrace all people regardless of social class, the friars may also serve in apostolates among the middle and upper classes provided they do not neglect to proclaim a prophetic call to those who are in need of conversion to justice and charity.

Statutes: 90

138. It is the duty of the Provincial Chapter to determine whether an apostolate corresponds to our charism.

Chapter 4: Concrete Forms of Evangelization

§1. Ministry in Parishes

139. The Minister Provincial with the consent of his Council may accept the care of a parish in the spirit of service to the local Church, in accord with the norms of universal law.

140. The friars assigned to parochial ministry should possess the ability to form people into a community. They should also have zealous concern for the sick, the elderly and the young.

Statutes: 91

141. The friars shall properly esteem the role of the laity for ministry and call them to the tasks which are suitable to their gifts and talents. They shall seek to establish in their parishes fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order.

Statutes: 92, 93

§2. Ministry to the Sick and Abandoned

142. Recalling that our early friars established a tradition of caring for the sick and infirm in hospices, the friars shall dedicate themselves to the ministry of the sick and the suffering.

Statutes: 94

143. In imitation of Saint Francis who cared for the lepers, the friars shall consider engaging in the difficult but necessary work of caring for the outcasts of society.

Statutes: 95

§3. The Ministry of Peace and Justice

144. The friars shall be heralds of peace. They shall greet all with the greeting: "Pax et Bonum." The friars should have this peace not only on their lips but also in their hearts.

145. The friars shall recall that the ancient Order of Penitents in the Church and the Franciscan Penitents had a fundamental prohibition against carrying arms and engaging in war. In our age of nuclear arms, the friars shall do all in their power to promote disarmament and eliminate the causes of war.

146. One of the Gospel values which deeply influenced Francis is that all were his brothers and sisters. Motivated by this sentiment, the friars shall seek to grow in the awareness that injustice suffered by one is injustice suffered by all. They shall be a prophetic voice that calls those responsible for injustice in any of its forms to the justice of the Gospel.

Statutes: 96

147. Realizing that injustice not only dehumanizes and enslaves but is also a serious obstacle which prevents its victims from hearing the Gospel invitation, the friars shall struggle to eradicate injustice so that its victims can believe the Good News.

§4. Ministry of Renewal and Reconciliation

148. Mindful of Francis' vocation to rebuild the Church, the friars shall realize that a similar call is addressed to them also because the Church, in its human expression, is always in need of renewal.

Conscious of the many and painful divisions which exist in the world, the friars shall seek creative ways to carry out a ministry of reconciliation.

Statutes: 97

149. Recalling the insight of Francis that "the love of Him who loved us much is much to be loved," (2 Cel 196) the friars shall seek ways to proclaim the love of God to those who live in the darkness of a secularized society.

Statutes: 98 

§5. The Ministry of Education

150. In the tradition of the Order, the ministry of education is seen as a work of mercy. This ministry strives to adapt itself to the circumstances of our times in such a way as to lead people to the full realization of their human dignity and their divine destiny. The ministry to educate is best realized when the friars dedicate themselves to the education of the poor.

Statutes: 99

151. The education of youth should be held in high esteem since it is an opportune way of fostering the good of individuals and the welfare of society.

Statutes: 100, 101

152. The friars assigned to teaching shall make it their aim to go beyond literary, cultural and scientific concepts so that they help their students discover the values of the goodness of God and His creation, the dignity of the human person and the solidarity of the human race.

Statutes: 102

Chapter 5: Missionary Evangelization

153. We are called to participate in the missionary vocation of the Church, which, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is the universal sacrament of salvation.

154. Mindful that the example of Saint Francis awakened anew a missionary fervor in the Church, the friars of the Order shall regard missionary evangelization as one of their chief tasks.

155. Each friar of the Order should give special consideration to that aspect of missionary activity which is addressed to people outside of his native land. He should prayerfully discern whether the Spirit is calling him to this vocation.

Statutes: 103, 104

156. Any mission entrusted to the Order by the Apostolic See has direct dependence upon the Province to which it is committed by the Minister General and his Council.

Statutes: 105, 106, 107, 108

Chapter 6: The Secular Franciscan Order

157. The Secular Franciscan Order is closely related to the Order by common origin and heritage. The friars shall hold it in high esteem because they share with it the same Franciscan penitential charism. In union with their secular brothers and sisters, that charism is completely expressed.

158. All the friars, especially the Ministers Provincial and the Local Ministers, shall promote the Secular Franciscan Order, respecting its rights and special identity as an Order.

Statutes: 109, 110, 111, 112, 114

159. The friars shall be eager to offer spiritual assistance to the fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order and thus share in their efforts to transform the temporal order according to the spirit of the Gospel.

Statutes: 113

160. It is within the competency of the Third Order Regular to erect fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order and to offer guidance to them in accordance with the norms of canon law. Therefore, it is the competency of the Minister General and the Minister Provincial, in collaboration with the respective minister of the Secular Franciscan Order to approve the erection of fraternities that will be related to our fraternities.

Part II
THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FRATERNITY
AND THE SERVICE OF ITS GOVERNMENT

Title I: THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FRATERNITY

The sisters and brothers promise obedience and reverence to the Pope and the Holy Catholic Church. In this same spirit they are to obey those called to be ministers and servants of their own fraternity. (TOR Rule, Art.3)

161. The Order is a fraternity animated by the Holy Spirit, faithful to the Church, and obedient to the Holy Father.

Under the jurisdiction of the Minister General, the Order seeks to live the Gospel in accord with its charism as defined in the Rule and Constitutions.

162. The Order is composed of friars who live in local fraternities distributed in Provinces and Vice Provinces under the respective jurisdiction of the Ministers Provincial and Vice Provincials.

If there are houses which belong to no Province or Vice Province, the Minister General can establish a Delegation which depends on the Minister General himself with his Council.

163. The Provinces and Vice Provinces are made up of friars who reside in fraternities under the jurisdiction of the Local Minister.

Title II: THE MISSION OF THE MINISTERS

He to whom obedience has been given, and who is considered to be greater, is to be as the least. He is the servant of the other brothers and is to show kindness toward each one of them. He is to treat each brother in the same way as he would like to be treated, if he were in the same situation. (II LF, 42-43)

164. The Ministers are to be ever mindful of their responsibility to God and to the Order for the friars entrusted to their care. They shall always seek to discern the will of God in fulfilling their office. They shall serve the community in a spirit of service to their brothers so as to give expression to the love with which God Himself loves them.

165. The ministers have the authority to order whatever the Rule, Constitutions and Statutes contain. They shall guide their brothers as sons of God with respect for their and seek to evoke an obedience in them which is voluntary.

166. The Ministers, especially in light of the complexity of life and the apostolate in this present day, shall voluntarily listen to the friars so that they can make well-considered decisions that conform to the will of the Lord. However, in accord with their office, they have the final authority to make a decision.

167. They are to make use of a sincere and fraternal dialogue, entirely consonant with the Franciscan spirit. They shall encourage forms of consultation such as chapters, assemblies and plenary councils.

168. The Minister General, Ministers Provincial, Vice Provincial and Local Ministers habitually reside in their fraternities and share the life in common with the friars. (Cf Can. 629)

Title III: OFFICES OF THE ORDER

He did not command in an authoritative manner as a prelate but in the manner of a minister and servant. (LegMin III,4)

Chapter 1: Distinction and Conferral of Offices

169. In the Order all the offices are either in the strict sense those of government, or in the broad sense, those of position.

170. §1 The offices of government are: the Minister General, his Vicar and the General Councilors; the Minister Provincial, his Vicar and the Provincial Councilors; the Vice Provincial, his Vicar and Councilors; the Local Minister and his vicar.

§2. The Minister General, the Ministers Provincial, the Vice Provincials and their respective Vicars, who must be elected according to the norms of universal law, are also Ordinaries and Major Superiors and enjoy ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the external and internal forums. (cf cn 134,1; 596,2)and are therefore elected according to the norms of universal law. (cf cn 129,1). If the friar elected to the office of local minister is not ordained, then the friar elected as vicar shall be an ordained friar in order to perform the acts which require jurisdiction.

§3. Beyond these, all the other offices are offices in the broad sense, i.e. positions.

§4. Before accepting the obligations of office, all major superiors are obliged personally to make a profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See. (cf cn. 833,8)

171. §1. The offices and positions in the Order are conferred through election, postulation, or nomination, always preserving the universal law.

§2. The following are elected by written ballot and secret vote: the Minister General and the Vicar General; the Minister and Vicar Provincial; the General and Provincial Councilors; the Vice Provincial and their Councilors in the Vice Provinces.

§3. For all other offices of government, except those above, it suffices for validity that they be conferred by simple balloting.

§4. Positions, on the other hand, are conferred through verbal appointment, or at the discretion of the President through simple balloting unless the General or Provincial Statutes provide otherwise.

172. The friars, trusting in God and serving their confreres in the spirit of charity, are held to willingly accept those offices and positions entrusted to them by their ministers and to fulfill them in the best possible manner.

When ministers wish to entrust any of the friars with an office or position of responsibility, they are to consider the burden of the office or position and the capabilities of the friar, and should normally confer with him beforehand.

Chapter 2: Resignation and Removal from Offices and Positions

173. Every resignation, to be effective, must be accepted by the proper authority.

If a friar feels incapable of properly fulfilling a charge accepted, the ministers should listen to him with a sense of understanding and when possible should accept his resignation.

Statutes: 115, 116

174. §1. The renunciation of an office conferred in the Chapter and made with the Chapter still in session may be accepted by the President of the Chapter, after consulting with the vocals.

§2. The resignation of the Minister General outside the General Chapter, does not take effect until it is presented to and accepted by the Apostolic See.

§3. The resignation of the Vicar Minister General, the General Councilors, and the Minister Provincial, outside the Chapter, can be accepted by the General Council.

§4. The resignation of other offices conferred by election through written ballots or simple balloting can be accepted by the respective council.

§5. The resignation of offices conferred by appointment or nomination can be accepted by the Minister General or the Minister Provincial, as the case may be.

Statutes: 115, 116

175. §1. The removal from offices conferred through election, either by written ballot or by simple votation, can be effected for a grave reason by the Minister General or Provincial with the consent of the Council expressed by secret ballot, but only for reasons established by the Statutes. (cf Cn 624,3)

§2. If removal is made in the case cited in paragraph 1.of this article, an appeal "in suspensivo" may be made to the Minister General or the Apostolic See, as the case may be.

§3. Removal from an office conferred by verbal consent can decreed by the respective major superior with the consent of his Council, with no right to recourse.

§4. Removal from a position conferred by the nomination can be decreed by the respective major superior, with no right to recourse.

Statutes: 115, 116

Chapter 3: Norms to Be Observed on Votations

176. §1. For a votation to be valid, it must be free, secret, certain, absolute and determined.

§2. A vote cast for oneself is valid but illicit.

§3. Friars designated for the opening of ballots are to take an oath of secrecy.

§4. Electors should vote for those whom in conscience they believe to be most suitable.

177. §1. If the election is held in Chapter, the right to vote belongs exclusively to those who are present on the day set for election. A vote by letter or proxy is therefore void.

§2. If an elector, present in the house where the election is held, cannot come because of ill health, his written vote is to be collected by the tellers.

§3. In the other votations the elections are effected by ballots sent by mail or by other means.

§4. For votation by mail, the ballot is enclosed in a double envelope. The outside envelope should bear the name of the sender and his address. The inside envelope, also closed, must be blank. It must contain only the ballot with the name of the candidate and the concealed signature of the voter.

178. All are to abstain from direct or indirect soliciting of votes for themselves or for others. However, the electors, observing charity and justice, can seek information about various persons whom they consider fit for an office.

179. §1. In the Chapter, the election is carried out by secret vote and is decided by an absolute majority of those present.

§2. In an election effected through written ballots, the majority is determined by the valid votes cast.

§3. If after two ballots no one is elected, a third and final ballot is cast for the two candidates with the greatest number of votes, eliminating those who require postulation. If this ballot ends in a tie, the older in solemn profession is declared elected; if the candidates are equal in profession, the older in age is elected.

§4. For the election to have effect, the person elected must indicate to the president of the assembly whether or not he accepts the election. If he is absent, he must be informed immediately so he can communicate his decision within eight working days. (cf cn 177,1-2)

Title IV: THE GENERAL CHAPTER

"Therefore in every kind of Chapter they have let them "seek first the Kingdom of God and its justice, ..." (TOR, Rule Art. 25)

Chapter 1: Authority and Convocation of the General Chapter

180. The General Chapter is the supreme authority of the Order and is a sign of its unity and fraternity.

181. §1. It is the function of the General Chapter to stimulate the growth of the spiritual, fraternal and apostolic life of the friars and to preserve the spiritual patrimony of the Order.

§2. The General Chapter authoritatively interprets the General Statutes; the Rule and Constitutions are interpreted by the Holy See.

§3. It is the competence of the General Chapter to amend, add or to delete articles of the General Statutes according to the norms of law; the Rule and Constitutions can be amended, added to or deleted only with the consent of the Holy See. (cf cn. 587,2-4)

§4. The General Chapter should promote initiatives which seek to minister to the poor of society in the spirit of our Franciscan charism and in harmony with the directives of the Church and the needs of the time.

§5. The General Chapter draws up a program which the newly-elected General Council is expected to implement.

182. §1. The ordinary and elective General Chapter is convoked every six years by the Minister General in a place determined by him and his Council.

§2. The convocation of the General Chapter is made one year beforehand by a letter of convocation in which the Minister General determines the place, the date of the Chapter (if possible on the Feast of Pentecost) and indicates what documents are to be brought to the Chapter.

§3. It is necessary that the Holy See also be informed concerning the place and time of the Chapter.

§4. An extraordinary General Chapter may be convoked to discuss matters of great importance for the life and activity of the Order in the same manner as the ordinary General Chapter.

Statutes: 117, 118, 119, 120

183. The decisions made by the General Chapter, ordinary or extraordinary, have force until the next General Chapter. If the resultant decrees are contrary to the Constitutions, recourse is made to the Apostolic See to use them experimentally.

Chapter 2: Vocals at the Chapter

184. §1. The following have active voice at the General Chapter: The Minister General, the Vicar General, the General Councilors, the Secretary General, the Ministers Provincial, the Vice Provincials, the delegates from each Province and each Vice Province, and appointed delegates. The previous Minister General participates at the General Chapter immediately following his departure from office.

§2. In the election of the chapter members, all the solemnly professed friars have active voice. All friars who have completed their thirtieth year and are solemnly professed for at least five years enjoy passive voice.

Statutes: 121, 122

Chapter 3: The Sessions of the Chapter

§1. The Opening of the Chapter

185. The General Chapter shall begin with a liturgical celebration. During the General Chapter, in every religious house of the Order, "Come Holy Spirit" or another suitable prayer is to be recited. The norms for the Chapter sessions are provided in the General Statutes.

Statutes: 123, 124, 125, 126, 127

§2. The Election of the President and the Work of the Chapter

Statutes: 128

186. A capable chapter member is to be elected to the office of President. He is to be at least thirty-five years old and solemnly professed. He exercises this office until the new Minister General is elected.

Statutes: 129, 130

§3. The Election of the Minister General and his Council

... they are strictly obliged to obey in all that they have promised the Lord. (TOR Rule, Art. 26)

187. The Minister General, his Council and the Secretary General are elected at the General Chapter for a six year term. They may be reelected to the same office only for one immediate successive term. Postulation or election to a third term is excluded.

188. Friars noted for their learning, prudence, integrity of life, zeal for religious life, who are at least thirty-five years of age and have been solemnly professed for more than ten years are to be elected to the office of Minister General and Vicar General in accord with article 170, 2.

Statutes: 131, 132, 133, 134, 135

189. Friars noted for their learning and integrity of life, solemnly professed for at least five years in our Order and who are at least thirty years of age are to be elected to the office of General Councilor.

Statutes: 136

§4. The Remaining Chapter Sessions and its Conclusion

190. In the following sessions, matters of great importance are to be decided by secret vote in accordance with the norms of the law.

A proposal becomes a law when it is approved by an absolute majority. After two votations without results, there is a third votation in which a relative majority is sufficient. If in the third votation there is a tie, the proposal is rejected. (cf cn 119,2)

Statutes: 137, 138

Title V: THE GENERAL GOVERNMENT OF THE ORDER

Those who are ministers and servants of the others should visit, admonish and encourage them with humility and love. (TOR Rule, Art. 27)

Chapter 1: The Minister General

191. The Minister General is the supreme moderator of the Order and exercises his jurisdiction according to the norms of universal law and the proper law of the Order. To him the friars owe love, reverence and obedience.

192. It is the principal responsibility of the Minister General to faithfully preserve the spiritual patrimony of the Order and to promote the religious life and apostolic activities of the friars throughout the Order.In the government of the Order, he is to be assisted by the General Council and he confers with them and seeks their consent or their counsel, as the situation demands.

The Minister General has to submit a brief report to the Apostolic See on the state of the Order at the time and manner established by the Apostolic See. (cf cn 592,1)

Statutes: 139, 140

Chapter 2: The Authority of the General Council

193. The General Council, under the presidency of the Minister General, is the supreme governing body of the Order. It is composed of the Vicar General and the General Councilors.

The General Councilors collaborate with the Minister General in the government of the entire Order, according to the norms of general law, the Rule, the Constitutions and the General Statutes, especially giving their advice or consent as this is required either by universal or proper law (cf cn 627), according to cn. 127.

194. §1. The Minister General and his Council have the power to give a practical interpretation of the Rule and Constitutions in all doubtful cases without, however, modifying them in any way.

§2. In doubtful cases of major importance for the life of the Order, the Provinces and the Vice Provinces should be consulted as well as the permanent commission for the interpretation of the Constitutions.

§3. In order to deal with various problems, the General Council may invite experts to meet with them.

195. It is the duty of the General Council to promote the common good of the Order and a greater unity among the Provinces of the Order and to coordinate the various activities of the Order in the service of the Church.

196. When serious circumstances demand it, the Minister General with the consent of his Council given by secret vote can remove from office or reserve to himself and his Council either the election of the Minister Provincial or the total government of the Province.

Chapter 3: The Vicar Minister General

197. The Vicar Minister General is next to the Minister General in rank and office and collaborates with the Minister General in the administration of the Order.

When the Minister General is absent or impeded in his office, the Vicar takes his place, but he must keep the Minister General well informed of all his actions.

In matters of greater importance, the Vicar Minister General must consult with the Minister General and always carry out the Minister General's decisions.

Statutes: 141, 142

Chapter 4: The General Councilors

198. It is the duty of the General Councilors to help the Minister General in the government of the Order, to work with him on important matters concerning the Order, the Provinces, and the individual friars.

199. The duties of the General Councilors shall be contained in special statutes prepared by the General Council and approved by the General Chapter.

Statutes: 143, 144, 145, 146, 147

Chapter 5: The Secretary General

200. Norms for the office of Secretary General are provided in the General Statutes.

Statutes: 148

Chapter 6: The Offices of the Order

201. The Director of Formation, the General Econome and the Secretary of the Missions are elected by the Minister General with the consent of the Councilors.

All other offices are conferred by the Minister General after consultation with his Councilors. These offices may be entrusted to a General Councilor. Norms for the offices of the Order, namely the Procurator General, the Financial Council, the General Archivist, the Postulator General, the Director of Formation, the Secretary of the Missions and other offices are provided in the General Statutes.

Statutes: 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 159, 160

Chapter 7: The Plenary Council of the Order

"The brothers met and discussed how to observe the Rule more perfectly." (3 Soc. 57)

202. §1. The Plenary Council of the Order is a consultative body. Its principal duty is to foster the advancement of religious life and apostolic activity of the Order.

§2. The following have a right to participate in the Plenary Council: the Minister General, the General Councilors, the Ministers Provincial the Vice Provincials of the Vice Provinces and the Commissary Provincials of the Commissaries which have at least twenty solemnly professed friars.

§3. The General Council may invite experts to attend but they do not vote.

§4. The Plenary Council is to be convoked by the Minister General three years after the General Chapter or as often as the General Council deems necessary. It may also be convoked when it is requested by two thirds of the Provinces and the Vice Provinces.

§5. As far as it is possible the meeting shall take place in the different Provinces of the Order.

Chapter 8: The Inter-Provincial Conference

"It was always Francis' anxious wish and careful watchfulness to preserve among his sons the bond of unity, so that those whom the same spirit drew together and the same father brought forth might be nurtured peacefully in the bosom of one another. He wanted the greater to be joined to the lesser, the wise to be united with the simple by brotherly affection, the distant to be bound to the distant by the binding force of love." (2Cel 191)

203. §1. Every Province or Vice Province shall belong to an Inter-Provincial Conference or similar group.

§2. Such conferences are to be organized in groups according to a common geographical area or according to a common language.

§3. The institution of a conference must be approved by the Minister General and his Council.

§4. The principal object of the Inter-Provincial Conference is to treat questions and concerns of common interest.

§5. Every conference must hold at least one meeting a year. It should draw up its own Statutes to be approved by the General Council.

§6. The summary report of its meetings is to be sent to the Minister General.

Title VI: THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PROVINCES

Therefore, in every kind of Chapter they have let them "seek first the kingdom of God and its justice" (Mt. 6:33) and exhort one another to observe this rule which all have professed more exactly, as well as how they might more faithfully follow in the footprints of our Lord Jesus Christ. (TOR Rule, Art. 25).

204. Through profession of vows the friars have become sons of the Province to which God has called them, so that they may be of service to Him in the Order and in the Church.

Therefore, the friars share in the Order's heritage, its spiritual traditions, its history, customs and works which were brought into existence by their predecessors. Each friar is to be ready to undertake any of its offices and its burdens so that every undertaking may be successfully completed and fraternal unity may be fostered among us.

Chapter 1: Provincial Chapter

205. The Provincial Chapter is a sign of unity and fraternity and the highest authority in each Province. It enjoys jurisdiction and legislative power in accord with universal and proper law.

206. The Provincial Chapter is to be convened by the Minister General every four years and its proceedings conducted according to the following norms:

§1. The Provincial Chapter is to be held in accord with the Constitutions, General Statutes and the proper law of the Province.

§2. The proper law of the Province will determine the membership of the Provincial Chapter following the Constitutions and General Statutes.

§3. The Minister General or his delegate is the President of the Provincial Chapter.

Statutes: 161, 162

§1. The Timing of the Chapter and elections

Statutes: 163, 164, 165

207. It is the responsibility of the Provincial Chapter:

§1. To provide direction for the life of the Province in accord with the Rule, Constitutions and General Statutes of the Order.

§2. To evaluate the mission, structure, resources, spiritual life and apostolates of the Province.

§3. To approve Provincial Statutes which must also be approved by the Minister General and his Council before being published in the Province.

§4. To elect a Minister Provincial and his Council when the chapter method of election is approved by the vote of the friars of the Province.

§5. The acts of the Provincial Chapter need to be confirmed by the Minister General or his delegate who presides at the sessions of the Chapter.

208. For serious reasons, the Minister Provincial with the consent of the Council and the approval of the Minister General with the consent of his Council can convoke an extraordinary Provincial Chapter.

Statutes: 163, 164, 165

§2. Chapter Procedures

Statutes: 166, 167, 168, 169 

Chapter 2: Election of a Minister Provincial and Council

209. The following principles apply to the election of the Minister Provincial and the Provincial Council.

§1. The vote of the Province is deliberative.

§2. The election must be confirmed by the Minister General or by the Visitator General before its publication to the Province.

§3. Each Province may elect the Minister Provincial and Council by one of the following methods: in chapter, by direct election, or a method approved by the Minister General with the consent of the Council. The methods of election are specified in the General Statutes.

§4. A method of election is chosen by a majority vote of vocals in a Province.

Statutes: 170, 171

210. §1. The Minister Provincial, Vicar and Councilors shall be elected by secret vote for a four year term and replace the officials of the Province at the expiration of their terms.

§2. The Minister Provincial can be re-elected only for another immediate successive quadrennium.

§3. The Vicar and the Councilors may be elected to as many successive terms as determined by the Provincial Statutes.

§4. The number of Provincial Councilors shall be between two and six as determined by the Provincial Statutes in accord with the needs of the Province.

§5. In this election all solemnly professed friars have active voice according to the method of voting defined in the General Statutes.

§6. Those friars solemnly professed for at least five years enjoy passive voice, provided the provisions of article 211 of the Constitutions and the provisions of universal law remain intact.

211. §1. The Minister Provincial is to be a friar noted for his learning, integrity of life, and zeal for religious observance, solemnly professed at least five years and at least thirty-five years of age, (cf cn 623) observing article 170,2 of the Constitutions.

§2. The Vicar Provincial is to have the same qualifications. He is to perform the duties of the Minister Provincial when he is absent or impeded.

Chapter 3: The Provincial Congregation

212. The Provincial Congregation is composed of the Visitator General, who acts as President, the newly elected Minister Provincial and the Provincial Council. At a time determined by the Visitator General, the Provincial Congregation will meet to confer the offices, make appropriate assignments of the friars of the Province and discuss the implementation of Chapter resolutions.

Statutes: 172, 173

Chapter 4: The Minister Provincial and his Collaborators in Government

§1. The Minister Provincial

213. The Minister Provincial, as the major superior and Ordinary of the Province, has the power of governance and jurisdiction over all the friars, fraternities and works of the Province.

214. It is the primary duty of the Minister Provincial to energetically promote the religious and apostolic life of the Province, and always give spiritual renewal first place, even over the works of the apostolate. All owe him obedience "in all they have promised the Lord to observe, and which is not contrary to conscience or this Rule." (Rule TOR, Art.26)

Statutes: 174, 175

215. During his term of office he has authority to assign a friar to another fraternity or another work for a just and proportionate reason. In appropriate cases he shall consult the Council. He shall give permission to the friars who publish works on religious and moral questions, in accord with the law. (Cf cn 832 and 823-831)

§2. The Vicar Provincial

216. The Vicar Provincial is a major superior and forms part of the Council. He assists the Minister Provincial in the government of the Province and, when the Minister Provincial is away for a time or is temporarily impeded, he assumes the duties of the Minister Provincial. Should the Minister Provincial cease from office for any reason before the end of his term, the Vicar shall succeed to the office of the Minister Provincial and govern the Province until the end of the term, that is, until the next chapter.

If the Vicar should cease from office or be temporarily impeded, his office is fulfilled by the First Councilor.

§3. The Provincial Council

217. Provincial Councilors, together with the Vicar Provincial, constitute the Council of the Minister Provincial. In the exercise of his office the Minister Provincial is assisted by their collaboration, and he shall seek their consent or counsel as the case prescribes.

218. Each year, having met with the Council according to the prescription of the General Statutes, the Minister Provincial gives a report to the Minister General concerning the moral and economic state of the Province.

Statutes: 176, 177, 178, 179

219. Should a Councilor cease from office before his term is over, the Minister Provincial with his Council shall proceed collegially to elect a new Councilor by a relative majority. The Councilor shall remain in office until the next chapter. The name of the newly-elected Councilor shall be sent to the Minister General.

§4. The Provincial Secretary

220. The Provincial Secretary has the duty of recording the acts of the Minister Provincial and the Council, and of keeping all documents regarding the Province and filing them in the archives of the Province.

Statutes: 180

§5. The Plenary Council

221. If it seems appropriate, each Province can establish a Plenary Council according to the norms of the General and Provincial Statutes for the purpose of promoting the spiritual, apostolic and fraternal life of the Province.

Statutes: 181, 182, 183

Title VII: PROVINCES, VICE PROVINCES AND COMMISSARIES

Chapter 1: Establishment and Suppression

222. The establishment and suppression of a Province, a Vice Province and a Commissary is provided for in the General Statutes and in what follows. The Minister General, with the consent of his Council can establish a new province upon evaluation of the spiritual, fraternal and apostolic life of its members. (cn 581) The Minister General, with the consent of his Council can establish a Vice Province if there is evidence of growth and development. If there are fraternities belonging to one or more Provinces, it is necessary to consult the Minister(s) Provincial and the Council(s) of said fraternities. The status of commissaries and other entities are provided for in the Statutes.

Statutes: 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189

Chapter 2: Vice Provinces

223. The norms for the government of Vice Provinces and Commissaries are found in the General Statutes.

Statutes: 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195

Title VIII: THE CANONICAL VISITATION

224. The canonical visitation of all the fraternities and friars of the Province must be made by:

§1. the Minister General or his delegate appointed with the consent of his Council. The visitation must take place before the Provincial Chapter. (cf cn 628,1)

§2. the Minister Provincial or his delegate appointed with the consent of the Council. The visitation should take place at least once during each term of office.

Statutes: 196, 197, 198

225. The special purpose of the canonical visitation is to encourage and admonish the friars "with humility and love" (TOR Rule, art. 27) and thus to deepen the awareness of living in accord with the spirit of the Rule and mind of the Church.

The friars are to deal in a trusting manner with the Visitator and they are to answer truthfully and charitably the questions asked by him. In addition no one is permitted in any way to divert any of the friars from this obligation or otherwise impede the scope of the visitation.   Statutes: 197

226. To facilitate this work, the Visitator must inspire trustworthiness and esteem in each friar and completely avoid any preference for persons. He should show by his word and acts that he is interested in nothing except the welfare of the friars and the fraternities he is visiting.

Statutes: 199

227. During the visitation by the Minister General or his delegate, the authority of the Minister Provincial and the Local Ministers is considered restricted, in so far as the purpose of the visitation requires it.

Title IX: GOVERNMENT IN THE LOCAL FRATERNITIES

228. The local fraternity is a living unity brought together by the aid of the Holy Spirit in which the best qualities of a natural family are lived. All the friars shall look upon the fraternity to which they are assigned as their own home and the place where they can grow in holiness.

The friars shall dwell in a fraternity legitimately established by the authority of the appropriate minister according to the norms of the law. (cf cn 608)

229. The procedure to establish or suppress a local fraternity is:

§1. The Minister Provincial of a Province or the Vice Provincial of a Vice Province can canonically establish a local fraternity after having obtained the consent of the Council and also the prior written consent of the diocesan Bishop. (cf cn 609, 1; 611; 612)

§2. The Minister Provincial or the Vice Provincial with the consent of his Council requests permission of the Minister General to suppress a local fraternity. The Minister General obtains the consent of his council and the permission of the Bishop where the fraternity is located and then issues the decree of suppression. (cf cn 609,1; 611; 612).

Chapter 1: The Local Ministers

230. §1. For the office of Local Minister friars outstanding in their prudence and zeal for religious observance shall be elected in the Provincial Congregation for a period of four years. They shall be solemnly professed at least one year. (cf cn 623) The Local Minister is to exercise his authority in a spirit of service according to the Rule, the Constitutions and proper law.

Statutes: 201, 202, 203

§2. The Local Minister is responsible for directing the fraternity and coordinating the life and activity of the friars in accord with the Rule and other regulations of the Order and the Province. He is to promote a spirit of genuine brotherhood that seeks to express itself in willingness "to serve each other" (Gal 5:13) with that genuine love which comes from each one's heart. Let him seek to provide each friar all that he really needs and to be attentive to each and every friar without partiality and in an equitable manner. His other duties are specified in proper law.

Statutes: 203, 204, 205

§3. The Local Minister is to be assisted in the government of the fraternity by his Council, which is also elected in the Provincial Congregation. The duty of each Councilor is to give fraternal assistance to the Local Minister in his governing of the fraternity and in carrying out its affairs.

Chapter 2: The Local Fraternity Council and Chapter

231. §1. Once a month, or as often as it is opportune, the Local Minister is to convene the Fraternity Council to discuss and seek advice on matters which concern religious observance, the sacred ministry or the fraternity in general.

§2. At the initial meeting of the Fraternity Council, one of the Councilors is to be elected secretary to record the minutes of the meetings and to transcribe these into the official book. He must carefully preserve letters from the Minister General and the Minister Provincial.

§3. Financial books and the book of Masses are also to be examined and signed at least once a year by the Local Minister and Councilors.

232. §1. In each fraternity, besides the Council, there is also to be a Fraternity Chapter, as a consultative body. It shall be composed of all the professed friars under the presidency of the Local Minister.

§2. The time and other circumstances of the meetings of the chapter, as well as its functions, are to be determined in the proper law of the Province.

§3. It is the purpose of the Fraternity Chapter to foster harmony by active and responsible cooperation of all the friars. With common accord and fraternal dialogue, they work together to promote more effectively whatever the fraternity has undertaken and consider new initiatives.

Chapter 3: Library and Archives

233. Regulations regarding libraries and archives shall be provided in the General Statutes.

Statutes: 206, 207, 208, 209, 210

Title X: THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOODS

The Lord commanded us in the Gospel: be watchful, avoid avarice and every evil; keep yourselves free from the anxiety of this world, and from the cares of this life. (RNB,8)

234. The Order, the Provinces, Vice Provinces and canonically erected fraternities are juridic persons in the Church and may acquire the goods necessary for their livelihood and for the carrying on of their works. Their temporal goods are governed by canon law, the Rule, the Constitutions, General Statutes and proper law of the Province.

Statutes: 211, 212

235. There is to be an Econome for the Order, the Provinces, Vice Provinces and every fraternity.

The Econome carries out his administration of goods under the direction of the Minister. He undertakes no extraordinary expenses without obtaining the Minister's express permission.

In small fraternities, the Local Minister also can act as the Econome.

Statutes: 213

236. The Econome and other friars who administer funds by reason of their office are to give a periodic financial report to their Ministers.

237. The General Chapter shall approve General Statutes for the administration of goods for the Order and the Provincial Chapter shall approve Provincial Statutes for the administration of goods in the Province, especially in regard to the selling of goods, the contracting of debts and the undertaking of extraordinary expenses.

238. To sell goods, contract debts or engage in any transaction that exceeds the amount set by the Apostolic See for a particular region as well as gifts in virtue of a vow or precious objects of an artistic or historical value, it is necessary to have written permission of the Major Superior with the consent of his Council and the permission of the Apostolic See. (cf cn 638,3)

Title XI: FRATERNAL CORRECTION

If among the friars, wherever they are, there should be someone who wants to live according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit his confreres should admonish him, instruct him and correct him with humility and diligence. (ER,5)

239. When a friar becomes seriously negligent in what he has professed, on his own initiative he should try to correct his fault for his own good and for the good of the fraternity. If he will not or cannot correct himself, then the friars should find opportune times to discuss the matter with him alone as Jesus admonishes in the Gospel. (cf Mt 18: 15-18).

240. The friars who may know of another's fault should show patience and mercy by not making him feel ashamed or speaking ill of him. (cf LMin 14-15 - LR,7).

The friars should be mindful of the advice of Francis who encouraged the friars not to become angry or disturbed at the faults of another because anger and disturbance hinder the spirit of charity which promotes true amendment. (cf LR 7,3; 2 Lf 44; TOR Rule,24)

241. However, when a friar refuses to amend his fault, the ministers shall offer him fraternal correction in such a way that firmness is united to kindness, justice with mercy and severity with understanding.

Statutes: 214, 215, 216

242. The friar who is corrected should accept the reprimand with serenity, obey without rancor and acknowledge his fault with humility. He should perform a penance willingly (cf Adm 23) and view the correction as an act of fraternal love. Mindful of his fault, he should make sincere efforts to renew his conversion.

Title XII: TRANSFER FROM ONE PROVINCE TO ANOTHER

243. With the permission of the Minister General, a friar may transfer from one Province of the Order to another after having obtained the approval of the respective Ministers Provincial with the consultation of their Councils.

244. After a probationary period of two years, the friar may become a member of the receiving Province upon approval of the Minister Provincial with the consent of his Council. If he does not receive such approval, he returns to his Province of origin.

245. The friar who transfers to another Province loses active and passive voice in the Province of origin when he begins his residency in a fraternity of the new Province. He acquires rights in the new Province upon his acceptance by that Province.

Title XIII: LEAVING THE FRATERNITY AND DISMISSAL OF A FRIAR FROM THE ORDER

Let all be careful of self-righteousness which causes anger and annoyance because of another's sin. (TOR Rule, Art. 24)

Chapter 1: Leaving the Fraternity

246. A friar may leave the fraternity of his own free will either temporarily or definitively by petitioning the Minister Provincial and by observing the procedures in the General Statutes.

Statutes: 217, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222

247. If a friar is excluded from profession, he is required to leave the fraternity except in those cases specified in the General Statutes.

Statutes: 222

Chapter 2: Dismissal from the Fraternity

248. A friar may be dismissed from the fraternity by following the procedures set forth by the universal law of the Church.

Statutes: 224, 225, 226

Chapter 3: Effects of Departure

249. Those who lawfully leave the fraternity, or are legitimately dismissed from it, may not demand any recompense from the fraternity for the work done while in it. The Minister Provincial, however, must observe equity and gospel charity toward the friar who is separated from the fraternity. (cf cn 702,1,2)

Statutes: 227, 228

Title XIV: OBSERVANCE OF THE RULE AND CONSTITUTION

Great things have we promised, but greater things are promised us. Let us keep the former, and let us aspire to the latter. (2Cel 191)

250. All of us have freely and gladly responded to the call of the loving Father to live the Gospel of his Son, Jesus, in fraternity and in imitation of Saint Francis.

251. We do not consider this way of life a burden, but rather as a most effective means of attaining the perfection of love. So with the help of God's grace, we solemnly promise to observe the Rule, the Constitutions and the General Statutes of the Order of Penance.

Statutes: 229, 230

252. The Ministers have the power to dispense from the Rule, the Constitutions and the Statutes according to the norms of the Church and the proper law of the Order.

Statutes: 231, 232

Whoever will observe these things shall be filled with the blessing of the Most High Father in Heaven, and on earth with the blessing of His beloved Son, with the Holy Spirit, and with all virtues and with all the saints.

And I, Brother Francis, your little one and servant, in so far as I am able, confirm for you within and without this most Holy Blessing.

(TOR Rule, Art. 32)


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