Last day of the Plenary Council
February 1 - Last day of the Plenary Council the Holy Mass was celebrated in English presided by the Very Rev. John Kochuchira, Provincial Minister of St. Thomas Province in India. In his homily, Fr. John pointed out that the superiors must be like King David (2 Sam 16:5-14), capable of recognizing that they are not perfect and also tolerant towards the friars as King David was towards Shimei. Then the encounter with Jesus as we see in the Gospel frees us and lead us to communion and to service with love to the brothers.
The morning session consisted of a panel discussion in which Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, as the Assistant General of the OFS, responded to the Ministers Provincial’s concerns and questions about the OFS and YouFra. Fr. Amando explained that in order to be appointed as Spiritual Assistant, a friar should have two qualities: suitable and well prepared. He also explained that such appointments are made by the competent Major Superior, upon a previous dialogue with the interested Council of the OFS and/or YouFra. He also reminded the friars that our Constitutions and General Statutes call us to appreciate, to promote, to assist and to work closely with the OFS. He also talked about some ways of promoting vocations to the OFS and YouFra, and the specific identity of the latter. He stressed that it is the responsibility of Major Superiors to foster the interest of the friars in the OFS and the ongoing formation of the assistants. He also reminded them that there are formational guidelines for friars at the various formation stages regarding the OFS and YouFra. Fr. Amando was asked to encourage National Assistants through a closer communication with them, for which the Provincial Ministers committed themselves to submit the names and email addresses of their OFS assistants.
At the end, the Minister General reminded the provincials that they have to send there annual reports and that they have to finish the Code of Conducted and Policy of Investigation by Pentecost, 2016 (which is 15 May 2016).
After lunch, participants went on a tour to visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, at 13 km (8.1 miles) northwest of the city of Kegalle, Sabaragamuwa Province. This orphanage is famous for having the largest herd of elephants in captivity in the world. The friars were able to see the elephants taking a bath in the Maha Oya River and how the baby elephants are feed at the orphanage.