Dear Sisters and Brothers,

May the Lord give you peace.

We have just received a letter from our Minister General regarding the Coronavirus (attached, in both English and Spanish).  Please read it and distribute widely.  We will also share this letter via our website.   I am thankful for Tibor’s approach which calls us to both prayer and action, and sets the proper tone for us as Secular Franciscans facing these unusual times.

At the national level we have received questions about whether to cancel or postpone Regional gatherings.  We have no set policy at the national level but beg all to be properly informed and make wise decisions as a Council.  Check local health directives and look at what the CDC says, and evaluate from there.  None of us want to cancel things we have planned, but we need to carefully consider if we are putting folks at risk, or contributing to the spread of this virus.

Are we safe if it is a smaller gathering?  Or if everyone commits to exercising the recommended disciplines?  I don’t have the answer to these, or to other questions.  We might need to consider the facility where we might be meeting, and consider who has traveled somewhere recently who might be a carrier.  We should not be driven by fear, but we do need good common sense and caution, given the current environment.   There are alternatives such as rescheduling, or meeting by webinar or conference call.

The National Executive Council joins you in prayer during this time.  Let us remember who we are, and be guided by the Holy Spirit in our prayers and actions.  Living our theme for this year, let us continue to journey together in love and compassion.

Peace and all good,


Jan Parker OFS

National Minister

Secular Franciscan Order – USA

Journey Together in Love and Compassion

2019-2020 OFS-USA Theme

Letter from Tibor Kauser, Minister General

In English, followed by Spanish

Prot. n. 3233                                                                                            Rome, March 12, 2020

Dear sisters and brothers all over the world,

May the Lord give you his peace!

We are living extraordinary days, weeks, that needs extraordinary decisions and extraordinary attitude.

We do not know so far, what is in God’s plans that we can use from this grave situation, but I am sure that God is preparing a great surprise for us.

We hear the news from all the corners of the world about the coronavirus epidemic that is spreading very quickly. In some parts of the world the situation is really grave and makes us concern, while other parts are still free of it or less affected.

Being Secular Franciscans, living in the world, we have to faithfully fulfil the duties to our various circumstances of life (Cf. OFS Rule 10). This is more demanding today, as we have to leave many of our comfortable habits and attentively adopt to new circumstances. Solidarity and fraternal life becomes a new meaning.

First of all I invite you all to join my prayers for those who are affected by the epidemic, particularly for the people of Italy, China, South Korea, which are the most impacted country for now, but this is changing day by day and others are affected seriously. Let us pray for those, who suffer from this illness, for those who are caring for those being sick, and for all to have the wisdom and patience to behave properly, both physically and spiritually, and to be able to bear this material and mental burden.

Living in the world calls us to be attentive to all those who have more difficulties in this situation, or are facing more risks. There are many elderly sisters and brothers in our fraternities, who need more fraternal care and more attention. I ask you to pay special attention to those in need. We have to be more disciplined as each one of us has an even greater personal responsibility for our brothers, for our neighbours. I am sure that God gives us an opportunity to strengthen fraternal life, even if sometimes there are less of the personal encounters.

The measures of the official authorities declare the situation day by day more critical. Some of the measures and calls from both secular and ecclesiastic authorities may surprise us, or can even be shocking. However, we have to believe that all these are for the common good, and since there is no authority except from God (Rm. 13:1), we shall respect them also if sometimes it is not so simple to understand them. God is always providing for our spiritual and material good.

Let us open our hearts to hear what does the Lord intend to tell us with letting this situation happen. May God help us all to know what is our duty also today.

Your minister and your minor brother,

Tibor Kauser

Minister General

Prot. n. 3233                                                                                                                         Roma, 12 marzo 2020

Queridos hermanos y hermanas de todo el mundo:

¡El Señor os dé su Paz!

Estamos viviendo unos días y unas semanas insólitas, que requieren decisiones insólitas y una actitud insólita. No sabemos todavía qué planes tiene Dios que podamos utilizar en esta situación tan grave. Sin embargo, estoy seguro de que Dios está preparando una gran sorpresa para nosotros.

Recibimos las noticias de todas partes del mundo sobre la epidemia de coronavirus que se está extendiendo rápidamente. En algunas partes del mundo, es especialmente grave y nos preocupa, mientras que otras partes están libres (del virus) o poco afectadas.

Como Franciscanos Seglares, viviendo en el mundo, tenemos que cumplir fielmente los deberes de nuestras diversas circunstancias en la vida (Cf. OFS Regla 10). Hoy, esto es todavía más exigente, ya que tenemos que dejar nuestros cómodos hábitos y adaptarnos atentamente a las nuevas circunstancias. La solidaridad y la vida fraternal obtienen un nuevo significado.

Primero de todo, os invito a que os unáis a mis oraciones por todos los que se están viendo afectados por la epidemia, particularmente por la gente de Italia, China y Corea del Sur, que son los países más afectados por el momento, pero esto está cambiando día a día y otros también están siendo afectados seriamente. Oremos por aquellos que sufren la enfermedad, por aquellos que cuidan de los enfermos y por todos para que tengamos la sabiduría y la paciencia para comportarnos adecuadamente, tanto física como espiritualmente, y para que seamos capaces de superar esta carga mental y material.

El vivir en el mundo nos llama a que seamos más atentos a aquellos que tienen más dificultades en esta situación o que están afrontando más riesgos. Hay muchos hermanos y hermanas mayores en nuestras fraternidades que necesitan más atención y cuidado fraternal. Os pido que prestéis especial atención a aquellos en situación de necesidad. Tenemos que ser más disciplinados ya que cada uno de nosotros tiene una mayor responsabilidad personal por nuestros hermanos, por nuestros vecinos. Estoy seguro que Dios nos está dando una oportunidad para fortalecer nuestra vida fraternal, incluso si hay menos encuentros personales.

Las medidas de las autoridades declaran la situación más crítica día a día. Algunas de las medidas tomadas y lo que nos piden tanto las autoridades seglares como las eclesiásticas nos pueden sorprender o incluso chocar. Sin embargo, tenemos que creer que son para el bien común y, como no hay otra autoridad más que Dios (Rm. 13,1), tenemos que respetarlas, aunque a veces nos cueste entenderlas. Dios siempre nos está proveyendo de bienes materiales y espirituales.

Abramos nuestros corazones para oír lo que el Señor nos está diciendo dejando que esta situación ocurra. Que el Señor nos ayude a saber cuál es nuestro deber hoy también.

Vuestro ministro y hermano menor,

Tibor Kauser

Ministro General