(This article originally appeared in the TAU-USA Spring/Summer Issue # 103)

Instrumentum Laboris: Animate & Guide with Servant Leadership

In preparation for the General Chapter to be held this November, the CIOFS Presidency issued the Instrumentum Laboris: Animate & Guide with Servant Leadership (IL). They have requested that each national fraternity review this important preparatory document and respond to the questions that were included. To solicit this input, the National Executive Council (NEC) organized several area-wide meetings, including a meeting with the full National Fraternity Council on April 10, 2021. Based on these conversations, the NEC compiled the OFS-USA response. We wish to share this collective response with you and have included it in this issue of TAU-USA. (See pages 23-24.)

Secular Franciscan leaders from across the United States overwhelmingly endorsed the IL. All those who were interviewed wholeheartedly agreed that:

  • we cannot underestimate the importance of good leadership for the Secular Franciscan Order;
  • there must be a deepening of our sense of co-responsibility within fraternities;
  • we need to pay more attention to the spiritual aspects of servant leadership, particularly as described in the OFS General Constitutions.

We encourage local and regional fraternities to utilize “Animate and Guide with Servant Leadership” for ongoing formation. The complete document can be downloaded from our OFS-USA website www.secularfranciscansusa.org . At the home page, click on Search and type in “Animate and Guide.”

Guide to Canonical Establishment of a Secular Franciscan Fraternity 

We are excited to announce the publication of revised guidelines for those wishing to start a new OFS fraternity. The Guide to Canonical Establishment of a Secular Franciscan Fraternity gives a clear explanation of each phase of this process from newly forming group to emerging fraternity to canonical establishment. The Guide lists requirements for each phase, outlines the responsibilities of the sponsoring fraternity and Regional Executive Council, and describes the mandatory involvement of First Order and Third Order Regular (TOR) Provincial Ministers. The Guide explains such terms as altius moderamen, and provides helpful instructions for everything from formation to record keeping. A great effort was made to ensure that this guide was practical, while also capturing the spiritual aspects of the process.

The Guide begins with an introductory section entitled, “So you want to start a fraternity…” outlining the significance of this undertaking. It beautifully describes what is needed to form a fraternity into a genuine ecclesial community. The information in this first section will be helpful not only to those OFS forming new fraternities but can inspire all of us as we continue to focus on our national priority of Fraternity Life. For this reason, we have included this section of the Guide in this issue of TAU-USA. (See pages 5-6.) The complete 23-page Guide can be downloaded from our website www.secularfranciscansusa.org. At the home page, click on Search, and type in “Guide to Canonical Establishment.”

National Council Elections – Last Call for Nominations

Tentatively, the 2021 NAFRA Elective Chapter will be held October 26-31 at Montserrat Retreat in Lake Dallas, Texas. While we will not know for several months yet whether we will be able to meet in person, we still need to prepare for the elections. If we can meet safely, and if a presider from the International Council is able to attend, we will elect a new National Executive Council. We continue to seek nominations for each position of Minister, Vice-Minister, Secretary, Treasurer, Councilor, and International Councilor. The call for nominations has been extended to July 31, 2021. Nominations should be sent to the Nomination Committee CoChairs: Kate Kleinert OFS at kkleinert@msn.com and Emma Lowzowski OFS at ofs.minister.prairie@gmail.com

Invitation to Explore the CIOFS Website

Did you know

  • …there will soon be an outdoor sanctuary erected near Cannara, Italy, to commemorate the site where St. Francis preached to the birds?
  • …there is a series of videos commemorating the 800th anniversary of Memoriale Propositi, highlighting the similarities between the 1221 document and the current OFS Rule?
  • …there is a newsletter called Koinonia written by the General Spiritual Assistants? The current issue focuses on Servant Leadership.

This is just a tiny peek at what you might find on the International OFS website www.ciofs.info. We invite you to explore this beautiful, updated, and easy-to-navigate website. Where to start? Once on the home page simply scroll down to see all the latest news twice a year. Each issue has wonderful articles on OFS and videos. Also, under the “NEWS” tab you can click events from around the world. Touring “ciofs.org” is on Vox Franciscana (Franciscan Voice), CIOFS’s newsletter, inspiring! It will connect you with our worldwide OFS edited by our own Bob Stronach, OFS, and published family and broaden your view of OFS life.