Capuchins to examine challenges of evangelizing secular societies

Rome, Italy, Aug 27, 2012 / 12:59 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Capuchin Franciscan religious order is celebrating its General Chapter in Rome this month and is focusing on the challenges of bringing Franciscan spirituality into the secularized life of the northern hemisphere.

According to the Capuchin’s website, some 234 members of the community are meeting Aug. 20 to Sept. 22 at the St. Lawrence of Brindisi Franciscan International School in Rome.

The assembly opened on Aug. 20 with a Mass celebrated by former Minister General Bishop John Corriveau of Nelson, Canada. The last several days have been devoted to workshop sessions.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, the current Minister General, Father Mauro Johri, said the Capuchins are “totally committed to maintaining our missionary presence in places that are very diverse and difficult.” They are also committed to addressing the new challenges which the Church has presented to them, such as engaging in “the New Evangelization in countries of the northern hemisphere.”

Fr. Johri said the Capuchins see themselves first and foremost as seekers of God and witnesses of his truth in today’s world, but also “as sons of St. Francis committed to living in simplicity, at the side of those of who are poor,” both spiritual and materially.

Among the goals the order has for advancing the New Evangelization are strengthening their presence at Capuchin missions and parishes, and improving preaching and the services they provide to those in need.

He also noted that with the opening of the Year of Faith and the Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelization (Oct. 7-28), the Capuchins “wish to make our voice and contribution heard as well.

“But I think the first step—and the general chapter is helping us to do this—is to be evangelized ourselves, that is, to allow ourselves to be reached by the novelty of the Gospel in order to be renewed in our faith and fundamental trust, because only thus will we be credible in inviting others to take this step,” Fr. Johri said.

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