The Capuchin Friars of our St. Augustine Province gathered together for our triennial Provincial Assembly in Harrisburg, PA, from May 25-28. The opportunity for brotherhood, some business and yes, some fun, is for all the friars of the Province who serve in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, DC. A few of our senior friars were unable to make the trek for the gathering, but over 100 friars joined together to work and pray together during the event.
On the opening night, Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Diocese of Harrsiburg welcomed us and led us in a celebration of our Religious Life in Evening Prayer. Our own Sean Cardinal O'Malley, OFM Cap. (Archbishop of Boston), was asked to speak to us about our own Capuchin call as 'lesser brothers' (friars minor) who do not seek privilege and power but find our greatest grace in following the poor and humble Christ who, rather than guard his own divinity, came to show true power in 'weakness' and in compassion as a brother who gives his life for the sake of the other.
This year, featured speakers were enlisted for the ongoing formation of the friars and for facilitating our ministry planning in the upcoming decade. Fr. Clarence Williams, CPPS, shared his thoughts with us on the topic of Racial Sobriety, as our Province continues to reflect the face of the Catholic reality in our multi-cultural identity. Learning how our culture experience shapes our responses to cultural change, the brothers got a chance to share their own experience of ‘race,’ their first experience of learning about what a difference race meant to parents, teachers and neighbors and coming to grips with the pre-judgments, presumptions and pretenses which can block inter-cultural acceptance.
Mr. Charles Kelly led the friars in a discussion of our Pastoral plan as we prepare for new leadership and elections in 2016. Mr. Kelly has accompanied the friars at various regional meetings and personal conversations in the past 18 months. For the Assembly, he helped us to focus on the goals and vision of our fraternity for the next ten years. Discussions allowed friars to learn more about each other, share expectations for their own personal futures and come to understand the diverse gifts in different generations of brothers with differing cultural backgrounds and experience.
At the concluding Mass, Br. Thomas Choi, OFM Cap., was commissioned to serve in our mission of Papua New Guinea. Having recently completed his nursing degree, Br. Thomas is hoping to depart within the next few months and use his skills for the benefit of the people he will serve.
Here are some photos of the Assembly . . .
You can view all of Br. Matt’s photos here.