Audience of Pope Francis with the Chapter Participants

Message of the General Minister, Br. Roberto Genuin, to the Holy Father

Holy Father,

We Capuchin friars gathered for the 85th General Chapter are deeply grateful for this opportunity to meet with you that you have benevolently granted. We offer you our fraternal thanks and we wish to renew, into your hands, in the manner and with the words of St. Francis of Assisi, the profession of “obedience and reverence to the Lord Pope.” (Earlier Rule, prologue, 3)

All the brothers of the Order, here represented by the brother capitulars, express their cordial closeness to you and, as you never fail to ask, remember you in their daily prayer to the Lord that He might support and strengthen you in your apostolic ministry, even when trials and tribulations make themselves felt.

“Come, learn from me … and you will find rest.” (Mt 11:29) These were the words of Christ that guided the brother capitulars in these days of brotherhood and reflection. Moved by the desire to be ever more his true disciples in our time, we studied and discussed in particular the topic of the Ratio formationis for the whole Order. The text, having been in development for a long time with collaboration from the various expressions of our life in the world, saw us unquestionably united and in agreement about the values that characterize our identity and charism, and that we can sum up in the terms fraternity and minority.

Holy Father, the Capuchin Order has begun to celebrate the five hundredth anniversary of the day when Pope Clement VII, on July 3, 1528, authorized a group of friars to live sine glossa the Rule and Testament of St. Francis of Assisi. Five hundred years marked by a great number of brothers, canonized saints and everyday saints, blesseds given this title by the Church and blesseds kept in the secret of the heart of the Capuchin brotherhood, all intensely drawn in and in love with the gaze of the Crucified, which is the same gaze of God’s Love for humanity.

So seduced, they dedicated their lives to an industrious charity, to welcome and to closeness to all, in a continual going out of themselves in order to make a return on the gift they had received. This is why the Capuchin friars have always been known as friars of the people, not closed in their own relationship with Christ, as precious and fertile as this is, but able to give back with simplicity and generosity what they themselves have received, going out to meet all kinds of people and making known to the men and women they met that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is truly good news, and brings peace and joy to those who receive it.

As you, Holy Father have remarked, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. […] With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” (Evangelii gaudium, 1)

Therefore, we Capuchin friars are moved again today to put ourselves and our international fraternity at the service of the Church and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are moved anew to go out to meet the world, among those who have forgotten or rejected Him as well as those who do not yet know Him, that the joy of the Gospel may reach everyone.

Beloved Father, we thank you very much for your fraternal closeness, for your evangelical courage, and in a special way, for the push to renew our religious life and the charism we have received, putting these at the service of the Church and its mission in the world. We assure you of our great esteem and our constant prayer, that the Spirit may support and strengthen the flame that, through you, is being lit in the Church and in the consecrated life in particular.

Holy Father, we are eager to listen to your words today. May they guide and confirm us in our will to persevere in the propositum vitae that the Lord inspired in Brother Francis and the “the Lord Pope confirmed” (Testament, 15) by his apostolic authority.

And before we continue our journey, I ask for your paternal blessing. I ask for myself at the beginning of my service as General Minister, and I ask for all the Capuchin brothers throughout the one hundred and ten nations of the world where we are present, that each, strengthened in his own purpose, might live poverty in gladness, chastity in fidelity, and obedience with joy, ready to let himself be approached by Christ, our joy and our hope.

Br. Roberto Genuin, OFM Cap.
General Minister

Rome, 14 September 2018
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

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