The New Minister General, Order of Friars Minor, Capuchins

Roberto-Genuin-copiaEnglish: Today, September 3, at the International College of San Lorenzo of Brindisi, Rome,  the General Chapter of the Capuchin Friars Minor elected Friar Roberto Genuin from the province of Venice as the new Minister General of the Order for the next six years.


Italian: Oggi 3 settembre, presso il Collegio Internazionale San Lorenzo da Brindisi, il Capitolo Generale dei Frati Cappuccini ha eletto come Ministro Generale dell’Ordine Fra Roberto Genuin della Provincia Veneta. L’eletto resterà in carica per la durata di un sessennio.

Spanish: Hoy, 3 de septiembre, en el Colegio Internacional de San Lorenzo de Brindisi, Roma, el Capítulo General de los Frailes Capuchinos Menores eligió a fray Roberto Genuin de la provincia de Venecia como nuevo ministro general de la Orden para los próximos seis años.

new Minister General

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SEASON OF CREATION: September 1-October 4, 2018

Season of Creation

The Season of Creation is an annual celebration of prayer and action to protect creation. It is celebrated by Christians of all traditions, and the leaders of faith traditions have encouraged the faithful to participate.

The Season of Creation is celebrated annually by tens of thousands of Christians around the world. Local, volunteer event hosts on six continents organize celebrations in their communities. These range from prayer services to litter clean-ups to advocacy actions.

The season begins September 1, the Day of Prayer for Creation, and runs through October 4, the Feast of St. Francis, who is the patron saint of ecology in many traditions. The theme of this year’s celebration is “walking together.” As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are on a pilgrimage to better care of creation.

More information about how to celebrate is here.
The Season of Creation is covered widely in the press, including coverage last year in CNNLa VieCruxToscano OggiArgentina’s Catholic Information Agency, and Carta de Notícias.

History of The Season of Creation:

The Season of Creation is an annual celebration of prayer and action to protect creation. It runs from September 1 to October 4.

September 1 was proclaimed as a day of prayer for creation (World Day of Prayer for Creation, or Creation Day) by Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I for the Orthodox in 1989, and was embraced by the other major Christian European churches in 2001 and by Pope Francis for the Roman Catholic Church in 2015.

Many Christian churches started celebrating the “Season of Creation” (also known as Creation Time) between that date and October 4, which is the date of the feast many Western traditions observe for St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis is widely associated with nature, and for Catholics is the patron saint of those who promote ecology.

Several statements from the past few years have called the faithful to observe this month-long Season of Creation, such as those of the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines in 2003, the Third European Ecumenical Assembly in Sibiu in 2007 and the World Council of Churches in 2008.


You are called to lead your community. The theme for this year’s celebration is “walking together,” and there are endless ways for your community to show it is on a journey toward better care of our common home

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Pope Francis visits brothers, homeless at Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin

Pope Francis pictured with Brother Kevin Crowley
Pope Francis pictured with Brother Kevin Crowley
The Pope paid tribute to the dignity of the homeless at the Caphucin Day Centre in Dublin today during his historic 36-hour visit to Ireland.

The Capuchin religious order runs a lifeline service for those without shelter and in need of food and infant supplies.

Bella Rose, 11 months old, came face-to-face with the pontiff, her mother said after he dismounted from his popemobile and entered through an unassuming back door from a narrow alleyway lined with well-wishers.

Candice Hartigan, 37, added: “He blessed all the children but she was the only one that got the kiss.”

The centre is non-judgmental, she said.

“They ask you nothing, they don’t ask you why you want something, they don’t ask you why you want to be fed.

“They don’t ask you why you want baby food and nappies, they don’t ask you anything.

“You just put your name down and that is it, you are not asked anything else,” said Ms Hartigan.

Addressing a gathering of the disadvantaged who use the centre, the Pope thanked them for trusting the Capuchin fathers.

“They help you without taking away your dignity,” he said.

“That’s the face of Jesus Christ.”

Brother Kevin Crowley is a co-director at the centre.

RTÉ News


The Capuchin Day Centre is “a family of the poor and marginalised in our society”

He said: “The message he gave was that we should show dignity and respect to every person in need, that was his real message.”

That respect extends to every person who uses the centre.

Brother Kevin added: “It is very sad to think that little children have to go back to hostels in the evening time when they leave our centre.

“So his concerns were the dignity and respect of each and every poor person.

“Wherever he went he always made sure the poor were his priority and I think that is one of the greatest gifts for us here today that the Pope came to visit the centre and showed his great love for the poor and for the homeless,” said Brother Crowley.

He said not enough houses were available in Dublin and urged the Irish Government to “get its act together” and build more homes.

Fr Bryan Shortall, a Capuchin parish priest, recalled the leader of the world’s Catholics said some beautiful things to the friars and the homeless.

“The Pope was affirming Brother Kevin and Fr Sean in what they do in the day centre, because they ask no questions, they literally have an open door, people are welcome, people will not be queried or get the third degree or quizzed, they will be welcomed.

“It was a wonderful occasion, a wonderful experience and something I am never going to forget.”

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Who is My Neighbor in a Climate-Threatened World?”

We are delighted to announce that the 2018 Feast of St. Francis Program– “Who is My Neighbor in a Climate-Threatened World?” is now available!

Every October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis (FOSF) celebrates the saint who saw all created beings as his brother or sister. Inspired by this example, Catholic Climate Covenant produces a free 90-minute catechetical program to help parishes, schools, and faith communities explore how they can better care for creation and the poor.

Register below to gain access to the Feast of St. Francis resources.

Download the Feast of St. Francis Program

Video:”Who is My Neighbor in a Climate-Threatened World?”

We hope that you find the materials and resources we have created for this year’s Feast of St. Francis Program inspiring and useful. Remember that the Feast of St. Francis Program can be used on October 4th or any date of your choosing.

Please let us know how you use the materials. If you have photos or a short description of your Feast of St. Francis program and/or Blessing of the Animals, we would be delighted to share with the larger Covenant community!

If you have any questions or need clarification on any aspect of the Feast of St. Francis program, please contact Paz Artaza-Regan (

Catholic Climate Covenant



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– Blessed Mark of Aviano OFM Cap (1631-1699) – Franciscan Capuchin Friar, Priest, Preacher, Spiritual Advisor, Political Advisor, Peace-maker, Miracle worker and the inventor of Cappuccino


Saint of the Day – 13 August – Blessed Mark of Aviano OFM Cap (1631-1699)

Saint of the Day – 13 August – Blessed Mark of Aviano OFM Cap (1631-1699) – Franciscan Capuchin Friar, Priest, Preacher, Spiritual Advisor, Political Advisor, Peace-maker, Miracle worker and the inventor of Cappuccino – born on 17 November 1631 at Aviano, Italy as Carlo Domenico Cristofori and died on 13 August 1699 of cancer in Vienna, mark - header 1

Carlo Domenico Cristofori was born in Aviano, a small community in the Republic of Venice (Italy).   Educated at the Jesuit College in Gorizia, at 16 he tried to reach the island of Crete, where the Venetians were at war with the Ottoman Turks, in order to preach the Gospel and convert the Muslims to Christianity.   On his way, he sought asylum at a Capuchin convent in Capodistria, where he was welcomed by the Superior, who knew his family and who, after providing him with food and rest, advised him to return home.

Inspired by his encounter with the Capuchins, he felt that God was calling him to enter their Order.   In 1648, he began his novitiate.   A year later, he professed his vows and took his father’s name, Marco, becoming Fra’ Marco d’Aviano.   On 18 September 1655 he was ordained a priest in Chioggia.   His ministry entered a new phase in 1664, when he received a licence to preach throughout the Republic of Venice and other Italian states, particularly during Advent and Lent.   He was also given more responsibility when he was elected Superior of the convents of Belluno in 1672 and Oderzo in 1674.

His life took an unexpected turn in 1676, when he gave his blessing to a nun, bedridden for some 13 years, she was miraculously healed.   The news spread far and wide and it was not long before the sick and many others from all social strata, began to seek him out.

header bl mark

Among those who sought his help was Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, whose wife had been unable to conceive a male heir.   From 1680 to the end of his life, Marco d’Aviano became a close confidant and adviser to him, providing the irresolute and often indecisive emperor with guidance and advice for all problems, political, economic, military or spiritual.   His forceful, energetic and sometimes passionate and fiery personality proved a good complement for Leopold’s Hamlet-like tendency to allow endless doubts and scruples to paralyse his capacity for action.

As the danger of war with the Ottoman Turks grew near, Marco d’Aviano was appointed by Pope Innocent XI (Memorial yesterday) as his personal envoy to the Emperor.   An impassioned preacher and a skillful mediator, Marco d’Aviano played a crucial role in resolving disputes, restoring unity and energising the armies of the Holy League, which included Austria, Poland, Venice and the Papal States under the leadership of the Polish king Jan III Sobieski.   In the decisive Battle of Vienna (1683), the Holy League succeeded in inflicting a defeat on the invading Ottoman Turks.   This marked the end of the last Turkish attempt to expand their power in Europe and the beginning of the long European counter-offensive that was to continue ultimately until the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.   This may therefore be considered one of the decisive battles of history.   It also put an end to the period of Ottoman revival in Europe.

From 1683 to 1689 Marco participated in the military campaigns, playing a crucial role in promoting good relations within the Imperial army and encouraging the soldiers.   He was present at the liberation of Buda in 1686 and at the siege of Belgrade in 1688.   He always maintained a strictly religious spirit, to which any violence and cruelty were repugnant.   As a result, at the siege of Belgrade several hundred Muslim soldiers successfully appealed to him personally, in order to avoid being massacred upon capture.

In the 2012 Polish and Italian historical drama film The Day of the Siege: September Eleven 1683 about the Battle of Vienna, Marco d’Aviano is portrayed by F. Murray Abraham.

Legend has it that when the Ottomans fled before the European army, they left behind a lot of their strong, bitter coffee.   The Christian soldiers, to make this liberated coffee more palatable, mixed it with honey and milk and named the drink after Mark’s Order, the Capuchins and thus Cappuccino was created.    It is probably just a fable but I favour believing it, allowing the reminder of a quick prayer to Blessed Mark whenever I drink one.   We can never have too many intercessors, can we?

In the judgement of historians, Marco’s influence over Leopold was exercised responsibly, in the sole interests of Christianity and of the House of Austria.   In one of his private letters to the Emperor, Marco actually scolds him quite forcefully for granting a benefit to one of his brothers, reminding him that, by so doing, he was only providing ammunition for the enemies of their cause.

Blessed Mark died of cancer on August 13, 1699 in Vienna.   He is buried in the Kapuzinerkirche, in whose vault the Habsburg emperors are buried.   He was Beatified on 27 April 2003 by St Pope John Paul II.

garments and relics - bl mark
Relics of Blessed Mark
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JPIC-DPI Gathering for EACC and CONCAO, Portiuncula Franciscan Family centre, Nairobi, Kenya 3-7 July 2018.

After four years of grassroots work, regional animators of  Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) and  the Damietta Peace Initiative (DPI), from both the East African Capuchin Conference (EACC) and Conference Des Capucins de L’Afrique di l’ Ouest (CONCAO), gathered again at the Portiuncula Franciscan Family centre on 3-7 July 2018.  The theme of the meeting was “JPIC As a Way of Life for Franciscans” with the objectives- to review, evaluate, plan and train friars and other Franciscans in the values and strategies of JPIC with a special focus on Africa.

The five days conference brought together 47 participants mostly Capuchin friars from 22 different countries including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, , South Africa, Benin, the Central African Republic, Chad, Angola, Burundi, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Algeria, France, and Cape Verde.


group picture

During the conference, a range of topics geared towards empowering participants in the theory and practice of ‘JPIC as a way of life‘ were presented. These included: Values and Methodology of JPIC, Resource mobilization for social projects, Networking and Collaboration, the Universal Periodic Review process, the DPI and Interreligious dialogue in Africa, and  Advocacy and Mobilizing for Social Transformation in Africa.

On the last day of the conference participants celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the release of the Pope’s encyclical on the environment, Laudato si.  Apart from the presentation on the encyclical, the participants visited the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi and the JPICFA’s projects for the poor in the Mukuru slums in Nairobi.

In the end, plans were made to strengthen JPIC and DPI in the two African conferences. consequently, a coordinating team was elected including Br. Hailegabriel from the province of Ethiopia,  Br. Jean from the  CAR-Chad and Br. Samuel from Mozambique.

IMG_3236 - Copia

visit at the UNEP, Gigiri Nairobi



Topic Presentation



DPI group meeting

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“The Witness: Capuchin Franciscans in Papua New Guinea”

In the early morning hours of Holy Thursday 2018, chaos broke out. The Friars had just finished Morning Prayer and were making liturgical preparations for the day ahead when suddenly they heard a disturbing noise and commotion coming from the neighbouring village where the church is located. “Wah! Wah! Wah!” They noticed a group of clansmen chanting war songs while brandishing guns, bush knives and other lethal weapons. Given the experience of past conflicts in the Tari region, the friars immediately realized that Bilas tribesmen, adorned in their traditional battle dress, were on a mission to retaliate against a rival clan in revenge for the fatal shooting of some of their fellow tribesmen a few days before. Pandemonium reigned! Houses were being torched, farms and property were being destroyed, and everything belonging to the enemy clan was subject to plunder.

An American missionary who had lived in Tari for more than 50 years and understood the local language and culture,  rushed to the scene, accompanied by a younger friar from Kenya. Wearing their Capuchin habits and carrying a large cross, they attempted to stop the killings and the destruction of property. Using the local language, the friars shouted to the angry tribesmen: “Tumbu! Tumbu!” – an appeal to their traditional values which do not allow revenge killings and destruction.

As a result of the friars’ appeal, the clansmen decided not to torch the church and the adjacent mission school, however, they did proceed to burn down the village of the other clan. All the villagers escaped for fear of their lives, and to date, very few have returned. Although the area is now largely deserted, the Capuchin friars have remained among the local community to bear witness to and to promote the values of peace, reconciliation, faith and hope.

It was not until 50 to 70 years ago when the missionaries penetrated the Highlands that the number of inter-tribal conflicts significantly subsided. For more than 60 years, the Capuchin friars of the Pennsylvania Province in the USA have evangelized and contributed much to the human development efforts and peace-building in the Diocese of Mendi and the surrounding areas in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands Province and Hela Province.

Nonetheless, in certain areas of the Highlands, such as Enga and Tari in the new Hela Province, inter-tribal clashes are still common. I witnessed the effects of several of them during my visit to Tigibi and Kupari in the Tari region. Especially along the Mendi-Tari highway, rampant crime has given rise to a great deal of insecurity. No one is exempt from being hijacked or robbed of their valuables, including the bishop, missionaries, United Nations staff personnel, etc

Inter-tribal rivalry and fear for one’s personal safety are not the only concerns affecting the Southern Highlands region of PNG. On Monday, February 26, 2018, a massive earthquake of 7.5 magnitude struck the area, followed by a number of aftershocks, killing more than 200 people and affecting an estimated 465,000 more. The epicenter of the quake was located in the Diocese of Mendi where our Capuchin missionaries live and work. Every structure shook violently for almost five minutes, causing landslides, toppling towers, knocking buildings off their moorings, and splitting homes in two. The effects of the earthquake can still be seen and felt in Mendi, Tari, Hela and the surrounding area. Several of our Capuchin houses, churches and schools were also destroyed in the quake.

earthquake in png

Landslides following the quake 

The Diocese of Mendi and the Capuchin Mission continue to support the victims of the earthquake, both spiritually and materially. One missionary friar remarked, “Our friary is destroyed, but we have to help our people first and only then can we begin to think about rebuilding the friary.” More recently UNICEF has started educational- and other disaster- management activities in the region, especially aimed at women and children. It’s astonishing how little attention has been given by the international media outlets to this natural disaster that has caused so much human suffering in PNG.


UNICEF has set up tent schools and trauma healing centres

Towards the end of my visit to the region, I took the opportunity to share my experiences and reflections with the Capuchin friars, with other missionaries serving in the Mendi Diocese, and with the UNICEF staff working in the region. Since Capuchins have served in the region for so long and are well-respected by the local community, I believe that they could do several things to help ameliorate the conflict and violence occurring in the Southern Highlands.


I was indeed privileged to meet and share my experiences and reflections with Mr. Gianluca Rampolla, the UN Resident Coordinator in PNG and with Mr. David McLoughlin, the UNICEF Representative for PNG. Both expressed their appreciation for the great work accomplished over many years by the Capuchins and the Catholic Church in general in the Southern Highlands of PNG. They, too, expressed the urgent need for coordination, collaboration and networking in the areas of peace-building, disaster management, and other social justice issues. In coordination with the UN mission in Mendi, we hope to provide a capacity building workshop for our friars, missionaries and social workers.

Visit at the UN in Port Moresby

Br. Benedict Ayodi, OFMCap

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