Br. Joseph Dolphy Pais earned Doctorate in Franciscan Spirituality at the Pontifical Antonian University of Rome on 19th June 2008. Defending his thesis before a panel of four erudite professors and a large audience, he settled to nothing less than a ‘Summa Cum Laude’ (full honours). His thesis was on “Mystical Writings of St. Bonaventure as an Inspiration for Capuchin Franciscan Formation Today.”
Br.Chetan obtained his Master’s Degree in Social Communications (Mass media) at the Pontifical Salesian University of Rome on 23rd June, 2008. His thesis was on the hot topic of today: “Digital divide: Is it Narrowing or Widening Globally? Examining the Domestic Digital Divide in India with Special Reference to Bangalore, the ‘Silicon Valley of India’”.
To celebrate the twin achievements a grand celebration was organised on 24th evening at St.Lawrence International College. The Bishop of Mangalore, Most Reverend Aloysius Paul D’Souza was the honoured guest of the evening, who made time to visit the capuchins and share in their joy. It was also a farewell celebration as Brs.Dolphy and Chetan head back to the ‘Rome of the East’ (Mangalore) shortly.
Around 100 guests participated in the celebration which included universities professors, Capuchin and Salesian priests, and quite a few ‘Konkani Kutam’ members. The menu was totally Mangalorean, prepared under the guidance of Fr. Reginald Furtado, the ‘master chef’ with the help of Brs. Francis Furtado, Joel and Jeevan.
The Karnataka Capuchins congratulate Brs.Dolphy and Chetan and wish them all the best in their future.

Message from the Provincial Minister

(Admonition no. 5)

St. Francis in his Admonition number five exclaims: “Be conscious, O man, of the wondrous state in which the Lord God has placed you. …” (Gen. 1: 26). The story of creation of Human Person in the Book of Genesis is a meditation of the Biblical author on the dignity of man. Man is created in the image and likeness of God; it means that he is rooted in God, that he shares the divine life, reflects the divine in all his being and hence one can affirm a human is human only because of his ability to participate in the divine life principle. The glory of a human person is his origin in the divine being. But Francis again exclaims: “In what then can you glory? For if you were so subtle and wise that you had all knowledge and knew how to interpret all tongues and minutely investigate the course of the heavenly bodies, in all these things you could not glory……”. Of course the human beings seek glory in these things, in abilities and talents, in achievements and laurels, in power and wealth and the like. As a result there is so much rivalry, hatred and unhealthy competition in the society. Since humans have not understood the mystery of their own being, they have categorized them from the very beginning into high and low, weak and strong, black and white etc. The “inequality” is a sin created by the human beings which has increased the sufferings of the humanity throughout the centuries and lowered the dignity of being a human person.

How can we restore the lost dignity? The answer of St. Francis is this: “In this we can glory: in our infirmities (2 Cor 12: 5) and bearing daily the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Lk 14: 27). Francis would like to see the restoration of the dignity of man from spiritual perspectives, namely, in the capacity to sacrifice oneself for the other. Jesus Christ restored the lost dignity of man through laying down his life on the cross. Now his disciples should continue the process by embracing the same cross so that the humanity might be sanctified in and through them. It means that my personal glory consists in restoring the glory of the other. In dying we rise; in losing we gain – unless a seed dies, it cannot bear fruit. This is perfect Gospel logic. St. Francis is proposing nothing else but the principles of the Gospel.

- Br. Vincent Gabriel Furtado OFM Cap

The Testament of St. Francis

The Lord gave me, Brother Francis, thus to begin doing penance in this way: for when I was in sin, it seemed too bitter for me to see lepers. The Lord Himself led me among them and I showed a heart full of mercy to them. When I left them, what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness of soul and body. Afterwards I tarried a little and left the world.
The Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would pray with simplicity in this way and say: ‘We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches throughout the whole world and we praise You because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.’
Afterwards the Lord gave me, and gives me still, such faith in priests who live according to the rite of the holy Roman Church because of their orders that were they to persecute me, I would still want to have recourse to them. If I had as much wisdom as Solomon and found impoverished priests of this world, I would not preach in their parishes against their will. I desire to respect, love and honor them and all others as my lords. I do not want to consider any sin in them because I discern the Son of God in them and they are my lords. I act in this way because, in this world, I see nothing corporally of the most high Son of God except His most holy Body and Blood which they receive and they alone administer to others. I want to have these most holy mysteries honored and venerated above all things and I want to reserve them in precious places. Wherever I find our Lord’s most holy names and written words in unbecoming places, I want to gather them up and I beg that they be gathered up and placed in a becoming place. We must honor all theologians and those who minister the most holy divine words and respect them as those who minister to us spirit and life (cf. Jn 6:63).
After the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I had to do, but the Most High Himself revealed to me that I should live according to the pattern of the Holy Gospel. I had this written down simply and in a few words and the Lord Pope confirmed it for me. Those who came to receive life gave whatever they had (cf. Tob 1:3) to the poor and were content with one tunic, patched inside and out, with a cord and short trousers. We desired nothing more. We clerical brothers said the Office as other clerics did; the lay brothers said the Our Father; and we quite willingly remained in churches. We were simple and subject to all.
I worked with my hands and I still desire to work; and I earnestly desire all brothers to give themselves to honest work. Let those who do not know how to work learn, not from desire to receive wages, but for example and to avoid idleness. When we are not paid for our work, let us have recourse to the table of the Lord, begging alms from door to door. The Lord revealed a greeting to me that we should say: ‘May the Lord give you peace.’
Let the brothers be careful not to receive in any way churches or poor dwellings or anything else built for them unless they are according to the holy poverty we have promised in the Rule. As pilgrims and strangers, let them always be guests there (cf. 1 Pet 2:11).
I strictly command all the brothers through obedience, wherever they may be, not to dare to ask any letter from the Roman Curia, either personally or through an intermediary, whether for a church or another place or under the pretext of preaching or the persecution of their bodies. But, wherever they have not bee received, let them flee into another country to do penance with the blessing of God.
I firmly wish to obey the minister general of this fraternity and the other guardian whom it pleases him to give me. I so wish to be a captive in his hands that I cannot go anywhere or do anything beyond obedience and his will for he is my master. Although I may be simple and infirm, I nevertheless want to have a cleric always with me who will celebrate the Office for me as it is prescribed in the Rule.
Let all the brothers be bound to obey their guardians and to recite the Office according to the Rule. And if some might have been found who are not reciting the Office according to the Rule and want to change it in some way or who are not Catholics, let all the brothers, wherever they may have found one of them, be bound through obedience to bring him before the custodian of that place nearest to where they found him. Let the custodian be strictly bound through obedience to keep hin securely day and night as a man in chain, so that he cannot be taken from his hands until he can personally deliver him into the hands of his minister. Let the minister be bound through obedience to send him with such brothers who would guard him as a prisoner until they deliver him to the Lord of Ostia, who is the Lord, the Protector and the Corrector of this fraternity.
Let the brothers not say: ‘This is another rule.’ Because this is a remembrance, admonition, exhortation and my testament which I, little brother Francis, make for you, my blessed brothers, that we might observe the Rule we have promised in a more Catholic manner.
Let the minister general and all the other ministers and custodians be bound through obedience not to add to or take away from these words. Let them always have this writing with them together with the Rule. In all the Chapters they hold, when they read the Rule, let them also read these words. I strictly command all my cleric and lay brothers, through obedience, not to place any gloss upon the Rule or upon these words saying: ‘They should be understood in this way.’ But as the Lord has given me simply and purely to speak and write the Rule and these words, may you understand them simply and without gloss and observe them with a holy manner of working until the end.
Whoever observes these things, let him be blessed in heaven with the blessing of the Most High Father and on earth with the blessing of His Beloved Son with the Most Host Spirit the Paraclete and all the powers of heaven and all the saints. And, as far as I can, I, little brother Francis, your servant, confirm for you, both within and without, this most holy blessing.
An Exhortation of Our Father Saint Francis
O dearly beloved brothers and children ever-blessed,
listen to me, listen to the voice of your Father:
Great things have we promised, greater things are promised to us.
Let us observe the former, and aspire to the latter.
Pleasure is brief, punishment is eternal.
Short the suffering, eternal the glory.
Many have been called, few have been chosen;
everyone will be rewarded according to his merit. Amen.


A one day seminar on Legal Aid was organised at Darshan Institute of Theology on 15th July, 2009 for all the Superiors, Directors, Treasurers and Managers of the various houses and establishments of the Holy Trintiy Province, Karnataka. The resource person was Mr. Neelesh Bhantia, a well known advocate of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, who has been offering legal aid to several dioceses in India.
The Seminar began at 9 a.m. with the invocation by Br.Malcolm Sequeira. On behalf of the province Br. Vincent Furtado, Minister Provincial welcomed the resource person and the participants. Br. Arun introduced Mr.Neelesh to the participants.
Mr. Neelesh in his usual friendly style introduced the topic and spoke elaborately on the management of immovable goods such as land, property etc. He enlightened the particiapnts regarding procedures of buying and selling of properties, necessary documents, various legal ans statutory requirements. He replied to the queries of the participants without a little hesitation. A supposedly boring seminar on Law was turned into a very interesting one by Mr.Neelesh.
The participants asked a number of questions and doubts and obtained satisfactory answers. The seminar came to an end at around 4.30 p.m. with the vote of thanks proposed by Br.Noel D’Almeida, the manager of Assisi Press. Around 50 brothers from all over Karnataka participated in the seminar.


Karnataka Capuchins formally stepped into the field of Higher Education with the Inauguration of Bachelor of Business Management course at St. Anthony’s Institutions, Darshan College of Commerce & Management, Kengeri, Bangalore on Monday, 20th July, 2009.

The inaugural function began with the prayer of Rabindranath Tagore in the jam-packed college auditorium. Fr.Chetan Lobo, the director of the college welcomed the dignitaries and guests. All the dignitaries on the dais formally declared open the academic year with the lighting of the lamp amidst chants of a bhajan.

Fr.Joachim D’Souza, Executive Secretary of Capuchin Education Board (CEB) explained the aims and objectives of Capuchin Education Board. The Chief guest of the inaugural function, Fr.Lawrence D’Souza, Prinicipal of Milagres College, Mangalore and vice president of Headmasters’ & Principals’ association, Karnataka gave useful guidelines to run a degree college and shared with the audience his own experience as a teacher for 25 years. The guest of honour, Mr. Anthony Devaraj, Deputy Registrar, Bangalore University expressed his satisfaction at the progress made by Capuchins in the area of Education. Rev.Dr.Anil Sequeira, Rector of Darshan Institute of Theology, Bangalore and Rev.Sr.Veena, UFS, Headmistress, Gnanabodhini High School, Kengeri were the other guests of honour.
Rev.Dr.Vincent Furtado, Provincial Minister of Karnataka Capuchins in his presidential address gave voice to Capuchins’ commitment of raising the standards of the less privileged in the society. He wished the college every success.

Fr.Veerus Concessao, principal of the college proposed the vote of thanks. Bruno Leitao compeered the program. The choir of Darshan Institute of Theology gave the musical accompaniment. All were served with refreshments.

St. Anthony’s Institutions are all set to begin PUC (Commerce & Arts) and B.Com from the next academic year. The college has its campus away from the buzz of the city which is most helpful for study. The college gives a number of scholarships to deserving students and has hostel facility for both boys and girls at very affordable rates.

Celebration of the Feast of Infant Jesus at Chikmagalur

The Annual Feast of Infant Jesus was celebrated at Bala Yesu Nivas in Chikmagalur on the 14th January, 2010 with great devotion. The Eucharistic celebration began at 6 p.m. was officiated by Rt. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Swamy, the bishop of Chikmagalur Diocese. More than a dozen priests concelebrated with the bishop. The bishop in his homily stressed the devotion to the Infant Jesus and thanked the Capuchins for organizing annually this type of celebration with much devotion and creating a chance to all the faithful to participate and obtain the blessings of Infant Jesus. The melodies choir led by Mr. Francis gave an opportunity to pray with more devotion. Fr. Baptist Gonsalves, OFM Cap. the vicar of Bala Yesus Nivas welcomed the gathering and explained the history of the celebration of the feast of Infant Jesus all over the world. Bro. Victor Crasta, OFM Cap., the superior of Bala Yesus Nivas thanked everyone for their whole hearted co-operation rendered to celebrate this feast with pomp and gaiety. Nearly 3,000 devotees irrespective of caste and creed took active participation in this annual celebration. All were served with a piece of cake sponsored by a devotee of Infant Jesus. The programme ended at 8.30 p.m.

Orissa Violance

Hail Maria Bambina, The Father’s precious little one,
God’s heavenly grace beams from your face as the moon reflects the sun,
Angels ‘round your cradle sing lullabies while you sleep,
Help me to call Him “Abba,” His commandments to keep.

Hail Maria Bambina, The Holy Spirit’s humble bride,
Your “fiat,” one day to give the Angel kneeling at your side,
As I along the path of life, like a lost sheep roam,
Place your tiny hand in mine and gently lead me home.

Hail Maria Bambina, the Virgin Mother of the Son,
Now in your cradle softly sleeping, Your earthly life begun,
One day faithfully beneath His cross to stand in sorrow deep,
Help me to embrace my cross and to my station keep.

O Most Holy Triune God, I love to ponder thee,
As I sing to Baby Mary, your blessed little one,
At once Your daughter, most pure spouse
And Mother of Your Son.

Words by Frederick Speckels

Orissa Violence: Lies and Media Reports

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) spokesperson Ram Madhav told CNN IBN yesterday (August 26th) that Christians were behind the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others in Orissa’s Kandhamal district on August 23. Madhav pointed out that Orissa police had arrested workers of the Christian organization World Vision for the killing. He should have had his facts right before making a statement on a national channel.

Madhav’s statement may have been based on a report in a newspaper (The Pioneer, August 25): “The police have arrested Pradesh Kumar Das, an employee of the World Vision, a Christian Charity, from Khadagpur while escaping from the district at Buguda. In another drive, two other persons Vikram Digal and William Digal have been arrested from the house of Lal Digal, a local militant Christian, from Nuasahi at Gunjibadi, Nuagaan. They have admitted to having joined a group of 28 other assailants.”

The newspaper report, which is being circulated by email and on the Web by supporters of the Sangh Parivar, is not only inflammatory, but also factually incorrect. Disturbed by the report, I spoke to Deputy Inspector General (Southern Range) R.P. Koche in Bhubaneshwar, who categorically denied it. “No one has been arrested in ‘connection’ with the attack on Swami’s Ashram. We have merely made some preventive arrests for interrogation,” he said.

Then, Jayakumar Christian, the executive director of World Vision India, narrated how his organisation’s employees landed up in a police station. “Two of our workers were fleeing sensitive areas on a motorbike to escape attacks. They started from Daringbari and were going to Bhubaneswar. However, when they reached Behrampore (Ganjam district), security personnel deployed there asked them to take shelter in a police station for their safety. The police informed us that our employees are in the police station, and asked us to take them to a safer place. And they came back safely the following day.” He spoke to me on the phone today.

One wonders what is the source of the newspaper’s report, which claims that those arrested also confessed to the crime – when the police have denied it. God alone knows how many false reports could be taking the rounds.

It is unfortunate that at least nine people, mainly Christians, have been killed or burnt alive and hundreds of homes belonging to Christians have been destroyed by mobs allegedly led by the VHP in the name of retribution. And the violence is carrying on. This is in spite of the fact that a Maoist group, the People’s Liberation Revolutionary Group, has claimed responsibility for the killing. A leader of the group, who identified himself as Azad, reportedly called up a newspaper office and said they killed Saraswati because he mixed “religion with politics…” That Kandhamal is a Maoist-affected district is also common knowledge. Further, the police found a threat letter in Saraswati’s ashram that was sent prior to the attack. Furthermore, the attack was launched with sophisticated weapons, which also indicates Maoist involvement.

Does the VHP not know that the culprits are most likely to be Maoists? Perhaps they do, but it is typical of the VHP and other members of the timid Sangh Parivar to attack soft targets. They raise the issue of Islamist terrorism, but kill and beat common Muslims – as they did in the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat in 2002. And now, in Orissa, they are killing Christians and destroying their property when there are clear indications that Maoists launched the August 23 attack. All that is needed is a lie to target the minority community, and thanks to sections of the media, there is no dearth of falsehoods being propagated.

Vishal Arora, Journalist, Delhi

Chapter Twelve Spreading and Fostering The Faith TITLE l: THE MISSIONARY COMMITMENT OF THE ORDER

Christ Jesus, God’s Good News, the first and greatest preacher of the Gospel, gave to all his disciples through them, to the community of faith that is the Church, the grace and mandate of spreading the gospel.
All the baptized, and especially religious by the special gift of themselves, are united to the Pilgrim Church. Through Christ’s mission and that of the Holy Spirit, [the Church] is the universal sacrament of salvation and, therefore, missionary by its nature.
Through divine inspiration, Saint Francis renewed the missionary spirit of his time by the example of his life and the power of his Rule. Moreover, he added momentum to those initiatives of the Church that are called missionary and through which the Gospel is proclaimed. In this way the coming Kingdom of God transforms the human person, creates a new world that is just and full of peace, [and] each day the Church is established and, day after day, becomes more perfect.
Our Order accepts as its own the responsibility of spreading the Gospel that belongs to the whole Church. It regards and takes on this missionary work as one of its principal apostolic obligations.
Missionaries are those brothers who bring the good news of salvation to all those in any continent or region who do not believe in Christ.
We recognize, however, the special situation of those brothers who engage in missionary activity in the service of newly established Churches.

As Saint Francis provided, missionary brothers can conduct themselves spiritually among non-Christians in two ways: either, while being subject to every human creature for God’s sake, they give witness with great confidence to the Gospel life by their charity; or, when they see that it pleases God, they openly proclaim the word of salvation to non-believers that they may be baptized and become Christians.
The brothers should willingly listen to members of the newly established Churches and dialogue with them, recognizing that particular Churches have already acquired a preferred role in the work of evangelization. In this way it becomes clear that they have come to serve those Churches and their pastors.
As they evaluate historical, religious, social and cultural conditions in light of the Gospel, let them act in a spirit of charity, with the freedom of the sons of God, and impelled by a prophetic spirit.
Let them promote, in dialogue with Christian churches and non-Christian religions, those changes that foster the coming of a new world and be attentive to ideas that influence the mentality and activity of peoples.

Brothers who feel they are called by divine inspiration to missionary activity in another region where evangelization is more urgent should make this known to the provincial minister. The provincial minister, however, may also call upon other qualified brothers willing to assume such work.
After a special doctrinal and practical preparation in missiology and ecumenism in keeping with each one’s ability, the same minister should present them to the general minister who is responsible for granting letters of obedience.
The ministers should not refuse to send suitable brothers because of a scarcity of brothers in the province, but let them cast their care and thought upon Him Who has continuing care of us.
Different provinces of the Order should generously offer mutual assistance as opportunities arise and, through the general minister, offer missionaries and support to other circumscriptions in need of them.
Brothers may be invited to share in missionary work even for a while, especially to provide special services.
The brothers should cooperate with lay missionaries, especially catechists, in work and programming and, with them, zealously care for the spiritual animation of the people, as well as their social and economic welfare.
Let superiors foster among the brothers a love and spirit of cooperation for missionary work. Let this be done in such a way that everyone, according to his own state and ability, may satisfy his missionary responsibility in fraternal communion with missionaries, by praying for the newly established Churches in union with them, and by awakening a concern among the Christian people.

Since the state of those who profess the gospel counsels belongs to the life and holiness of the Church and, for that reason, should be zealously promoted even from the period of the implantation of the Church, let missionary brothers strive to foster our charism in the particular Churches.
It is the responsibility of major superiors, therefore, to provide that brothers qualified for forming candidates of the Order be present among the missionaries.
Let the form of our life and the spiritual heritage of our Order, which is universal and embraces all the rites of the Catholic church, be transmitted and expressed according to the circumstances of a region as well as to the unique character of each nation and particular church. Customs peculiar to one region should not be transplanted into another. It is the responsibility of the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, to decide the rite of individual jurisdictions, while observing the prescriptions of law.

The general minister, with the consent of the definitory and in union with ecclesiastical authority, has the responsibility of promoting and coordinating missionary activity in the particular churches.
After receiving the approval of the general minister with the consent of the definitory, the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, has the responsibility of accepting a missionary commitment proposed by the general minister as well as to underwrite agreements with the respective ecclesiastical superior.
The general minister as well as the provincial ministers, with the consent of the definitory, should establish a secretariat for missionary promotion and cooperation and determine its responsibility.
The brothers should cooperate diligently with religious institutes that are engaged in missionary activity in a particular Church in the same territory or in missionary promotion at home.
The summit of missionary activity should be considered the building up of the particular church in which the clergy, religious and laity shall have responsibility according to each one’s competence.


Let the brothers be mindful of Saint Francis who wished to send his companions into the world after the example of the disciples of Christ, in poverty with full trust in God the Father, proclaiming peace everywhere by their life and word.
Let us commend this great undertaking to the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd, who gave birth to Christ, the light and salvation of all nations, and who, with the work of the Holy Spirit, was present on the morning of Pentecost at the beginnings of evangelization.

As true disciples of the Lord and sons of Saint Francis, let us preserve, with the help of divine grace, the faith that we have received from God through the Church. With all our energies and sound judgement, let us enter more profoundly into [this faith] and apply it ever more fully to our life.
We should implore God through diligent prayer for an increase of this inestimable gift and live in intimate union with the entire People of God.
Led by the Holy Spirit, let us bear witness to Christ everywhere and, to those who ask, let us explain that hope of eternal life which is within us.


Saint Francis profoundly desired to adhere faithfully to the magisterium of the Church as the guardian of the written and spoken word of God as well as of the gospel life.
In order to preserve this spiritual heritage intact, let us nourish a special devotion to holy Mother Church.
Let us be one with the Church in all things: in thought, word and action, diligently avoiding false or pernicious doctrines.
Led by a sense of an active and responsible conscience, let us offer religious submission of intellect and will to the Roman Pontiff, the supreme teacher of the universal Church, as well as to the bishops who, as witnesses to the faith, teach the people of God in union with the Supreme Pontiff.
At the beginning of their term of office, the superiors and the other brothers should make a profession of faith, as decreed in law.

Responding to the divine vocation through which God each day requests us to take part in carrying out His plan of salvation, let us remember how closely we are bound to Christ before the people of God by virtue of profession.
Let us strive, therefore, to walk worthily and to excel all the more in the vocation to which we are called, remembering that God never gives His gifts or, therefore, a vocation in vain. His grace will not fail us in overcoming difficulties on this narrow path that leads to life.
Zealously dedicating ourselves to our renewal, let us persevere with a joyful heart in the commitment of ourlife. Yet, conscious of our human frailty, let us move forward on the way of conversion with the entire Church that is always being renewed by the Holy Spirit.

By virtue of our profession, we must observe the Rule of Saint Francis, confirmed by Pope Honorius, simply and in a catholic manner.
Its authentic interpretation is reserved to the Holy See which has abrogated earlier pontifical declarations on the Rule only as regards their preceptive force, excepting those contained in the existing universal law and in these Constitutions.
Furthermore, the Holy See recognizes the right of the General Chapter to adapt the Rule to new circumstances when appropriate. But these adaptations obtain the force of law only through the approval of the Holy See.

The aumentic interpretation of the Constitutions is reserved to the Holy See. The General Chapter, with the consent of two-thirds of the vocals, may add to, change, repeal or abrogate the Constitutions, according to the needs of the times, so that appropriate renewal, with a certain continuity, may be fostered. [Such acts, however, require] the approval of the Holy See.
Outside the chapter, the general minister, with the consent of the definitory, has the right to settle doubts or to fill in the lacunas that may occur in our own law; these solutions remain in force until the next chapter.
In particular cases, superiors may dispense their own subjects and guests according to circumstances from disciplinary regulations of the Constitutions, whenever they judge that it would be beneficial for their spiritual good.
A temporary dispensation of an entire province is reserved to the general minister, of an entire fraternity to its own major superior.
Provincial chapters or the Conferences of Major Superiors may enact special statutes that must be approved by the general minister with the consent of the definitory, so that the prescriptions of the Constitutions may be appropriately applied according to the circumstances of provinces and regions.
All questions of conflicting rights whether between religious or houses or between circumscriptions of the Order are resolved according to our Modus procedendi .

Our Order is governed by the universal law of the Church, the Rule and the Constitutions. Only this text of the Constitutions has juridical force in the entire Order.
Since laws and statutes cannot be made for every particular case, in all our actions let us keep before our eyes the Holy Gospel, the Rule we have promised to God, the sound traditions and the example of the saints.
Let superiors lead the brothers in the life of our fratemity and in the observance of the Constitutions, and inspire them in adhering to these Constitutions as a daring adventure of love.

When near death, Saint Francis imparted the blessing of the most holy Trinity, together with his own, upon sincere observers of the Rule. Therefore, after casting aside every negligence, let all of us endeavor with fervent love to follow the gospel perfection manifested in the Rule itself and in our Order.
Let us remember, dearest brothers, the text on which our seraphic Father preached to a chapter of the brothers: ‘Great things have we promised to God, but greater things has He promised to us.’ For this reason, let us strive to observe these Constitutions and whatever we have promised, and, with a burning desire, aspire to those goods that have been promised to us, with the help of Mary, the Mother of God and our Mother.
While pursuing all these things, let us cast our eyes upon our Redeemer that, knowing his good pleasure, we may strive to please Him with pure love. Observance of the Constitutions will help us not only to observe the Rule we have promised but also to fulfill the divine law and follow the gospel counsels. As our labors abound so will our consolation in Christ Jesus. We will be able to do all things in Him Who strengthens us, for He Who is the Wisdom of God grants us understanding in everything and gives abundantly to all.
Christ then, Who is the Light and Expechtion of the nations, the End of the Law, the Salvation of God, the Father of the world to come, the Word and the Power that upholds all things and, lastly, our Hope, in Whom all things are possible, delightful and easy, and to Whom our frailty is known, will not only give us strength for following His commands and counsels, but will also pour out His heavenly gifts in such abundance that, after overcoming all obstacles, we may be able to follow and imitate Him with the greatest eagerness of our hearts, using visible things as passers-by and as those yearning for things eternal.

In Christ,
Who is God and Man,
the True Light, the Splendor of Glory,
and the Brilliance of Eternal Light;
in Christ,
the Mirror without blemish,
the Image of the Goodness of God;
in Christ,
appointed by the Father as the Judge, Law-giver,
and Savior of all peoples;
in Christ,
to Whom the Father and Holy Spirit
have bome witness
and in Whom are our merit,
model of life, help and reward;
in Christ,
Who by God has been made for us
Wisdom and Justice,
be all our thought, meditation and imitation.

to Christ,
Who lives and reigns
with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
one God,
co-etemal, consubstantial, and co-equal,
be everlasting praise, honor and glory
for ever and ever.

Chapter Two Those Who Wish to Accept Our Life and the Formation of the Brothers Article I: The Calling to Our Life

God, in His goodness, calls all Christian faithful in the Church to the perfection of love through different states of life in order to promote the holiness of each one and the salvation of the world.
Each one must give a response of love to this call with the greatest freedom, sothat the dignity of the human person may be in harmony with the will of God.
All of us should gratefully rejoice over the special divine grace of the religious calling given to us.
By responding to our Capuchin Franciscan calling, we offer a public and social witness to the abiding and eternal presence of Christ’s life; we follow the poor and humble Christ, and spread His message to [all] people, especially to the poor, wherever they may be.
In this way, in a brotherhood of pilgrims, of penitents in heart and deed, we devote ourselves to all in a spirit of minority and joy for the saving mission of the Church.


Concern for vocations arises above all from the brothers’ awareness that they themselves are living and offering to others a program of life that is extremely rich in human and gospel values. By embracing this life candidates develop their own humanity and offer genuine service to God and people. If we are to present convincing witness to this way of life, we ourselves must be continually renewed.
All brothers should work together earnestly to foster vocations out of a desire to carry out God’s design according to our charism.
Mindful of Saint Francis’ concern when he saw the growth of the primitive brotherhood, let all the brothers, especially the ministers and the individual fraternities, exert indefatigable care in recognizing and cultivating genuine vocations especially by the example of their life, prayer and speech.
In this way we work together with God Who calls and chooses whomever He wishes, and we contribute to the good of the Church.

Various kinds of pastoral care for vocations should be diligently promoted, especially in circles closer to the spirit of our Order.
Greater results are obtained where there are brothers specifically assigned for promoting and coordinating vocations. Let all the brothers, however, contribute to the effort as a sign of the fruitfulness of Franciscan life.
To foster vocations, it is very helpfu1 to offer young people an opportunity of participating in some way in our fraternal life. This is best done in houses that, at the same time, are suitable for offering help in personal reflection.
That vocations to religious life may be properly cultivated and more suitably prepared, the provincial ministers, with the consent of the definitory and, if it seems opportune, the advice of the provincial Chapter, may establish special institutes according to the needs of regions and times.
They should be organized according to the norms of sound pedagogy in such a way that, in addition to science and the humanities, the students, in a manner consistent with their age, social and family backgrounds, may lead a Christian life suited to their age, spirit, and growth. [In these conditions] a vocation to religious life may be discerned and encouraged.
Studies undertaken by a student should be so arranged that they can be easily continued elsewhere.

Saint Francis was concerned about the purity of our life. Discerning beforehand that his Brotherhood would grow into a large multitude, he was, at the same time, fearful of a number of unsuitable brothers.
Since the Brotherhood should, therefore, increase continually in virtue, in the perfection of charity, and in spirit rather than in number, let those who wish to embrace our life be seriously screened and selected.
The provincial ministers shall diligently inquire whether those who are admitted to our life meet the requirements of the universal law as well as our own for their valid and lawful admission. The following must especially be observed:
a. candidates should be suited by disposition for the communal living of our gospel fraternal life;
b. it should be evident that they enjoy the physical and mental health necessary to lead our life;
c. candidates should show by their lives that they firmly believe what holy mother Church believes and holds and are endowed with a Catholic sense;
d. it should be established that they enjoy a good reputation especially among those who know them well;
e. they should be endowed with the required maturity and a fervent will, and certainty should be had that they have entered the Order to serve with sincerity God alone and the salvation of people, according to the Rule and way of the life of Saint Francis and our Constitutions;
f. they should be taught according to the standards of each one’s region and there should be hope that in the future they will be able to carry out their respective duties with fruitfulness;
g. especially if there is question of older candidates or of those who have already had some experience of religious life, all useful information concerning their earlier life should be obtained;
h. if it be a matter of admitting secular clergy or of those who have been admitted into another institute of consecrated life or seminary,or of the re-admission of some candidates, the prescriptions of the universal law should be observed.

Christ, our most wise teacher, when responding to the young man who manifested a desire to achieve eternal salvation, said that whoever wanted to be perfect should first sell all that he had and give to the poor.
His imitator Francis not only fulfilled this in deed and taught it to the others whom he received, but also decreed in the Rule that it should be observed.
Let the provincial ministers, therefore, take care that these words revealed in the Holy Gospel be made known and explained to the candidates who, invited by an interior love of Christ, come to our Order. In this way, at the proper time before their perpetual profession, they may renounce their goods above all in favor of the poor.
Candidates should prepare themselves interiorly for the future renunciation of goods and condition themselves for the service of all peoples, especially the poor.
Let the brothers, however, avoid involving themselves in any way in these arrangements, according to the Rule.
Moreover, let the candidates be ready to contribute to the entire fraternity their strengths of intellect and will as well as their gifts of nature and grace in fulfilling the duties which they accept in the service of the people of God.

In addition to the general minister, it is the responsibility of the provincial minister in each province, to receive candidates to the postulancy, novitiate and profession. He can delegate this faculty to the provincial vicar, vice provincial and superior regular.
Before they admit candidates to the novitiate, superiors should consult their own council or three or four brothers named by that council. Before they can admit them to first profession and to perpetual profession, they need the consent of their council.
If need be, they should also consult those who have special competence in the matter.


The master of novices is responsible for conducting the rite of receiving novices by which the novitiate begins, unless the provincial minister decress otherwise.
The provincial minister himself, however, receives, in the name of the Church, the vows of the professed. He can, nevertheless, delegate another brother of the Order for this.
Let the prescribed liturgical rites be observed in the reception to the novitiate and the making of profession.
Religious profession is made ordinarily within the solemnity of the Mass, using the following formula approved by the Holy See for the Franciscan families:

“Since for the glory of God, the Lord has given me this grace of living more perfectly and with a firm will the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I N.N., in the presence of the assembled brothers, and into your hands, Father N.N., vow for three years (or. . . year[s]) (for all the days of my life) to live in obedience, without anything of my own, and in chastity according to the Rule of Saint Francis confirmed by Pope Honorius III and according to the General Constitutions of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor. Therefore with all my heart I give myself to this Brotherhood that through the work of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, our Father Francis and all the saints, and with the help of my brothers I may fulfill my consecration to the service of God and of the Church.”

The nature and goal of the three gospel counsels, promised by vow at profession, is that, with a heart liberated by grace, we may be united with Christ in a chaste, poor and obedient life for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven following the footprints of Saint Francis.
The gospel counsel of chastity for the Kingdom of heaven, a sign of the world to come and a fountain of a more abundant fruitfulness in an undivided heart, entails the obligation of perfect continence in celibacy.
The gospel counsel of poverty in imitation of Christ, Who though he was rich was made poor, entails, in addition to a life poor in fact and in spirit, a dependence upon superiors, a limitation in the use and disposition of goods and also a voluntary renunciation, before perpetual profession, of the capacity of acquiring and possessing goods. Let [this renunciation be made] in a form which, as far as possible, is also valid in civil law.
The gospel counsel of obedience, promised in a spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ who was obedient even to death, requires, for God’s sake, a submission of the will to legitimate superiors whenever they command according to our Constitutions “in everything that is not contrary to our conscience and the Rule.”

Formation is the development of the brothers and fraternities in such a way that our life may daily become more conformable to the holy Gospel and to the franciscan spirit according to the requirements of places and times. This formation must be continuous, extending throughout our entire life as regards not only human values but also those of our gospel and religious life.
Our integral formation looks to the entire person, especially in its psychological, religious, cultural and even professional or technical aspects. But it embraces two phases: initial and ongoing formation.

All formation is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit That gives life from within to those forming and those being formed.
Active formation demands the cooperation of those being formed, who are the principal authors of and the ones responsible for their own growth.
Throughout his life, every brother is at the same time the person needing to be formed and the one forming because everyone always has something to learn and to impart. This principle should be laid down as the program for formation and should be put into practice in our life.
To live together as lesser brothers is a principal part of our Franciscan vocation. Therefore fraternal life should always and everywhere be a basic requirement of the formation process.
In order that individual fraternities, especially those specifically formational, be capable of carrying out this primary function, it is necessary that they draw inspiration and encouragement from the primary fratemity, the provincial fraternity.
Although all of the brothers are the ones forming, some brothers are required to be charged with greater responsibility for this duty. Foremost among these are the provincial minister and the guardians, who are the ordinary animators and coordinators of the formation process of the brothers. Then there are qualified formators who assume this particular duty in the name of the fraternity.

The Order shall have at its disposal the means of formation that respond to the requirements of its own charism.
Since particular attention must be given to brothers in the initial stages of formation, each jurisdiction should provide adequate educational programs.
The process of education requires above all a team of responsible brothers who work according to consistent norms throughout the entire journey of formation. Let such a group have the appropriate assistance of the entire fraternity.
Since the Secretariate and centers of formation are of great importance, care should be taken that they be provided for and made effective.
Let the General Secretariate for Formation be at the disposal of the general superiors and the superiors of the different jurisdictions, providing them assistance and information that they may promote all that pertains to formation.
Likewise, let each province have a Council of Formation and, in centers of formation, let there be a brother with the particular responsibility of promoting whatever pertains to formation.
Let individual provinces or groups of provinces, according to local circumstances, have their own program of formation in which the goals, plans and specific guidelines of the entire formation process are expressed.


Initial formation into our life requires that candidates, under the guidance of formation personnel, gain the necessary experience and knowledge and gradually enter into the Franciscan Gospel way of life.
During the period of initiation the formation of the candidates, which harmoniously unites the human dimension with the spiritual, should be thoroughly sound, integrated and adapted to the needs of places and times.
Suitable means of education should be employed. Above all, let the candidate perform tasks and duties that gradually lead them to acquire self-control as well as psychological and emotional maturity.
Taking into consideration their individual personalities and gifts of grace they should be introduced into a spiritual life that is nourished by the reading of God’s word, by active participation in the liturgy, and by personal reflection and prayer. In this way they may be drawn more and more to Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The brothers in formation should acquire a thorough knowledge of the Capuchin Franciscan spirit and its practice not only by studying the life of Saint Francis, his mind concerning the observance of the Rule, the history and sound traditions of our Order, but, most of all, by assimilating internally and practically the life to which they are called.
Let them especially cultivate fraternal living both in a community and with other people whose needs they are ready to meet, so that they may learn to live each day more perfectly in active partnership with the Church.
The special initial formation of the brothers should be arranged with a view to the various duties they must perform and according to the unique circumstances and statutues of the circumscriptions.
All periods of formation must be spent in fraternities that are specifically suited for living our life and for imparting formation and that have been designated for this purpose by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory. The provincial minister, however, with the consent of the definitory, may permit the period of the postulancy to be spent outside our fraternities.
The establishment, transfer and suppression of a novitiate house pertains to the general minister with the consent of the definitory and must be done in writing. In particular cases and by way of exception, the same authority may allow a candidate to make his novitiate in another house of the Order under the guidance of some approved religious who takes the place of the master of novices.
A major superior can permit a group of novices to live for a certain period of time in another house of the Order designated by him.

Every brother, given to the fraternity by God, brings joy to it and, at the same time, is an incentive to renew ourselves in the spirit of our vocation.
Indeed, the work of initiation rests with the entire fraternity since the candidates belong to it.
However, let the provincial minister, with the consent of the definitory, determine the manner and limits within which the initiation is to take place and entrust its direction to brothers who are experienced in the spiritual, fraternal and pastoral life and are endowed with learning, prudence, discernment of spirits and knowledge of souls.
The directors of postulants, novices and professed must be free from all duties that could interfere with the care and direction of the candidates.
Whenever circumstances suggest, associates may be given them especially in those matters concerning the care of the spiritual life and the internal forum.

The period of initial formation begins on the day when, after being accepted by the provincial minister, one enters the fraternity and continues until perpetual profession. It is carried out according to the norms of universal law and our own. A document should be drawn up conceming this.
From that day the candidate must be gradually considered a member of the fraternity in regard to his formation, life and work, in a manner to be determined by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory.
Initial formation, as the integration into our fratemity, embraces the postulancy, novitiate and postnovitiate.


The postulancy is a period of initial formation and of the choice of accepting our life. The time and different ways of this first period are determined by the provincial minister with the consent of his definitory. During this period the candidate comes to know our life, while the fraternity, on its part, comes to know the candidate better and is able to discern his calling.
The formation of postulants aims primarily at completing their catechesis in the faith and includes an introduction to liturgy, methods of prayer, franciscan instruction and an initial experience of apostolic work. It must also reinforce and promote human maturity, especially emotional maturity, and an ability to discem the signs of the times in light of the Gospel.

The novitiate is the period of a more intense initiation and a more profound experience of the Capuchin Franciscan life of the Gospel according to its basic demands and presupposes a free and mature choice of religious life.
The direction of the novices, under the authority of the major superiors, is reserved to one director, a brother of the Order who has professed perpetual vows.
The formation of the novice should be based on the values of our consecrated life as known and lived in light of the example of Christ, the Gospel insights of Saint Francis, and the sound traditions of the Order.
Let the rhythm of the novitiate respond to the primary aspects of our religious life, particularly through a special experience of faith, contemplative prayer, fraternal life, contact with the poor, and work.
In order to be valid, the novitiate must comprise twelve months spent in the novitiate community itself. Its inception and form are determined by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory.
An absence from the novitiate house that exceeds three months, either continously or intermittently, renders the novitiate invalid. An absence that exceeds fifteen days must be made up. Everything else required by universal law must be diligently observed.
A document is to be drawn up attesting to the beginning of the novitiate by which life in the Order begins.

The post-novitiate is the period in which the brothers, progressing further in maturity, prepare themselves for the definitive choice of our gospel life that is undertaken through perpetual profession.
Since the fraternal gospel life holds the principal place in our calling, priority should also be given to it during the time of the post-novitiate. Therefore let the same religious formation be provided for all brothers for the period of time and in the manner determined by the provincial minister with the consent of the definitory.
Let the brothers, according to each one’s gift and grace, apply themselves to a more profound study of sacred scripture, spiritual theology, liturgy and the history and spirituality of the Order; let them also exercise various forms of the apostolate as well as domestic work. But such formation should always be made in view of the life and careful maturation of the individual.

Let us frequently consider how great is the grace of religious profession.
For through it we embrace, under a new and special title, a life dedicated to the honor and service of God that impels us to the perfection of charity. Firmly and more intimately consecrated to the service of God, we represent Christ united by an indissoluble bond to his spouse the Church.
In order that through this consecration we may gather more abundant fruit from the grace of baptism we bind ourselves to live out the gospel counsels according to the Rule and Constitutions.
In this way we intend to free ourselves from the impediments that can draw us away from perfect charity, spiritual freedom, and the perfection of divine worship.
By means of profession, finally, while we enjoy a special divine gift within the life of the Church, we help its salvific mission by our witness.
We, therefore, exhort the brothers to prepare themselves for profession with great care, by spiritual exercises, by an intense sacramental life, especially one that is Eucharistic, and by fervent prayer. Let this be done more intensely and in a special way before perpetual profession.

When the novitiate has been completed and the fitness of the novice has been proven, temporary profession of vows may be made for a period determined by the provincial minister with the novice himself, [and] renewed freely until perpetual profession. But if a doubt arises concerning suitability, the time of probation can be prolonged by the provincial minister although not beyond six months. If the novice is judged unsuited, let him be dismissed.
Of itself the time of this profession shall not be shorter than three years nor longer than six; if it seems appropriate, however, it may be extended, but only in such a way that the entire period during which the brother is bound by temporary vows does not exceed nine years.
If a brother is judged suitable and freely petitions for it, perpetual profession is made at a time determined by the provincial minister after consultation with the one making profession, safeguarding the integrity of the three years of temporary profession and never before the completion of his twenty-first year. By means of this profession a candidate is definitively incorporated into the fraternity with all rights and obligations according to the norm of the Constitutions.
When the time of temporary profession is completed, a brother can depart and, if there are just causes, can be excluded from subsequent profession by the competent major superior after he has heard his council.
We should observe all other prescriptions of the universal law that concern profession, especially those concerned with the disposition of goods before temporary and perpetual profession.

The religious habit is given during the rite of religious profession, even though the clothes of probation may have been previously received. Let us remember the clothes we wear must be a sign both of our consecration to God and of our minority and fraternity.
Clothed as we are with the meek and humble Christ, let us not be fradulent minors but those who are sincere in heart, word and deed.
The signs of humility that the brothers wear outwardly contribute little to the salvation of souls unless they are animated by a spirit of humility.
Following the example of Saint Francis, therefore, let us make every effort to become good and not merely to appear so, to be the same in word and in life, within and without and, considering ourselves less than all others, as the Rule admonishes us, let us surpass others in showing respect.
Our habit, according to the Rule and custom of the Order, consists of a tunic with a hood, chestnut in color, a cord and sandals, or, for a just cause, shoes.
Let the brothers, as a sign of their consecration and a witness of poverty, wear the habit of the Order. The norm of pluriformity applies to the custom of wearing the beard.

At the times determined by the provincial minister with the advice of his definitory, let the local fraternity, after hearing the director’s report, conduct a communal reflection and discussion about the suitability of the candidates and its own program for dealing with them.
During the novitiate and before the time of perpetual profession, the perpetually professed brothers who have lived for four months in the respective fraternity should also express their opinion by a consultative vote in the manner determined by the provincial minister.
Nor should the brothers in temporary vows be overlooked; they may express their opinion even though they do not have a vote.
A report is to be sent to the provincial minister concerning every such meeting and the results of the votation.

Moreover, a document of both temporary and perpetual profession is to be drawn up, together with a record of a brother’s age and other necessary information. This document should be signed by the professed, the one who receives his profession and two witnesses.
This document, together with others prescribed by the Church, should be carefully kept in the provincial archives; let it also be recorded by the provincial minister in a book of professions to be kept in the archives.
In the case of perpetual profession, the provincial minister should notify the pastor of the place of the baptism of the professed brother.

The faculty of dismissing a postulant or novice whom he judges unfit for our life belongs to the provincial minister and also, by special mandate, to the others mentioned in number 19.
The master of novices or postulants possesses the same faculty, but with the consent of the council of the fraternity, when there is a grave reason that will not permit any delay. The provincial minister is to be notified immediately of this action.
The general minister, with the consent of the definitory, can grant an indult of departure to a professed brother in temporary vows who requests it for a grave reason. This indult, ipso jure, contains a dispensation from the vows as well as from all obligations arising from profession.
The prescriptions of the universal law of the Church should be observed in those other cases concerning the transfer to another institute of consecrated life or to a society of apostolic life, leaving the Order, and the dismissal of a brother after either temporal or perpetual profession.

Saint Francis writes in the Testament: “Let those who do not know how to work, learn.”
This admonition reveals a new and, in our day, more urgent meaning for us. Work can hardly be performed properly without special and adequate formation.
It is the responsibility of the Order to help every brother to develop his own grace of working. Thus, while working, let the brothers mutually encourage one another in their calling and foster the harmony of their fraternal life.
Each brother according to his gifts should be formed for the various tasks that must be performed. Therefore some may learn skills and technical trades, while others may engage in pastoral or scientific studies, especially those of a sacred character.

While serving the Lord in minority, however, let all the brothers be aware that they must desire above all else to have the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity.
Let the brothers take care, therefore that, while becoming skillful with their hands and well equipped intellectually, at the same time they be proficient in the special grace of working and be holy.
Let them apply themselves according to their abilities to the work of special formation in a spirit of self-denial and discipline that, through the development of their personality and the cultivation of their mind, they contribute to the good of the Order, the Church and human society.
Let studies, enlightened and inspired by the charity of Christ, be entirely in keeping with our life.
When engaged in studies, therefore, let the brothers develop their minds and hearts in such a way that, in keeping with the intention of Saint Francis, they progress in their calling. In fact, formation for any type of work is an integral part of our religious life.

The brothers who are called to sacred orders must be taught according to the norms laid down by the Church taking into acount the nature of our brotherhood. The consent of the provincial minister and his definitory is required for the reception of sacred orders.
The same care should be provided in each province for the intellectual, apostolic and technical formation of the other brothers according to each one’s gifts.
Formation in philosophy and theology, especially according to franciscan teaching, should harmoniously and gradually reveal the mystery of Christ to the minds of the students.
In our apostolic Order, a pastoral concern should so permeate the entire formation that all the brothers, according to each one’s abilities, may be able to proclaim by deed and word the Kingdom of God as disciples and prophets of our Lord Jesus Christ. The pastoral needs of the regions as well as the missionary and ecumenical responsibilities of the Church should be kept in mind.
The provincial ministers, with the consent of the definitory, may establish in their provinces appropriate centers for the brothers’ special formation. Let them provide for this in other ways, especially through collaboration between provinces or the franciscan families in so far as local circumstances permit.
However, if the brothers in the period of initial formation attend centers of instruction outside the Order according to the conditions and needs of the region or province, their Capuchin Franciscan religious formation must be meticulously supplied.
The provincial ministers should take care that suitable brothers receive special training at institutes, schools and universities in the sacred sciences, as well as in the other sciences, and in the arts and technical skills, as it seems appropriate for the service of the Church and the Order.

Let those responsible for formation be aware that the brothers in formation are the principal authors of their own formation, the responsibility for which rests primarily upon them in trusting collaboration with formation personnel.
In their method of teaching, in conversations with students, and in conducting classes, formation personnel should ensure that the brothers in formation acquire a living and consistent cultural development.
Let them manifest diligence in preparing and presenting their lectures, under the guidance of the Church’s magisterium; let them keep up with the progress of their own disciplines and adapt their lectures to their demands.
Finally, it is recommended that they exert their energies upon scholarly research, writing and publication, especially in franciscan matters. To this end, Franciscan Institutes promoted by the Order can offer assistance to these and other brothers.
In addition to a central or regional library, which is highly recommended, there should be a common library in all our houses adequately supplied to meet the needs of the particular fraternity. Access to our libraries, where it is possible, should be provided for outsiders, while taking the necessary precautions.

Ongoing formation is a process of personal and community renewal and of harmonious adaptation of structures by which we continue to be capable of living our vocation according to the gospel in the actual circumstances of the time.
Though it involves the person as a unified whole, ongoing formation has a two-fold dimension: spiritual conversion through a continual return to the sources of Christian life and to the primitive spirit of the Order and their adaptation to the times; and, cultural and professional renewal by means of a quasi-technical adaptation to the conditions of the times. All these contribute to greater fidelity to our vocation.

A brother who has completed the period of initial formation can hardly claim to be fully equipped for all his life. Ongoing formation, therefore, is intended for all brothers.
Without a doubt, it is primarily both the personal obligation as well as the right of each brother to apply himself to his own continuing formation, since this is nothing other than a continuous implementation of our vocation.
At the same time, however, this formation must be regarded as the ordinary and pastoral duty of all superiors.

Particular norms for ongoing formation should be developed in each province according to the different places and conditions of persons and times.
The program should be organic, dynamic and integral, embracing the entire religious life in the light of the gospel and in the spirit of brotherhood.
The manner in which our daily life is led greatly assists ongoing formation. The first revered school of formation is the daily experience of religious life, in a normal rhythm of prayer, reflection, community life and work.
Moreover, extraordinary means or resources are also highly recommended, e.g., new or renewed ventures in ongoing formation, with the help of either the local or provincial fraternity, within each province or region, or with that of the Conference of Major Superiors.
Our International College established in Rome is recommended for fostering the spirit of brotherhood in the whole Order, for pursuing formation and for promoting franciscan learning.

Let each brother take special care to walk worthily in the Capuchin Franciscan vocation to which he has been called by God.
Therefore, all of us should strive to maintain and strengthen for ourselves and for others the gift of a religious vocation and of perseverance by faithful cooperation, prudent watchfulness and consistent prayer.
Let us also beware, brothers, of apostasy of the heart which occurs when, because of tepidity, someone hides a worldly heart beneath a religious exterior, abandons the spirit and love of his vocation, and yields to a worldly spirit of pride and sensuality. Remembering the apostle’s admonition: “Do not be conformed to this world,” let us, rather, avoid whatever savors of sin and weakens religious life.
After we have left the world, therefore, let us desire nothing else, let us wish for nothing else, let nothing else please us than to follow the Spirit of the Lord and Its holy activity and to please Him always that we may truly be brothers and men poor, meek, thirsting for holiness, merciful, clean of heart, those, in fact, through whom the world may know the peace and goodness of God.

Chapter Eleven – Our Life in Consecrated Chastity

Chastity must be esteemed among the gospel counsels as an extraordinary gift of God that is willingly embraced for Christ and His Kingdom through an impulse of the Holy Spirit.
The reason for leading our life in chastity is the preferential love of God and of all peoples; in a unique way, in fact, it confers a greater freedom of heart through which we are able to cling to God with an undivided love and to become all things to all peoples.
By always guarding and cultivating this gift, our fraternity becomes a splendid sign of the mystery through which the Church is united to her only Spouse. The charism of celibacy, which not everyone is capable of grasping, is an option for the Kingdom of God, prophetically proclaims that kingdom in our midst, and offers a witness to the future life in which those who have risen are brothers to one another before God Who will be all in all for them.

One of the noted characteristics of Saint Francis is the richness of his affections and his capacity for expressing them.
Francis, captivated by a love of God and all peoples, indeed of all created beings, is a brother and a friend of all.
Thoroughly courteous and refined, sensitive to everything beautiful and good, he wishes that his brothers sing joyful songs of penance-conversion, immersed in peace and in a universal, even cosmic, brotherhood.

While we are on the way to the Kingdom of God, chastity always involves a certain privation that must be recognized and accepted. Diligent recourse to supernatural and natural means makes it possible to maintain equilibrium and to avoid the dangers that threaten a celibate brother such as boredom, loneliness of the heart, love of comforts, excessive gratification, or, on the other hand, morbid aversion to displaying affection.
Chastity consecrated to God, a gift given to human beings, is nourished, supported and increased by participation in a sacramental life, especially in the Eucharistic Banquet and in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and by persevering in diligent prayer and intimate union with Christ and His Virgin Mother.
Therefore, let us strive to respond generously to this gift, not relying on our own strength but on God’s help.

Affective and sexual maturity gradually travels a path of conversion from a self-centered and possessive love to one that is self-sacrificing and capable of giving itself to others.
Let all the brothers, especially superiors, remember that love for one another in familiar companionship and fraternal service is an excellent support of chastity.
A fraternity that is genuine, serene and open to others makes the natural development of each one’s affectivity easier. Fraternal commitment demands a continual renunciation of self-love and requires a dedication that favors authentic and profound friendships that greatly contribute to the fulfillment of an affective life.
Besides a discipline of the senses and of the heart, let us joyfully dedicate ourselves to diligent work, living in humility and penance, and use other means that foster health of mind and body.

Let the brothers love all people in Christ and, through a brotherly and friendly rapport, seek to lead them to share in the Kingdom of God.
Following the example of the noble affection Brother Francis had for Sister Clare, our attitude toward women should be conspicuous by its courtesy, respect, and sense of justice.
Friendship is a great gift that fosters human and spiritual growth. In virtue of our consecration and because of the respect due to the vocation of those with whom we associate, we should avoid binding others to ourselves; rather let us give ourselves to them. In this way a friendship is established that is liberating and not destructive of fraternity.
The relations of the brothers with their own family further affective growth; but let us not forget that the fraternity is our new family.

We should frequently reflect upon the words of Saint Francis in which he encourages his brothers that, after they have put aside all anxiety, they love and adore the Lord God in all creatures with a clean heart, a chaste body and a holy activity.
Therefore let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us that the Spirit of the Lord may act and be manifested in us and in our fraternity.