The meeting at Fatima, Portugal is very big event in the history of the Order as it has its own importance today. The Meeting which will be attended by all the European Provincials and custos along with the Presidents of the conferences of the entire Order. It is a big event because it is going to reflect on the future of our Charism in Europe, The number is going down but the attraction and respect for the Capuchin has not gone down. People still look and seek for Capuchins. Our friaries and chapels are always frequented by people who love us. In Europe the Catholics would love to share with the capuchins for the good of the Missions.
The big challenge comes from the lack of vocations, in many parts of Europe vocations to Capuchin are not there at all. Having said this, we cannot deny that vocations are a concern especially, in Europe. I do not want to focus only on numbers which can be dramatic, We must keep working for vocations. Let us not throw up our arms in the air and be negative about vocations......let us not accept the defeat but go along with Pope Francis who is asking us to reawake and re-live our charism. Let us not die in peace and allow the Order to vanish.
The Order will not vanish and the charism will live on and on. It has come down to us for centuries. let us plan our something different for the young men who are desiring to join us. Let us offer them what Francis offered to his early companions. Let us offer exciting and alluring programs of spiritual Let us keep working with hope, with confidence, with creativity, and with enthusiasm for vocations. God is the only one who calls, but God does it through us. It would be a grave fault if His voice were not to reach others due to our discouragement, our indolence, or our lack of trust (of faith!) that the Lord is continuing to call.
We must not live in a state of constant anguish and stress. We are instruments of God’s calling and so let us live our Capuchin life with simplicity and joy. If it is necessary, we will have to get ourselves used to another kind of more humble presence, more reduced, perhaps more humble and authentic. Let us not neglect this vocational task. Vocations may or may not come, but that must not affect our life. Hence, in a very fraternal way,