The afternoon session began with midday prayer in Portuguese. The moderator for the afternoon was Raffaele who summed up the whole morning sessions and then introduced the General Ministers talk.
The General Minister then went on to speak on the “ Towards Fatima: European Ministers’ Meeting”. After introduction he indicated the numbers of friars in the European conferences. He showed how the number is going down. He then treated following points:
· Destined to disappear? We are called to give witness to our charism today, and thereby to let everyone share in the gift we have received. He said that is not the moment to throw in the towel and resign ourselves to a slow but irreversible death.
· Religion with God: Phenomenon of secularization has not led to the disappearance of religious devotion and the search for spirituality. People looking to other horizons, not necessarily those proposed by our Churches. We have moved far beyond the slogan of a few years ago: “Christ yes, the Church, no”. Today the slogan is more a case of: Religion yes, God, No”
· A gift for the People of God: Our own life as capuchins, is a gift for the people of God. Our task is to cry aloud to the world that God loves us, that life is beautiful and deserves to be lived to the full. Let us love our provinces and our charism, and live in such a way that it may be known and appreciated. The thought of death, either as individuals or as provinces need not concern us.
· Anticipating the Dawn: with ten thousand Capuchins in the world, it is certainly possible for us to try new ways to ensure that our charism will continue to be present, even in those countries of Europe where the charism is under threat of extinction.
· People touched by God
· You are the Holy One, enthroned on the praises of Israel: How we are, the way we live and pray. It is not only that God has power over us, but we have a certain power as far as He is concerned.
· Intent upon God: New Horizons for the religious Life by Rino Cozza: the chief difficulty for religious life today is to answer the God-question…..the point of departure, but also of arrival, is to be recognized not for the number of prayers, but for the experience of prayer.
· Witnesses to the Primacy of God: Francis first allowed himself to be evangelized in the depths of his being, and this led him to be acutely aware of the greatness and goodness of God
· Our way of evangelizing: we need brothers who are not afraid to try something new, who are able to step aside from the safe and well-trodden paths of former times, and set out on paths that do not yet exist, to open up new ways.
· Fraternal collaboration among circumscriptions
· Requests to take on the care of parishes
· Intercultural fraternities