The reorganization of the Order's conferences in Europe is underway. The promulgation of a decree by the General Minister to establish two new conferences to replace the existing ones is scheduled for September 11, 2023.
A preparatory meeting was held in Frascati on May 22 and 23 with regards to the new conference being projected for northeastern Europe with the participation of the major superiors of CECOC and CENOC. “We have the great challenge of finding our way by the light of the Holy Spirit; we must begin to pray together, build together, discover together what God wants,” said Br. Norbert Pšenčík, provincial minister of Slovakia.
The meeting was preceded by an online consultation to agree on the agenda.
Present in Frascati were the provincial ministers of the Czech Republic, Krakow, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, Switzerland and Warsaw, the Custos of Belarus, the general councilors, Br. Pio Murat and Br. Piotr Stasinski. Also invited were the representatives of the two existing conferences, Br. James Boner and Br. Tomasz Protasiewicz, the secretary, Br. Miro Kulich, and two translators, Br. Gian Nicola Paladino and Br. Tomasz Wroński. Due to the ongoing war, the Custos of Ukraine was unable to attend.
During the two-day meeting, the members of the fledgling conference (the name has not yet been decided), and the circumscriptions that will constitute it had the opportunity to get to know each other better; reports were also presented on the letter of the General Minister on the new conferences and his declarations at the meeting of the presidents of the conferences, on the drafting of the statutes of the new conference and on the situation with regard to formation. There was also time to discuss some proposals for the next General Chapter and to evaluate the meeting.
The preparatory meeting revealed that many differences exist between the two components of the new conference in how they perceive the Order in Europe, but the strength of fraternity proved more powerful than that which divides. The participants discovered the depth of a favorite adage of Pope John Paul II, attributed to a great poet: "differ in a beautiful way!". Br. Marek Miszczyński further commented on the project, “It is possible to be brothers, to be Capuchin friars in this diversity of history and culture; it is the Holy Spirit and our charism that unites us in diversity”.
This reflection on unification and collaboration has officially gone quite a long way, starting with the 2018 General Chapter, where it was seen that we need to rethink the infrastructure of our Order so that we might better fan the flame of our charism and strengthen fraternity. This new conference, together with the other (Southern European and Mediterranean Conference), will be initiated later this year on September 11 with a solemn celebration and the reading of the official Decree of Erection.