ST. PETERSBURG, Florida, USA – “Religious life ‘is not over’! It is only now beginning! Go out and announce this message of joy, hope, transfiguration and transformation!”
It was with these words of enthusiasm that Br. Michael Perry, OFM, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, encouraged friars participating in the 2016 Franciscan Mega-Conference for Vocations, titled “Lesser Brothers on a Vocation Journey of Mercy,” to renew their commitment to religious vocation and to share the joy it brings to a new generation. His message of hope and passion for the Gospel way of life, as exhibited by St. Francis and his brothers, was a welcome start to what has become an important event in the life of the English-speaking communities of the three branches of the Franciscan First Order (OFMs, Capuchins, and Conventuals), the Brothers of Brooklyn, and the Friars of the Renewal.
Every two to three years, the vocation directors from across the English-speaking Franciscan family come together for the Franciscan Mega-Conference for Vocations. The role of host rotates among the three branches of the First Order. This year, the vocation directors of the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor hosted the conference with our brothers at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg. The conference took place from September 6 to 10, and was organized by the leadership team for the ESC/OFM Vocation Directors Committee: Br. Basil Valente, OFM, of Holy Name Province (USA), president; Br. Eric Pilarcik, OFM, of St. Barbara Province (USA), vice president; and Br. Luis Aponte-Merced, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province (USA), secretary/treasurer.
Read the full story, written by Administrative Coordinator for Vocations Benjamin Simpson, over at ofm.org – the primary website for the Order of Friars Minor! You can also read the story in Spanish and Italian.