800 Years after the Approval of the Rule and the Beginning of the Franciscan Order: Celebration of the International Chapter of Mats

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Wednesday, April 15, began the principal International celebration for the 800th anniversary of the approval of the Rule and the birth of the Franciscan Order in Assisi.

In the city of St. Francis, some 2000 Friars came from 65 countries around the world, beginning at 4:00 PM in an enormous meeting tent in the Piazza in front of the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels, recreating the “Chapter of Mats” event of the early Franciscans.

The principal purpose of the meeting was to recall the origins and the common mission of the Franciscan Order from the time if the approval of the Rule and form of life established by Pope Innocent III in 1209.

The celebration stretched over four days and ended with a visit with Pope Benedict XVI at his residence in Castel Gandolfo.

The Friars of the three branches of the Franciscan Order (Friars Minor – OFM; Friars Minor Conventual – OFM Conv.;  Friars Minor Capuchin – OFM Cap.) number around 30,000.

One was able to follow the events directly on television by the Teleradio Padre Pio satellite channel, SKY 821 in Europe and GLOBLECAST 230 in North America.