AFCOF – Assemblies of Major Superiors & Formators

Thursday, 07 August 2008 08:49

From 21st to 25th July 2008 two assemblies in AFCOF have taken place in Lusaka/Zambia: of Major Superiors & of Formators.

The meetings have taken place in the St. Bonaventure’s College, the interfranciscan and intergiurisditional centre for Three Orders of St. Francis (OFMConv, OFM & OFMCap), where young friars of Africa are being formed and study philosophy as friars and future friar-priests. This is the only centre of such kind, where friars of Three Orders of St. Francis have an unique experience (the other similar centre is also in Bruxelles/Belgium, where future missionaries of Three Orders are being formed).

In the meeting of the Superiors have taken part: Minister General fr. Marco Tasca, Assistant General for AFCOF, fr. Tadeusz Świątkowski, two Ministers Provincial of Poland (Kraków-fr. Jarosław Zachariasz and Warsaw-fr. Mirosław Bartos) as well as Major Superiors and Delegates of our African Missions. Also fr. Stanisław Jaromi, of the General Secretariat for Justice & Peace, Safeguarding of Creation & Interreligious Dialogue was invited.

The meeting of Formators was attended by 14 friars – formators from all formation houses of our African Missions. The new General Secretary for Formation, fr. Lindor Alcides Tofful was also present.

The goal of the above meetings was to reflect on the style of our witness and presence on the African Continent as well as on our Franciscan identity in these changing times. We have reflected together on how to better the methods of common collaboration in the area of formation as AFCOF federation, and how to strengthen our intergiurisditional structures and studies. The Superiors have commonly agreed that all the young friars in Africa will have to be formed and study together at the following levels: Philosophy – in Lusaka/Zambia, Theology – in Nairobi/Kenya and Novitiate in Ndola/Zambia (when the number of Novices exceeds the established limits, a second Novitiate House will be functioning in Saltpond/Ghana). Beside that it was also agreed that Formators’ Teams for these Houses must be intergiurisditional, so that the young friars may be formed in a possibly best intercultural environment. During the meeting a new statute of collaboration in the area of formation for AFCOF federation (African Federation of Conventual Friars) has been approved and signed by all the Major Superiors, in the presence of the Minister General.

The formators, also in the spirit of collaboration, have struggled to elaborate a common policy and formation program for the whole AFCOF area.

Both groups met at the end of their deliberations and listened to the talk of fr. Jude McKenna OFMCap, who stressed the topic of formation of friars-brothers, and then later they discussed common matters.

At the end both assemblies were honoured by the Archbishop emeritus of Lusaka Rt. Rev. Medard Joseph Mazombwe, who presided over the Holy Eucharist. During his homily he brought to the minds of friars the person of St. Bonaventure stressing, what a big value for the Church has the Franciscan spirit of collaboration and the best possible unity.

The above meetings were preceded on 20th July by a colourful celebration during which 6 Zambian Friars Minor Conventual have professed their of solemn vows, and 15 Novices (of Kenya, Ghana & Zambia) had their first profession. The liturgy has taken place in the Franciscan parish Regina Pacis of Chawama/Lusaka and it was presided by the Minister General and concelebrated by all the Major Superiors and Formators of African Missions.