Pope Francis met Franciscans taking part in the General Chapter of the Order of Friars Minor. May 26 2015


Pope Francis to Friars Minor: 'Be Bringers of Mercy'

Meets with Participants of General Chapter at Vatican

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«Minority» and «Fraternity» are the two essential elements of the identity of the Order of Friars Minor.

This was the central theme of Pope Francis’ address today with members of the religious order founded by St. Francis of Assisi. The members met with the Holy Father following their General Chapter.

The Pope began his address by reflecting on the aspect of ‘minority’, which calls each one to be small before God and trusting completely in His mercy.

«The perspective of mercy is incomprehensible to those who do not recognize themselves as ‘minor’: that is, as small, needy and sinners before God,» he said.

«Minority also means coming out of ourselves, of leaving behind our preconceptions and personal views; it also means going beyond structures – that are of course useful if used wisely – and beyond our habits and certainties, to bear witness to real closeness to the poor, needy and marginalized, with an authentic attitude of sharing and service.»

Regarding the aspect of ‘fraternity’, the Holy Father said that is essential in giving witness to the Gospel. The Pope gave the example of the early Christians, who left people in awe because they were united in love.

“Your religious family is called upon to express this concrete fraternity, by recovering this mutual trust in interpersonal relations, so that the world may see and believe, acknowledging that Christ’s love heals wounds and renders us as one.»

The 78 year old Pontiff called on the Franciscan order to be «bringers of mercy, reconciliation and peace.» Like their founder, the Pope called on them to go out to the world and be ‘driven by Christ’s love.»

Urging them to remain true to St. Francis’ teachings, the Holy Father stressed the importance of living a true Christian existence without ‘losing oneself in disputes and gossip. He also warned them of the dangers of worldly attachments.

«If, instead, you are attached to worldly goods and wealth, and place your security there, it will be the Lord Himself Who will despoil you of this spirit of worldliness in order to preserve this valuable heritage of minority and poverty to which He has called you through St. Francis,» the Pope said. «You will either be freely poor and minor, or find yourselves stripped.»

Concluding his address, Pope Francis entrusted them to the Blessed Virgin Mary encouraged the Order of the Friars Minor to stay true to their calling.

«You have inherited authority with the people of God with your minority, fraternity, meekness, humility, and poverty. Please preserve this! Do not lose it,» he said.

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On ZENIT’s website:

For the full text of the Pope’s address, go to: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-address-to-the-general-chapter-of-the-order-of-the-friars-minor

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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