Franciscans Convene 199th General Chapter

ASSISI, Italy, MAY 16, 2007 ( The Order of Friars Minor Conventual convened their 199th general chapter, which will include a visit from Benedict XVI for a Mass marking the anniversary of St. Francis’ conversion.

About 100 friars from 34 countries will meet together until June 20.

During the assembly, held every six years, the Conventual Franciscans will discuss their way of life and pastoral work in light of the challenges of today’s world. They will also elect the 119th minister-general of the order.

Benedict XVI will join the friars in Assisi on June 17.

In an Aug. 31 dialogue with priests from the Diocese of Albano, Italy, the Pope said: “Francis was not just an environmentalist or a pacifist. He was, above all, a converted man.

“Before his conversion, Francis was a sort of playboy. Then he felt that this was not enough. He heard the Lord’s voice: ‘Rebuild my house.’ He slowly came to realize what the Lord meant by ‘build the house of the Lord.'”

The Franciscan’s minister-general, Father Joachim Giermek, echoed the Pope’s words. The Conventual Franciscan superior’s letter convoking the general chapter said: “The entire order feels called to conversion and to rediscover the vitality of its roots.”