The VIII Plenary Council of the Order of Capuchin Friars Minor on the theme of "the grace of working" was held from October 26 to November 19, 2015. The place of the meeting was the International College of the Capuchins 'San Lorenzo da Brindisi' in Rome. The members were 44 Capuchin friars: 34 delegates from all over the world and the General Council of the Order. For a good four weeks they reflected together on various aspects of work understood as a grace. Beyond these 44, there were also 30 other friars working in various services.
The PCO was held in two parts:
- First part – "Listening to the observers." During the first part of the second week the members of the PCO listened to experts that presented on certain aspects of work. These academic talks were accompanied by some witness presentations coming from various areas of our work.
The first phase, that of listening, concluded on Wednesday, November 4, with a day of retreat dedicated entirely to a prayerful listening to the Spirit of the Lord and his holy manner of operation.
- Second part – "Listening to each other." The creative part of the Council was held from November 5 to 19. The friars dedicated their time to creating concrete and practical propositions towards the end of purifying, adapting, deepening, and living 'today' the grace of working in our Order.
The Council concluded with a solemn celebration of the Eucharist on November 19.
We invite you to watch the video of the General Minister's message by which he concluded PCO VIII.
Communications Office of PCO VIII
Dear brothers, after four weeks of work, of dialogue, but also of prayer and moments of recreation taken together, PCO VIII on the 'Grace of Working' is concluded.
What brought us to reflect on the grace of working? In fact, there are many situations that are changing in the life of the Order: in some places pastoral work is diminishing; in others it is very difficult to live from our own work; in other places there is a need to take on new forms of work; in many fraternities we are taking it a little easy and we run the risk of having too many employees. There is also the risk of a lack of zeal, and so we dispense ourselves nonchalantly from work.
It is not an easy thing to reflect on our daily life, but we have tried to do so, also inviting experts who have spoken to us on work, how it is seen in the society of today, by the mass media, by the Church. It was very enriching to also have among us some people who are wholly committed to work alongside the poor, in prisons...
After all this process of listening, we tried to draft propositions to make a document which we don't want to go right away to some library shelf, but which we want to put in your hands, dear brother, in the hands of your fraternity. Probably you will not find extraordinary things which will change the face of the Order. But from a serious encounter with the document and with our way of working changes can arise. Everything depends on whether we will have the courage to take new steps and be closer to the poor, more attentive to those who are less fortunate than us! In this we will take a path of growth and we will certainly be better sons of St. Francis.
I want to thank all those brothers who, in spite of great responsibilities in their circumscriptions, have accepted coming here to Rome for a month in order to reflect together on the theme of the 'grace of working.'
We have realized once again that the Order today is very international and intercultural. If for some it is obvious to speak of 'the grace of working' for others work is something other than grace. Therefore we can affirm that this was a unique occasion to become aware of who we are, how we are, and where we are called to walk together, encountering each other, in dialogue, and above all listening to what the Spirit has to say to us today in the various contexts in which we carry out our mission, in the world and within the Church, contributing to the construction of the Kingdom of God.
Dear brothers, I hope that this PCO VIII represents a true moment of grace and an occasion of growth for the whole Order. I greet you: peace and good!
Br. Mauro Jöhri, General Minister OFMCap