The General Council of the Order and the ministers of the Asia and the Pacific Capuchin Conference held an important meeting last October 16-20, 2023, with the theme Capuchins in Asia Pacific: Joyful Agents of Fostering Collaboration and Solidarity to Develop Our Presence and Strengthen our Identity Towards a Brighter Future. The meeting was hosted by the Capuchin Philippine Province of Our Lady of Lourdes and was held at the Capuchin Retreat Center in Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines. This momentous event was graced with the presence of the minister general, Br. Roberto Genuin, six members of the general council, the secretary general, and the ministers of the different circumscriptions of the Asia-Pacific Region.
The meeting commenced on the morning of October 16 with a welcoming program. The delegates were joined by the brothers of the Philippine Province who took the opportunity to have an audience with the minister general and the general council and also to meet the delegates. After the welcoming celebration, the official work commenced in the afternoon with the situational reports of the different circumscriptions which went on until the next day. In the afternoon of the 17th until the 19th of October, the brothers listened to conferences given by invited resource speakers about significant topics concerning the Asia-Pacific context such as solidarity and collaboration; mission challenges; psychological well being and mental health and professional standards especially in dealing with sexual abuse cases. The delegates did not only listen but also had the time for small and plenum sharing to express their thoughts and insights. These were summed up with concrete resolutions formulated by a drafting committee and were presented to the assembly. Br. Roberto and the general council also had time to discuss significant issues in the Order and to listen to the feedback coming from the conference.
Though the meeting was serious, it did not overshadow the spirit of joyful sharing of one another’s presence. The delegates went for a fraternal outing and recreation on the last day, October 20, 2023 in the coastal town of San Juan, Batangas. It was not only rest from several days of work but a time to deepen the bond of brotherhood and solidarity, echoing the call for the Order in this time, to take the path of synodality, communion, collaboration in living the Gospel in the Capuchin Franciscan spirit.