On Nov. 29, 2023, many members of the Franciscan family celebrated the 800th anniversary of Pope Honorius III's approval of the Later Rule drafted by St. Francis of Assisi, which took place on Nov. 29, 1223, at the Apostolic Palace of St. John Lateran in Rome, when Our Seraphic Father St. Francis and his companions went to see the Pope.
During the celebration that took place in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the sons and daughters of St. Francis reread the Rule in twelve stages, interspersed with moments of silence, reflection and testimonies of the Ministers/Delegates of the Franciscan Orders. In the celebration presided over by Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome and Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica, everyone present was met with an experience of true prayer and reflection, enriched by various signs and symbols such as lighted candles, the San Damiano Crucifix and a display of the Rule of St. Francis.
Commenting on the ninth chapter of the Rule on mission and preaching, Br. Maurizio Placentino, delegate of the Minister General of the Capuchin Friars, emphasized how “poverty and simplicity of proclamation reduce the strong temptation to feel oneself as being master of the Word, that is, to use it to entice rather than to lead the faithful." In front of the San Damiano Crucifix and the praying assembly, Brother Maurizio recalled how for Francis “words must be thoughtful, chaste, simple and reduced to their essentials in both content and duration.”
At the end of the celebration and “with gladness in his heart,” Pope Francis addressed a message as read by Cardinal Vicar Angelo De Donatis in which he exhorted the entire Franciscan family to “return to the foundation of a Christian and baptismal commitment, capable of allowing yourselves to be inspired, in every choice, by the Word of the Lord.” In a spirit of obedience and reverence to the Pope and the Church that characterized the life of St. Francis, the Pontiff took up an insight contained in the Rule which reminds us that “going out into the world for you Franciscan brothers and sisters really means realizing your itinerant vocation in the manner of fraternity and a peaceful life, without quarrels or disputes either among yourselves or with others, giving proof of minority...” Francis concluded his message by entrusting the Franciscan family with the “mission of recognizing the right paths you must follow in order to correspond boldly and faithfully to the charism received.”