Several months ago I shared with you the news that I had been appointed by the General Council of the Franciscans to serve as “General Visitor” for the Franciscan Province of St. Paul the Apostle in Malta. We Franciscans have the custom that when a Province is electing new leadership, usually ever 6 years, a friar from outside the Province is appointed to visit with each friar and to give some feedback and encouragement to the Province about their Franciscan life; he also writes up a report for the Order. It is a helpful means to grow in our Franciscan life by getting some hopefully objective feedback.
I will be travelling to Malta on Sunday evening, November 10 and returning home on Saturday, November 23. I will only miss one weekend here at Transfiguration. The first week I will be in Malta, meeting with their Provincial, their Council, the Chapter Preparation Committee, and their various staff officers to try and get the “big picture,” an overview of life and ministry of the Province. The second week I will spend at our headquarters in Rome attending what is affectionately known as “Visitor School.” All the friars who are doing this same thing for other Provinces will meet with our General Council to learn the nuts and bolts of this task.
I will return to Malta at the end of January/beginning of February to do the actual work of visitation: I will meet individually with each friar, trying to get his sense of life in the province and to listen to any ideas and concerns that he might have. It is a small province about 50 men. I will need to return to Malta in early May for their Chapter and the first meeting of the newly elected administration. The dates for these visits will be set during this first visit.
In my absence, Fr. Dennet will be helping with Masses. You can consult with Fr. Jeremy or the Parish Staff for any concerns, and they will happily assist you. I am grateful for your support of this Franciscan ministry. Some have asked if this is a sign that I might be re-assigned in the near future: NOT IN THE LEAST. I was asked to do this because I have had some past experience in provincial leadership, and given our numbers, there are fewer and fewer of us to take on these responsibilities. I consider it part of my Franciscan duty to respond to requests from the Order. Fr. Jeremy served as Visitor for a number of Provinces including England, Canada, and California, so I am just following in his noble footsteps! I will appreciate your prayer!