Holy Spirit Province Saint-Esprit
Franciscans of Canada - Franciscains du Canada
Ordo Fratrum Minorum
The union became official on October 22, 2018, through a decree read by the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, Michael Anthony Perry, ofm. The name of the new Minister Provincial was also announced, and it is friar Pierre Charland, ofm. He shared with us what the new name means to him. “The creation of a new Holy Spirit Province in Canada reminds us of the heart of our Franciscan charism. This name reflects our desire to be let by the Holy Spirit, even on an unknown path. It evokes the experience of Pentecost and the essence of the Gospel. I hope that the new Canadian province will be characterized by his evangelizing spirit.”
Several guests and dignitaries made the trip to St. Albert, AB, for this occasion. Friar Peter Williams, ofm, attended in his capacity as Delegator General. As Delegator General, he had been appointed by the Minister General to accompany the Canadian friars through the preparatory period that preceded this Chapter of Union. Several Canadian bishops and Ministers Provincial from the Franciscan provinces in the United States also attended. The theme of this historical event was “Go and Repair my House,” in reference to the words heard by St. Francis of Assisi when he prayed before the San Damiano Cross in Assisi. The Chapter of Union was an occasion to talk about practicalities, such as statutes, future orientations, and even finances. Most importantly, however, the friars spoke about the mission to evangelize in 2018. Friars want to meet all people wherever they are, but today, reaching out to young people is especially important.
The new province counts 87 Franciscan friars aged 32 to 97 years. They live in Quebec (Montreal, Lachute and Trois-Rivières), British Columbia (Richmond, Vancouver, and Victoria), and in Alberta (Edmonton and Cochrane). Their ministry includes concrete works of outreach to the poor, those suffering from addictions, ministry in parishes, the preaching of retreats and the operation of a retreat house, school chaplaincy, and teaching at universities. A ministry of special importance is the spiritual accompaniment of Secular Franciscan communities, which take the Franciscan charism into the larger Church and the world. The mother house of the new province and the home of the Minister Provincial and the location of his office will be in the friary “La Résurrection” in Montreal.