18 July 2014

A new Capuchin stigmatic?

Two brothers have brought to my attention that a website operating in the United States claims to be raising money for "Fr. David", who, according to the site, is a Capuchin with the stigmata. According to the account on the website, when he was an infant "Fr. David" was cured by Padre Pio. He later entered the Capuchin Order and now runs two orphanages in Italy.

I have researched the matter thoroughly and can say with moral certainty that there is no such friar in the Capuchin Order. Here are the facts:

  • A check of the Order's database shows that none of the Italian provinces have anyone named David or Davide of an age consistent with the story presented on the website. 
  • The postulation for the cause of Pio of Pietralcina claims to know nothing of this miraculous cure, nor of anyone bearing the stigmata. 
  • To my knowledge, no Capuchin province runs an orphanage in Italy. 
  • Both the current and former general ministers of the Order have denied knowledge of any living stigmatic in the Order.
Perhaps most telling is the fact that while there are many photographs of "Fr. David's" stigmata, there is never a clear photograph of his face. As a wise, holy friar told me, "i santi mostrano il loro volto luminoso e nascondono i doni mistici, come le stimmate. Questo fa il contrario" ("a saint will show the radiance of his face and hide mystical gifts, such as the stigmata. This person does the opposite").  

Given the fact that Padre Pio's name is being used to solicit donations, it would be prudent to warn the Padre Pio prayer groups of your area against falling for the story of this modern-day stigmatic.

12 July 2014

Chapter of the Sacred Heart Province

The Ordinary Chapter of the Sacred Heart Province concluded this morning with a Eucharist celebrated by the newly-elected Provincial Vicar Benny Punnassery Vincent, then closing remarks. The Chapter was celebrated at the Province's Ermitage Saint-Antoine, in Lac-Bouchette, Quebec. The natural beauty of the location provided a bonus to the fraternal atmosphere of the gathering itself. Given my inability to speak French, Pio Murat graciously accepted to serve as President of the Chapter.

The elections took very little time this year since all but one member of the Council was elected on the first ballot. Louis Cinq-Mars (who was nominated to complete the triennium after the untimely death of Benoit Fortin) was elected Provincial Minister. Benny Punnassery Vincent, Jean-Guy Lanthier, Alix Poulin and Antony Louiz Arukullaseri were elected to the Council.

Beside the elections, the Chapter discussed the effectiveness of its ministries and the ways it can continue to maintain vital presences despite the slow decrease in its membership. As happened three years ago, the provincial minister and vicar of the Province of Central Canada attended this chapter as observers (just as the provincial minister and vicar of the Eastern Canada Province attends the chapters in Toronto). 

01 July 2014

Goodbye and hello again

On October 11, 2011, I moved to San Lorenzo di Brindisi International College in preparation for the renovation of the General Curia. Almost all of us, went from having a bedroom and an office to having one room that for both working and sleeping. There was some grumbling about that (yes, brothers grumble! Who knew?), but in the end I didn't miss the extra space that much. The International College is not the ideal space for a generalate, but it worked.

Now we are approaching the day when we can return to our renovated building. The first group of "pioneers" is scheduled to move on July 7. Their task will be to get the house cleaned and ready for the rest of the community. The rest of the fraternity will begin moving their belongings on July 14. The fraternity's last day in "Green Acres" is scheduled for July 20. Although there are some things I will miss about live at the International College, I am looking forward to moving back into Rome. Unfortunately, I will not actually get there until early September. Since I am leaving on July 5 for two months, I have been packing up my books, files and personal belongings for transport to Via Piemonte. Even after weeding out a lot of unnecessary documents and unwanted books, I still have at least fifteen boxes of stuff for my office. Fortunately, there will be a lot fewer boxes of personal items. It makes me glad I took a vow of poverty!

The General Curia, by the way, looks fantastic. We paid a visit to it last week during the New Ministers Meeting. Although there is still a lot of work to do in the chapel and in the front corridor of the ground floor, the workers are making great progress.