IN THE DOCUMENTS OF THE FIRST ORDER
I. ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR
1 . Care for the Secular Franciscan Order is entrusted to the first Order. The secular Franciscans spread the spirit of St. Francis in the world. They are our partners in living, witnessing to and promoting the Franciscan charism. They make their own necessary and complementary contribution to the fullness of the Franciscan charism.
2. The Friars Minor should always value the Secular Franciscan Order so that
it can be imbued more and more with the true Franciscan spirit. The brothers
should support the Secular Order with special care and promote reciprocal
well-being and mutual help. They should help build up the Secular Franciscans in
the world, especially among young people.
1 . General and provincial ministers have authority to erect and visit fraternities of Secular Franciscans. The Secular Order comes under the higher direction of these same ministers in the manner determined in the Rule and the proper legislation of the Secular Franciscan Order.
2. The brothers should willingly provide spiritual and pastoral help to the
Secular Franciscan Order, as prescribed in their Rule and legislation.
Spiritual assistants should be concerned that all brothers and sisters of the
Secular Franciscan Order follow faithfully in the footsteps of St. Francis.
The seculars will then spread the gospel message all over the world. They will
also radiate the special characteristics of Franciscan spirituality: fellowship,
witness and service in the world.
The general minister appoints the Order's spiritual assistant to the Secular
Franciscan Order. The provincial ministers appoint the spiritual assistant for
an individual country, if such is required. The provincial minister appoints the
spiritual assistant for the individual province. In all these instances the
respective governing board of the Secular Franciscan Order should first be
1. The general assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order provides leadership
and coordination for all the spiritual assistants of the OFM jurisdiction. He
also renders pastoral assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order associated with
2. The general assistant should cooperate with the general assistants of the
other jurisdictions, working together with them according to special statutes.
II. ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR CAPUCHIN
3. United by the Holy Spirit in the same calling, let us foster a sense of
brotherhood throughout the entire Order and especially in our provinces and
local communities by common prayer and activity. Let us cultivate that same
sense toward all our brothers and sisters, whether religious or secular, who
form with us one Franciscan family.
1. The variety of religious groups, which has developed by the plan of God for the good of the Church, flourishes as well within one and the same Franciscan spiritual family so that the charism of the Founder may spread and exercise its vigour through many brothers and sisters, including the Secular Order.
2. Let us live, therefore, in a brotherly communion of the same spirit and
willingly promote through mutual cooperation the study and common initiatives of
Franciscan life and activity.
1. Within the ambit of the Franciscan family, the Secular Franciscan Fraternity or Order occupies a special place that shares and promotes its authentic spirit. It should be esteemed as necessary for the fullness of the Franciscan charism.
2. In it, the brothers and sisters, moved by the Holy Spirit, are prompted to attain the perfection of charity in their secular state by professing to live the Gospel after the manner of St. Francis.
3. The Secular Franciscan Order, united to our Order by its origins, history and sharing of life, has been entrusted to our care by the Holy See.
4. Let the brothers, therefore, be eager to show from their heart a truly brotherly attitude for members of the Secular Order, nourish by their example fidelity to the gospel life, and effectively foster the Order itself among the secular clergy and laity.
5. Our superiors have the right to establish fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order in all our houses and elsewhere, observing the prescriptions of law. Let them be vigilant so that a true, vital sharing be fostered between the fraternities of our Order and those of the Secular Order.
6. Superiors should take care that by sharing and coordinating resources with the other Franciscan families continual and zealous spiritual and pastoral assistance be provided for the Secular Franciscan Fraternity especially through suitable brothers properly assigned to this ministry according to the norms of its particular legislation and the universal law.
7. Let the brothers willingly offer spiritual assistance to this Order. Always mindful of its secular status, they should not interfere in its internal government, excepting in cases mentioned in law.
8. As a sign of co-responsibility, the governing board of the respective Secular Franciscan fraternities should be consulted whenever it is a matter of appointing spiritual assistants or of establishing fraternities.
9. Likewise, let all associations cultivating the spirit of St. Francis,
especially those of young people, be promoted and assisted spiritually. Let our
houses become centres of fraternal gathering and inspiration for all, clergy and
laity, who wish to follow the footprints of Christ under the direction of Saint
1. As they recognize the role of the laity in the life and activity of the Church, let the brothers encourage the lay people to assume the different ministries proper to them, especially in the work of evangelization. Likewise [the brothers] should promote associations of the faithful whose members strive to live and proclaim the word of God and to change the world from within.
2. Among these associations, the Secular Franciscan Order should be close to
our heart. Let us cooperate with Secular Franciscans that their fraternities may
progress as communities of faith endowed with a special effectiveness for
evangelization, as well as in the formation of individual members. Thus they may
spread the kingdom of God not only by the example of their life but also by
various kinds of apostolic activity.
III. ORDER OF FRIARS MINOR CONVENTUAL
1. The friars, particularly the designated assistants, should offer to the Secular Franciscan Order the means for leading a life of perfection and for cooperating in the works of the apostolate, in such wise that its members can effectively fulfill their responsibilities in the Church.
2. The Minister General everywhere and the Minister Provincial in his own province have the right to do whatever is required, in conformity with the prescriptions of law and of the respective constitutions, for the erection and assistance of fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order.
3. The provincial chapter shall carefully select an assistant for the Secular
Franciscan Order so that everything may be promoted and coordinated properly.
2. The Secular Franciscan Order should he promoted everywhere, in accordance
with Const. n. 116. Moreover, knowledge of the spirit of St. Francis should be
fostered among diocesan priests so that they, too, will join the Secular
Franciscan Order, extend its activities into their parishes and societies, and
then in turn receive assistance from the members of the Secular Franciscan
5. Faithful to the spirit of Franciscan life and also in keeping with
existing circumstances and observing all legal norms, friars should take great
pains to establish our Order in the mission land from the very start and to make
it a part of the local Church. This entails the following: the foundation of
Franciscan religious communities and the Secular Franciscan Order and, as far as
possible, the inception and promotion of the contemplative life of the Poor
The Secular Franciscan Order (Third Order Secular) shares a common origin and charism with the First Order, to which its spiritual care has been entrusted by the Holy See (Const. n. 133, #2).
1. All friars should consider the Secular Franciscan Order as the modern, necessary complement to their charism, esteem it highly, and foster it zealously. Therefore, the friars should be solicitous that the tertiaries, trained in the school of evangelical perfection, be a leaven in their own secular sphere and witnesses to poverty, love, joy, peace, marital fidelity, obedience to the Church, apostolic Christocentrism and sincere devotion to the Virgin Mary.
2. In promoting the Secular Franciscan Order, the Franciscan spirit, which
answers the needs of young people, should be greatly emphasized.
All the friars, from the time of their probation and throughout their years
of study, should receive careful and diligent training in every aspect of the
Secular Franciscan Order -- its history, legislation, and customs -- so that,
from among these friars may be chosen spiritual assistants: men exemplifying the
true Franciscan spirit and inspiring all tertiaries to walk in the footsteps of
St. Francis. These friars should likewise foster mutual contact and
collaboration with other Franciscan families and with the Secular Franciscan
Order under these other Franciscans' jurisdiction. Tertiaries should be
encouraged to collaborate in every way in all Catholic apostolates.
The friars assigned to care for the Secular Franciscan Order should remember
that they are called to serve their brethren living in the world. Therefore,
they should not become unduly involved in the Order's administration, except in
those matters specified by law.
1 . Suitable spiritual assistants for the Secular Franciscan Order are to be selected at every level of jurisdiction.
2. The spiritual assistants who represent the whole Order are selected by the Minister General; at the national level they are chosen by the conference of ministers provincial.
3. The provincial chapter, however, shall elect a spiritual assistant for the Secular Franciscan Order to represent the province, after consulting the tertiary provincial council, should this seem opportune.