OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS REGIONAL FRATERNITY
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Our Lady of the Angels Regional Fraternity is a union of the Secular Franciscan fraternities, reflecting a rich diversity of ethnic heritage, located in Manhattan, Staten Island, Yonkers, and Mt. Vernon in New York State, and those in Central and Northern New Jersey.
We seek to build community among fraternity members, along with the entire Franciscan family, in our home and work situations, in our service to the Roman Catholic Church, and in the public arena. We strive to promote a life of prayer and simplicity, peace and justice, and respect for all creation. Members pledge themselves "through their baptism and profession to proclaim the 'good news' by their life and words", going from "gospel to life and life to gospel"
a) The Regional Fraternity Council is composed of the Regional Executive Council and ministers or authorized delegates from each local Fraternity and the conference of spiritual assistants.
b) The Regional Fraternity Council shall meet at least once a year to promote the life of the Regional Fraternity and the local Fraternities.
b) The Regional Fraternity Council suggests and approves policies to be implemented by the Regional Executive Council.
9. The Regional Fraternity is animated and guided by the Regional Executive Council. The Regional Executive Council is composed of the following:
Regional Vice Minister
Regional Formation Director
President of the Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants
Plus four (4) Councilors.
The Regional Executive Council may appoint positions as deemed necessary according to Canon Law: however only those persons duly elected to office shall have voting rights within the executive council.
10. The President of the Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants is a member of the Regional Executive Council and represents the Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants at the executive. Together with the Regional Executive Council, the President of the Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants provides for the spiritual welfare of the Regional Fraternity, assists in achieving the purpose of the Regional Fraternity Council and provides such other assistance and advice as may be requested from time to time. The President of the Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants shall not exercise active voice on matters concerning finances.
11. The purpose of the Regional Executive Council is as follows:
a) To foster cooperation-operation and communion among the local Fraternities, to suggest helpful policies to the Regional Fraternity Council and to carry out the decisions and policies of the Regional Fraternity Council;
b) To represent properly and respectfully the multiplicity of interests and aspirations of the local Fraternities in accordance with the Franciscan vocation;
c) To foster contact with other branches of the Franciscan family within the Region;
d) To make the charism of our Seraphic Father present in the life and mission of the Church wherein the Region is located;
e) To promote knowledge of the Franciscan way of life and commitment to it;
f) To suggest the formation program for the instruction of Inquirers and Candidates in the Local Fraternities;
g) To provide a forum for discussion of common problems and goals;
h) To be a voice in the public forum for Secular Franciscans;
i) To represent Secular Franciscans in contacts with other church or civil organizations, and to promote mutual relationships with such other organizations when appropriate:
j) To make Fraternal and Pastoral Visits To local Fraternities when requested in accordance with the provisions of general and particular law;
k) To provide, in general, for the life of Secular Franciscans at the level of the Regional Fraternity;
l) To present the agenda for the Annual Regional Council.
12. The Regional Executive Council meets at least twice each year, at a time and in a place determined by its membership.
13. Special meetings may be called at the request of the Regional Minister or at the written request of two or more members of the elected Executive Council.
14. Notice of Regional Executive Council Meetings shall be given in writing by the Regional Minister at least one month prior to the meeting.
15. Fifty percent plus one of the Regional Executive Council members constitutes a quorum for doing official business at any meeting.
16. The Regional Minister is the chief executive officer of the Regional Fraternity.
a) The Regional Minister shall carry out the duties of his/her Office as determined by the provisions of the general and particular law.
b) In addition to the duties prescribed by norms of the Secular Franciscan Order, the Regional Minister shall preside at the meetings of the Regional Executive Council and the Regional Fraternity Council. The Regional Minister is the spokesperson for the Regional Fraternity in all contacts with other church and civil organizations as well as with the general public.
17. In addition to the duties assigned by general and particular law, the Regional Vice Minister performs such duties as the Regional Fraternity Council may designate.
18. The Regional Secretary distributes and keeps all records of the minutes of both the Regional Executive Council and Fraternity Council; preserves the important documents and correspondence of the Regional Fraternity: assists the Regional Minister in sending out announcements of forthcoming meetings of the Regional Executive Council; and performs such other duties as the Regional Executive Council requests.
19. The Regional Treasurer keeps accounts of all money and has the oversight of the property of the Regional Fraternity, unless otherwise determined by the Regional Executive Council. The Treasurer deposits all funds of the Regional Fraternity in such bank accounts as the Regional Executive Council designates and in the name of the Regional Fraternity.
20. The Regional Treasurer shall make Financial Reports for approval at each regular meeting of the Regional Executive Council and Regional Fraternity Council.
21. The Regional Treasurer pays out money, by check only, as the business of the Regional Fraternity may require, on the order of the Regional Executive Council. All checks over $250.00 need two signatures.
22. An audit shall be conducted once a year by at least two competent professed members selected by the Regional Executive Council and who do not currently serve on the Executive Council. The results of the audit shall be presented at the annual Regional Fraternity Council meeting.
23. The Regional Formation Director shall coordinate the formative activities according to the Procedures outlined in the General Constitutions and other appropriate directives.
24. The Regional Councilors participate in deliberations of the Regional Fraternity Council and of the Regional Executive Council as full voting members in each of the sold bodies and perform duties as the Regional Executive Council may deem necessary.
25. Once every three years, the Regional Minister and Executive Council must invite the National Minister to make a Fraternal Visit to the Regional Fraternity. A Fraternal Visit by the National Minister may also be requested at other times for important reasons.
26. Once every three years, the Regional Minister, with the consent of the Regional Executive Council, must request a Pastoral Visit from the National Conference of Spiritual Assistants.
27. The Regional Minister is a member of the National Fraternity Council and is to attend its meetings. If he/she is impeded from attending the annual meeting of the National Fraternity Council, he/she shall be represented by the Regional Vice Minister or, if necessary, by some other elected member of the Regional Executive Council or a duly authorized delegate.
28. The common fund of the Regional Fraternity shall pay the travel expenses of the Regional Executive Council when on official business.
29. The Regional Fraternity contributes annually to the common fund of the National Fraternity as called for by the directives of the National Fraternity Council.
30. A Professed member has made on act of profession as defined in the Rule and the General Constitutions of the Secular Franciscan Order. For the purposes of determining local fraternity contribution to the Regional Fraternity, a Professed member is:
a) One who participates both by attending fraternity meetings and by providing financial support to the fraternity according to his/her means;
b) One who has been excused from attending fraternity meetings, either on a temporary or permanent basis, but does provide financial support to the fraternity;
c) One who neither attends meetings nor supports the fraternity financially, but whom the fraternity has excused from such obligations.
31. The term "Excused" means that, as members of their fraternity, they have-been granted a special status for reasonable cause. This granting has been done by the Fraternity Council on an annual basis for specific and appropriate reasons such as age, illness, or work. This does not mean such an excused person is freed from other obligations, such as praying some daily office, contributing to the Fraternity Common Fund, and wearing some outward symbol of the Order. An Excused member enjoys full status of membership in the fraternity, therefore, the fraternity has an obligation to maintain contact with its Excused members, to visit and communicate with them. By the same token, the Excused member has on obligation to keep contact as for as possible with his or her fraternity.
32. The fraternal transfer, withdrawal, suspension, and dismissal should be done according to the General Constitutions, Articles 55 to 60. However, Professed members who do not attend meetings, nor support the fraternity financially for a period of a year, and who, after personal invitations to return to the fraternity, reject or ignore the invitation, will be termed ‘lapsed’ and will not be counted for the financial contribution to the Regional Fraternity. A 'lapsed' status cannot be used for consecutive years for the some member without well documented due causes since in these circumstances appropriate actions ore required by the Local Fraternity Council.
33. Fraternity Elections shall be conducted according to the provisions set forth in the General Constitutions, National Statutes, the Ritual and the procedures established by the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants.
34. The Local Fraternity Council shall perform their duties as described in the General Constitutions, Article 50, and also faithfully implement the directives and decisions from the higher level fraternities.
35. When a fraternity disbands, its records shall be distributed in accordance with the General Constitutions, Article 48, Paragraph 1 and the Conference of the National Spiritual Assistants Guidelines.
36. A tentative budget will be prepared by the Regional Treasurer and presented to the Regional Executive Council who approves it. When approved it is then submitted to the Regional Fraternity Council at its annual meeting. At that time, it is amended or adjusted and then voted on for final ratification.
37. The amount of a fraternity's contribution is computed on the number of professed members it has. Using the member unit as a basis, the amount of money needed to be raised for the Regional budget through fraternity contributions is roughly divided by the number of members in the Region. That unit amount is then used to determine the amount each fraternity's contribution should be; it is multiplied by the number of professed members of the fraternity, as defined in the articles 31 and 33 of these guidelines. The fraternity's contribution is made from the Fraternity's Common Fund.
38. The Regional Fraternity Council meets for the purpose of elections once every three years as the Chapter of Elections.
a) The National Minister or his/her delegate shall preside at and confirm the election of the Regional Minister.
b) A Regional Minister may not, at the some time, be a local Fraternity Minister. (A Local Fraternity Minister may be nominated for Regional Minister, but if elected, must resign present office.)
c) The Regional Fraternity Council shall determine nomination procedures in accordance with the provisions of general and particular law.
d) Election procedures shall follow the norms of general and particular law.
39. All members of the Regional Fraternity Council as defined in article 6 section (a) above have active voice and may vote.
a) The ministers of each Local Fraternity has the primary responsibility for casting the vote of the Local Fraternity.
b) In the event a Local Fraternity Minister is impeded from attending the Chapter of Elections, a duly authorized delegate may cast the vote if presented. Such delegate must present a written evidence of his/her authorization to represent the Local fraternity.
c) No Local Fraternity may cast more than a single vote on any issue or any
c) Even if a person has a right to vote in his or her own name by more than one title, such person may cast only one ballot.
40. Regional elected officers shall consist of a Minister, Vice Minister, Secretary, Treasurer, Formation Director, plus four (4) Councilors. They shall be elected by the Regional Fraternity Council at its Chapter of Elections. They shall serve for a period of three years, and be eligible for reelection to the same office for no more than two consecutive terms, partial or complete. A third (3rd) term is permitted according to the General Constitutions, Article 79. They shall be installed and take office at the conclusion of the Chapter of Elections.
41. Elections shall take place according to the norms of the Canon Law, the General Constitutions, the National Statutes and the present guidelines.
42. The convocation of the Regional Fraternity Council for the purpose of elections shall be governed by the provisions of Article 76 of the General Constitutions.
a) At least four months prior to elections, the Regional Executive Council shall appoint a Chairperson for a Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee, acting in accordance with the directives of the Regional Executive Council, will present a slate of nominees for the different offices to the Regional Executive Council. This presentation shall be made approximately two months prior to the date set for the
b) It shall be the duty of the Nominations Committee to ensure that each candidate meets the qualifications for the office for which he/she is proposed, has reviewed the duties of that office, and is willing to serve if elected.
43. Office vacancy, resignation, and dismissal shall be governed by the General Constitutions Articles 81 to 84.
44. Interpretation of these Guidelines shall follow the rules of Canon Law, civil law where applicable, and may have recourse to Robert's Rules of Order in regard to procedural matter, with the understanding that in the event of any dispute the most cogent resource is prayerful consideration of our Father and Founder St. Francis, that most courteous and peace-loving man, and his probable point of view.
46. Interpretation of these Guidelines shall also be used in conjunction with the
Conference of National Spiritual Assistants Guidelines, as officially approved.
Date September 9, 1995
Submitted by the Steering Committee of
OUR LADY OF THE ANGELS REGIONAL FRATERNITY.
Kevin Corbett, SFO
POLL Cubita, SFO
Marion Curry, SFO
Paul Di Lena, SFO
Ruth Dowling, SFO
John Henderson, SFO
Peter Leone, SFO
Barbara Lyne, SFO
Edith Meissner, SFO
Coroline Penzack, SFO
Fr. Michael Ristori, OFM Cap.
Dito Schwartz, SFO
Richard Spana, SFO
John Trause, SFO
Fr. Richard Trezza, OFM
Anna Triono, SFO
Sheila Tuohy, SFO
Danuta Wyszynski, SFO
Resolution to Increase the Number of Councilors in Regional Executive Council
(To be voted on at the Chapter of Ministers, November 10, 2001)
Aware that the Our Lady of the Angels Regional Fraternity is the largest regional fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order in the country;
Aware that in view of the size of this Regional Fraternity, ministering to the needs of each and every member fraternity is an enormous and a very daunting task for the Regional Executive Council as constituted at present;
We, the ministers of the local fraternities, members of this Regional Fraternity, hereby propose, and hereby approve, that the present two (2) councillors be increased by two (2), each of these four to represent each of the four existing clusters, namely: the Manhattan, the Central New
Jersey, the Northern New Jersey and the Westchester clusters. In addition to their general responsibilities as members of the executive council, these councillors will ensure that the needs and concerns of each member fraternity within their cluster will be brought to the attention of the Regional Executive Council. In turn, these councillors will bring to the attention of the member fraternities whatever the Regional Executive Council has approved for the Regional Fraternity.
The councillors will be elected as, follows:
• the member fraternities of the cluster will nominate at least two
(2) perpetually professed member from the cluster
• these nominees will be voted on at the Regional Fraternity's chapter of elections by the entire Regional Fraternity
The method of electing these councillors and their terms of office will coincide with the other members of the Executive Council.
The following guidelines are promulgated in order to clarify the meaning of certain terms that has been used in connection with the status of Professed members. This will serve to amplify and to clarify Articles 31, 32 and 33 of the Governance Guidelines of the Our Lady of the Angels Regional Fraternity.
· Active – a Professed member is given this status if he or she consistently meets the
obligations of the life of the Fraternity, that is, attends Fraternity meetings
regularly, participates in Fraternity activities and apostolates, supports the
Fraternity financially, and so forth.
· A Professed member who consistently does not meet the obligations of the Life of the Fraternity, as specified above, may be described as an “inactive” member. However the term “inactive” will not be used as a status category because a member’s “inactivity” may be the result of circumstances beyond his or her control or it may be the conscious choice made by the member.
A Professed member who is inactive as a result of circumstances beyond his or her control may be given the status of “Excused” as follows:
(cf. Article 56 par. 1 of the General Constitutions)
· Excused – a Professed member who has not been active can be excused:
(a) from attending Fraternity meetings and participation in Fraternity activities
and/or apostolates on a temporary or a permanent basis, but support the
(b) from attending Fraternity meetings and from supporting the Fraternity financially.
(cf. Article 31 of the Governance Guidelines)
It is within the competence of the Fraternity Council to place a Professed member in the “Excused” status provided that the extent, in terms of time and as to whether it includes exemption from Fraternity financial support, is specified. The Council can act upon the written request of the member concerned or on its own initiative if the member is incapacitated enough to be unable to apply for the “Excused” status. The reasons for such exemption may be any one or more of, but not restricted to, the following:
· age or infirmity – the Professed member is already advanced in age
and has difficulty attending meetings and participating in Fraternity activities and/or apostolates due to weakness brought on by his or her age.
· illness - the Professed member has a lingering illness that prevents
him or her from participating from attending meetings and
participating in Fraternity activities and/or apostolates. A
distinction or differentiation should be made here between being
sick for a day or two or even up to a week and being ill for a month
· work – the Professed member has work days and work hours that are
in conflict with the days and the times that his or her Fraternity
has its meeting/s.
· family – the Professed member has family obligations such as taking
care of a sick relative that prevent him or her from attending
Fraternity meetings and participating in Fraternity
The Professed member, if he or she is able to, shall put his or her request in writing to the Fraternity council. The Fraternity council acting collegially has the option to approve or to disapprove the request. It also has the option to invite the member to appear before the Council to present his or her case.
The Council, in consultation with the member, whenever possible, determines the duration for which the member will be excused.
An “Excused” member is excused only from attending Fraternity meetings and from participating in Fraternity activities or apostolates. Article 32 of the Regional Fraternity’s Governance Guidelines stipulates that the “Excused” is not excused from praying some daily office, financially supporting the Fraternity, if able, and wearing the Tau cross symbol of the Order. In return, the Fraternity has the obligation to keep in contact with its “Excused” members, making sure that they are fully informed of what is going on with and in the Fraternity. This should include, especially, assigned lessons or readings for the continuing formation of the Fraternity members.
Only the Fraternity Council, acting collegially, not just the Minister nor the Spiritual Assistant nor one single individual, has the sole authority to approve or to disapprove applications to be “Excused”. The approval or disapproval shall be conveyed to the applicant in writing. Appropriate records should be kept in the Fraternity’s archives.
For the purpose of determining the local Fraternity’s financial contribution (per capita fee) to the Regional Fraternity, all “Excused” members are counted as Professed members for whom the local Fraternity must contribute (Article 31 of the Governance Guidelines.) In this connection, an “Excused” member who cannot support the Fraternity financially should not be placed in the “Lapsed” status in order to avoid paying his or her per capita fee to the Regional Fraternity.
A Professed member who has been “inactive” not as a result of circumstances beyond his or her control , as described above, but because it is his or her conscious choice, shall be given the status of “Lapsed” as follows:
· Lapsed – A Professed member who has been “inactive” for a period of at least six (6) months, because it is his or her conscious choice, not because of any circumstance beyond his or her control, shall be placed in the status of “Lapsed”. With much love and prudence, the Fraternity Council shall try to work out with the “Lapsed” member whatever problem/s he or she has, and try to resolve them, up to a period of not more than one year. In the meantime, the local Fraternity is not under any obligation to pay the per capita fee for the “Lapsed” member to the Regional Fraternity only for one year that the member is in this “Lapsed” status.
The “Lapsed” status can also be applied to a member who has been inactive for a period of at least six (6) months and during that period the Fraternity Executive Council has not been able to reach a proper decision due to a lack of information on the case at hand or any other reasons that impede the Council from constructively reaching a determination.
· Suspended - After one year, if the member has not returned to being an “Active” member, it is within the competence of the Fraternity Council to suspend the member through a secret vote. The Fraternity Council communicates its decision to suspend in writing to the member. (cf. Article 56, Par. 2 & 3; Article 57, Par. 1 & 2 of the General Constitutions).
A member can be in the “Lapsed” status for one year only, after which the member either returns to being:
· Active, or
· Excused, if the Fraternity Executive Council reaches proper justification or
· Suspended, if the member persists in ignoring his or her Fraternity obligation and
the Council provides the member with the formal suspension letter.
The Fraternity is not under any obligation to pay the per capita fee for the “Suspended” member.
The General Constitutions speaks of “voluntary withdrawal”. There are two (2) types of “voluntary withdrawal”, namely:
· Voluntary withdrawal from the Fraternity but not from the Order. This has the same effect as being “Suspended”. (cf. Article 56, Par. 3; Article 57, Par. 1 & 2, of the General Constitutions.
· Definitive voluntary withdrawal from the Order which has the same effect as being “Dismissed”. (cf. Article 58, Pars. 1-4 of the General Constitutions)
Regarding transfers from one fraternity to another, Article 55 of the General Constitutions states:
If a brother or sister, for any reasonable cause, desires to transfer to another Fraternity he or she informs the Fraternity to which he or she belongs, then makes the request, including the reasons for the transfer, to the Minister of the Fraternity to which he or she wishes to belong. The Council makes its decision after having received the necessary information from the Fraternity of origin.
The following guidelines for transfer from one Fraternity to another are promulgated in application of the above provision of the General Constitutions:
a) the member, who may have already been professed or who may still be a candidate, who wishes to transfer to another Fraternity, shall inform the Council of the Fraternity to which he or she presently belongs, in writing,
of his or her intentions. The member shall cite the reason/s why he or she wishes to transfer. If the member presently belongs to an “emerging fraternity”, sometimes also referred to as a pre-fraternity, the written request shall be sent to the Council of the Fraternity that is sponsoring the “emerging fraternity” or pre-fraternity.
b) the Council of the Fraternity to which the member presently belongs, shall collegially evaluate the request with love and prudence, taking into careful consideration the reason/s cited and above all else, the welfare of the member. If the reason/s appear to be well founded, the Council shall inform the member of the approval of his or her request. The Council will then proceed to forward the request to the Council of the Fraternity to which the member wishes to belong. If the member is a professed member, the Council of the Fraternity of origin shall inform, in writing, the Council of the Fraternity of destination of the member’s date of profession, and such other things that the Council of origin may wish to say about the member. If the member is still a candidate, the Council of the Fraternity of origin shall inform, in writing, the Council of the Fraternity of destination, the candidate’s date of admission, and his or her status as far as Formation is concerned.
It is anticipated that no member will ask to transfer to another Fraternity for some frivolous reason/s. However, if the Council of the Fraternity of origin, after careful evaluation of the reason/s cited, feel that the reason/s is or are not well founded, the Council shall call the member for a fraternal dialogue at which time the Council will ask the member to reconsider. The member in turn will be given the opportunity to present his or her case personally to the Council and to ask the Council, in turn, to reconsider. If the Council fails to dissuade the member from transferring, the only Franciscan thing left to do, is for the Council to accede to the request and proceed to inform, in writing, the Council of the Fraternity of destination as specified above.
c) The Council of the Fraternity of destination shall take the request into
consideration, if possible as soon as it receives the written communication. It is not however, in any manner or form, obligated to approve the transfer. This Council will have the option to accept or not to accept the transfer. It can also choose, if possible, to interview the transfer applicant. Whatever it decides, it shall forward their decision in writing to the Council of the Fraternity of origin. In case of a negative decision, the reason/s for denial may be specified. Again, the Council of the Fraternity of destination shall consider the application to transfer with utmost love and prudence.
d) If the transfer is effected, the Executive Council of the Our Lady of Angels Regional Fraternity need not be notified by either the Fraternity of origin or the Fraternity of destination. This will be automatically done, when the Fraternities submit their annual roster or changes to their roster of members to the Regional Fraternity. Furthermore, as have been intimated by some members before, the Provincial Spiritual Assistant of the obedience with which the member's Fraternity is affiliated need not be notified at all.
· At least six (6) months (preferably longer) before a local Fraternity’s elections are due, the local Fraternity Minister should inform the Regional Fraternity Minister, in writing, that the Fraternity is due for elections. The local Fraternity Minister and the Regional Fraternity Minister and a Regional Spiritual Assistant shall make arrangements among themselves for a mutually convenient date and time for the elections to be held. The lead-time of six (6) months or longer, is necessary in order to give both the Regional Fraternity Minister or his delegate and the Regional Spiritual Assistant or his delegate ample time to fit the local Fraternity elections into their schedules.
· It should be noted that paragraph 2 of Article 76 of the General Constitutions of the Secular Franciscan Order provides that:
2. The elective Assembly, or Chapter, will be presided by the Minister of the Council of the immediately higher level, or by his or her delegate, who confirms the election. (Where a local fraternity is concerned, the Minister of the Council of the immediately higher level, is the Minister of the Regional Fraternity).
In the local or regional Fraternities, the President or delegate to preside should not be a member of the Fraternity in which the elections are taking place. (If "Regional Fraternity Minister A" is a member of the "Local Fraternity A", he cannot preside over the elections of the "Local Fraternity A .)
The Spiritual Assistant of the immediately higher level or his delegate is to be present as a witness of the communion with the First Order and the TOR. (If needed, the Regional Spiritual Assistant may appoint the local Fraternity's own Spiritual Assistant as the Regional Spiritual Assistant's delegate. In this case, the local Fraternity's Spiritual Assistant, who ordinarily has an active voice or a right to vote in the Fraternity's elections should give up this right to vote during this particular elections to avoid conflict of interests.)
These constitutional provisions are quoted in here to ensure that the local Fraternities know that any local Fraternity elections without the Regional Fraternity Minister or his delegate as the presider and the Regional Spiritual Assistant or his delegate as a Friar witness is totally invalid, totally null and void.
· In the same manner as the notification of the Regional Fraternity Minister of the local Fraternity elections due, at least six months (or even longer) before the elections, a committee of at least three Fraternity members should be formed to accept written nominations for candidates to Fraternity Council offices.
· As soon as the "nominations committee" is formed, each member of the Fraternity should be asked to submit his or her nominations for the members of the Fraternity council, namely:
· The Minister
· The Vice Minister
· The Secretary
· The Treasurer
· The Formation Director
· Other Elective Councillors, if any
· Only perpetually or temporarily professed members and the Fraternity's Spiritual Assistant will be allowed to nominate the candidates.
· Each member shall be allowed to nominate one and only one person for a council office. The nominations shall be made in writing and should be submitted to the "nominations committee".
· Only permanently or perpetually professed member may be nominated for any of the offices. A permanently or perpetually professed member may be nominated for more than one council office. A permanently professed member may nominate himself or herself for any office or offices.
· The "nominations committee" shall tabulate the names of the nominees for each office. At least before three months before the elections, the "nominations committee" shall review the nominations that the committee has received. If there is any office for which nobody has been nominated, the committee shall ask the members for nominations for that office. Also, if there is any office for which only one person has been nominated, the committee shall ask the members for more nominations for that office.
· At least two months before the elections, the "nominations committee" shall inform, in writing, each member who has been nominated for any position or positions in the Fraternity council. The nominees shall respond, in writing, to the "nominations committee" indicating for which office or offices that he or she has been nominated, he or she will accept or reject the nomination or nominations. Those who accept their nomination or nominations shall further state that if elected, he or she will be willing to serve.
· After all the nominees have sent in their acceptances or rejections, the "nominations committee" shall review the nominations a second time to ensure that there are at least two (2) qualified (perpetually or permanently professed) members have been nominated for each post or fraternity council office. If all the nominees for a position reject the nomination, the "nominations committee" shall ask for nominations for that position. In the same manner, if a position has only one nominee for it, the committee shall ask for more nominations for the position.
· After the nominations process is completed, the "nominations committee" shall publish the line up of candidates for each of the Fraternity council office. These can be accomplished through the Fraternity's newsletter or in the absence of a Fraternity newsletter, the "nominations committee" may choose to write to each member of the Fraternity informing each member who has been nominated for each of the Fraternity Council positions.
B. After the Nomination Process:
· The Fraternity Minister assisted by the Council shall look for a suitable place where the elections will be held. The place should be large enough, so that at the time of the elections, all those who are eligible to vote, that is, all the perpetually or temporarily professed members of the Fraternity and the Spiritual Assistant, can be separated from those who are not eligible to vote, for example, candidates and inquirers and guests. The environment around the place should be suitable for elections.
· The Fraternity Minister shall direct that ballots be prepared for the elections. For each position, ballots with the names of the nominees for the position printed on each ballot shall be prepared before the elections. All candidates are listed alphabetically. In addition to the known nominees for the position, space should be provided on each ballot for two or more nominees that may come from the floor at election time, at which time the name/s of the additional candidates can be written on the ballot. Enough ballots should be prepared so that each eligible voting member will have a ballot for each position.
· More than one set of ballots should be prepared for each position on the chance that more than one balloting or voting may be required for a position. Three sets is recommended. Each set of ballots should be labeled according to the office and votation, e. g. Minister, ballot #1; Minister, ballot #2; Minister, ballot #3; etc.
In addition to the ballots, Tally Sheets should be prepared for use by the Presider, The Friar Witness, the Election Secretary and the scrutiners or tellers. The Tally Sheets should contain the names as listed in the ballots, space for nominations from the floor and space to list the number of votes cast.
· The Fraternity Minister shall ensure that, at election time, at least two (2) copies (more will be better) of the RITUAL BOOK, the Rule, the General Constitutions, the National Statutes, the Governance Guidelines of the Regional Fraternity, the local Fraternity's statutes or by-laws (if any) and the Handbook for Spiritual Assistants should be readily available at election time. This is to anticipate any need to refer to any of these documents at election time.
C. Election Time
· The Presider instructs the voters to mark only one name on the ballot. The ballot may be marked:
· By putting a check ( ) mark to the left or to the right (not both) of the name of the candidate being voted for or
· By putting an ( x ) mark to the left or to the right (not both) of the name of the candidate being voted for
Any ballot where more than one candidate was voted on or any ballot that is not marked as specified above will be considered invalid and shall not be counted in determining absolute majority. For example, if 100 electors participate in an election and 100 ballots are counted but 3 are found to be invalid, the absolute majority will be based on the 97 valid votes cast not on 100. In this example the absolute majority will not be 51 but 49. (97 ÷ 2 = 48.5, round off to 49)
A ballot that is returned blank, that is, without any mark on any of the candidates listed in the ballot (the voter chose not to vote for anyone) will be considered valid and will be counted in determining absolute majority.
· Vice Minister
· Formation Director
· Councillors if any
Unsuccessful candidates for any position may be nominated and elected to any other position that has not been voted upon yet. For example, an unsuccessful candidate for Minister, may be nominated and elected as Vice Minister, or as Secretary or as Treasurer and so on. No one person may be elected to more than one position.
After the Elections.
because of tradition, it is postponed until a later date.
21. Then the whole council together commits itself to its ministry of service
according to the ritual (p. 42).
23. The Friar Witness begins the common prayer according to the ritual (p. 43)
beginning with the words, “Let us pray…”
Article 79 (of the General Constitutions of the Secular Franciscan Order)
1. The minister and vice minister may be elected for two consecutive terms of three years each. For a third and final successive election to the office of minister or vice-minister, a majority of two-thirds of the votes present, which must be obtained in the first ballot, will be necessary.
· Note that the operative word in this article is the word consecutive. If a person has been elected and has served two (2) consecutive terms as Minister and after his or her second term as Minister, is elected to another office other than Minister or Vice Minister or was not elected to any other Council office, he or she will be eligible to run and be elected as Minister in subsequent two (2) elections.
Example: First election: Peter A was elected Minister and served his term.
Second election: Peter A was re-elected Minister and served his term.
Third election: Peter A was elected Secretary or Treasurer or Formation Director or Councillor or was not elected to any Council office.
Fourth election: Peter A is eligible and can be elected as Minister.
Fifth election: Peter A is eligible and can be elected as Minister.
A Minister or Vice Minister may run for a third and final consecutive or successive election. In this case, two-thirds of the votes of those present will be necessary and it must be obtained on the first ballot. If on the first ballot the Minister or Vice Minister running for a third or successive election does not have two-thirds of the votes of those present, he or she will not be allowed to run in the subsequent balloting. In this case, if only one candidate is left for the position of Minister or Vice-Minister, nominations for additional candidates from the floor is required.
2. The out-going minister cannot be elected vice-minister.
3. The councilors may be elected for additional successive terms of three-years. Beginning with the third successive election, a majority of two-thirds of the votes of those present, which must be obtained on the first ballot, will be necessary.
The councilors referred to in this article are the offices of: Secretary, Treasurer, Formation Director, and Councilors. Refer to the comments above regarding the two-thirds of the votes of those present that must be obtained in the first ballot -- they apply to the councilors running for additional successive terms of three-years beginning with the third successive or consecutive election.
Handbook for Spiritual Assistance To The
Secular Franciscan Order
1.0 Phase I: Setting up newly forming groups
1.1 “Newly forming groups" are those who are exploring the possibility of establishing a Secular Franciscan Fraternity. There may or may not be a professed Secular Franciscan in the group. "Newly forming groups" shall have a minimum of five (5) members. This minimum is dictated by the fact that, if eventually the "newly forming group" successfully goes through the entire process and is to be established as a Fraternity, Article 46, Par. 2 of the General Constitutions requires that "for the valid establishment of a local Fraternity at least five professed members are required". The number "five" corresponds to the number of professed members to establish a Fraternity Council.
1.2 1.21 If those wishing to form a new group belong to an existing fraternity, they submit a written request for approval to the council of that fraternity. The council acts on the request. If approved, the group is given the status of a "newly forming group". The minister of the fraternity informs the Regional Executive Council of the existence and development of the newly forming group. If the local Fraternity Council does not approve the request, the Council shall inform the group of the disapproval in writing, citing the reason or reasons for the unfavorable action. The new group shall have the right to appeal the Regional Executive Council for reconsideration.
1.22 If those wishing to form a new group do not belong to an existing fraternity, they would submit a written request for approval to the Regional Executive Council, which acts on the request. If approved, the group is given the status of a "newly forming group" and is assigned to a sponsoring fraternity within the regional fraternity. If there are any professed members in the newly forming group, the minister of the sponsoring fraternity informs those fraternities and obtains their official transfer to the sponsoring fraternity. The Regional Executive Council should try to assign the "newly forming group" to a local fraternity that is nearest geographically to the "newly forming group".
1.3 Once the "newly forming group" is approved, the "newly forming group" shall choose through an election process, one of its members as a leader and begins to meet on its own to build community. The elected leader shall be called "Coordinator". In addition to the Coordinator, a Vice Coordinator, a Secretary and a Treasurer may be chosen through the same election process that elects the Coordinator or they may be appointed. With regard to a Formation Director, refer to 1.32 below.
1.31 The "Coordinator" shall be the liaison person to the council of the sponsoring fraternity. The council of its sponsoring fraternity may invite the "Coordinator" to its meeting when appropriate.
1.32 The sponsoring fraternity council will oversee the formation of the members of the "newly forming group".
1.33 The "newly forming group" shall send a semi-annual report to the council of the sponsoring fraternity with regard to their finances and the progress in the formation of their members.
1.34 The "newly forming group" shall be encouraged to participate in the activities of the sponsoring fraternity.
1.4 The "newly forming group" begins a period of building community as a semi-autonomous section or satellite of the sponsoring fraternity. Included in their gatherings will be structures and procedures necessary for its operation. These procedures shall include the establishment of a budget and the collection of common fund contributions from the members. In its gatherings, provision should be made for prayer, formation, communications, and socializing. In addition, opportunities for interaction among the members outside the fraternity gatherings should be sought. Regular interaction with other Franciscans should also be sought. These structures and procedures are to be approved by the council of the sponsoring fraternity with an accompanying system for accountability and evaluation.
1.5 The minister of the sponsoring fraternity shall preside over the Rite of Admission to admit any member of the "newly forming group" to the Secular Franciscan Order as a candidate. Likewise, the minister of the sponsoring fraternity shall preside over the Rite of Profession or Permanent Commitment to the Gospel Life, as well as the Temporary Commitment to the Gospel Life, and shall receive the profession of any member of the "newly forming group" who is a candidate.
1.6 When the "newly forming group" has the minimum requirement of five (5) professed members, then and only then, will the "newly forming group" officially begin its first year of preparation to become an "emerging community".
1.7 After the completion of at least one year with five (5) professed members, the "newly
forming group, after seeking the approval of the sponsoring fraternity council, may submit a
written request to the Regional Executive Council that it be placed in the status of "emerging
1.8 After seeking the status of "emerging community", the "newly forming group" requests and
receives a pastoral and fraternal visitation from the Regional Executive Council to assess its
suitability for the status of an "emerging community".
2.1 Upon completion of the pastoral and fraternal visitation, the Regional Executive Council acts on
the request of the newly forming group. If approved the group is given the status of an "emerging
2.11 The "emerging community" elects its own council, starts functioning like a fraternity, with fraternity gatherings, council meetings, and keeping minutes, records and financial accounts. Only the professed members of the "emerging community" may be elected to its council.
2.12 When appropriate, the council of the sponsoring fraternity may invite the leader or minister of the "emerging community" to the sponsoring fraternity's council meetings. The leader or minister of the "emerging community" remains as a non-voting member of the council of the sponsoring fraternity.
2.13 Rite of admissions and professions of the members of the "emerging community" are approved by the council of the "emerging community" and confirmed by the council of the sponsoring fraternity. The minister of the sponsoring fraternity has the responsibility of presiding over the rite of admissions and professions of the members of the "emerging community" according to the Ritual, but he or she may delegate this responsibility to the leader or minister of the "emerging community". The "emerging community" are allowed to recruit new members with the approval of the council of the sponsoring fraternity.
2.14 The council of the "emerging community" provides a written quarterly report for the sponsoring fraternity and the Regional Executive Council. Included in this report will be, among other things, the financial status of the "emerging community" and the progress of the formation of the members of the "emerging community".
2.15 The council of the "emerging community" will ask the council of the sponsoring fraternity to request for the "emerging community" the Provincial Minister (or delegate) of the Friar Province to which the "emerging community" wishes to be bonded:
--- an intention of "altius moderanem" from the Friar Province
--- the appointment of a competent Spiritual Assistant/Animator.
Ordinarily the "emerging community" chooses the Friar Province to which the sponsoring fraternity is bonded but it may happen that the "emerging community" discerns that spiritual assistance would be better provided by a different Friar Province of any of the four obediences. The council of the "emerging community" will then enter into a formal (written) agreement of "altius moderanem" with the Friar Province chosen by pledging affiliation with or aggregation to that particular province.
2.16 The Friar Provincial Minister (or delegate) informs the local ordinary about the existence and development of an "emerging community" in his (arch)diocese.
2.17 The Regional Executive Council informs the National Executive Council of the existence and development of "emerging community", the place of meeting and the contact person.
2.2 The "emerging community" establishes for itself the structures and procedures necessary for:
2.21 its operation (including prayer, on-going formation, ministries, communications, socializing)
2.22 vocation promotion
2.23 formation of inquirers and candidates
2.24 opportunities of interaction outside the fraternity gathering
2.25 regular interaction with other fraternities and other Franciscans.
These structures and procedures are to be endorsed by the council of the sponsoring
Fraternity and approved by the Regional Executive Council with an accompanying system for accountability and evaluation. Attention should be given specially to the formation of the members. The sponsoring fraternity shall continue to oversee the formation of the "emerging community" until it becomes a canonically established fraternity. However, the sponsoring fraternity will have the Formation Director elected by the "emerging community" involved in the formation.
2.3 After the completion of at least three years, the "emerging community" may submit a written request to the Regional Executive Council for its canonical establishment as a fraternity.
2.4 Before it accedes to the request, the Regional Executive Council authorizes a fraternal visit of the "emerging community", and Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants authorizes a pastoral visit in conjunction with the Friar Province to which the "emerging community" is bonded. The visits are to ascertain the "emerging community's" viability for life in fraternity, its faithful observance of the Rule and Constitutions, and its proper compliance in regards to minutes, records, registers, and finances.
A Cluster is a loose association of Fraternities situated in a more or less contiguous geographical area within the Region. To this end the Manhattan Cluster is an association of Fraternities situated in Manhattan, the North Jersey Cluster is an association of Fraternities situated in Northern New Jersey, the Central Jersey Cluster is an association of Fraternities situated in Central New Jersey and the Westchester Cluster is an association of Fraternities situated in Yonkers and Mt. Vernon.
Purpose of the Clusters:
The Clusters are formed to assist the Regional Fraternity in promoting and advancing the Franciscan charism among the members of the Fraternities in each Cluster. Obviously, it is a lot easier to initiate or promote activity or activities for advancing Franciscan charism, where there is a group that is lot smaller and a lot less unwieldy than the entire Regional Fraternity.
Animation of the Cluster: -
A Cluster is animated by a Cluster Coordinator chosen from among the members of the Fraternities in the Cluster. The manner that the Cluster Coordinator is chosen is left entirely to the members of the Fraternities in the Cluster.
In addition to the Cluster Coordinator, a member of the Regional Executive Council, is appointed by the Regional Executive Council, to be a Co-Coordinator of the Cluster.
The Cluster Coordinator and the Co-Coordinator is not to be considered as another layer of governance authority between the Fraternity Councils of the member Fraternities and the Regional Executive Council. The only purpose of their positions is to provide some leadership to the Cluster.
The Cluster Coordinator runs all Cluster meetings. Only in the absence of the Cluster Coordinator, does the Co-Coordinator run the meeting or meetings.
The main function of the Co-Coordinator appointed by Regional Executive Council is not to act as an overseer but to act as an 'idea resource' person for the Cluster. He or she can make suggestions, but the members of the Fraternities in the Cluster make the decision to adopt or not to adopt the suggestion or suggestions.
Cluster Activities: -
All activities decided upon by the Cluster is to be deemed as such, as Cluster activities. The presence of the Co-Coordinator appointed by the Regional Executive Council does not make any Cluster activity a Regional Fraternity activity, even if such activity came as a suggestion from the Co-Coordinator.
All Cluster activities is run or managed by the members of the Fraternities in the Cluster with the help from the Co-Coordinator, if necessary.
All Cluster activities are primarily for the benefit of the members of the member Fraternities. However, it is strongly encouraged that the Cluster invites to its activities, Fraternities from the other Clusters. This act of inviting other Fraternities, however, shall not and does not make the Cluster activity to a Regional Fraternity activity.
Funding for Cluster Activities: -
Funding for all Cluster activities is the sole responsibility of the Cluster. It is strongly recommended that before a Cluster decides on any activity, the member Fraternities should decide or, at least, come to a consensus, as to how to finance the proposed activity.
It is perfectly possible that the Cluster will not have any standing fund to finance the initial expenses that an activity may require. In this case, the Cluster Coordinator, with the approval of the member Fraternities, may request, in writing, the Regional Executive Council to advance the necessary funds. Such funds advanced to the Cluster by the Regional Fraternity is to be paid back to the Regional Fraternity within a period of three (3) months and not more than five (5) months after the conclusion of the activity.
All funds advanced to the Cluster from the funds of the Regional Fraternity are to be made by check payable to the Cluster Coordinator by the Treasurer of the Regional Fraternity. The Cluster Coordinator is responsible in disbursing the funds to cover the expenses of the Cluster for its activity or activities. Individual members of the Cluster who might have advanced personal funds for Cluster expenses are to submit their claim or claims for reimbursement to the Cluster Coordinator, not to the Treasurer of the Regional Fraternity. The Cluster Coordinator is responsible for paying back the Regional Fraternity any fund or funds advanced to the Cluster.
Whenever practicable, the Cluster is to ask all participants in any activity to share the expenses equally.
Coordination With The Regional Executive Council: -
To avoid conflict with any Regional activity planned or proposed by the Regional Executive Council, the Cluster Coordinator consults the Secretary of the Regional Executive Council with regard especially to the date or dates and the nature of the proposed activity or activities.
Reporting to Regional Executive Council: -
Expenses incurred by the Cluster is not to be reported to the Regional Fraternity represented by the Treasurer even if funds were advanced from the Regional Fraternity to the Cluster.
The Co-Coordinator is to report informally to the Regional Executive Council the result or results of all activity or activities undertaken by the Cluster. Particular attention should be given to such things as how the Cluster initiated, managed, and funded the affair. It would also be pertinent to point out especially the difficulties that the Cluster had to contend with and how these difficulties were resolved. All these could be shared with the other Clusters for their guidance.
 General Constitutions, Title II, Article 17
 Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, Chapter 2 Par. No. 4c
 General Constitutions, Title III, Articles 46 and 47; National Statutes, Section III, Article 18
 Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, Chapter 3, Par. No. 25; General Constitutions, Title I, Article 30, Par.
 Refer to Resolution No. 1, Appendix A
 Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, Chapter 16, Par. No. 26b; General Constitutions, Title VI, Articles 92-
 General Constitutions, Title III, Article 63; National Statutes, Section III, Article 21, Par. No. 14
 National Statutes, Section III, Article 21, Par. No. 15 (Section I, Article 6, Par. No. 2)
 Refer to Resolution No. 1, Appendix A
 General Constitutions, Title VI, Article 92, Par. No. 2
 General Constitutions, Title VI, Article 92, Par. No. 2
 Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, Chapter 3, Par. No. 25; General Constitutions, Title I, Article 30, Par.
 General Constitutions, Title II, Articles 41-43
 Refer to Guidelines for Determining the Status of a Professed Member, Appendix B
 Refer to Guidelines for Determining the Status of a Professed Member, Appendix B
 General Constitutions, Title III, Articles 55-60; Refer to Guidelines for Determining the Status of a
Professed Member, Appendix B; Refer to Guidelines for Transfer from One Fraternity to Another, Appendix C
 General Constitutions, Title IV, Articles 76-80; National Statutes, Section III, Article 21, Par. No. 12;
Refer to Guidelines for Conducting Fraternity Elections for Council Members, Appendix D
 Refer to Guidelines for Conducting Fraternity Elections of Council Members, Appendix D
 Refer to Resolution No. 1, Appendix A