Franciscans Exhorted to Remember, and Renew

Pope Greets Members of Third Order Regular

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 7, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II exhorted the Third Order Regular of St. Francis to face the new millennium by remembering its roots and renewing itself for the future.



The Pontiff received the "Poverello´s" disciples this morning in an audience, at the end of their 109th general chapter.

The Franciscans who had convened in Ariccia, near Rome, elected Croatian Father Ilija Ivkovic as new minister-general. They also focused on the order´s apostolic renewal. The order has 842 religious, including 565 priests, and 186 houses.

During the audience, John Paul II gave special attention to the witness and lay commitment of this order, founded in 1221.

"Religious life, suffused by the Gospel, does not rest in complacency over the past, but lives the present intensely, and projects itself enthusiastically toward the future," the Pope explained. "The dialectic between legacy and prophecy confers a valid foundation to your hopes for the third millennium."

The Pope encouraged the Franciscans in their mission fields, which include solidarity and culture, asceticism, and ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

He said the new millennium "hopes to see in you witnesses of evangelical conversion, agents of charity and evangelization, prophets of a world renewed in faith and love through the fruitful infusion of Christian values."