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Section III

Fraternal Life

Article 16. Fraternity Life 
 
   1..The provisions of Articles 2, 3 and r of the General Constitutions concerning the nature of the vocation to the Secular Franciscan Order apply. 
   2.The fraternal life, with its vitality and sustaining force, is meant to exist on the national level as well as on regional and local levels. For this reason, the National Fraternity is so constituted by leadership and structure, vitalized by the participation of its members, and nurtured by ongoing formation and spiritual assistance as to achieve its objective of being a real fraternity; and the same is true for the Regional Fraternity. 
   3.The external sign of the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States is the TAU Cross. 



Article 17. Fraternal and Pastoral Visitations 
 
    1.The provisions of Article 28 of the International Statutes of the Secular Franciscan Order and of Title III, A, 36, B, 41 and C, 47 of the International Statutes for the Spiritual and Pastoral 
Assistance to the Secular Franciscan Order, shall govern fraternal and pastoral visitations at all levels. 
   2.The Fraternities should bear in mind that they are subject to the vigilance of the local Ordinary insofar as they perform their apostolic activities within the local churches. 
   3.Secular Franciscans should, therefore, collaborate with their local Ordinaries and follow their directions, inasmuch as they are the moderators of the ministry of the Word and of the Liturgy and the coordinators of the various forms of apostolate in the local church. 



Article 18. Local Fraternity 
 

   1.The local fraternity is the primary constituent part of the entire structure of Franciscan life to which the member relates. To the local fraternity the inquirer is initially welcomed. It is here 
that the seed of interest is developed and nurtured through a year of more of candidacy, until the member is ready for profession. Later the fraternity provides the caring, the opportunity to share, and the hands to grasp in communal prayer as the years of faithful membership deepen and the concept of service develops. 
   2.The provisions of Articles 46, sec. 2 and 47, sec. 1 of the General Constitutions shall govern concerning the canonical establishment of new fraternities and the Franciscan family which assumes pastoral care. 
   3.In the event a fraternity wishes to pass to the pastoral care of another branch of the Franciscan family, it shall inform the Regional Executive Council of its request. In this connection, it is required that the fraternity submit documents from the religious major superior of its present branch of the Franciscan family, and also from the religious major superior of the branch to which it desires to transfer, agreeing to the change.The Regional  Executive Council confers with the Regional Spiritual Assistant of the branch to which the fraternity wishes to transfer, in order to verify that there is available proper spiritual assistancefrom within the new branch. 
   4.Should one or more groups desire to establish permanent sections within a local fraternity based on particular needs or common interests, they may do so on petition of their local 
Fraternity Council and approval of their Regional Fraternity Council, so long as they continue to participate fully in the local fraternity's fraternal and apostolic life. 

     Such sections remain subject to the local fraternity as constituent parts of it, and their members are bound to attend general meetings of the local fraternity and to contribute to the 
support of that fraternity, independent of the needs of the common interest sections. 

     Precise norms for establishment and function of such groups shall be set forth in the NAFRA Norms for Formation. Included among such norms shall be the right of the sections to establish norms governing their meetings and activities, which shall in all cases be supplementary to but not alternative to meetings of the local fraternity as a whole. 
   5.Provisions set forth in these Statutes for NAFRA administration shall be used as a model for elections, conduct of business, structures for control of property, composition and duties of  the Fraternity Minister and of the Fraternity Council, replacement of officers who are unable to continue in office, and similar business of the local fraternity. Appropriate budgets and 
annual reports should be published to the members of the fraternity. 
   6.The local fraternity is responsible for contributing to the Regional Fraternity on a fair share basis from its common fund to underwrite the cost of that fraternity. 
   7.At the time of fraternal and pastoral visits, and also on the occasion of their presiding and witnessing elections, the Fraternity Executive Council shall take care to present to Regional Officers and to delegates of the President of the Regional Conference of Spiritual Assistants a stipend appropriate to the journey made and the length of stay required. 
   8.It is at the local level that activities have their greatest meaning to our members. The local fraternity council should expend great care to provide for thought-provoking activities and 
programs to foster Franciscan life and to deepen Franciscan spirituality among fraternity members. 
   9.As members become unable to attend meetings on a regular basis, the Council should set up a method by which regular contacts are maintained. 



Article 19. Initial Formation 
 
   1.The minimum age for perpetual profession as a Secular Franciscan in the United States is twenty-one years. The minimum age for temporary profession is eighteen years. 
   2.The period of inquiry shall consist of not less than six months. 
   3.The period of candidacy shall consist of not less than twelve (12) months and not more than thirty-six (36) months. 
   4.The governance of the process of formation in the United States will be conducted according to norms established by the National Fraternity Council. 
Article 20. Transfer, Withdrawal, Suspension and Dismissal from the Fraternity and from 
the Order 

   1.The provisions set forth in Articles 55 through 59 of the General Constitutions shall constitute the manner and means for transfer, withdrawal, suspension and dismissal from the fraternity 
and from the Order. 



Article 21. Regional Fraternity 

The Regional Fraternities of the Secular Franciscan Order within the United States of America 

   1.are each composed as Regional Fraternities by the National Fraternity Council of NAFRA in accordance with the General Constitutions and the National Statues. 
   2.are each juridical persons made up of an organic union of all local fraternities which have been integrated within a specifically delineated geographical or pastoral common area according to the determination of the National Fraternity Council of NAFRA. 
   3.are animated and guided by a Regional Fraternity Minister and by a Regional Fraternity Council which are duly elected; 
   4.are organized and function in conformity with the Rule the General Constitutions, the Ritual, and these Statutes. 
   5.have power to enact individual norms, so long as they do not conflict with the authorities set out in No. 4 above. 
   6.Each has its own seat, the location of which is within its power to determine. 
   7.The National Fraternity Council shall confer with the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants, to inform them of the composition of each Regional Fraternity as it occurs, and to 
seek appropriate spiritual assistance. 
   8.The governing bodies of each Regional Fraternity are: 
     a. The Regional Fraternity Council 
     b. The Regional Executive Council. 
   9.The Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants exercises pastoral care and spiritual guidance in regard to each Regional Fraternity as an integral component part of NAFRA and of the 
Secular Franciscan Order, by the same means and manner as does the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants in regard to NAFRA. 
 
10.Regional Fraternity Council 
    The Regional Fraternity Council is composed of the Ministers of the local fraternities which together form the Regional Fraternity; the members of the Regional Executive Council; and 
the Regional Spiritual Assistants, each of whom has active voice. The immediate past Minister of the Regional Fraternity may be invited by the Regional Fraternity Council participate in its deliberations. 
  11.The regional Fraternity Council is the representative organ of all of the fraternities which together compose the Regional Fraternity, and has the power to create regional norms in conformity with the Rule, the General Constitutions, and these Statutes; and any such norms will be valid within its assigned territory. 
  12.The Regional Fraternity Council shall meet at least once a year. Every third year the Regional Fraternity Council shall conduct its elections in accord with the applicable law. 
  13.The Regional Fraternity Council has the duties set forth in Article 62 of the General Constitutions. 
  14.The Regional Minister has the duties set forth in Article 63 of the General Constitutions. 
  15.Regional Executive Council 

     The Regional Executive Council is composed of the following voting members: the Regional Minister, the Regional Vice Minister, the Regional Secretary, the Regional Treasurer, at least 
one elected Councilor, (prior to each elective chapter the Regional Fraternity Council will recommend the number of these additional Councilors and the specific need for adding them and propose these criteria to the Chapter itself), and the President of the Conference of Regional Spiritual Assistants, if that be the case. 

     The Regional Executive Council shall meet at least twice a year, at times and places to be determined by its members. Written notice of meetings shall be given by the Regional 
Minister at least one month in advance. Special meetings may be called at the request of the Regional Minister or by written request of two or more members, and written notice is waived by the members' presence at any emergency session. 
  16.Duties of Officers 
The duties of the Regional Vice Minister, Secretary, and Treasurer shall follow the model set forth in that portion of these Statutes which deals with the National Fraternity insofar as it 
may be adapted to the needs and circumstances of the Regional Fraternity. 

     Each Regional Fraternity shall follow the model set forth in that portion of these Statutes which deals with the National Fraternity in connection with policies and procedures to be followed in the event of resignation or removal from office on the part of any elected Officer. 
  17.Structure for Property Control 
The provisions relating to property control which appear in these Statutes in the section dealing with the responsibilities of the National Fraternity shall apply to the Regional Fraternities insofar as they may be adapted to the needs and circumstances of the Regional Fraternity. 

     An audit shall be performed at least every three years of the books of the Regional Fraternity by two professed members appointed by the Regional Fraternity Council who are not then 
currently serving on said Executive Council, with due emphasis on the selection of persons having proper competence. 

     Particular note should be taken that expenses of the Regional Fraternity Minister and members of the Regional Executive Council, including those members who have been appointed but serve without vote, shall be borne by the Regional Fraternity for their attendance at all meetings. 

     The Regional Fraternity is responsible for contributing to the National Fraternity on a fair share basis from its common fund to underwrite the cost of that fraternity. 
  18.Fraternal and Pastoral Visits 
     a. Each Regional Executive Council shall make its requests of the National Minister and of the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants for its fraternal and pastoral visits at least  every three years. 
     b. At the time of fraternal and pastoral visits, and also on the occasion of their presiding and witnessing elections, the Regional Executive Council shall take care to present to NAFRA officers and to delegates of the President of the National Conference of Spiritual Assistants a stipend appropriate to the journey made and the length of stay required. 




Article 22. Amendments. Interpretation of Statutes 

   1.These Statutes may be amended by two-thirds vote of the National Fraternity Council. 
   2.All such amendments are subject to the approval of International Presidency. 
   3.Interpretation of these Statutes shall follow the rules of canon law, civil law where applicable, and may have recourse to Robert's Rule of Order in regard to procedural matters, with the 
understanding that in the event of any dispute the most cogent resource is prayerful consideration of our Father and founder Francis, that most courteous and peace- loving man, and his probable point of view. 

Addendum: 

Wherever there appears in the above Statutes the word "Region" or "Regional," and so long as any Provinces remain in the organization of NAFRA, the word may also read to mean "Province" or "Provincial." This provision shall lapse and cease to be applicable when the last Province shall cease to exist in NAFRA. 

Attested as Approved October 20, 1994 by National Chapter NAFRA and as Amended by CIOFS July 8, 1995. 

Signed: Richard Morton, SFO Minister 

Signed: William Wicks, SFO Secretary 

   
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