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
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
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
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
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
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
Article 20. Transfer, Withdrawal, Suspension and Dismissal from
the Fraternity and from
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
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
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
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
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.
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