Franciscan School Summer Institute to focus on Pope Francis

Vatican City - April 16, 2014: Pope Francis greets pilgrims in St. Peter's Square during the Wednesday general audience on April 16, 2014. (Credit: Catholic News Agency)

“A Pope Named Francis, A New Vision for the Church” is the topic for the third annual Summer Institute at Old Mission Santa Barbara set for July 27-Aug. 1. 

The five-day workshop in Santa Barbara is hosted by the Franciscan School of Theology (FST) at the Mission Sana Barbara Renewal Center and is open to the public.  

Scheduled speakers at the Institute include Franciscan Father Joseph Chinnici, FST president; Franciscan Brother William Short, FST dean; and Franciscan Sister Ramona Miller, FST spiritual formation director and immediate past president of the Franciscan Federation.  

The topics range from exploring the spirituality, theology and social precepts of St. Francis of Assisi with Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, to exploring the possibility of a new springtime in the Church, and to the ways in which “Franciscan” themes were present in the life and ministry of Pope Francis before he was pope. 

Father Chinnici — whose presentations will address the Franciscan “Yes” to the World, the Crisis of Communal Commitment, and the New Evangelization — said he would like Summer Institute students to come away with a new excitement for Christian life and hope in the power of God in the World. “I would like them (students) to rejoice in the opening that Pope Francis’ vision has created for the Franciscan way of life and its beliefs to ‘go public’ in the Church and in the world. I would like them to experience the joy of the Gospel.”

Sister Miller will explore the question of how Pope Francis will enliven the dormant, universal principles exemplified by St Francis and St. Clare of Assisi in the 13th century. She will make comparisons of words and examples of the two saints around the theme of Church as “mother,” and the theme of prayer. 

Brother Short’s topics will include “A Pastor in Argentina: The ‘Conversion’ of Pope Francis,” and “A Church of the Poor, A Church for the Poor: A Theme from St. John XXIII.”    

 “Our Summer Institute is more than just an academic workshop,” said Franciscan Father Franklin Fong, FST assistant director of development. “It’s an opportunity for the faithful laity, as well as priests and members of various religious orders, to further develop their pastoral ministries and deepen their faith journeys.”

Old Mission Santa Barbara Renewal Center is a 60-room facility. For information and registration, contact Father Fong, (760) 547-1800, ext. 201, or ffong@sandiego.edu.


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Archbishop José H. Gomez

As I write, I’ve just read the sad news that 90 Christians have been kidnapped from two villages in Syria. Of course we were all shocked earlier this month by the news that 21 Coptic Christians were executed in Syria — killed, as Pope Francis said, “for the mere fact of being Christians.” 

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