Conscious that God is the primary source of all formation, our Institute collaborates with the action of the Holy Spirit to help each brother to discern and respond freely and progressively in oﬀering of himself to God and to the service of the Church.
As Franciscans, our formation is a continuous growth in the vocation to discipleship of Christ, a process of training that leads to what blessed Francis called the life of the lesser brothers “so that his followers might learn from the very name itself that they have come to the school of the humble Christ to learn humility.”
Our Institute achieves the goal of integral formation by faithful adherence to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, our Constitutions, Directory, General plan of formation which specify, principles, contents and procedures of every state of formation.
Our Institute, through the Superiors, gives special attention to the formation process and dedicates resources, opportunity and time as required by the diﬀerent stages.
During the time of Aspirancy, candidates remain outside the Institute. This preparatory stage aims at verifying their intention and elements of human and emotional maturity necessary to recommend them for admission to Postulancy. The Directory and General plan of formation sets out the procedure for admission and duration.
During Postulancy our Institute gives candidates opportunity to experience human and spiritual maturity under the guidance of the Postulancy master as they respond to God’s call with suﬃcient and proper responsibility and freedom.
The Superior General, with the consent of his Council admits candidates to Postulancy, having heard the opinion and recommendation of the Vocations director and the Formation team regarding the level of the candidates’ human and emotional maturity, and hope to be formed in our way of life. The candidates are given San Damiano cross as a mark of discernment of their vocation in Postulancy.
Our Institute requires that those to be admitted to Postulancy:
- Are baptised male Catholics between the age of eighteen and twenty nine years, have right intention and are not prevented by any impediments.
- Have good health, suitable character and suﬃcient qualities of maturity.
- Have completed secondary school education with a grade acceptable for access to a University or Institution of higher learning in their respective countries of origin.
- Are introduced by their parish priests.
Candidates under the age of eighteen and over thirty years are admitted in our Institute on exceptional basis by the General Superior with the consent of his Council, having heard the opinion of the Vocations director and the Formation team.
Candidates who had already been admitted to a Seminary or into other institutes require a testimony of the Local ordinary, major superiors, or rectors.
The Superior General with consent of the Council appoints a Postulant master, a brother who has an appropriate formation, understanding of the youth, and zealous about the quality and increase of vocations in our Institute.
The duration of Postulancy is one year. The period is shortened, or prolonged but not beyond three years, according to the determination of the General Superior with consent of the Council, having heard the Formation team.
In addition to the criteria already established for admission to Postulancy, the candidate is to sign a document of no claims of any beneﬁts or compensation whatsoever towards the Institute, when he decides to leave or be asked to do so.
Upon completion of Postulancy, the candidate writes an application for admission to the Novitiate. The General Superior with consent of his Council, having considered the recommendation of the Postulancy master, admits the candidate to the novitiate.The same authority dismisses a postulant having heard the opinion of the Postulant master and the Formation team.
Our Institute does not admit to the Novitiate a candidate who:
- Has contracted marriage which still exists
- Is currently bound by sacred bonds to some other institute
- Enters the Institute under unlawful external pressure or fear
- Conceals his former incorporation in another institute or seminary
- Conceals a grave health condition, such as terminal or highly contagious diseases
- Attracted debts or loans and has not fully served them
- Has attempted suicide
- Has been convicted for grave crimes
- Has committed delicts against the faith, and other grave crimes of which the judgement is reserved to the Holy See
- Has manifest homosexual tendencies.
The Novitiate is the period in which candidates begin to experience the way of life of our Institute. The Novices are helped at this time to understand better the divine vocation and the demands of religious life in the charism and spirituality proper to our Institute. They have the opportunity for human, emotional and spiritual growth as they deepen their knowledge and clarify their understanding of the call to personal union with Christ, fraternal life in community and the signiﬁcance of living the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience.
Entrance to the Novitiate is preceded by a three- day retreat and candidates receive from the General Superior or his delegate an appropriate uniform and the Franciscan Tau as a mark of the beginning of their life in the Institute.
Novices undertake their formation in a Novitiate house erected by the General Superior with consent of his Council. The General Superior with consent of the Council can allow a novice, in a particular case, to make novitiate in another house of the Institute under the direction of a brother designated for this special role, who acts in the place of the director of novices.
The Novitiate programme is established in the Institute’s General formation plan, in such a way that it permits the integral growth of the Novices in religious life under careful direction of the Novice director and support of his assistants and all members of the Institute.62 To achieve this, novices are to:
- Be led to cultivate human and Christian virtues through prayer and self-denial
- Be taught the mystery of salvation
- Read and meditate on the Sacred scriptures and worship of God in Sacred liturgy
- Live a life consecrated to God and to humanity in Christ through the evangelical counsels
- Learn the Franciscan history and life of the Institute
- Learn to love the Church and its sacred
Novices collaborate with their Director with openness and trust in the formation itinerary in order to harmoniously integrate the spiritual, doctrinal, and charismatic elements for leading the life of perfection proper to the Institute.
The Novitiate lasts for twelve months lived entirely in the Novitiate house erected for the purpose of forming novices.
A novice who absents himself, even by reason of sickness, from Novitiate for more than ninety days cumulative, invalidates his entire novitiate period and has to either start afresh or leave the community. An absence which lasts more than ﬁfteen days must be made up. Moreover, the Superior General, due to special circumstances, can admit a brother to First profession in anticipation, but not by more than ﬁfteen days.
A Novice is free to leave the Institute or is dismissed by the General Superior, having considered the report of the Novice master and the opinion of the Formation team.
Temporary profession is a phase of formation in which each brother makes real progress in his human and spiritual growth by consolidating the beneﬁts reaped from the precedent stages of formation. He integrates more responsibly the Franciscan spirituality and he is genuinely prepared for the mission of hope in the world in communion with the Church.
Temporary professed brothers diligently commit themselves to learn with openness from their Formators, brothers and the Church, all that enlightens the heart, increases true faith, strengthens hope and perfect charity, and builds sense and knowledge that helps to carry out holy and true command of Christ in consecration.
Brothers in Temporal profession are assigned to houses of our Institute and apostolates that favour the process of their formation, and are accorded resources to enhance their spiritual, doctrinal, intellectual, cultural, liturgical, communitarian and pastoral formation, even with suitable academic degrees, and more especially for those preparing for holy orders “without extinguishing the spirit of prayer and devotion.”
The Superior General with consent of the Council admits candidates to Temporary profession and to the renewal of vows, having received their applications and recommendations of the Formators, with the opinion of the Formation team.
For the Temporary profession to be valid, it is required that, the:
- Candidate has completed the eighteenth year of age
- Candidate has received the sacrament of conﬁrmation
- Candidate has ceded the administration of oods and use of the revenue that accrues them
- Novitiate has been validly completed
Admission has been given by the Superior
- General with the vote of the Council
- Profession is expressed and made without force, grave fear or malice
Profession is received by the legitimate superior personally or through another.
The profession in our Institute is made publicly in the hands of the Competent superior or his delegate and expressed in these words:
I, brother …………. led by the spirit of the Lord and through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi, I place my hands in yours, brother……….and freely vow to the Almighty God to live in obedience, poverty, and chastity for …… (two years, my whole life). I promise through the power of the Holy Spirit and the help of my brothers to observe always the Life and Rule of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis of Assisi and the constitutions laid he Franciscan Missionaries of Hope. So help me God.
The vows made with Temporary profession are renewed after every two years for a period of six years and not more than nine years.
The formula of the profession of vows, is duly signed by the professed, the Superior or his delegate, the Invited celebrant (if a non-member of the Institute) and any two perpetually professed brothers. This document is kept in the archives of the General House.
By religious profession, a brother is bound to live according to the demands of the evangelical counsels and embrace our way of life with rights and obligations as dictated by our rule and constitutions.
As an external sign of religious profession in our Institute, a brother is given a habit, the rule of the Third Order Regular and the Constitutions.
Perpetual profession made by a brother through the mediation of the Church, radically and irrevocably immerses him in the mystery of the Divine life, and fully incorporates him in our Institute as a member with rights and obligat s lived in accordance with the Constitutions and ism in perfect adherence to the rule of life is of Assisi.
A brother, who has duly prepared himself in total collaboration and cooperation with the Formators and members of the Institute during the Temporary profession, makes a hand written application to the General superior for admission to Perpetual profession six months to ﬁnal renewal of the Temporary vows.
For a brother to make Perpetual profession validly, he is to fulﬁl the requirements of art. above, as well as:
i. Completion of the twenty fourth year of age
ii. Completion of at least three years of Temporary profession, 74 without prejudice to art. 88 above, and the prescripts of can. 657, § 3, that permits the Superior General with consent of the Council, for a just cause, to anticipate the profession but not with more than three months.
Perpetual profession is preceded by a period of three months of intensive preparation. The The month immediate to the profession is spent in an environment of spiritual retreat.
As an external sign of perpetual profession, a brother receives on the day of profession, the Medal of hope that symbolizes the mission of our Institute, besides the habit and the Tau which are an outward sign of consecration, and witness to poverty as prescribed in artt 21. and 77 above.
Lay brothers in our Institute
All of us are conscious that vocation to brotherhood is excellent, constituting a state which of itself is one of total dedication to the profession of the evangelical counsels, and serves the pastoral work of the Church so usefully by discharging many ministries.
Lay brothers receive philosophical and theological training to facilitate gradual opening of their minds both to the treasures of human wisdom and to the mystery of Christ. They also receive technical and pastoral formation which is suitable both to the spiritual maturity of their vocation and special grace of working and exercising an apostolate.
Advancement to Ministries and Sacred Orders
After proper preparation, candidates for the Ministries make written request to the Superior General who according to the norms of law is competent to admit them to the ministries.
A candidate for Sacred Orders is a perpetually professed brother, who having fulﬁlled the academic requirements, submits a written petition to the Superior General. Before a Deacon is promoted to the Presbyterate, he is to participate in pastoral care, exercising his diaconal order for a suitable period of time to be determined by the Superior General.
Formators in our Institute have a grave responsibility to educate the brothers in the various stages of formation by giving witness to the joy of consecration with faithful observance of the evangelical counsels, the Franciscan spiritualit of Hope and authentic fraternal life in community.
Formators are to ensure that brothers are carefully formed according to the General plan of formation established by the Institute on all matters that are necessary for the integral growth as consecrated religious, imbued with the wealth of our charism.
For a brother to be entrusted the oﬃce of formator, he:
- Has to be of Perpetual vows
- Is legitimately designated by the Superior General
- Has the ability to form the brothers in spiritual discernment
- Is passionate and gives witness to the charism and spirituality of the Institute
- Has ability to observe conﬁdentiality
- Has ability to listen, dialogue and create a rapport with other brothers
In exercising the responsibility of formation, Formators cooperate and collaborate with the Superiors, the Formation team, other brothers of the Institute and all parties whose assistance is vital for the holistic growth of the brothers.
Formators are appointed by the Superior General with consent of the Council for the various phases of formation in the Institute.
On-going formation of all members in the Institute is to help the brothers live the life proper to the Institute more fully, and to be faithful to our Franciscan spirituality, charism and mission through constant practice, study and update on spiritual, apostolic, doctrinal, and practical skills, as well as, knowledge of human sciences.
Each brother undertakes ongoing formation with high level of responsibility to enable him believe more in life, community and the Church, and to live more in Christ.
The Institute establishes in the General plan of formation the means and times for ongoing formation, attentive to the age brackets of the brothers.