In January, Pope Francis received the Minister General, Massimo Fusarelli, in an audience in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The Minister was accompanied by the members of the General Definitory and other friars from the General Curia.

At the end of the audience, which lasted 45 minutes, the Minister said that it was an intense and beautiful time of dialogue. Pope Francis listened to the reality of the Order in different parts of the world and some particular situations affecting the Church.

‘In particular, the Holy Father urged us to work courageously among young people, according to their language and in favour of vocations, not to resign ourselves, and to look ahead to our future with confidence and faith,’ the Minister reported.

He then shared his joy at having seen the Pope’s kindness up close. ‘We thanked the Lord for this meeting because we saw the Pope’s affection for us Franciscans in the world and because he repeated several times that St Francis is seductive in the best sense of the word; he attracts and motivates. ‘

Finally, the Supreme Pontiff invited the friars ‘to live in an evangelical way and to work knowing that they have this great root of inspiration and attraction.’