Fifteen friars from the South Asia, Australia, Oceania Conference (SAAOC) of the Order met in Singapore, 14-16 August, to discuss matters pertaining to their lives and ministries in that region of the world and to have some input into the Plenary Council of the Order which will be held in Poland at the end of November 2013. The participants of the SAAOC meeting comprised the leaders of the Franciscan entities in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, Singapore/Malaysia, Thailand, Timor Leste, Australia and New Zealand. Also attending were the friars responsible for co-ordinating significant activities across the Conference, namely: Formation; Missions and Evangelisation; and the work of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation.
The brothers also studied the discussion document “New Wine in New Wineskins” provided by the General Curia in preparation for the Plenary Council and made proposals which will be collated with those of the other twelve Conferences of the Franciscan world. The document seeks the friars’ opinions on administrative matters such as the number and method of election of General Definitors (Councillors), as well as serious reflection on the internal situation of the Order, particularly about examining the reasons, where available, of those brothers who choose to leave the Order. Friar Babu Jose Pamplany of India, President of SAAOC, and Friar John Wong from Malaysia will attend the Plenary Council, representing the Franciscans in South Asia, Australia and Oceania.
The Province of the Holy Spirit in Australia is an associate member of the ESC.