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Carballo is re-elected Minister General of Franciscan order

Friar José Rodríguez Carballo Minister General, Order of Friars Minor“ Being the successor of St. Francis is a bit scary because he is a great figure both inside and outside the Church. Not only for Catholics, but also for protestants and the Orthodox world.”

Fifty seven year-old Jose Rodriguez Carballo is from Spain. He was re-elected to his post by 152 representatives of the General Chapter which is held every six years by the Order. Once the results are in, the moving ceremony begins.

The new minister general was the last in line in the procession to the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels in Assisi.

Only a few steps separate the basilica from the place of the election. But the journey here has been a long one. Carballo comes from a humble family. His parents were farmers who were forced to migrate to Germany and Switzerland in search of a better future. The only inheritance they could leave their son with was religion.

Friar José Rodríguez Carballo Minister General, Order of Friars Minor“My mother was given the ‘The Little Flowers of St. Francis’ and she would read it to me when I was a child. In my town there was another friar who still lives today. He was simple and close to the people. And I always said I wanted to be like that friar.”

He studied theology in Jerusalem where he discovered that his happiness was in the Order of Friars Minor.

Some 200 Franciscans travelled to Assisi to greet the new Minister General. In the same place where St. Francis decided to found an Order dedicated to the serving the poor—a small church called the Porziuncula, Friar Jose promised obedience to Benedict XVI and vowed to follow the charisma of the Order.

Once officially named successor of St. Francis he didn’t hide his emotions when his fellow Franciscans pledged obedience and support.

Friar José Rodríguez Carballo Minister General, Order of Friars Minor“I am filled with hope and joy to know that I can count on them and they’re close. When they hugged me in the Porziuncula they promised their loyalty to me and told me to count on them and their province. To me that’s the best part because we form a family.”

With the election of a new leader comes a new chapter in the life of the Order of Friars Minor. And the new Minister General already has proposals.

Friar José Rodríguez Carballo Minister General, Order of Friars Minor“New missions, above all in Asia and Africa and we’ll start in other countries. Some of them have come up in our chapter talks and we will study the possibilities. I’m also thinking about proposing a big project for Europe. This secular Europe needs Franciscan and evangelical values more than ever. They are one in the same."

These new projects will be taken on by an Order of 14,700 members, among them five cardinals and 104 bishops. Characterized by its universality, this charisma has paved the way even for Franciscan families of other religions. The Franciscan charisma is one of prayer, fraternal life, humility, evangelization and mission work.