UPDATE (14-May-2012): We have received further clarification on the use of the “SFO”/”OFS” abbreviations. Please see this post for details.
As some of you are aware, the Secular Franciscan Order holds its Chapter at the International level every three years (every other time, or every six years, is an elective chapter). The International Chapter in 2011 was at the same time as our National Chapter. One of the items that came out of that chapter is a directive from our Minister General, Encarnación del Pozo, regarding the letters we use after our names to indicate our membership in the Order. That letter from Encarnita is included below.
Following some discussion with the National Executive Council and my fellow Regional Ministers, I can summarize the effect of this letter in one sentence:
Effective immediately, we are to use “OFS” rather than “SFO” after our names. UPDATE: As well as using the “OFS” acronym whenever we abbreviate the name of the Order. (See our 14-May-2012 post for full details.)
Please note that the name of the Order does not change — English is one of the four official languages, and “Secular Franciscan Order” continues to be our name in English. This, in turn, means that other places where we use “SFO” as an abbreviation for “Secular Franciscan Order” — where it is not the three letters after our names — can stay the way they are. So, our national website will continue to be nafra-sfo.org, and our regional website will continue to be ilofs.org, to name two examples.
If we consider the efforts of CIOFS to encourage a common sense of identity within the Secular Franciscan Order (something which is probably very clear to those of you who have been using the ongoing formation dossiers), it makes sense that all Secular Franciscans throughout the world, regardless of language, will henceforth use the same set of letters after our names to indicate our status as professed members of the Order. Yes, it will take some getting used to, but please accept that small sacrifice as part of your Lenten journey this year.
Above all, as our National Minister, Tom Bello, said to us when communicating this change, “… I am absolutely certain that OFS or SFO does not make me or you … any more or less Franciscan. We are still permanently professed. Our Order is still, in English, the Secular Franciscan Order.”
Peace and blessings to you all,
Vickie Klick, OFS
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Allegato n. 9
ORDO FRANCISCANUS SÆCULARIS
XIII. GENERAL CHAPTER
Saõ Paulo, 2011. October 22-29
THE OFFICIAL NAME OF THE ORDER
THE USE AND THE TRANSLATION OF THE NAME OF THE ORDER
1. The official name of the Order is Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis.
2. Translations of the name of the Order
2. 1 The translation of the name of the Order is already made in the four official languages, and these are the ones to be used in these languages, namely in Italian, in English, in Spanish and in French.
2.2 The name can be translated into local languages only when the literal translation from Latin is easily understandable even by the civil society and does not change its meaning or substance.
2.3 When the translation into the national language distorts the meaning of the name, or is linguistically impossible to transfer the genuine meaning, Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis must always be used, which can be followed by expressions to clarify and make more understandable the nature of the Secular Franciscan Order to everyone in the local language.
3. The acronym
The acronym which refers to the name Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis is OFS and is always to be used regardless of the language. For example, when Secular Franciscans use the acronym after their name, they must use “OFS”.
Encarnación del Pozo, OFS