Back in February, we shared information about the name of our Order. Since then, our Regional Minister has received some clarification and correction about using of “OFS” in place of “SFO”. The following is adapted from the “Minister’s Message” in our May 2012 newsletter:
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Previously, the understanding was that the only change needed was to use “OFS”, rather than “SFO”, after our names. However, we are to use the “OFS” acronym (from the Latin Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis), whenever we abbreviate the name of the Order.
Again, 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. So, we are in the awkward position of telling people that “OFS” is short for “Secular Franciscan Order.” (The other official languages of the Order, Italian, Spanish, and French, don’t have the same problem as English with rearranging the word order.)
As time goes on, we will change more occurrences of “SFO” to “OFS”; one is the title of our newsletter, which, starting with the May 2012 issue, is now called OFS News, as this is an important, visible place in which to make the change.
On the other hand, our regional and national Web sites will continue to have “sfo” in their names for quite some time, until we can make the transition without undue expense and confusion. Don’t worry about changing your email address if it has “SFO” in it, either! Our National Minister hasn’t, and I trust his judgment on how to approach this change.
Fr. Benet Fonck, OFM expressed a hope that one result of this change would be an end to using the term “SFOs” to refer to Secular Franciscans. While the same sort of shorthand is sometimes used to refer to members of other orders, I think Fr. Benet has a good point. We are not “Secular Franciscan Orders”!
As you continue to practice using OFS instead of SFO, please remember that this is intended to promote unity and a common sense of identity within the Secular Franciscan Order. These are both very good things and very important for our future. I’ve been pleased by how quickly you have adapted to our new initials.
Let us be grateful for our vocation to this wonderful, worldwide Order.
Vickie Klick, OFS