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UPDATE: Information regarding the name of our Order

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
Regional Minister

Important information regarding the name of our Order

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
Regional Minister

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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
General Minister