Ken E. Norian has been named as minister general of the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis, an international Anglican/Episcopal order that accepts men and women, clergy or lay, who are called to a lifelong discipline and vow.
Norian was elected to the position at a recent meeting of the Third Order's ministers provincial and representatives of the provinces of the Americas; Europe; Africa; Aotearoa (New Zealand and Polynesia with Melanesia); and Australia, Papua New Guinea and East Asia.
As minister general, Norian will serve as "the functional head of the Third Order throughout the world, and its servant," according to a press release.
Norian resides in Hicksville, New York, on Long Island, and attends Church of Saint Jude in Wantagh, New York. He has been a Third Order Franciscan since 1984 and was life professed in 1989. He has served the community as formation counselor, formation class leader, convener and area chaplain. He has served on the provincial chapter of the Americas for the past 15 years, including three terms as bursar/treasurer and two terms as minister provincial.
"I look forward to working with the ministers provincial of our five provinces around the world to carry out the aims of our order, to make our Lord known and loved everywhere; to spread the spirit of love and harmony and to live simply," said Norian in the release.
The Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis "is the revival within the Anglican Communion in our times of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance originally founded by Saint Francis," according to the release.
"In 1205, Francis of Assisi was called by God to rebuild the church. Early in his ministry, Francis recognized the need to include people from all walks of life within his movement of reform and renewal. The work of following Christ in humility, love and joy, which is the vocation of all Christians, could not be restricted to the traditional life of the Friars and Sisters. This was true in the 13th century and it remains so today."
Today, there are estimated to be over a half-million Franciscans worldwide in the Christian family, including First Order brothers and sisters who live a celibate life in their respective communities, and the Third Order, which consists of men and women, single or in committed relationships who, though following ordinary professions, "are called to a dedicated life of service to our Lord through prayer, study, and work," the release says.