On March 12 and 14, 2024, the Franciscan Missionary Center of the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP) conducted mission animation with the postulants in Nocera Inferiore and Osimo, Italy. Earlier, on February 15, 2024, the Center gave the same formation presentation to the young priests at the Friary of St. Anthony at the Baths (“Vigna”) in Rome.

During the March meetings, the Director of the Missionary Center, Friar Paolo FIASCONARO, invited the young men in formation to bring the missionary dimension into their formation journey, to let it enter their formation and permeate every action of their daily lives.
Friar Paolo’s presentation was inspired by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, in which the pope expressed his desire for a Church that is missionary in its activities and ecclesial structures. Friar Paolo called the young men to awaken, in their own journey, the Gospel invitation of being sent forth to help one’s poor brothers and sisters in need. Our missionary brothers live out this charismatic dimension: they left their native countries in order to proclaim the Gospel and alleviate the suffering of people in need of material and spiritual help.
Friar Paolo paused to give some historical information about a missionary turning point for the Order. This occurred in 1925, when the Order founded its first mission in China. That mission will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year. The Order’s mission efforts continued in 1930, with Father KOLBE in Japan, and in 1931, with Bishop Francesco MAZZIERI in Zambia. Today, the Order has forty missionary Jurisdictions around the world. It has 1,600 friars, 218 friaries and 63 formation houses.
Friar Paolo also explained the missionary life and activities of mission animators at the Provincial and Custodial level of the Order. He discussed the material aid provided for missions through projects and long-distance adoption. He talked about the many requests for aid that the Order receives to support various initiatives established by the missionaries, such as: soup kitchens, wells, hospitals, orphanages, schools, and meeting parish pastoral needs.
The young men asked numerous questions. Many decided to cultivate the missionary spirit in their own vocational journey by taking up certain activities, participating through prayer, reading the missionary Center’s publications and being more open to the missionary dimension in their lives.
At the end of both meetings, three videos were shown. The first was about the Missionary Center’s nine years of missionary service offered each summer on the banks of the Tiber River in Rome. The second video was on the history of the magazine “Il Missionario Francescano,” which has been published for ninety years. The third was a moving and edifying documentary about Friar Antonio SINIBALDI, a missionary who died in 1987, on a beach near Saò Luis, Brazil, having rescued seventeen young people after a large wave capsized their boat.

Friar Paolo FIASCONARO, Director of the Missionary Center