On November 9-10, 2021, the Provincial Custody of St. Daniel and Companion Martyrs in Italy (Calabria) conducted a formation meeting on “Fraternity Today, Why and What? Some Suggestions” at the San Francesco di Paola Friary in Castrovillari, Italy.
Friar Antonio Damiano CARUSO, Guardian and Director of ongoing formation in the Custody, welcomed the friars, along with the members of the friary: Friars Vincenzo MANGONE, Ionel ANTOCHI and Krzysztof RYCHLICKI. The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. with the recitation of Evening Prayer. This was followed by a reflection by Friar Giorgio TASSONE, the Provincial Custos, on fraternal life at this particular time. Friar Giorgio encouraged the friars to rebuild what the pandemic destroyed: our bonds of affection, esteem, friendship, discussions and mutual enrichment. “Let us go out of this desert, brothers,” he advised, “and let life be reborn in our fraternities, ‘in love with the Gospel and open to the surprises of the Holy Spirit,’ as Pope Francis urges us.”
Friar Giorgio also highlighted some salient passages of a letter by Friar Giovanni VOLTAN, the Assistant General for the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP), entitled, “Are You Up to It, FIMP?” He encouraged the friars to embrace the author’s loving and heartfelt message and to start afresh with deeper, generative and shared awareness. The Assistant General urged everyone to accept the appeal of the Minister General, launched online from Vilnius, Lithuania, on October 19, 2021: “Brothers, you have to get moving and greatly increase your charismatic and fraternal qualities, if you do not want to miss the train of history yourselves and make the next generations miss it, too.”
Wednesday, November 10, began with the recitation of the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer in the Church of San Francesco di Paola, adjacent to the friary. After breakfast, the participants attended a videoconference with Friar Emanuele RIMOLI, a native of Castrovillari and a professor of Christian anthropology at the Pontifical Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure (Seraphicum) in Rome. Friar Emanuele mentioned that fraternity is the heart and mission of the Gospel, and therefore the basis of our vocation, a fraternity that welcomes every person as a brother and sister and is “capable of seeing the sacred grandeur of our neighbor, of finding God in every human being” (Evangelii Gaudium 92). We are called to develop those gifts that the Lord has given us in order to place them, through the gift of ourselves, at the service of others. Friar Emanuele recalled many concepts dear to our spirituality that are sometimes suspended, disconnected, contradicted or even discarded in our way of life, such as, relationship, communion, openness, encounter, dialogue, humility, forgiveness, respect, solidarity. All of these form and shape our fraternity and also determine the future of humanity. We owe a debt to humanity. Formation in fraternity is an ongoing process that calls us to question who we are as Franciscans and to examine our particular mission within the Church.
Finally, Friar Giorgio thanked everyone, particularly Friar Emanuele for his lecture. The meeting was a golden opportunity for breaking free of one’s own mindset and seeing the future of the fraternity in today’s world.
Friar Piotr ANZULEWICZ