From August 30 to September 3, 2021, the friars of the Provincial Delegation in Chile conducted a fraternity week in Santiago.
The week began with a short retreat led by Friar Matteo MARTINELLI, the latest friar to join the Delegation from the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy). Friar Matteo invited the friars to meditate on two biblical texts. One concerned the vocation of Abraham with emphasis on the verb “go forth” (Gen. 12:1-4). The other was about Jesus’s call to Nicodemus to “be born again” (John 3:1- 21). The friars then shared their personal reflections during the Mass.
In the days that followed, Friars Fabrizio RESTANTE and Tullio PASTORELLI discussed their experience of the Ordinary Provincial Chapter during June and July of 2021. Friar Fabrizio explained the various decisions of the Chapter, including the suppression of the friary in Copiapó, the original presence in Chile, founded in 1995. He also talked about the Provincial Four-Year Plan. The Provincial Delegate, Friar Tullio PASTORELLI, led a discussion on the past and future of the Delegation. The friars discussed other topics, including the latest from the Federación América Latina Conventuales (FALC), youth and vocation ministry, the CONFERRE meeting (men and women religious of Chile) and the finances of the Delegation.
One noteworthy event was a pilgrimage the friars made to the Shrine of St. Teresa of the Andes, Chile’s first saint. The Shrine is located 70 km (44 mi.) north of Santiago. While there, Friar Augustin BUDĂU presided over Mass and commemorated the 25th anniversary of his simple profession.
There was plenty of leisure time: the friars went on afternoon walks, celebrated birthdays and name days, and more.
On the last day, the friars conducted an online meeting with two young men in formation: Friar Benjamín CASTRO from the novitiate in Colombia and Friar Augusto Esteban URZÚA GONZÁLES from Italy.
“How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one!” says Psalm 133. During these days, the friars were finally able to experience the joy of unity and fraternal love after so many months of being unable to meet together. The week was like that fragrant oil, which symbolizes consecration to God, and like that dew coming down, which refreshes fraternal relationships. Moreover, because Jesus himself said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20), the friars determined that the fraternity week is a resource for making them more fruitful in their ministries and presences in Chile, because it is “there the Lord has decreed a blessing, life for evermore!” (Ps. 133:3).
Friar Jack GINTING