Friars from other countries have been working in Germany for many decades, especially friars from the Provinces of Cracow, Warsaw, and Gdańsk, in Poland. On April 11, 2023, at the invitation of the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow), Friar Marian GOŁĄB, friars from Germany and Poland met in Cracow to continue their dialogue about cooperation between friars.
Like Friar Marian, the Minister Provincial of Warsaw, Friar Grzegorz BARTOSIK, and the Minister Provincial of Gdańsk, Friar Wojciech KULIG, both expressed gratitude for the joint ministry in Germany. The Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany, Friar Andreas MURK, reinforced this gratitude on the part of his Province, and emphasized how other Orders and congregations in Germany often look with amazement at the togetherness shared by the Conventual Franciscans of Germany and Poland. The Würzburg friary regularly hosts students from Poland who are learning the German language. Moreover, a friar from the Province of Gdańsk and another from the Province of Cracow, are currently on mission for the Province of Germany. All of the friars living in Germany are invited to attend the ongoing formation programs and retreats offered by the Province of Germany.
The Province of Germany also conducts an annual meeting for altar boys and a youth pilgrimage. These events create opportunities for vocation ministry. This year will include a joint trip to World Youth Day. Again and again, friars are found who are eager to take part in these activities.
During the meeting, the friars expressed some concerns that affect all of the presences in Germany. Many friars are pained by the lack of vocations. Friars working in the parishes are facing increased responsibilities. The Delegates who attended the meeting, Friars Krzysztof ROBAK, Stanisław ŚLIWIŃSKI and Andrzej IWANICKI, shared some of their own experiences about working in Germany. It was also pointed out that the friars from Poland who work in Germany are able to use the income their friaries earn to furnish a large part of the funds needed to support the missions of their Provinces around the world.
The friars agreed to conduct an online, joint meeting of Guardians in 2023. Another joint event is planned for November of 2024 and will last a few days. It is clear that joint events like these are continuing and will hopefully reap benefits in the future.
Friar Andreas MURK