For the first time in history, the three Franciscan Orders (Friars Minor Conventual, Friars Minor Capuchin and Friars Minor), who each have a major seminary (post-novitiate) in Cracow, Poland, started a common formation program for their religious. This historical event took place on October 1, 2018, in Cracow.

Academic formation will be common for all three Franciscan branches, but religious formation shall remain separate, according to the proper tradition of each Order.
In addition to the students and professors taking part in the inauguration of the new academic year, others attending included the Ministers Provincial of the three Franciscan families, the Rector of Uniwersytet Papieski Jana Pawła II (Pontifical University of John Paul II – UPJPII) and the Dean of the Theological Faculty of the same university, which the seminarians attend.
It is a special year three times over. First, a new state document concerning university education in Poland, “Konstytucja dla Nauki” (Constitution for Education), goes into effect. Secondly, a few months ago, Pope Francis signed the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium, which concerns universities and ecclesial faculties. Third, this is our first joint Franciscan inauguration – according to Professor Father Arkadiusz BARON, Dean of the Theological Faculty of the UPJPII.
“This is a historic event, even for our university,” said Professor Father Wojciech ZYZAK, Rector of the UPJPII. “With your Franciscan spirituality, with your Peace and All Good, you will surely enrich the university.”
The most repeated word during the inauguration was “unity”. Rector Alojzy WAROT, OFM, and presider at this year’s inauguration, said the word first, just after the sign of the cross, at the beginning of Mass.
“It is appropriate and worthwhile. We must work hard at getting closer, walking together, showing and practicing unity, for which Christ our Lord has prayed, and St. Francis has yearned,” said Friar Marian GOŁĄB, OFM Conv., Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow).
“Our collaboration has become a joyful and hopeful reality,” said Minister Provincial Tomasz ŻAK, OFM Cap., “We can be men of conviction and conscience, building a Christian, Franciscan world—the Kingdom of God— in unity and with profound cooperation.” Minister Provincial Jacek KOMAN, OFM, wishing the students all the best, added, “Knowledge and wisdom seek a covenant with holiness.” Rector Mariusz ORCZYKOWSKI, OFM Conv., mentioned the recent history of collaboration between the Franciscan families. Rector Augustyn CHWAŁEK, OFM Cap., gave a presentation on the organizational structure of the new initiative. Rector Alojzy WAROT, OFM, commented on this new reality using the words of former Czech President Václav HAVEL: “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
The opening speech was on the theme: “The Ways of Faith of the Beloved Disciple of Jesus, as Seen in the Fourth Gospel.” It was presented by Friar Adam SIKORA, OFM, (Habilitated Doctor) of the University of Poznań.

Friar Jan Maria SZEWEK, Spokesman for the Province of Cracow / Editorial Staff