On January 26-27, 2023, the Province of St. Jerome in Croatia conducted its annual meeting of the Guardians with the Provincial Definitory.

All of the Guardians were present, namely, Friar Vitomir GLAVAŠ from Cres, Friar Zdravko TUBA from Molve, Friar Martin DRETVIĆ from Novi Marof, Friar Đuro HONTIĆ from Pula, Friar Ivan BRADARIĆ from Sisak, Friar Martin JAKOVIĆ from Split, Friar Josip IVANOVIĆ from Šibenik, Friar Josip BLAŽEVIĆ from Vinkovci, Friar Pero KELAVA from Issa and Friar Josip PETONJIĆ from Zagreb. Friar Tomislav CVETKO sent a written report from Copenhagen on the life of the community at the new St. Francis Friary in Denmark. All of the Provincial Definitors took part in the meeting as well.
The meeting began with lunch followed by Midafternoon Prayer in the Chapter hall. Next, the Minister Provincial, Friar Miljenko HONTIĆ, briefly mentioned the objective of the meeting, and spoke about the guidelines of the Four-Year Provincial Plan. He stressed the importance of looking back at the path traveled so far, examining the current situation and envisioning the challenges of the future in the light of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the Minister Provincial referred to the upcoming Franciscan Centenary, particularly the 800th anniversary of the Later Rule and the Manger of St. Francis at the Christmas in Greccio (1223-2023). While the first jubilee invites the Order live according to the Gospel in the light of the charism of St. Francis, the second jubilee underlines the call of the entire Franciscan family to its own kenosis or self-emptying, in order to make room for the power of God in our lives.
Next, there were a series of reports from the Provincial Exactor, Friar Josip PETONJIĆ; the Provincial Econom, Friar Marko VRDOLJAK; and the Director of the St. Anthony of Padua House (communal kitchen) in Zagreb, Friar Vladimir VIDOVIĆ. Each of them presented important elements that had been implemented in 2022. They also spoke about projects and proposals that should be implemented in 2023.
Their reports were followed by reports on each individual friary. Following the methodology outlined in the invitation letter, each friary was evaluated on its Franciscan identity, the quality of its prayer and fraternal life, its apostolate (Parish or other activity) and its finances. The reports further highlighted the life of each individual community by featuring news pertinent to each friary, as well as the projects and proposals they plan to implement this year.
Later that evening, Friar Miljenko presided over Mass at the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, accompanied by the Definitors and Guardians. The celebration was dedicated to young people; therefore the Vocations Director, Friar Stjepan BRČINA, gave the homily. The Mass was broadcast live for the first time by Laudato TV using cameras that had just been installed in the basilica. The Mass was followed by dinner and recreation, with delicacies brought by the Guardians.
The program for the second day of the meeting began with Mass presided over by the Vicar Provincial, Friar Martin JAKOVIĆ. Breakfast followed and the work of the meeting continued with the presentation of reports by the Guardians who had not yet spoken. At the end of the meeting, the Director of the Vocations Center, Friar Stjepan BRČINA, gave his report, as did the National Assistant of the Militia of the Immaculata (M.I.) for Croatia, Friar Zdravko TUBA.
At the end of the meeting, the Minister Provincial, together with the Definitors and Guardians, reviewed and updated the Provincial calendar of events for 2023.

Friar Zlatko VLAHEK, Provincial Secretary