On Monday, September 25, 2023, four men began their religious formation with the Province of St. Jerome in Croatia. Three of the candidates entered the postulancy program of the Province while the fourth entered the minor seminary. The ceremony to welcome them took place during Mass at the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua in Zagreb, Croatia, with the Minister Provincial, Friar Miljenko HONTIĆ, presiding.
Those attending included the Provincial Secretary, Friar Zlatko VLAHEK; the Rector of Postulants, Friar Josip PETONJIĆ; the Spiritual Director, Friar Pero DŽIDA; the Director of Veritas magazine, Friar Vladimir VIDOVIĆ; the Rector of Post-Novices, Friar Stjepan BRČINA; the Rector of the minor seminary, Friar Zvonimir PERVAN; various other friars; and the families of the candidates entering formation.
Drawing upon the Gospel reading of the day, Friar Miljenko pointed out a phrase that Jesus addressed to his disciples: “Be careful how you listen!” That is to say, in today’s world we are overloaded with information and we often listen superficially―or not at all―either to others or to the Word of God. It is very important if we wish to follow Jesus Christ, to learn how to listen carefully to the Word of God, and apply it in our lives and in our environment. It is very important, when hearing God’s Word, to listen attentively, as if it were a personal message. In this way, God enters into dialogue with us, shows us His paternal love and acts through us. Just as St. Francis of Assisi listened carefully to the words of the Crucified One telling him to go and repair His house, so we can hear today where and how God needs us. It is always good to ask what the people of our time see in us. In the life of St. Francis, people saw the light of Christ illuminating Europe. Therefore, we are called to be as close as possible to that Light, so that our lives may shine with God’s love and warmth for every person.
At the end of the ceremony, Friar Miljenko blessed some sets of Bibles and Franciscan tau crosses and distributed them to the men in formation. He invited them to draw spiritual strength from the Holy Scriptures by carrying their cross according to the example of St. Francis of Assisi.
This was followed by dinner in the refectory of the friary, together with the family members of the young men in formation.
Friar Zlatko VLAHEK, Provincial Secretary