On October 20, 2022, the Superiors of the Provinces, Custodies and Delegations of the Federatio Europae Mediae et Orientalis (FEMO) and the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF) met in Vienna, Austria. On October 21, the same meeting was repeated in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Both days were attended by the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, and the Assistants General in charge of the two Federations: Friar Tomáš LESŇÁK (FEMO) and Friar Igor SALMIČ (CEF).
“The idea came about in Würzburg, Germany, during the 800th anniversary celebrations commemorating the arrival of the Franciscans in Germany. I thought it would be nice to get to know each other better, strengthen the ties between us and expand our areas of cooperation,” explained Friar Marian GOŁĄB, the President of the FEMO Federation.
During both meetings, the friars talked about the joys of their Jurisdictions, the concerns of daily life and areas of possible collaboration. The eyes and ears of the friars were particularly focused on the suffering in Ukraine.
Friar Stanisław PĘKALA, the Vicar of the Provincial Custody of the Holy Cross in Ukraine, talked about the life of the friars and the faithful during the war. He expressed thanks for the interest shown, and the help provided, since the very beginning of the Russian invasion, by the Minister General, the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow), and friars around the world. He pointed out several important milestones for them: the visits of the Minister General and the Minister Provincial of Cracow; the entrustment to Our Lady of Fatima in the Marian shrines of Ukraine; the prayer with Psalm 17 with the friars around the world, initiated by Friar Michael Joseph LASKY, the General Delegate for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.
Friar Marco MORONI, the General Custos of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, also took part in the meeting in Bratislava. He spoke about the origins of the friars working in Assisi and the tasks they perform every day. He expressed his willingness to accept new friars into the community of Assisi, especially to carry out pastoral and liturgical ministry as well as ministry in the area of Mass Media.
The Minister General publicly expressed his thanks for realizing the meeting between the two neighboring Federations in Vienna and Bratislava, especially for having planned and implemented the meeting in such a short time. “It was good to hear your worries, your problems and, most of all, your joys. I’ve made a list of positive points. (…) It is worthwhile to continue the dialogue between your Federations in the future. It could be an example for others. It could also make a great contribution to a future General Chapter” observed the Minister General.
On October 18-19, prior to the meeting of the two Federations, the major superiors and delegates of the FEMO Federation discussed and deliberated for two days in Bratislava.
The FEMO Federation comprises eleven countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Hungary. The CEF Federation comprises eight countries: Austria, Croatia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, Switzerland and Sweden.
Friar Jan M. SZEWEK