In small Provinces it is increasingly difficult to offer the friars a good formation program. Some friars can no longer participate due to age. Others are generally unmotivated to take part in continuing formation because they have so many obligations to fulfill in the friaries.

Thus, for the second time, the Province of St. Elizabeth in Germany has organized a three-day program, explicitly aimed only at friars who wish to participate in continuing formation. Seven friars from friaries in Germany (Würzburg, Schönau and Schwarzenberg) signed up. On May 5-7, 2024, these friars were hosted at the Benedictine Monastery in Kirchschletten, Germany, as they were last year. The hospitality was very basic; the friars had to cook, but that was precisely the purpose of those three days: to spend as much time together as possible.
However, there were also some topic sessions. Friar Polykarp GÖTZ led the participants in a reflection on an essay by Joseph Aloisius RATZINGER (later Pope Benedict XVI), entitled “The Meaning of Christian Brotherhood.” The essay dates back to 1960, but shows surprising depth and relevance. Starting from that text, the friars went on to discuss a series of developments in the Church and religious orders, ending with “Dignitas infinita,” the recent declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Finally, the friars went on an outing to the former Benedictine Monastery in Banz, Germany. Today, a large conference center is located there. However, the church is still active and has had a new pastor for some time: Father Josef TREUTLEIN, who has been closely associated with many of the friars for years. The outing ended with lunch at a restaurant near the local Vierzehnheiligen Shrine [also known as the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers].

Friar Andreas MURK