From January 30 to February 4, 2023, the Provincial Delegation in Paraguay celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Order’s presence there.

In 1986, Friar Rufin ORECKI was the first Conventual Franciscan friar to arrive in Paraguay. For several years, his presence remained informal. However, in 1992, the Province of St. Anthony and Bl. James of Strepar in Poland (Cracow) sent other friars, and on January 10, 1993, the presence of the Friars Minor Conventual in Paraguay was formally approved.
Friar Rufin spread the cult of Divine Mercy and the Militia of the Immaculata (M.I.) from the moment he arrived in Paraguay. In 1989, in keeping with the spirit of the M.I., he founded the magazine TupasyNee (Voice of the Mother of God). The magazine is still published today. Over the next few years, he built a friary in Asunción, the capitol of Paraguay. Then, working with other friars, he began construction of the Divine Mercy Shrine in Aregua, Paraguay.
Representatives from other Jurisdictions in Latin America came to Paraguay to help celebrate the 30th anniversary. On January 30, the Federación América Latina Conventuales (FALC) conducted a meeting. Those attending included the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI and the Minister Provincial of Cracow, Friar Marian GOŁĄB.
A few days prior to the anniversary, some confreres arrived to take part in the solemn profession of Friar Erit Roberto Maria PERALTA MERCADO. The Minister General presided over the Mass while the Minister Provincial received the vows. The solemn vow ceremony was the first of several celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the friar’s presence in Paraguay.
On February 1-4, 2023, a series of Masses of Thanksgiving were celebrated. The first took place on February 1, at the National Marian Shrine of Caacupé, Paraguay. This Shrine is where the Virgen de los Milagros [Our Lady of the Miracles] is venerated. Friar Marek WILK, Delegate of the Minister Provincial in Paraguay, presided over the Mass. The Provincial Custos of the Custody of St. Francis of Assisi in Colombia, Friar Sidifredo de la Cruz CHAPARRO GUALDRÓN, gave the homily.
On February 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated at the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Areguá, Paraguay. The Most Reverend Joaquín Hermes ROBLEDO ROMERO, Bishop of San Lorenzo, Paraguay, presided.
On February 3, a Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in Guarambaré, Paraguay, where the friars have been doing parish ministry for more than twenty years. The Provincial Custos of the Custody of Columbia presided, while the Minister Provincial of Cracow gave the homily. After the liturgy, the parishioners put on a Paraguayan folklore show. One segment, featuring a dancer with ten bottles on his head, was particularly exciting. This was followed by a concert of Paraguayan music. During the festivities, the parishioners thanked the friars for their twenty-two years of pastoral ministry in Guarambaré.
The final Mass of Thanksgiving was celebrated in Asunción with the Minister General presiding. Afterwards, in keeping with Paraguayan custom, all those participating in the festivities enjoyed local appetizers and a jubilee cake.
Deo gracias for thirty years of Conventual Franciscan presence in Paraguay, and for the anniversary celebrations.