On Wednesday July 28, 2021, a book presentation took place for a work by Friar Paolo FIASCONARO entitled “Friar Nightlife – Mission Possible on the Banks of the Tiber” , published by Messaggero Padova (192 pages, €14). The presentation was held at the Tiber River gathering space below the Ponte Cestio Bridge in Rome.
The event attracted numerous friars, tourists and visitors as well as members of the MARSILI family who organize the annual summer expo along the banks of the Tiber. It also attracted considerable attention from local and national media (twelve newspapers and television outlets). The book presentation was organized by Professor Giovanni D’ ANGELO, a religion teacher at Socrates High School in Rome. Professor D’ ANGELO began by screening a documentary film, which briefly explains the motivations behind the Franciscan Missionary Center. For six consecutive years (2014-2019), the Center and its friars operated an exposition stand every evening during the summer months. The initiative was motivated by the desire to set up a healthy leisure time experience “among and with” the people. In particular, the Center has aimed at promoting the Order’s Missions and “evangelizing” the thousands of people who come to the banks of the Tiber to take an evening stroll.
In the preface to the book, the Minister General, Friar Carlos A. TROVARELLI, states that this event with the friars along the banks of the Tiber corresponds with Motion No. 9 of the 2019 General Chapter, because it actualizes “new Franciscan models of evangelization and the heartfelt inspirations of the friars in undertaking new initiatives of life and mission.”
In the book, Friar Paolo talks about the different experiences he has had with the people who come by in the evening, his initial proposal, the encounters, the anecdotes and the unusual experience created by the presence of friars wearing habits in a secular place where there is great need for God.
The speakers during the event included Friar Agnello STOIA, Pastor of St. Peter’s Basilica and Dr. Vincenzo MORGANTE, Director of TV2000 and InBlu Radio. They spoke about the spiritual significance of friars “on a summer mission” to evangelize, as well as the creativity and Franciscan simplicity that supports this effort. This is the seventh year of this nightly initiative, which continues to warm the hearts of those who approach the friars for advice or a touch of spirituality and a sense of well-being.
Friar Paolo FIASCONARO, Director of the Franciscan Missionary Center