On September 6, 2022, the student friars of the Rivotorto Friary in Lusaka, belonging to the Province of the Franciscan Protomartyrs in Zambia, were privileged to take part in a fraternal discussion with Friar Maximilian SEMBIRING, OFM Conv., on the subject of Franciscan Discipleship.
This fruitful and successful event helped the young friars recognize the core purpose of their formation. It gave them a better understanding of what is actually entailed in their formation, not only for attaining the priesthood, but also for being formed into a good friar.
Friar Maximilian clearly explained that, for young friars, the purpose of their formation is not just to provide them with immediate benefits, it is to help them conform themselves to the life of Christ. With this in mind, he taught them that formation starts as soon as they join the Order and continues throughout their lives until they meet Sister Death. Furthermore, he told them they are their own best formators; that throughout their lives, the Holy Spirit will be their main guide during the formation process. This applies to initial and ongoing formation and to priests as well as religious brothers. In conclusion, Friar Maximilian said that, compared to other Franciscan families, we Conventuals are blessed to have the kind of community life that we live. He shared some examples from a number of Jurisdictions and friaries he had previously visited; places where that life was expressed through the joy and fraternal welcome he experienced. After the discussion, the novice friars gave some remarkable feedback on their experience with Friar Maximilian. They expressed their appreciation for the meeting and hoped they might get to meet with him again as they continued discerning their call to the Conventual life. At the same time, the student friars of the Rivotorto friary expressed their gratitude to the Minister General and all those working with him at the General Curia, and asked for more opportunities to meet with some of the older friars, especially those from the Curia, in order take part in discussions like the wonderful one they had with Friar Maximilian.
Friar Anthony Ben OWINO