On October 4, 2020, His Eminence, Pietro Cardinal PAROLIN, Vatican Secretary of State, along with the Most Reverend Gianfranco GIROTTI, OFM Conv., Titular Bishop of Meta, and Friar Carlos Alberto TROVARELLI, the Minister General, presided over this year’s solemn celebration honoring St. Francis of Assisi. The event took place at the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles in Rome. Others attending included the Guardians of the General Houses in Rome and the many friars who reside there.

The Pastor of the Basilica, Friar Agnello STOIA, issued invitations, not only to attend the solemnity of the Seraphic Father, but also to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation upon several children, youth and adults. A group of thirteen young people have attended the basilica for several years, along with their families, under the tutelage of Catechist Friar Simone SCHIAVONE. In November, they will begin their post-Confirmation journey, serving at some of the main charitable institutions in Rome, starting with the Parish Consultation Center at the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles. Eleven other youths and adults were confirmed as well. They were presented by our brother priests of the rectories within the parish territory, by the Jesuit Fathers of the Pontifical Gregorian University, and by Friar Victor MORA MESÉN of our Conventual community.
At the start of the Mass, the pastor greeted Cardinal PAROLIN and presented the candidates for Confirmation. In addition, he expressed, on behalf of all present, his closeness to the Holy Father on this “pro-episcopal” day of the Diocese of Rome. Moreover, the pastor pledged to pray for His Eminence, one of Pope Francis’ first collaborators, and to entrust his well-being to the intercession of Philip and James, together with all of the twelve Apostles. Friar Agnello then explained the significance of the gifts that the confirmation candidates set upon the confessio in front of the tomb of Philip and James. Each candidate offered a bouquet of flowers, to signify the youthful and enthusiastic giving of themselves, like the Apostles Philip and Andrew, who were the first to follow the Lord. They also contributed a food basket as a sign of sharing with the poor and to emphasize that the poor are always attentively cared for at the Eucharistic table, as St. James teaches in his Letter.

Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO