If someone focused only on the title, “The Annual Meeting of Provincial Animators of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, for the Pastoral Care of Young People and Vocations” he might become a bit fearful. In fact, every year, friars and nuns who do youth and vocation ministry in Italy, gather together to evaluate and plan for the Italian “Youth Towards Assisi” Meeting. They tackle some common questions and engage in a little formation.

This year, 2018, it was decided to have this fraternal meeting in Rome, at the Seraphicum, to be exact. From Monday January 8, to Friday January 12, 2018, work sessions in assembly and small groups alternated with various outings and pilgrimages.
Wednesday was devoted to discussions led by two different presenters. The first took place in the morning at “Casa Kolbe”. Friar Louis PANTHIRUVELIL, our Order’s Secretary General for Formation (SGF), led a discussion on the criteria for entry into the postulancy program. This material was prepared by vocation ministers from various Provinces and had been submitted to the Ministers Provincial of the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP). It provided us with a broader view, and at the same time, confirmed some of the underlying ideas found in Franciscan Discipleship. In addition, this was a chance for many of us to visit one of Italy’s Kolbean sites.
In the afternoon, Father Michele FALABRETTI head of the National Youth Pastoral Service of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), made a presentation on the Synod of Bishops on Young People. He reported the results of a previous work, using a data sheet about the Synod.
Thursday was another special day. In the morning we visited the TeleGiornale 1 news studio (TG1) at Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI) [Italy’s national public broadcasting company] in Rome’s Saxa Rubra area. This is a world where communication really matters. Therefore, it was very interesting to have a simple and fraternal meeting with journalists and technicians in order to better understand how news programs are conceived and structured. There was an opportunity to attend a recording of TG1’s show “Dialogo” and to meet journalist Piero DAMOSSO. Impressed by the care and attention to detail that goes into the work of those who labor in the information field, we should be aware of how much passion our friars and sisters should invest in their leadership. As leaders, we are charged with helping young people grow in the life of faith, a faith which must be communicated and transmitted in the best way. That’s why after visiting RAI in Saxa Rubra, we made a pilgrimage to the tomb of St. Peter, in order to learn to be witnesses of the most beautiful news, the supreme Good News: the Gospel.

Friar Simone TENUTI