From November 30 to December 2, 2021, the International Seraphicum College in Rome hosted a meeting for Romanian friars who do pastoral work in Italy. For several years, this day has coincided with “Great Union Day,” a national holiday in Romania [December 1].
Thanks to the leaders of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania, the Romanian friars working in Jurisdictions across Italy had the pleasure of gathering to discuss their various personal experiences living in a culture different than their own. This joyful and fraternal Franciscan event did not have a specific theme; it was simply an enriching time to share the Franciscan spirit as members of the Order. One should mention that many of the friars work at significant locations, such as the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, the confessionals of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and other important Conventual Franciscan places.
On December 1, the confreres participated in a general audience of Pope Francis. Friar Iulian MISARIU, who serves at the Apostolic Penitentiary, led the group to the Paul VI Hall, where our confrere, Mauro Cardinal GAMBETTI, OFM Conv., gave them a festive welcome. The Pope’s catechesis was centered on St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and a righteous man.
At the end of the audience, the Pope surprised everyone by approaching the friars to greet them personally. In a brief conversation with the Minister Provincial, Friar Damian-Gheorghe PĂTRAŞCU, the pope asked for information about the Most Reverend Iosif PĂULEȚ, Bishop of Iași, and said that he always kept Romania in his heart.
After that, the friars visited St. Peter’s Basilica under the guidance of its pastor, Friar Agnello STOIA. Next, the Minister Provincial presided over Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel inside the papal Basilica. During his homily, he talked about making concrete gestures. He invited the friars to keep a watchful eye on the needy and the sick. Student confreres from Romania attending various universities in Rome, and other faithful from Romania, joyfully participated in the Mass.
In the evening, the Minister Provincial held a meeting to give a brief update on the status of the Province of Romania and answer any questions from the friars.
We are grateful to Friars Cristinel GAL, Iulian MISARIU, Anton ROCA, Pavel BULAI and all the other friars who worked to make the meeting a success.
Friar Daniel FECHETĂ