From Monday, September 6 to Saturday, September 11, 2021, the annual meeting between the members of the General Government of the Order and the newly elected Ministers Provincial, Custodes and Provincial and Custodial Secretaries was held at the St. Bonaventure Friary (Seraphicum) in Rome.
Friars from all over the world came to the event. They represented twelve Jurisdictions, namely, Indonesia, Poland (Warsaw, Gdańsk, and Cracow), the Czech Republic, the Ukraine, Spain, Romania, and Italy (Abruzzo, Assisi, Central Italy, Puglia and Naples).
The week-long event had multiple objectives connected with various training needs. The friars were taught certain legal and financial guidelines useful for the proper functioning of a Provincial government. They were informed about the status of some of the Motions of the 2019 General Chapter. They were updated on communications with the Order. They were introduced to some elements of psychology in order to better manage relational difficulties. There were theological meditations on being effective in the service of authority. The friars learned about the Projects Office and the self-sustaining methods it promotes. Equally important, the friars had an opportunity to get to know each other better. Indeed, during the friars’ daily discussions, it became clear that they felt enriched by meeting new faces, sharing experiences, and broadening perspectives. Finally, they learned that behind the familiar offices of Minister Provincial, Vicar Provincial, Provincial Secretary, Procurator, Definitor, etc., one finds brothers who dedicate themselves each day to serving the entire Conventual family.
Some of the men who contributed their experience and expertise to this event were Father Pier Luigi Nava, S.M.M., Under Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO, the Procurator General; Friar Valerio FOLLI, the Coordinator of the Projects Office; Friar Piotr STANISŁAWCZYK, the General Delegate for Formation; and Friar Lucian HORLESCU of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania.
Among the invited guests at the event were His Eminence, Friar Mauro Cardinal GAMBETTI and the Most Reverend Friar Dominique MATHIEU, Archbishop of Tehran, Iran. Friar Dominique presided over Mass on Tuesday, September 7, while Friar Mauro presided over Mass on Thursday, September 9, at the Basilica of the Twelve Holy Apostles, in Rome.
One of the crowning moments during the busy week took place on Saturday, September 11, when the friars made a pilgrimage to Assisi, the birthplace of our Seraphic Father St. Francis. The General Custos of Assisi, Friar Marco MORONI, left early from Rome, in order to host the group and welcome them during the noon Mass in Assisi. Before attending the Mass, the friars listened to a splendid lecture by Friar Felice AUTIERI who spoke brilliantly about the relevance and value of the Earlier Rule. This year marks the 800th anniversary of its drafting. Since one of the goals of the week was to strengthen zeal for our charismatic identity, the friars naturally had to make a stop at the tomb of St. Francis. While there, they invoked his paternal blessing before resuming their journey.
Friar Paride AMMIRATI