On November 22-24, 2021, a formation course for the Guardians of Italy and Malta took place at the St. Bonaventure International College (Seraphicum) in Rome. The course was entitled: “The Guardian at the Service of the Fraternity”.
The course was organized by the General Curia, through Friar Giovanni VOLTAN, the Assistant General for the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP), and Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO, the Procurator General. Thirty-two Guardians attended: six from the Italian Province of St. Anthony of Padua (Northern Italy); sixteen from the Italian Province of St. Francis of Assisi (Central Italy); two from the Province of Saints Bernardino and Angelo in Italy (Abruzzo); three from the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily); two from the Province of St. Paul the Apostle in Malta; two from the General Custody of the Sacred Convent of St. Francis in Italy (Assisi); and one from the Provincial Custody of St. Daniel and Companion Martyrs in Italy (Calabria). The Minister Provincial of Malta, Friar Colin SAMMUT and the Minister Provincial of Central Italy, Friar Francesco LENTI, also participated.
On the first day, the friars studied the historical and juridical aspects of the Guardian throughout the history of the Conventual Franciscan family. Friar Giancarlo CORSINI, a Franciscanist, and Friars Maurizio DI PAOLO and Francesco PANIZZOLO, members of the General Procuration Office, presented valuable reports in this regard. In addition, Friar Marco MORONI, the General Custos of Assisi, spoke from his own personal experience about new expressions of community, according to Motion No. 9 of the 2019 General Chapter: “New Wine for New Wineskins.” The day concluded with Mass presided over by the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI.
On the second day, Friar Gabriele LUPI and Donatella FORLANI gave a lecture on a sensitive topic entitled: “Relationships within Our Fraternities: Dynamics, Obstacles, and Processes” They stressed that the Guardian is decisive in initiating processes that bring members of a fraternity together. At the same time, he is watchful for anything that might endanger the life of the brothers and the fraternity as a whole.
In the afternoon, the participants divided into four groups and discussed the progress made in the course thus far. Next, Friar Massimiliano SEMBIRING, the current Vice-Delegate General for Formation, gave a lecture entitled: “The House Chapter: Preparation, Meeting and Planning.” The second day concluded with Mass with the Seraphicum community, presided over by the Most Reverend José RODRÍGUEZ CARBALLO, OFM, Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In his homily, the archbishop talked about the authority of Christ in fostering the growth of every person. In the evening, the post-novices of the FIMP Federation hosted a fraternal get-together.
On the third and final day, having covered the historical and juridical aspects of the Guardian, as well as his fraternal leadership, the friars examined the Guardian’s financial and administrative responsibilities. The General Exactor, Friar Leszek ŁUCZKANIN, and the General Econom, Friar Nicola ROSA, provided lectures on those delicate topics.
The participating Guardians gave the course a favorable evaluation. In particular, they enjoyed being able to discuss their experiences, stories and journeys with other Guardians, even those from different Provinces. Many of the Guardians appreciated the opportunity to learn something new or to re-learn something old. The meeting was certainly positive and may be repeated in coming years.
Friar Daniele Sciacca, Provincial Secretary of Central Italy