On May 14, 2021, the friars of the Russian General Custody of St. Francis of Assisi gathered in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Moscow to thank God for the Custody’s 20th anniversary.
The Most Reverend Paolo PEZZI, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow presided over the Mass. The invited guests included, the Most Reverend Giovanni D’ANIELLO, Apostolic Nuncio to the Russian Federation, and the Most Reverend Nikolai DUBININ, OFM Conv., Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God in Moscow. Bishop DUBININ also gave the homily and spoke about the history of our Order in Russia. He spoke in particular about the last twenty years, starting with the solemn inauguration of the Custody on May 13, 2001. In the last twenty years, the Custodial community has experienced the joy of new vocations; the profession of religious vows; ordinations; the gift of the episcopate conferred upon our Friars Edward KAWA and Nikolai DUBININ; and the development of a publishing house. There were also some sad and even dramatic moments. Chief among them was the tragic death of the first Custos, Friar Grzegorz CIOROCH, a charismatic evangelizer of Eastern Europe who was killed in a car accident.
At the end of the liturgy, the Custos, Friar Dariusz HARASIMOWICZ, read a letter sent by the Minister General, Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, on the occasion of the anniversary. In his letter, Friar Carlos encouraged the friars to strive constantly to sanctify themselves, to be witnesses of Christ, to patiently build community, and to carry their cross, trusting in God’s Providence and entrusting themselves to the protection of the Immaculate Conception and our patron saints.
Finally, the Custos thanked everyone for participating and asked the friars of the Custody for their continued prayers of support, so that the plans of Divine Providence may be carried out in the years to come.
The friars of the Russian General Custody