On February 17-18 and 19-20, 2024, the Italian Province of the Immaculate Conception (Sicily-Calabria) offered a Franciscan and spiritual formation meeting, in two rounds, at the Kolbe Center – Villa Belvedere in Carini, near Palermo, (Sicily) Italy. Many lay persons participated in addition to the friars.

Friars Emanuele RIMOLI and Guglielmo SPIRITO, both from the Franciscanum Community in Assisi, led the reflections. The meeting was entitled: “Knowing Christ and Him Crucified,” a theme linked to the 800th anniversary of St. Francis receiving the stigmata. The meeting was a great way for the participants to start off Lent.
The program of both rounds of the meeting was divided into three sessions, each with a meditation offered by the speakers. The first session was entitled: “What We Shall Look Toward”; the second was: “Whom We Shall Follow”; and the third was: “You Shall Be with Me in Paradise.”
The program explored the life of Jesus as narrated in the Gospel and examined the witness of the life of our Seraphic Father, St. Francis. Friars Emanuele and Guglielmo helped the participants understand that the stigmata of St. Francis was not a prize reserved for a hero, but a goal to which each Christian is called. Each meditation led the participants toward a better understanding of the steps and attitudes needed to realize this in one’s own life.
There was much food for thought offered and many questions were raised. All of the participants were grateful for the meeting, and in particular, for the witness of life given by Friars Guglielmo and Emanuele. They showed that the reflections during the meeting did not arise from systematic study alone, but from prayer and authentic fraternal relationship.
We thank the Lord for giving us this profound and enriching spiritual experience, and for the fraternal relationship that the friars and the laity were able to share during the meeting.

Friar Rosario TERRANOVA, Provincial Secretary