On Saturday, April 6, 2024, Friar Alberto BARBARO professed his solemn vows into the hands of the Minister Provincial of the Italian Province of the Immaculate Conception (Calabria and Sicily), Friar Gaspare LA BARBERA.

The Minister Provincial presided over the celebration, which was also attended by the Assistant General for the Federazione Intermediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP), Friar Giovanni VOLTAN; the friars of the Province; religious from the other Franciscan families; members of the diocesan clergy; and many faithful. Standing before the assembled congregation, Friar Alberto confirmed his “yes” to forever be a member of our Conventual Franciscan family.
It was a grace-filled day to praise and thank the Lord for the wonders that he continually gives humanity, through the story of anyone who willingly responds to the call to follow Christ with his life.
Moreover it is precisely in the telling of his own story that Friar Alberto succeeds in being a credible witness of a vocation which teaches one to wait, to let God act in His own time.
Friar Alberto is originally from Salemi, (Sicily) Italy, where, since childhood, he had breathed in the Franciscan charism. In 1980, at the age of seventeen, he attended a vocation camp in Marineo, Sicily. It was then that the idea of entering religious life began to take shape. However, during the course of events, he was forced to put that idea aside, although it remained in his heart like a seed, waiting to germinate.
He was an only child, and when his mother passed away, he lovingly took care of his invalid father for many years. Between that and working for a living, he had no time to spare. Nevertheless, there were several occasions when Alberto visited the friars, in particular Friar Gaspare, who helped Alberto realize that, despite time and events, his feelings about a vocation had never faded. Thus, after a brief period in a monastic setting, Alberto’s religious vocation was confirmed with the Franciscans.
Among those present to share the joy of his solemn profession were people who had known Alberto all his life, such as family members and cousins who had traveled from afar. However, there were others present who knew him more recently, who accompanied him during his formation journey and were able to grasp the signs of God in him, in his story, and appreciate and love him.
Strikingly, the readings taken from the second Sunday of Easter, traced the outline of Friar Alberto’s story and Franciscan vocation.
As the Minister Provincial stated in his homily: “Fraternity is a key and fundamental word of Franciscan spirituality.” He mentioned that fraternity is precisely what is attractive and desirable to anyone wanting to enter the Franciscan family. Moreover, it is something each friar bears witness to, at every moment of his life.
Friar Gaspar then focused on life in community as a place to fully experience one’s humanity and fragility, and the regenerating and healing strength of the spirit. In fact, in community, each of us discovers the uniqueness of the other and makes their talents blossom. As Francis of Assisi used to say: living according to the Gospel, with the same sentiments as Christ, leads to community.
We thank the Lord and the Seraphic Father St. Francis for the gift of Friar Alberto and we ask the Lord to make our Order ever more fruitful.

Friar Rosario TERRANOVA, Provincial Secretary