On May 20-21, 2023, the Commission for Formation, Evangelization and Promotion of Franciscan Spirituality and Culture (COFEP) of the Province of St. Agatha and St. Lucy in Italy (Sicily) conducted a Franciscan Studies Weekend. The theme of the weekend was “The Strength of an Ever-Living Charism: The Spirit of Francis of Assisi, Memory, Companionship and Prophetic Vision.

The weekend took place at the Madonnina del Lago Franciscan Oasis in Pergusa, (Sicily) Italy. The speaker was the Most Reverend Calogero PERI, OFM Cap., Bishop of Caltagirone, Italy.
This event was part of the ongoing Franciscan Centenary anniversaries which are being celebrated by the entire Franciscan family. The Centenary offers a chance to learn more about our seraphic Father St. Francis. Thanks to Bishop PERI’s reflections, the friars were also able to reflect on how the experience of St. Francis can be lived today, eight hundred years later. Indeed, what Francis experienced and what many friars and lay Franciscans experience is not the work of man alone but part of the charism of God who asks man to trust Him and collaborate with Him.
Bishop PERI spoke about two cornerstones of Franciscan spirituality. One is rereading Francis’ life from the Paschal perspective, a life that transitions from a merely human, to a life driven primarily by God. The second cornerstone is relational. Francis experiences a totally new way of living life given to him by the salvation wrought by Jesus Christ. As a redeemed man, he lives his relationships with God, with others, with the world and with himself according to the divine model. He has taken off the old self, once immersed in his own selfishness.
Even though the weather was cold and cloudy, the weekend was peaceful and productive for all the participants. Learning more about the spirit of Francis of Assisi is what can bring about a new season of springtime in the Church, because the seeds of that new life that Francis lived have already been sown in everyone. It is up to us to make them grow under God’s care.

Friar Rosario TERRANOVA, Provincial Secretary