On November 23, 2022, most of the friars of the Province of St. Joseph in Slovenia participated in a continuing formation day whose theme was, “Harmonizing Fraternity and Apostolate”. The event took place at the Bl. Anton Martin Slomšek Friary in Olimje, Slovenia.
The speaker was the Assistant General for the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF) Friar Igor SALMIČ. His presentation was based on the documents of the 1992 General Chapter in Mexico, the 1999 letter of the former Minister General, Friar Agostino GARDIN, “Harmonizing Fraternity and Mission,” the revised Constitutions and other documents. Friar Igor spoke about the need for balance between fraternal life and pastoral ministry. If such a balanced lifestyle is to be promoted, one must be constantly concerned with formation according to the Gospel, living with God, cultivating common prayer, devoting time to meditation and lectio divina, participating in spiritual retreats, which help us to always see people and things the way God does.
St. Francis of Assisi writes in his Testament: “And after the Lord gave me some brothers, no one showed me what I had to do” (Test 14 FF 116). Discerning what the Lord wants from us cannot take place individually, but together with our brothers. Our charism is evangelical fraternity, minority, Conventuality, and giving ourselves to the crucified, risen and Eucharistic Christ.
Later, during group work, the friars reflected on the positive experiences they have had in religious life, in their fraternal life and their pastoral work. Each friar also discussed where he thinks he is on his journey.
Although the final goal may remain out of reach, everyone should still feel as though they are moving forward. This will certainly bear fruit if they strive to be consistent and happy with their vocation despite daily difficulties and trials.
Friar Milan KOS, Minister Provincial