On Wednesday June 23, 2021, the friars of the Province of St. Joseph in Slovenia celebrated a day of fraternity, which this year, also served as a pastoral day. The meeting took place in the Friary of St. Anthony of Padua in Turnišče.
Twenty-five friars participated in the event, which was enlivened by the presence of the Most Reverend Martin KMETEC, Archbishop of Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey.
After refreshments, Mrs. Hedvika DERMOL HVALA gave a talk on the art of oratory and speaking on television. The friars learned about the importance of these skills in preaching and doing pastoral work. She gave them food for thought and offered them advice that they could apply to their preaching.
At the end of the presentation, the Minister Provincial, Friar Igor SALMIČ, awarded Hedvika with honorary membership in the Province of Slovenia for her long collaboration and help in publishing. The Minister Provincial talked about the award and mentioned Hedvika’s thirty years of participation in publishing the magazine “Among Us,” which was originally called “The Spirit of Assisi.” Hedvika has not only written numerous articles for the magazine over the years, but she has also edited and proofread each issue. She also collaborated in many other publications.
The friars’ day continued with a visit to a traditional house in the Prekmurje region (near Hungary). Next, the friars went on to Turnišče where they visited a famous shoemaker’s museum and were welcomed by the mayor. Afterwards, they had lunch with the Most Reverend Peter ŠTUMPF, Bishop of Murska Sobota, Slovenia.
During the fraternal agape meal, Archbishop KMETEC addressed the friars for the first time since his episcopal appointment and consecration. He spoke of his confidence in God’s help in accepting episcopal responsibility in Izmir, which is linked to St. John the Evangelist and his disciple, St. Polycarp. He encouraged everyone to be faithful to our charism, especially in times of trial, because only in this way can we remain faithful to truth and love. He also stated that only the path of sacrifice leads to joy and inner peace and never disappoints.
In turn, Bishop ŠTUMPF thanked the friars for their valued testimony and work in the Diocese, and asked for their continued presence in the future.
The Minister Provincial took the floor and congratulated those friars who were celebrating their name days in June and July. He also mentioned the friars who were celebrating various anniversaries of ordination, solemn vows and simple vows this year. After the congratulations, a toast was raised and everyone joined in song.
When lunch finished, some friars visited the church in Bogojina and prayed Midday Prayer there in honor of St. Joseph the Bridegroom. They went on to visit the tomb of Bishop Jožef SMEJ, who, in 1983, ordained our Archbishop Friar Martin KMETEC to the priesthood. In a way, this created a symbolic bridge between the enthusiastic proclamation of the Gospel to the joyful encounter with our heavenly Father.
Friar Danilo HOLC, Provincial Secretary