At 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 20, 2020, Friar Igor SALMIČ, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph in Slovenia, organized a meeting with the confreres of the Jurisdiction using the “Zoom” Internet platform.
There was no possibility of meeting in person because of the pandemic, which imposed an unprecedented lockdown on practically everyone in Slovenia. Therefore, it was impossible to visit friaries or organize meetings or celebrations. However, the Minister Provincial did not want to give up and thus offered the friars the possibility of meeting through this extraordinary means, so that they might have an opportunity to discuss how they were coping.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Guardians reported on the life of the individual friaries. After that, other friars were able to add their own experiences. They talked about how the “crisis” had given them several opportunities, such as making more time available for prayer and the celebration of the Conventual Mass. It was easier to find time to promote fraternity and common recreation and to direct more attention to the elderly and infirm friars.
Many confreres were trying to maintain relationships with parishioners and other faithful by using this means of social communication. Those who until recently were not well versed in the use of social media are now committed to this. Even though our friar priests cannot celebrate Mass with the faithful, they nevertheless make themselves available to administer the Sacrament of Reconciliation and they continue to distribute Communion to any who wish to remain united to the Lord through the sacraments. They do this while complying fully with anti-Covid regulations.
In some communities, friars send the faithful a brief reflection on the Word of God taken from the reading of the day. In other communities, the friars stream Evening Prayer online and invite the faithful at home to join them. Friars doing hospital ministry are very involved in visiting those who are sick with the virus and administering the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. In cases like these, one must be especially careful to follow the rules and wear the required protective gear.
We thank the Lord that during this very difficult period, the friars have discovered that time is like precious gold that can be transformed into love, kindness, attention and solidarity.
Friar Danilo HOLC, Provincial Secretary