From Monday, November 29 to Friday, December 3, 2021, the Provincial Custody of Our Lady of Coromoto in Venezuela conducted its annual spiritual retreat. The Novice Master, Friar Jesús RAMÍREZ DURÁN, led the retreat. The theme of the retreat was centered on Earlier Rule, on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of its composition. The retreat took place at the Jesuit-run San Javier del Valle Retreat House in Mérida, Venezuela.
Friars from the friaries in Caracas, Guanare, Barinas, Pueblo Llano, Mérida and Palmira took part in the retreat, along with the three novices of the Custody. The post-novices only attended the first and last day due to school lessons.
On the first day of the retreat, November 29, the Feast of All Saints of the Seraphic Order, the Custos, Friar Franklin DURÁN ZAMBRANO, presided over Mass, during which the friars renewed their religious vows. During dinner, the friars also celebrated forty-three years of Conventual Franciscan presence in Venezuela. The confreres recalled the missionary friars who arrived from Italy with much affection and gratitude.
Friar Jesús led the meditation on the Earlier Rule and mentioned that this Franciscan text reflects the spirituality of our founder. It was written to be read, contemplated and lived by all the friars. It contains the “form of life”, which St. Francis set down as his first “Rule” in 1209. That Earlier Rule was confirmed, without a bull, by Pope Innocent III (cf. Earlier Rule 1-3). Friar Jesús’ meditation was mainly centered on the prologue of the Earlier Rule. In it, we can discover the Trinitarian spirituality of Francis and his understanding of the Gospel not as a rule, but as a life. Francis presents the journey of the Friar Minor as a Trinitarian event and itinerary, that is, a progressive entering into the mystery of the Father’s love, through the Son, in the Holy Spirit.
May the Most High God continue to bless the confreres from Venezuela and may the Holy Spirit always guide them in remaining faithful to the ideal of our father Francis.
Friar Manuel Edgardo NÚÑEZ GALLARDO