On September 20, 2021, a Mass was celebrated to begin a new year for the post-novitiate formation program of the Provincial Custody of Our Lady of Coromoto in Venezuela. The Mass was presided over by the Most Reverend Luis Enrique ROJAS RUÍZ, Auxiliary Bishop of Mérida, Venezuela.
The Mass took place in the San Antonio de Padua Friary, located in the “Las Carmelitas” sector at kilometer 18 on Via Jají in the State of Mérida. The compound is owned by the Order of Discalced Carmelites, but has been loaned to the Conventual Franciscan Custody for ten years, through an ad usum agreement, signed in July of 2021, between the Provincial Delegate of the Carmelite Fathers, Friar Cristóbal DOMÍNGUEZ and the Provincial Custos Friar Franklin A. DURÁN ZAMBRANO, OFM Conv. It should be mentioned that the request for canonical erection of the friary for the Custodial post-novitiate program is currently awaiting approval.
Bishop ROJAS RUÍZ spoke on behalf of His Eminence, Baltazar Cardinal Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Mérida and Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Caracas. He expressed the cardinal’s deep gratitude for beginning a new Conventual Franciscan presence in his Archdiocesan Church. He stressed that religious life in Mérida has produced abundant spiritual fruits. “I trust that the Conventual Franciscans, with their witness of life and their pastoral ministry, will also produce many fruits in our ecclesial community, so I hope that their presence among us will last for many years to come,” said Bishop ROJAS RUÍZ. He concluded his homily by offering to be present to his confreres and to guide them as their pastor, brother and friend.
The others attending the ceremony included the Provincial Custos, Friar Franklin, some friars from the Santísima Trinidad Friary in Pueblo Llano and Beata Virgen María Auxiliadora Friary in Barinas, as well as the Pastor of the church of Montalbán in Ejido, Father Railli GUERRERO. Father Nelson COLMENARES was also present, along with Father Ricardo VIELMA, and the parishioners of the Carmelite ecclesial community.
Friar Juan Gregorio MARTÍNEZ CANELÓN, Custodial Secretary