Once a year, the members of the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF) hold an assembly the week after Easter, in conjunction with the “Juniorentreffen” meeting of the Federation’s student friars, who are also invited to attend the assembly. This year’s assembly was hosted by the Provincial Custody of St. Leopold and St. Nicolas of Flüe in Austria-Switzerland and took place at its friary in Vienna on April 2-6, 2024. Around twenty confreres attended.

Those participating included postulants and post-novices as well as student friars from Croatia and the Seraphicum College in Rome. They had plenty of time to visit Vienna and our historic friary there. They were also offered a lot of formational content. Friar Dariusz ZAJĄC gave a lecture on prayer based on the writings of the Franciscan preacher Friar David of Augsburg (ca. 1200-1272). Friar Igor SALMIČ, the Assistant General for the CEF Federation, answered questions as they arose during a discussion on life in the Order.
The Assembly began with the usual reports on the status of the Order in the countries within the CEF Federation. The CEF Federation President, Friar Milan KOS, welcomed friars representing Croatia, Germany (including friars belonging to the Delegations from Poland and Romania), Austria-Switzerland and Holland. Unfortunately, the mission representative from Sweden could not attend. After a report by the Assistant General on current developments in the Order, the participants held a detailed discussion about the preparations for the 2025 General Chapter. There was also a lively exchange of opinions on individual issues that will be included in the Federation’s report to the General Chapter.
Three important elements played a role during the Assembly: fraternity during meals and recreation; prayer and Mass in the various languages of the Federation; and finally, a day of excursions. First, the Provincial Custos, Friar Bernhard LANG, led the friars on foot to the Austrian National Library, not far from the friary. There, the brothers were amazed as they contemplated the globes from the workshop of the famous Conventual Franciscan Friar Vincenzo Maria CORONELLI (1650-1718). Next, they visited an underground cave (“Seegrotte Hinterbrühl”) and the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz. The abbey is famous for its philosophical-theological university, which bears the name of Pope Benedict XVI, and for its large number of new vocations; six novices are currently preparing for religious life. The excursion ended with a cozy dinner in a typical Austrian restaurant.
We would like to thank the friars of Austria for their hospitality. Moreover, we thank everyone who participated, for their beautiful example of lively fraternity, which crossed all borders.

Friar Andreas MURK