On December 3, 2018, the guardians of all sixteen friaries of the Province of the Franciscan Protomartyrs in Zambia and the mission in Malawi, gathered at the Franciscan Center in Ndola, Zambia, for their annual Guardians’ Meeting, held December 3-6, 2018.

The meeting took place in the Chapter Hall of the Pastoral Center. It opened and closed with Mass. Friar Vincent SICHAND made his Profession of Faith as he took his new office as guardian for the St. Kalemba Mission friary in Kapembe, Manyinga District, in Zambia’s North-Western Province.
After the Profession of Faith, the Minister Provincial, Friar Richard Francis CHIMFWEMBE, presided over the meeting offering a warm and fraternal welcome to the guardians who serve as his immediate collaborators. In his opening remarks, he stated that the theme of this year’s Guardians’ meeting was “Nurturing the Seed That Has Been Entrusted to Me”. Based on this theme, he reflected with the guardians on the concept of lending a “helping hand”. He fraternally encouraged each guardian to see his office as lending a helping hand, not only to the Minister Provincial as his immediate collaborator in running the affairs of the Province, but also lending a helping hand to every friar in the Province, especially the friars who are members of the guardian’s own friary. The Minister Provincial further exhorted the guardians that, when it comes to lending a helping hand, there will be times in their lives when they will need help from others, especially when they are facing the dark side of life in their office and ministry. He also encouraged them to bring different generations of friars in the Province together because the Province is not comprised of only one generation. Different generations of friars make the Province what it is. One must treasure and take care of this beauty, which the Lord has given our Province.
Keeping the theme of this year’s meeting in mind, the friars evaluated the Provincial Four-Year Plan to see what progress the communities have made so far and how they are faring regarding their spiritual life, fraternal life, apostolates and Province finances. The friars formed discussion groups and talked extensively about these aspects of our lives. They evaluated the joys, struggles and challenges the friars have faced during the first two and a half years of this four-year term.
The meeting also included time for the Liturgy of the Hours, Mass, presentations, discussions, reflections and evening social recreation.
In his concluding remarks, the Minister Provincial thanked the guardians for their concerted efforts for the good of the Province. He also urged them to improve communications and their financial support of the Provincial administration. Above all, he asked them to strengthen our fraternity and to focus on the common good of the Province. He further encouraged them to celebrate 2019 as the “Year of Fraternity”. At the close of the guardians’ meeting, the friars recited the peace prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Friar Mathews KASONGO, OFM Conv., Provincial Secretary