22 Aug

Lebanon: Mass of Thanksgiving

“We are all invited to choose our boat and embark towards other shores in the direction of new horizons”. Thus Friar Dominique MATHIEU began his homily for a Mass of Thanksgiving on Tuesday July 2, 2019, in the church of St. Anthony of Padua in Beirut, Lebanon. Friar Dominique, a member of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, was recently elected the Assistant General for the Centralis Europae Foederatio (CEF) during the last General Chapter.

The Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated the gift of Friars Dominique Joseph MATHIEU and Florin Gheorghiţă BOGDAN and bade them farewell. They are from the Lebanese communities of St. Anthony of Padua in Sin el Fil and St. Francis of Assisi in Zahlé. The two friars concelebrated this evening Mass with Friar Anton BULAI, the Provincial Custos of the Orient and the Holy Land, at our church of St. Anthony of Padua in Horch Tabet, Sin el Fil.

A large assembly of faithful gathered to praise the Lord and thank him for the gift of our brothers. The liturgical service for this celebration was provided by our young people in vocational discernment. Hymns were sung by the choir of the parish scout troop. After the Mass, everyone moved to the friary for a fraternal agape meal and countless photos were taken from various mobile phones. Dulcis in fundo, the fraternity gathered that evening on the terrace of the friary for a barbecue, songs and dancing.

With St. Francis in his “Praises to Be Said at All the Hours,” we also say: “let us praise and glorify Him forever”, for the gift of these brothers. May they sail to other ports and return, inshallah (‘God willing’ in Arabic and Turkish) to our lands in the Orient, the cradle of encounter with other faiths, churches and Christian traditions.

Fr. Roger Kouyoumdji

Ringraziamento

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16 May

Lebanon: Formation for Guardians

On May 1-3, 2019, the Guardians and Vicars of the friaries of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land met in Lebanon for three days of fraternity and formation.

On the first day, the friars went on a pilgrimage organized by the community in Sin el Fil, Beirut. They celebrated Mass at the church of Saint Anthony of Padua in Kfarzeina and prayed the Rosary at the Shrine of Saydet el Hosn in Ehden.
The friars spent the next two days studying psychology and Franciscan spirituality, through lectures and discussions led by Friar Lucian HORLESCU from the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania. Several aspects of fraternal relationships were presented, with careful attention paid to responsibilities, conflicts and the role of affectivity. Friar Lucian offered a reinterpretation of the Letter to a Minister by St. Francis of Assisi. Moreover, he invited the friars to continue their journey with joy, and to never grow tired of working on their own limitations.

Friar Lucian ABALINTOAIEI, OFM Conv.

Formazione Per Guardiani (Libano, 1-3 Maggio 2019)

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06 Apr

Day of Prayer in Memory of Martyrs

On March 24, the “Day of Prayer and Fasting in Memory of Martyrs” will be celebrated. This Day was established in 1993, as an initiative of the then Youth Missionary Movement (now Missionary Youth), on the anniversary of the assassination of St. Óscar Arnulfo ROMERO, Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador.

On this day, all missionaries killed because of their ministry during the year 2018 will be remembered. Prayer and fasting during this anniversary will help us reflect on our personal faith and commitment in proclaiming the Gospel.

To prepare for this day, the Friars Minor Conventual of Istanbul arranged a ceremony to bless an icon of the Blessed Martyrs of Peru: Michał TOMASZEK and Zbigniew STRZAŁKOWSKI who suffered martyrdom on August 9, 1991, in Pariacoto, Peru. Their liturgical feast day is June 7. Last year, the Secretary General for Mission Animation (SGAM), Friar Jarosław WYSOCZAŃSKI, visited Istanbul and spoke about the life and mission of our Blessed Martyrs. He was their Guardian in Peru when they were killed.

The blessing ceremony took place on March 15, 2019, and brought together friars from both communities in Istanbul: Büyükdere (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and Beyoğlu (St. Anthony of Padua). It was an occasion to pray for the Order and to reflect on the Franciscan witness in Turkey.

The ceremony was presided over by the Minister General, Friar Marco TASCA, who at the time was a guest of the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land in Turkey and Lebanon. He also blessed the icon. The icon was painted in Bulgaria and was a fraternal gift from the Provincial Delegation in Bulgaria.

According to a report by “Fides” (a press agency for the Pontifical Mission Societies), 40 missionaries were killed in 2018: 35 priests, 1 seminarian and 4 lay people. In 2017, by comparison, there were 23 deaths.

The friars of Istanbul are planning to celebrate the Third Sunday of Lent with the following motives in mind: to commemorate the missionaries, to offer a Lenten sacrifice for the intentions of the missionaries and to foster the rediscovery of missionary zeal in our friaries and Jurisdictions.

Friar Michał SABATURA

Giornata Dei Martiri

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06 Apr

Presentation on the New Constitutions in Turkey and Lebanon

Friar Timothy KULBICKI, the Secretary of the International Commission for the Revision of the Constitutions (CIRC) visited the friars of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, at the behest of its Custos, Friar Anton BULAI, to give a presentation on the new Constitutions, which went into effect on February 2, 2019.

The friars, together with the Custos, gathered for two meetings. The first was held March 4, 2019, in Büyükdere, Turkey. The second was held March 7, 2019, in Beirut, Lebanon. Friar Timothy gave his presentation on the Constitutions, under the theme: “Everything Flows from the First Two Numbers of the Constitutions”.

In his introduction, Friar Timothy presented the work of the Commission and the Order, describing how the revision of the Constitutions was carried out through the reflection of all the friars. Then, he talked about the conclusion of the work, describing the final drafting and approval of the Constitutions at the Extraordinary General Chapter held during July and August of 2018, Friar Timothy reminded the friars of the journey they had made, and pointed out the profound reasons why the revision of the Constitutions was needed: the displacement of the Order in new areas around the globe, and new problems in the contemporary world that touch the lives of the friars, emphasizing the importance of the Constitutions for our life. Being familiar with the text of the Constitutions is important for deepening our identity, renewing our life and for ongoing formation.

The theme of the revision of the Constitutions was presented under various aspects: Religio (the Order in its foundation), Fraternity, Minority, Conventuality, Marianity and Communion.

The friars expressed their appreciation and gratitude to Friar Timothy for his fraternal visit, by showing their willingness to put these fundamental principles into practice in their lives.

Friar Martin KMETEC, OFM Conv.

Nuove Costituzioni (2019)

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06 Apr

Franciscan Family Retreat in Lebanon

On Saturday, February 16, 2019, friars and sisters of the nine Franciscan families of Lebanon gathered together for a day of spiritual retreat. This took place within the context of our shared yearly calendar and in preparation for Lent. The retreat was held at the Poor Clares’ Unity monastery in Yarze, Lebanon.

More than fifty-five friars and sisters, along with various young people in formation, met around the theme of fraternal life.
The participating friars from our Conventual family were Friars Roger KOUYOUMDJI, Iosif Florin PETRILA, Felician TAMAŞ and Khalil EL-KHOURY.
It was a time of prayer and Eucharistic adoration. Friar Mikhael MEGHAMES, OFM Cap., gave a beautiful and truthful lecture about fraternal life within our Franciscan spirituality. The day included a lively Mass and a packed lunch with sandwiches and drinks.
As Brother Francis wrote in his Testament (Test 14): “the Lord gave me brothers”. Thus, may initiatives such as this rekindle in us the fire to follow the Lord Jesus, according to the example and life of the Poverello, in our various fraternities in Lebanon.

Friar Roger KOUYOUMDJI
Vicar Custos of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land

 

Famiglia Francescana Libano – Ritiro

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