30 Oct

Starting the Novitiate Year in Zahle – Lebanon

On October 1, the memorial of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the friars of two Lebanese communities recited Midday Prayer and the Angelis together, and then, at noon, welcomed four postulants into their novitiate year with bells ringing. The ceremony took place at the Friary of St. Francis, in Zahle, Lebanon, which has been erected as the novitiate house for the 2015-2016 year.

The ceremony was presided by the Provincial Custos of the Orient and the Holy Land, Friar Cesar Essayan. Of the four new novices, three, Khalil, Elie and Nicolas, are Lebanese. The fourth, Alois, is Romanian. All four were entrusted to the care of their Novice Master, Friar Dominique Mathieu. Next, everyone proceeded to the Grotto of Our Lady of the Angels where they entrusted the novitiate year and the renewal of the Custody to Mary Immaculate and thanked the Lord for the gift of these new brothers.

Friar Dominique Mathieu, Custodial Secretary

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30 Oct

Opening of the 112th Academic Year at The SERAPHICUM

On Saturday, October 10, 2015, the inaugural ceremony for the 112th academic year of the St. Bonaventure Pontifical Theological Faculty –the Seraphicum– was held. The festivities began with the celebration of Mass, presided over by His Eminence Ennio Cardinal Antonelli, President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for the Family. In addition, there were greetings from the guardian, Friar Felice Fiasconaro.

At the beginning of his homily, Cardinal Antonelli made an explicit reference to the St. Bonaventure Project: “I congratulate your academic community, which, particularly in recent years, has been committed to “doing theology together”, in the style of fraternity. Thus theological thinking springs from the life of communion and is placed at its service.” For some years, the St. Bonaventure Project has been promoting a new theological method, such as, deepening one’s Franciscan charism through a theology lived in academic research and community life.
The inauguration ceremony was followed by a keynote address from Cardinal Antonelli on “God in History – The Invisible Becomes Really Visible.” There were many in attendance, including Sister Mary Melone, Rector of the Antonianum; Father Michael Carragher OP, Vice Rector of the Angelicum; Friar Maurizio Di Paolo, Procurator General of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual; Friar Roberto Carboni, Secretary General of the Order for Formation; Friar Miljenko Hontić, Assistant General for the Conferentia Europae Centralis (CEC); some guardians of the General Houses; students; teachers; friars of the community and friends.
The Dean, Friar Domenico Paoletti, in his greeting and during his introduction of the keynote address, expressed gratitude for Ennio Cardinal Antonelli, Bishop and theologian, who was his theology professor in Assisi.
The Cardinal’s keynote address let us get acquainted with the pages of his new book “Visibility of the Invisible – God with Us in History.”
“Believing” said Cardinal Antonelli, “requires man’s total engagement: intelligence, affectivity and will” and yet, “the visibility of the invisible calls Christians to see and honor the presence of God in others and to demonstrate the presence and love of Christ to others, especially by building communion and dialogue at all levels.”
After the lecture, the ritual formula was read out by Friar Maurizio Di Paolo. He was delegated to do so by the Grand Chancellor, Friar Marco Tasca, who was himself otherwise committed to attend the Synod of Bishops.

Press Office of the St. Bonaventure Pontifical Theological Faculty – The Seraphicum

30 Oct

Formation Week for Young Friars

The Fraternity of Saint Antoine in Brussels hosted a formation week for young friars of the Federation of Intermediterranean Ministers Provincial (FIMP).

On August 24-29, 2015, the friar community in Brussels was pleased to host a group of young friars in their first five years of solemn profession. These young men attend a formation meeting each year. We were introduced to the style and pace of the community which puts special emphasis on intense daily prayer, the Eucharist and Adoration. But there was also the community’s daily work which included, among other things, distributing food to the poor every week and welcoming the many young people who are starting to come here. Many of them are attracted by the atmosphere of fraternity and prayer here and are eager to start on a spiritual journey. A fraternal meeting was held with the entire community which helped us to understand the beginnings and foundations of their community life.

Seventeen friars participated in the formation week. They came from different Provinces of the FIMP. Also present were Friar Gianni Cappelletto, the coordinator for the week, Friar Roberto Carboni, the Secretary General for Formation and Friar Francisco Bustillo, the Custos of France, who offered a reflection on “Easter Fraternity”.
A day of fraternity took place outside of the friary with a pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Poor of Banneux.

Friar Roberto Carboni, Secretary General of the SGF

19 Oct

Bartholomew I Visits the Friars of Istanbul

On Sunday afternoon, January 4, 2015, the Community of St. Anthony in Istanbul received a wonderful surprise: at 2:00 p.m., his Holiness Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, paid a visit to the Basilica of St. Anthony.

He was received by the friars of the community, the guardian, Friar Iulina Pişta and a few guests—all of whom managed to be present despite the short notice given before his arrival.
The main objective of the Patriarch’s visit was to see the exhibition entitled: “ENCOUNTERS OF LASTING LOVE”, which was set up in the courtyard of the church on the occasion of the visit of Pope Francis. The exhibition is curated by Friar Martin Kmetec.
The exhibition underscores three important ecumenical moments: the Jerusalem meetings between Pope Paul VI and Athenagoras I and Pope Francis and Bartholomew I and the next meeting that Pope Francis and Bartholomew I had in Constantinople.
There are photos on display, embellished with texts and messages. Some of the photos are from the archives of the Patriarchate, while the others were taken by photographers Nicolaos Manginas and Nathalie Ritzman.

After a complete tour of the exhibition, Patriarch Bartholomew visited the Basilica of St. Anthony, accompanied by friars and guests (Friar Ruben Tierrablanca, OFM, and members of the Focolare Community). A group of Filipinos welcomed him at the church door with Christmas carols. Inside the church, the Patriarch lit candles while Romanian clerics sang. As he visited the manger scene, he met and blessed a family that was waiting to celebrate the baptism of a child (the child’s mother was the sister of Friar Giuseppe Robu).

Patriarch Bartholomew blessed an icon depicting Peter and Andrew and affixed his signature on the back. He then went down to the crypt to see the Byzantine style paintings.
The visit ended with a meeting with Friar Luigi Iannitto, in the friary parlor.

The exhibition celebrates very important moments of ecumenical dialogue. So too, does the visit of Patriarch Bartholomew to the community of St. Anthony because it underscores the commitment that the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land has toward ecumenical dialogue.

One might remember that during the Chapter held last summer, the Custody established the Center for Ecumenical Dialogue.

The meeting was loaded with symbolism for the friars, but it was also a witness of faith in the Incarnate Word, an experience of the glory of the Father and the Son while living immersed in the Islamic world.

Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land

Bartholomeo I In Visita Ai Frati Di Istanbul

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19 Oct

The Orient and the Holy Land: Chapter – Part II

On July 14-18, 2014, the second part of the Ordinary Chapter of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land was held in Polonezkoy, Turkey.

Nineteen Chapter members were present, including Friar Agesta Joaquín Cuevas, the Assistant General of the Conference of Intermediterranean Ministers Provincial (CIMP) Friar Fabian Iacob, the Vicar Provincial of the Province of Romania.
Friar Joaquín introduced the work of the Chapter with a lectio divina on the text of 1 Sam 16: 1-13 about the theme “A New Fraternity, a New Authority … the Rediscovery of His Call.”
Motions regarding the development of the Custodial Four-Year Plan were discussed in groups then voted on in the Assembly. They concerned the fraternal life and the primacy of God; the community plan; formation; the changes and the new wording of the Statutes of the Custody; the creation of a center that promotes the heritage of the Church in the East, ecumenical and interreligious dialogue; the drafting of the history of the Friars Minor Conventual in the Orient and the Holy Land; the promotion of the M.I. in Arabic; and old and new presences.
The following were then elected: the Custodial Exactor-Treasurer (Friar Iulian Pişta) who became ipso facto President of the Committee for Economy and Construction, the guardians (Friar Atanazy Sulik for Büyükdere – Friar Maximilian Vereş for Iskenderun – Friar Iulian Pişta for Istanbul – Friar Felician Tamaş for Sin-El-Fil and Friar Florin Petrila for Zahle), the Postulancy Director is the guardian of Zahle and the Presidents of the Commissions (Friar Dominique Mathieu for Initial and Ongoing Formation – Friar Martin Kmeteć for Pastoral Care, the Press and Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue).
At the end of the Mass offered for the repose of the deceased friars who lived and worked in this area, Friar César Essayan, Provincial Custos, concluded the work of the Chapter. Afterwards the Vicar Provincial, Friar Fabian, and the Custodial Vicar, Friar Martin, expressed their best wishes for the Provincial Custody and its Custos for the next four years.

Friar Dominique Mathieu
Custodial Secretary


Capitolo Custodiale (II Parte)

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