23 Sep

Temporary religious profession in Zahle (Lebanon)

On the 17 September 2016, two Lebanese novices professed their temporary vows after completing their canonical year of Noviciate at the city of Zahle which is situated in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon.
It was noon in Beqaa valley and the sun was directly overhead when during the Holy Mass the two novices, Nicolas and Khalil with candle lights in their hands walked down the altar in the presence of the faithful to profess and to live the vows of Obedience, Poverty and Chastity in the Franciscan Conventual Order. The atmosphere was blissful and joyous as they made their vows in the hands of Vicar Custos, Friar Martin Kmetec.
Present during the Holy Mass and the ceremony were notably the new bishop elect of Beirut who was the ex-Custos of the Custody, Mons. Cesar Essayan, the friars of the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land, the cleric students from various countries studying at Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure in Rome, the Third Order Franciscan Community of Zahle, priests and religious of different congregations and apostolic life, and the faithful from Zahle and Beirut. In his homily, Mons. Cesar expressed his happiness for the gift of the two brothers and encouraged them to follow the evangelical vows they professed in the spirit of our father founder St. Francis of Assisi while he prayed for more vocations into the Order.
After the Holy Mass a fraternal banquet was shared, and all were in joyful mood and could interact and give thanks to God for chosen these our two brothers to work in his vineyard and wished more vocations in the vineyard of the Lord.
In the evening during our evening prayers as we continued to thank the Lord we had the opportunity to reflect on our fidelity to our evangelical vows in the spirit of our charism and thanked the Lord who is able to be effective in our life and work in spite of our weaknesses.
The same day also witnessed some touching moments when the friars of the provincial Custody through the Vicar Custos, Friar Martin Kmetec thanked Friar César Essayan OFM Conv. who had been appointed as Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Beirut (Lebanon), for his contribution to the growth of the Order in the Middle East during his time is the provincial Custos and wished that the Lord would always direct him in his new responsibility. He also thanked the parents of the new friars for their positive response by allowing them to respond to the God’s invitation.

Professione Semplice (Zahle, Libano – 17.09.2016)

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21 Sep

Annual spiritual exercises

On September 12-17 Franciscan Conventual Friars from the Middle East gathered at a mountain retreat center above Beirut, Lebanon, for their annual spiritual exercises. The Gospel, our supreme rule of life, was the theme of the week’s reflections, delivered by Father Antonio Visentin of the Order of Preachers. The Dominican Italian friar, based in Istanbul, led the Franciscan brotherhood in meditations on Gospel readings, also drawing from the writings and lives of numerous Catholic saints and theologians, including Catherine of Siena, Dominic, Francis of Assisi, and Meister Eckhart.

The simple but comfortable retreat center of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles, situated outside of the mountain village of Shahwan, provided the Conventual Friars of the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land with a peaceful setting for the exercises. The international group of 13 brothers, who hail from Romania, Poland, Italy, the US, Nigeria, Slovenia and Lebanon, and who work in diverse locations across Turkey and Lebanon, took advantage of the opportunity, not only to pray individually, but also to spend time fellowshipping together. Moments of silence and personal meditation were complemented with community prayer of the entire office, daily mass, and the rosary and adoration in the evenings. Silence was lifted during meals, which became the occasion for catching up with brothers from other communities.

For the friars, the week also held a special, two-fold motive for both joy and increased prayer of intercession. The Middle East Custody’s two Lebanese novices would take their simple vows in Zahle, Lebanon, on September 17, immediately following the retreat. The next day, Sunday, September 18, the Custody’s Lebanese seminarian would make his profession of solemn vows at the Order’s Parish of Saint Anthony of Padua in Beirut.

Esercizi Spirituali (Libano 2016)

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