On March 3-10, 2018, the Assistant General for the Federazione Inter-mediterranea Ministri Provinciali (FIMP), Friar Joaquín AGESTA, conducted a canonical visitation to the two fraternities in Lebanon belonging to the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania.
The Custody has two friaries in Lebanon: one in Beirut (Sin El Fil) and one in Zahlè, which houses the Custody’s postulancy program and serves as a place to welcome prospective vocations. There are nine friars between the two fraternities: five are in the friary-parish of St. Anthony in Beirut, and four are in Zahlè where various ministries are carried out such as Secular Franciscan (OFS) formation, charity towards the poor and the Syrian refugees, and youth and vocational animation. There are two additional young confreres: one is studying sacred scripture in Jerusalem, and the other studying patristics in the U.S.A.
The Zahlè fraternity is just over fifty kilometers [31 miles] from Beirut. The friars have been there for more than ten years. The church next to the friary is still under construction. About two and a half kilometers from the friary, [1.5 miles] the friars also take care of a hermitage dedicated to St. Clare. It is a pilgrimage destination and a meeting place for faithful participating in Easter and Franciscan events (the Palm Sunday procession, Good Friday and the Pardon of Assisi indulgence).
The Custody is preparing for its next Ordinary Custodial Chapter, which will be celebrated during the second week of Easter.
Friar Joaquín AGESTA, Assistant General for the FIMP