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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02 Sep

Jubilees at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish, Sin-el-Fil (Beirut, Lebanon)

This year the Feast of our Patron Saint, Anthony of Padua, took on a more solemn dimension.

It was the occasion for celebrating various jubilees and events: the 70thanniversary of Friar Massimiliano Maria Chilin’s ordination to the priesthood, the 50thanniversary of our Conventual Franciscan fraternity’s presence in Sin el Fil, the 30thanniversary of the consecration of our church building, and the inauguration of the street dedicated to the holy miracle-worker.


A large number of ecclesiastical and civil authorities, together with a crowd of the faithful, joined us to give thanks to the Lord for his faithfulness and goodness.

Ad multos annos!

Friar Roger Kouyoumdji

Messa solenne presieduta da mons. Ivan Santus, segretario della Nunziatura Apostolica, per il settantesimo di ordinazione sacerdotale di fra Massimiliano M. Chilin, missionario in Libano dal 1966.

Fra Massimiliano M. Chilin
ordinato a Lourdes (Francia) il 29 giugno 1948.

Taglio della torta tradizionale alla presenza del nostro vescovo mons. César Essayan, OFMConv.

Processione con la reliquia e la statua
di sant’Antonio di Padova.

Processione con la reliquia e la statua
di sant’Antonio di Padova.

Nostro vescovo mons. César Essayan, OFMConv., presiede la messa solenne giubilare della solennità di sant’Antonio di Padova.

Taglio della torta giubilare.
Da sinistra a destra: fra Felician Tamaş (guardiano), Sig. Nabil Kahalé (sindaco di Sin el Fil), mons. César Essayan (vicario apostolico) e fra Roger Kouyoumdji (parroco).

Inaugurazione della via sant’Antonio di Padova davanti alla nostra chiesa omonima.

 

 

10 Jul

Orient and Holy Land: Ordinary Custodial Chapter – Part II

On July 2-6, 2018, the friars of the Provincial Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land celebrated the second part of their Ordinary Custodial Chapter in Istanbul-Turkey.

The Provincial Custos of the Orient and the Holy Land, Friar Anton BULAI, presided over this fraternal event. Also present were Friar Joaquín AGUESTA CUEVAS, the Assistant General for the Federation of Intermediterranean Ministers Provincial (FIMP) and Friar Teofil PETRIŞOR, the Minister Provincial of the Province of St. Joseph, Spouse of the B.V.M. in Romania.
The Capitulars reside in Turkey and Lebanon. Friar Maurizio DI PAOLO, the Procurator General of the Order, met with them and gave a spiritual introduction to start the work of the Chapter.
During the Chapter, Friar Dominique MATHIEU, who had not been present for the first part, was elected a member of the Custodial Definitory. He took an oath to carry out this service with dedication.
Important decisions were made during this Chapter for the life of the Custody. The Capitulars approved the Custodial Statutes and accepted various pastoral and charitable activities. They approved the management of some real estate and some issues regarding vocations and formation animation.
During Mass on the last day, some deceased friars were commemorated, in particular, Friar Alfons SAMMUT from the Province of St. Paul the Apostle in Malta, who spent many years in Turkey. He went to the House of the Father on June 28, 2018.
Also during that Mass, the new guardians took their oath of office. They are Friar Martın KMETEC for the community of Büyükdere (Istanbul-Turkey); Friar Iulian PIŞTA for Beyoĝlu (Istanbul-Turkey); Friar Felician TAMAŞ for Sin-el-Fil (Beirut-Lebanon); and finally, Friar Iosif Florin PETRILA for the friary of Zahle (Lebanon).

Friar Lucian ABALINTOAIEI, Chapter Secretary

 

Capitolo Custodiale 2018 II

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