Novitiate Formation

The general Secretary for Formation and Studies, Br Vidal Rodríguez ofm, invited by the Novice Master, Br. Carlo Roberto ofm, visited the Interprovincial Novitiate of COMPI SUD in the Convent of S. Maria Occorrevole in Piedimonte Matese, Province of Caserta (Italy) on March 23 and 24, 2015.

El Friary, which has its origins in the Alcantarine Franciscan reform, is currently the Novitiate of seven entities in southern Italy: the Provinces of St. Michael the Archangel (Foggia), VII Martyrs (Catanzaro), Assumption of the BVM (Lecce), Sacred Heart of Jesus (Naples), Immaculate Conception of the BVM (Baronisi), Santa Maria delle Grazie (Benevento) and Most Holy Name of Jesus (Palermo). It is therefore an interprovincial Franciscan community comprised of twelve young men from these provinces.

The first day, Monday 23, was focused on meeting with the formative community, which makes up the “coetus formatorum” of the community. There was an open and frank discussion regarding some challenges that confront us today in initial formation, such as the formation of the formators, Franciscan accompaniment, ongoing formation, the teamwork training for the formators, the care of discernment, preparation, periodicity and evaluation of the formation program, the urgency of encouraging a culture of vocation among the brothers and communities. This led to talking about concrete, specific aspects of a community with the specific mission of being an inter-provincial novitiate. This requires giving greater attention to the fraternal dimension so as to respond communally to the formative mission as outlined by the school of Ministers.

The second day, Tuesday 24, was dedicated to the novices and concentrated on the issue of vocational and formational guidance. Starting with the biblical icon of the disciples of Emmaus and the Franciscan icon of St. Francis’s letter to Brother Leo, Br. Vidal presented some key elements in the theme of Franciscan accompaniment referring to what is stated in the Ratio formationis Franciscanae. There was an opportunity to clarify concepts, share experiences of accompaniment, to encourage the avoidance of certain formational interferences, to open new possibilities for the purpose of walking an accompaniment process as mature believers. The novices were encouraged to be vocationally available to follow more closely the Lord, in the style of St. Francis, in such an important stage of formation as in the novitiate. They were reminded that accompaniment is a means of vocational growth proposed as a resource to help us always walk in greater evangelical quality in each stage of formation, initial and ongoing, adapting it to one’s own life cycle.

Coinciding with this conference, the animators of the pastoral care of vocations of the Prov. of VII Martyrs of Calabria, visited the novitiate with some young men who are being accompanied in their vocational discernment.

The visit concluded with a concelebrated Eucharist for the Solemnity of the Annunciation, asking St. Mary, Virgin made Church, to accompany us on the path of our call to follow more closely in the footsteps of her Son, whose Easter Pasch we prepare to celebrate.