First International Formation Course for SFO-YouFra Assistants

For many years the General Spiritual Assistants for the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) and Franciscan Youth (YouFra) have been dreaming of hosting an international formation course for national spiritual assistants together in one place. With the help of the four General Ministers (OFM, OFMCONV, OFMCAP, TOR), the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants of USA, the National Fraternity of South Korea and the Presidency of International Council of the Secular Franciscan Order (CIOFS), the dream was finally realized on 10-15 November 2019.

The formation course was held at the Seraphicum College of the Conventual Friars in Laurentina (Rome) with the attendance of friars from all four Obediences in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America.  The highlight of the week was the presence of Br. Carlos Alberto Trovarelli, General Minister of the Conventuals (representing the Conference of General Ministers), Br. Amando Trujillo Cano TOR, former General Spiritual Assistant and now TOR General Minister, Tibor Kauser OFS, General Minister of OFS/YouFra, and Ana Fruk, a member of the OFS Presidency council. Their presence meant a lot to the participants, especially the valuable time all the speakers gave as they shared their knowledge, experiences and love for the OFS/YouFra.

The course was meant to awaken not simply the knowledge about the OFS/YouFra, but also to reenkindle within the assistants the love for their service as spiritual assistants, bearing in mind that knowledge is fundamental for a better and a proper service but one should always avoid the temptations to remain at the level of the mind without connecting to the heart.

It is hoped that all the topics dealt during the course will be shared among the brothers and sisters all over the world who could not be present for various reasons. It is the responsibility of every spiritual assistant to seriously take the words of St. Francis of Assisi “let us begin again, for until now we have done nothing” by engaging oneself in ongoing formation so that all spiritual assistants to OFS and YouFra can be counted among those “suitable and well-prepared persons appointed for the service of spiritual assistance.” (OFS GGCC art. 88.1)