06 May General Minister visits the Custody of the Immaculate Conception in Venezuela
Friar Michael Anthony Perry visited the custody of Venezuela from 29 April to 02 May, 2016. He arrived in Caracas along with the general Definitor, Friar Valmir Ramos. They were received by the brothers of the custody with their Custos, Friar Joel Alcides Castro. Friar Michael was accompanied by Friar Ernesto Chambi Cruz, from the province of the Twelve Apostles of Peru, the appointed general Visitator. The Custody of the Immaculada is dependent on the province of Santiago de Compostela and consists of 23 solemnly professed, 4 simply professed and one novice.
The Custody has 8 friaries and cares for 6 parishes and 3 public schools for poor children and youth. They also have 1 private school. All together they serve nearly 4000 students who receive guidance and elements of Franciscan spirituality at they schools.
In the morning of April 30th, Brother Michael held a meeting with all the brothers who live and work close (up to 400 km) to Caracas, the simply professed Friars and the postulants. The brothers introduced themselves and shared some of their life and mission in Venezuela. Brother Michael did a reflection about the news of the order and the challenges we face to better live our identity in brotherhood and in our mission in the world. Brother Michael encouraged the Council of the custody and all the brothers to continue to hope for change in the current situation of Venezuela and to persevere in living and carrying out our mission as a Franciscan brotherhood. In fact, Venezuela suffers a grave political and social crisis that requires people to line up to buy a pack of food in the markets because of unemployment, lack of food, medicine and other basic necessities.
On the same day he met with part of the Franciscan family in Caracas, especially with SFO/YOUFRA and Franciscan Sisters of an Institute born in Venezuela.
May day was celebrated solemnly in Cagua, where Brother Michael met with the Bishop of Maracay, Mons. Rafael Conde, who has expressed his pleasure with the presence and the ministry of the Franciscans in Venezuela. The same appreciation Brother Michael has heard from the faithful of the parish of San José de Cagua, who remember fondly the friars of the past and rejoice with those who are present today. The encounter with Mons. Jesus Zarate, Auxiliary Bishop of Caracas was not much different.