29 Apr Visit of the Minister General to the Province of St. Anthony, Bolivia
The Minister General, Br. Michael A. Perry, and General Definitor, Br. Valmir Ramos, have made a fraternal visit to the friars in Bolivia. They were hosted from April 18th to 24th by Br. Orlando Cabrera, Minister Provincial of a fraternity that began in 1985, and is made up of 121 friars from Bolivia and abroad.
The Province headquarters is situated in Cochabamba, but the friars are located throughout Bolivia, and are responsible for parishes, schools, two shrines and three Vicariates. The Minister Provincial, friars Orlando Cabrera, with some Definitors, he received Between Br. Michael and accompanied him on the visit.
Br. Michael began his visit in St. Anthony Friary, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, meeting the brothers who live in the north and east of Bolivia. These friars, although ageing and being few in number, faithfully serve the mission in those areas. He then took time to share the vision and plans of the entire First Order with a group of Conventual and Capuchin friars. Before leaving Santa Cruz, Br. Michael met with the eight Franciscan Bishops in Bolivia, three of whom are responsible for Vicariates.
Meetings with the Provincial Definitory, during which the Minister General shared thoughts and recommendations, were held in Cochabamba, which was the next stop. It was there too that he was able to meet the friars in the Post-Novitiate, then speak with representatives of the Franciscan Family, and finally make visits to the Poor Clare Sisters and the Conceptionists.
La Paz was next, in order to spend time with friars who minister in the west of Bolivia. La Paz is home to a very popular shrine run by the friars and which has been chosen by the Bolivian Episcopal Conference as the church from which Sunday Mass is broadcast. The friars’ other shrine is on the shore of Lake Titicaca, and is dedicated to the Madonna of Copacabana, the patroness of Bolivia. In addition, the friars of this area have four private schools, with around four thousand pupils.
While there, Br. Michael also met with the bishops of La Paz and discussed the Vicariates, and the Church in Bolivia.
Before departing, Br. Michael conveyed his heartfelt thanks to all, and singled out the older friars who, despite their age, continue to dedicate themselves to spreading the Gospel.
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