Visit to the Franciscan Custody in Pakistan

The friars of the Franciscan Custody of St. John the Baptist in Pakistan were very happy to welcome Br. Michael Anthony Perry, Minister General, and Br. Greg Redoblado, Definitor General, from 16th – 22nd April 2018.

 

Visit to Lahore (17-18 April)

The visit began in Lahore to meet the Punjab Fraternity in Dar-ul-Naim where they were encouraged to see many young Aspirants and Postulants.  While meeting with the friars here, the Minister General spoke about fraternal living and of our mission and how to respond to the Gospel positively as Friars Minor in Pakistan. The friars also shared their own views about life in Dar-ul-Naim, and the parish they are ministering to. It was an informative, inspirational as well as spiritual encounter with each other.

The Minister General also addressed the students. An image of a train was presented to them. He asked the students to name the things which help a train to run on the tracks and related it to all the necessary things we need to inculcate for our lives as proceed on this Franciscan journey. The direction and the destination being as important, thus time and again the need to check if we are equipped with the right things and what else we need for continuing this journey. This image made clear aspects of the life we are opting for and how we need to move on with the help of the Holy Spirit.

 

Visit to Khipro – Mirpurkhas – Hyderabad (19 – 20 April)

The next stop was Khipro, the mission station among the Parkari Kohlis, followed by Mirpurkhas to meet with Br. Javed who is working at the diocesan pre-seminary house at Joti Centre.

In the village called Rar, some twenty kilometres out in the desert, live about 50 Christian families. There, after having a cup tea Br. Michael thanked an old grandmother who then responded, “Thank you for coming to us poor people and blessing us with your presence.”  This touched Br. Michael who then comforted her saying that ‘this is our place where we belong,” — a place of minority and periphery in action was experienced.

They also visited Bishop Samson Shukardin OFM, Bishop Max Rodrigues and Fr. Nico Schipper and the office team of the Bishop house where another gift sharing and garlanding ceremony took place.

 

Back in Karachi (20 – 22 April)

On 20th April, the Minister General addressed the student friars and spoke about life as friars minor stressing brotherhood and community living, from where we receive our mission and proclaim the Gospel.

The Custos, Br. Yusuf Bagh, presided over the Mass that evening while the next morning (on 21st April), the Minister General celebrated the Mass for the community in the Friary Chapel followed by his address to the professed friars living in the Custos house. The rest of the day were spent meeting with various members of the Franciscan Family, among them were FMCK, FCJ and FMM Sisters, the Capuchin Brothers and SFO’s.

On Sunday 22 April, the Minister General celebrated the Mass in Darakhshan, the Novitiate house and later spoke with the novices. He told them that novices were very special to Francis of Assisi and were the most important brothers in the Order. The novices were touched with the simplicity and openness of the Minister General. They were amazed that the Minister General kissed their feet and told them that they are the most important people in the Order. That evening both brothers Michael and Greg left for India.

Br. Yusuf expresses his appreciation on behalf of the brothers of the Custody: “this visit, which was a source of inspiration will be remembered for a long time, and we hope that the impact will be lasting. We thank the Minister General and Definitor for their very fraternal visit.”