Franciscan Itinerancy 2024

Initiative of the Youth-Vocational Ministry of the OFM Chile

05 February 2024

From Monday, January 15 to Friday, January 20, we lived the experience of the "Franciscan Itinerancy 2024" in the Colchagua Valley in the VI Region, Diocese of Rancagua; pilgrimage from the Commune of Santa Cruz to the town of St Peter of Alcántara. It was approximately 85 km of walking through these lands, which 7 itinerants traveled (2 friars and 5 young people: Carolina León, Yazmin Sáez, Cristopher Díaz, Emerson Orellana, Vicente Abarca, Br Ronald Villalobos and Br Luis Cisternas).

Franciscan Itinerancy is an experience that evokes the origin of the Franciscan charism with Brother Francis of Assisi and his first companions developing as a fraternity on "the way".
We traveled the road, making a young and joyful ecclesial presence, greeting those who traveled in their cars on the way and praying at the rhythm of each step for the intentions of those who asked us for prayer. Our presence on the road for five days was that of silent and testimonial preaching, remembering that Jesus Christ is present in the journey of every man and woman as brother, sister, companion, teacher and Lord. 

As pilgrims every day we arrived at a place to spend the night, this time always a Chapel or Parish, and then we continued on our way. For this reason, I would like to take this opportunity to thank on behalf of our Itinerant fraternity the parish priests of Peralillo, Pumanque and St Peter Alcántara (Br René Gaete, Br Martín Medel and our brother Br Fermín Castro, respectively) for their willingness to welcome us and provide us with all manner of good things. We are also grateful for the welcome and prayers of Msgr. Guillermo Vera Soto, Bishop of the Diocese of Rancagua. 

The fraternal dimension was also another important aspect of this experience, as we did not walk alone but always with brothers and sisters by our side. The journey presented us with challenges as an itinerant fraternity, just as life itself does, and there we had to dialogue, reach a consensus and discern together. The path allowed us to grow in bonds through the trust that slowly began to take shape amongst us. 

Each day we began our journey before the Lord in silence and listening to the Word of God, and in the evening, we gathered as a fraternity to recognize the Lord in the breaking of the Bread, like the pilgrims to Emmaus. Sometimes along the way we had to wait, walk slower, share water and collaborate in the preparation of food. We were able to experience minimally what the seasonal workers we meet along the way working under the sun and so many migrant brothers and sisters who must walk riskily along the paths, spending days and nights without a safe roof over their heads. On our prayerful journey they were in our hearts. 

Our pilgrimage ended on Friday, but our hearts continued to be moved, asking ourselves like Brother Francis Assisi: "Lord, what do you want me to do?"

Br Luis Andrés Cisternas Aguirre, OFM
Animator of Youth-Vocational Ministry, OFM Chile

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