The Fraternal Assembly Has Started

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“Behold how good and how pleasant it is when brothers live in unity.” These words of Psalm 133 have once again been realized in our Conventual franciscan fraternity.  Between yesterday and today approximately 150 friars from all parts of the world began to gather in Argentina just outside its great capital, Buenos Aires, for a period of prayer and reflection on the theme of formation.

Today was spent welcoming the friars and preparing “El Cenáculo,” the retreat center that will host our assembly.  Because of the stormy winter weather in a large part of Europe, some of us experienced delays and changes in travel plans.  But thanks be to God, all have arrived—perhaps without luggage, but safe and sound nonetheless.  These little inconveniences have given us from the start the opportunity to experience the ready and willing availability of the friars of the Province of Rioplatense, who had to accommodate themselves to last-minute changes and very inconvenient arrival times.  Thank you!  And this is only the beginning!

Our fraternal assembly began with the most important dimension of every Christian life: the celebration of the Eucharist for the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  The Minister General, Friar Marco Tasca, presided.  He welcomed each brother and reminded him of the purpose of our assembly while invoking on one and all the blessing of the Lord.  After the celebration of the Eucharist, Friar Guglielmo Spirito, Secretary of the assembly, offered helpful information concerning program logistics and housekeeping details.  Then we proceeded outside for a welcoming “fiesta,” complete with splendid musicians and a traditional Argentinian dance troupe.  The rhythms and melodies helped us forget the onslaught of the ever-present mosquitoes always ready to land on some part of us.  The festivities concluded with a traditional meal of delicious “empanadas” and native desserts and sweets.

What better way to prepare ourselves for the work awaiting us tomorrow?