Croatia – 20th Anniversary of YouFra
This year, the Franciscan Youth of Croatia celebrates the 20th anniversary of its birth. For this reason, on Saturday, June 2, 2012, many young Franciscans went to the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Grace of Trsat (Rijeka) with their Spiritual Assistants to celebrate this important anniversary. The celebration was attended by Ana Fruk, Councilor of the CIOFS Presidency for YouFra and Ivan Matić, OFM, Assistant General to the OFS-YouFra. The representatives of the Franciscan Youth of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia also shared in the celebration of this fraternal joy.
The first part of the celebration was dedicated to the presentation of the participants from 5 regional fraternities existing in Croatia with about 70 local fraternities. The welcome address was given by Ivan Bambir, National President of the Croatian Franciscan Youth, whereas Stjepan Kelčić, OFS, National Minister of Croatia presented the current situation of the OFS and the importance of cooperation and communion between the OFS and YouFra.
On behalf of the Franciscan Province of Saints Cyril and Methodius of Zagreb, where YouFra began in 1992, Provincial Minister Br. Željko Železnjak, OFM, expressed his welcome greeting to the young and on behalf of both the Province and the entire Franciscan Family of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina congratulated them for their celebration.
The heart of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist was celebrated in the Church Shrine, where they are also so many other pilgrims gathered along with the Young Franciscans. Br. Ivan Matić, OFM, presided over the solemn celebration of the Eucharistic.
In the afternoon, Ana Fruk and Br. Ivan made brief presentations based on the history of the Franciscan Youth in Croatia, on Franciscan spirituality, and the state of YouFra in the world. This was followed by several videos of best wishes sent by young Franciscans from different countries of the world. All this was accepted by the participants with great joy and a deep feeling of belonging to an international fraternity in which the same Christian and Franciscans values are shared with many brothers and sisters around the world.
A very beautiful and meaningful thing in Croatia is that many young people of YouFra have joined the OFS after their experience in YouFra, several of whom are young married couples. There are also several young men who discovered their religious and priestly vocation thanks to their journey among the Franciscan Youth.