Visit of the MG to the Province of Arantzazu
From June 22-24, the Minister General, Br. Jose Rodriguez Carballo, OFM, together with the CONFRES Definitor, Br. Vincent Philippe, OFM, made a fraternal visit to the Franciscan Province of Arantzazu (Spain). All the meetings were held at the Shrine of Our Lady of Arantzazu.
On June 22, they met with over 70 brothers of the Province and celebrated with the Day of the Province. They met on two occasions, one in the morning, during which the Minister spoke about three topics, i.e., our identity, pastoral care of vocations, and downsizing. It was followed by the celebration of the Eucharist. In the afternoon, the Minister began sharing his joys and concerns about the Order. This meeting with the brothers of the Province was followed by another meeting with the Provincial Definitory. The day ended with a brief visit to the Monastery of the Poor Clares of Saint Anne Oñate, where the Shrine of Arantzazu is located.
On June 23, after breakfast, the Minister visited the Poor Clares of Vidaurreta, also in the town of Oñate. The rest of the day was devoted to meeting with the Franciscans Conceptionists of that Federation. Nearly 60 sisters from 15 communities participated. In the morning, there was a Conference with the Minister followed by the celebration of the Eucharist. He then met with the Conceptionists Sisters during the first part of the afternoon and with the brothers and sisters of the SFO during the second part; they came from different fraternities in the area. The day ended with a visit to a nearby OFM fraternity dedicated to sheep grazing and the production of cheese, thus creating a School of Shepherds subsidized in part by the government.
On June 24, the General then met with the Poor Clares only in the morning because he had to return to Rome in the afternoon. Over 140 sisters throughout the Federation gathered for the occasion. After the Conference with the Minister General, a brief discussion ensued. Later all the sisters participated in the Mass presided by the Minister General. They went on a pilgrimage to San Sebastian where the people of the neighborhood of Arantzazu celebrated the saint’s feast. After lunch with the sisters, the Minister Provincial took both Br. Joseph and Br. Vicente to the Bilbao airport for their return to Rome.