The Fraternal Visitation of Father Minister General and Father General Assistant

The Custody of Saint Francis Anthony Fasany in Vietnam was honored to welcome a Fraternal Visitation of father Minister General Carlos Alberto TROVARELLY and father General Assistant Benedict Seung-jae BAEK from November 11 to 20. The visitation was a great blessing for the friars in the new Custody since father Minister General could not come for the first Custodial Chapter on April and May of 2021. So, the presence of father Minister General and father General Assistant in the Custody are really a living sign of the fraternal unity among our Franciscan Conventual Friars. The following is an account written by Friar Joseph Luan of father Minster General’s visit.

On this occasion, father Minister General, and father Assistant General also visited two bishops of Phu Cương Diocese and Thai Binh Diocese. Then on Sunday afternoon, we said fare well father Minister General and in the early morning on Monday, father Assistant
General left Vietnam.

The fraternal visitation of father Minister General and father Assistant General was a great blessing not only for the friars in the young Custody but also for the families of the friars that were visited and blessed. This was the first important event that gathered all friars in the Custody to come together after the first Custodial Chapter in 2021.

On Friday of  November 11 th , the seminarians went to Tan Son Nhat International in Ho Chi. Minh City to welcome and pick father General to Saint Anthony Friary, the Seminary of the Custody. On Saturday, the Seminarian Director Peter Hoang Thanh DONG took father General to visit Poor Clare Sisters and, in the afternoon, they joined with the seminarians to come to the local hospital to distribute the grinded pork and multi- vegetable rice porridge cooked by the seminarians to the patients. On Sunday, father General concelebrated the Solemnity of Saint Andrew Dung Lac and The Vietnamese Companion Martyrs and then he gave a speech to the seminarians

On Monday of November 14th, father Minister General went to the Provincial Curia of the OFM and visit father Provincial Inhaxio Nguyen Duy LAM. There were the accompany of father Benedict Seung-jae BAEK and father Joseph Tran Van LONG who had just arrived in Vietnam on Sunday evening from FAAMC Meeting in Korea. Father Inhaxio Lam shared about the life and missions of the OFM Friars at this time and from some significant periods in the history of almost a 100-year presence in Viet Nam and how Franciscan Charism has been rooted peacefully and joyfully in this country.

On Tuesday of November 15th, from the Curia House in Cu Chi, father Minister General and father Benedict went to Dak Nong Province to visit the Novitiate at Saint Francis Assisi Friary. On Wednesday morning, Father Benedict concelebrated Mass in the chapel with the friars and the novices, then father General gave a speech to the novices and novitiate formators. In his speech he emphasized that the novices will take the vows in 2023 when the entire Franciscan Family will commemorate 800 years of Regula Bullata and the Greccio Event. These two important events invite all friars, especially the newly professed friars in the year of 2023 to deepen more in the spiritual and fraternal heritages of our Seraphic Father Saint Francis and make them appear lively through each friar’s as well as
each community’s life.

On Wednesday afternoon, the friars took the flight to the North of Vietnam to visit Saint Andrew Dung Lac and Vietnamese companion Martyrs Friary. The friary is in a leprosy village where over 200 lepers and 11 children with cerebral palsy are being taken care of.

On this special occasion, our friars invited the lepers and the medical workers to have lunch with father Minister General and father Assistant. In this leprosy village, there is a parish which have a church and three filial churches that our friar Micheal Hoang is the pastor,

On Friday, most of the friars were gathered at the Annunciation Friary, the Curia of the Custody to have a Fraternal Night with father General and father Assistant. The Fraternal Night began with the blessing of the annunciation statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary by
father Minister General, then the friars introduced the Vietnamese Culture and History of Vietnam through songs, plays, and dances. At the end of the Fraternal Night, father Minister General gave a fired torch to father Custode as a sign of transmitting the Franciscan Fire throughout over 800 years, and from the Custode the torch was transmitted to all the friars who were singing the song of unity.

On Saturday, the Thanksgiving Mass of Saint Francis Anthony Fasani, the Patron of the Custody in Vietnam, was concelebrated previously in the chapel of the postulancy with the main celebrant of father Minister General. After the Mass, there was a party with the
presence of the local bishop Joseph Nguyen Tan TUOC of Phu Cuong Diocese where the Curia is located.