From August 7 to 11, 2023, friars of the Custody of Saint Francis Anthony Fasani were gathering at Saint Anthony Seminary in Binh Duong province to have Custodial Community Week. The theme of the Community Week was “Fraternity and Synodality are the ways of the Church and the Order in today’s world”. In this fraternal gathering, there was the special presence of friar Joseph NGUYỄN (Xuân Trường), coming from the Delegation of Australia, former director of Saint Anthony Friary from 2014-2017.
The Community Week began with Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrated by Friar Joseph NGUYỄN (Xuân Trường). On the first day, Friar Peter HOÀNG (Thành Đông), Secretary of Formation, presented the Formation Directory. Then the friars were divided into groups according to 6 chapters of the outline to discuss and summarize the positive points and make suggestions to correct the inappropriate points.
On the second day, the Community Week was honored to welcome Friar Paul NGUYỄN (Đình Vịnh) OFM, a professor of psychology of the OFM Seminary, to share a topic of Abuses in religious life. In his speech, Friar Paul emphasized on the primary abuses on power, finance, spirituality and sexuality.
On the third day, Friar Joseph NGUYEN (Xuan Truong) presented the topic of “Building a good Fraternity” with three main points 1) looking back to the past achievements with gratitude, 2) looking at the opportunities and challenges at the moment present with strong belief, 3) boldly stepping into the future with hope and love. Young brothers have the opportunity to listen to the sharing about the history of the Custody in the past 19 years from not only friar Joseph but also other friars of the early generations. Especially, with his understanding of the governance structure in the Order and his experiences in religious life, Friar Joseph has clarified for the brothers the positions and responsibilities which most friars have taken at the first time. He also focused on the Franciscan charism as foundations when building a young Custody.
On the fourth day, the friars reported on the state of the friaries and departments. Currently, the Custody has four friaries and a filial house of Saint Anthony Friary. Then the departments of finance, formation, evangelization, communication, MI, and Charity reported their activities in turn. Through reporting and answering questions, everyone understands the situation of each friary, community and departments in the Custody, especially the challenges and difficulties that each one is facing with. At the end of the sharing day, the brothers organized a football match for the whole friars to attend joyfully.
On the last day, the brothers listened to the sharing of the brothers who were doing ministry at the parishes. After that, Friar Joseph TRẦN (Văn Long), Provincial Custos, reported the situation of the Custody and presented future plans for the brothers to discuss and work towards implementation. The community week ended up with the Thanksgiving Mass in the evening with the renewal of the vows of 7 student friars and then a fraternal night.
-Prepared by Friar Giu-se Nguyễn Chính Luận, OFM Conv.