General News from the Province
Last week, I woke up early to attend the funeral of a close relative. The poor lad had taken his own life. Add to that the fact that he left behind neither wife nor child and you will see the utter distress his death has caused his African family. Why did he do it? As I dressed up, the Christian radio preacher I had so far ignored grabbed my attention. “Go stand before a mirror,” he urged. I was already before a mirror.
Can you imagine what would happen if we would treat the Bible in the same way as we treat our mobile phone?
If we would carry the Bible in our briefcases, in our small hand bags, on the belt or in the pocket of our jacket?
If we would look at it several times each day?
If we would turn back to look for it when we have forgotten it in the house or in the office?
If we would use it in sending out messages to our friends?
If we would treat it as if we could not live without it?
If we would go with it along the journey in case we would need help or assistance?
If we would touch it in an emergency?
Franciscan brotherliness shows itself particularly at recreation time and in hospitality toward guests. Recreation is the very arena of fraternal charity. If everyone enters into the spirit of relaxation, innocent fun, the give-and-take of humorous quips or moderate teasing – how pleasant and refreshing is this so necessary exercise of community life. One looks forward to it with joyful anticipation and leaves it refreshed and ready for serious work or duties. It cheers the downhearted, refreshes the weary, drives away gloom, and makes religious life so human and attractive.
We all can recall such periods, when the community was made up of jolly friars who had humility and brotherliness enough to contribute their bit to the general hilarity, even when they themselves were the butt of the fun. Many such lovable souls have passed on, but their memory is still treasured and they live in anecdote as true minstrels of God an types of Franciscan brotherliness.
“Christ is the Love of God made flesh, the Only Son and Savior of all. For you, to proclaim Christ is not to impose something foreign on anyone but to communicate to all what each one basically longs for: the eternal love that every human heart is secretly awaiting”
(“Let God’s Light Shine Forth”, The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI).
Grace and peace in abundance to all of you at the beginning of the Year 2009!
The Year 2008 that was very special for our Province has just ended. It was special because we were celebrating the Silver Jubilee of our presence in this part of Africa. We were celebrating 25 years of the “Africa Project”.
It is always a great honor and an intense joy to welcome brothers coming from other African entities. This time it was the Province of St Francis in Africa and Madagascar to host the annual meeting of the JPIC Provincial Animators (Kenya, Sept 14-18) of the OFM African Conference.
On Sunday, September 14, Br. Joe Ehrhardt, vice-president of the JPIC Conference, welcomed the attendants. The work began the following day with the reports of the Entities present (Holy Land, Mozambique, St. Francis’ Province and JPIC FA) and the fraternal sharing of the achievements and challenges of each entity.