Vocations “come and follow me”

Lent Retreat at Fonte Colombo

Half the way towards the Easter of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the community of postulants of Montefalco travelled to the “Holy Valley of Rieti” with the goal of living a couple of days of retreat to verify and check-up their vocational path and discernment. The so-called “Holy valley” is a place where Saint Francis use to pass periods of retreat, prayer or evangelization, living crucial moments for the Franciscan history and Western Christianity. Four are the Sanctuaries located all along the valley from hill to hill, north, south, west and east, creating a gigantic cross: Greccio, Fonte Colombo, Poggio Bustone and La Foresta.
After leaving Montefalco, the postulants’ first step at the Rieti Valley was the Sanctuary of Greccio “The Franciscan Bethlehem” place where Saint Francis reproduces, for the first time in the history of the church, the Manger and the Nativity of Our Lord during the Christmas Eve of 1209. A Franciscan friar of the local community of Greccio did a deep explanation of the real sense of the Manger, the incarnation and the meaning of Christmas for Saint Francis. In Fact, for the Saint, and thanks to him for all of us, every time the holy mass is celebrated and the priest consecrate the Host and the Chalice, it is a new Christmas, a new incarnation of Jesus in body and blood, soul and divinity, as well as a new nativity of Our Lord in our hearts.
Afterwards, the group continued its pilgrimage to Fonte Colombo, the so-called “Franciscan Sinai”, which includes a small sanctuary, an old convent, a rock, a grotto, and a huge history behind, hidden in the dense forest. It is called “Sinai” because it was over there, between the tight rocks where Francis himself, helped by Brother Leone, wrote the Rule for the Order of the Friars Minor, that the year 1223 received the papal bull at Rieti, city located just few kilometres away the sanctuary, which was papal see at the time. It is widely famous the fact that after the rule was written, Brother Elia (General minister) and all the provincial ministers of the Order came to Fonte Colombo to protest against Saint Francis and the hard precepts of his rule. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ himself appeared in the grotto to St. Francis and confirmed that the written rule and its content was heavenly inspired being Jesus’ will for the Order.
In addition, was in that rich place where the postulants lived their lent retreat, together with the postulants of the Franciscan provinces of Lazio, Tuscany and Sicily. The preacher of the retreat was Fr. Marino, which is the guardian of the convent, and all together did a deep review of the vocational discernment process until then. Spiritual and religious formation, prayer, silence and fraternity moments were the fundaments of the retreat; by the end of it, the preacher gave them important guidelines for the next months of the discernment being the last months of postulancy until their next meeting at La Verna in June, days before the beginning of their Novitiate.
At the end of the week, on their way back to Montefalco, the postulants visit the third Sanctuary of the Rieti Valley: “La Foresta”. It is said that over there Francis began to compose the Canticle of the Creatures as well as other extraordinary events like the multiplication of the grapes. Nowadays, the community “Mondo X” inhabits the ancient Franciscan convent, where people suffering different types of difficulties and enslavements come for rehabilitation and recovering. Around 6 men are being themselves testimony of new extraordinary events and miracles, not the multiplication of grapes anymore, but every person that visits “la Foresta “ is being witness of how through prayer, hand work and the will of being a new person, is possible to heal body, mind and soul, for the Glory of God.


Events calendar


Vigil of Christmas. Bethlehem: 13.30 Entrance of the Archbishop & I Vespers - 16.00 Procession - 23.30 Office & 00.00 Mass - 1.45 Procession to the Grotto


Nativity of the Lord. Bethlehem (St. Catherine): 10.00 Mass Shepherds' Field (Greek & Catholic): 14.00 Pilgrimage


Feast St. Stephen, Protomartyr. St. Stephen: 16.00 Pilgrimage


Feast of the Holy Innocents. Bethlehem:10.00 Mass - 14.00 II Vespers (Vicar CTS)


Octave of Christmas. Beit Sahour: Holy Angels ad pastores

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