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Vocations “come and follow me”

"I found great joy”: the calling to become a Franciscan Friar

They have different names, faces and backgrounds but a common experience.

Aspirant seminarian – Custody of the Holy Land – Philippines
"Before I came to Bethlehem, I worked for a television station and video production company, as a trainer. I had a good job and a great career ... but then a trip here to the Holy Land changed me. It changed my plans and my life perspective."

Aspirant seminarian – Custody of the Holy Land – Brazil
"My vocation begin in my childhood years, when I was an altar boy in my parish. Later, after meeting the Friars and appreciate the Custody of the Holy Land, I had the desire to come to the Holy Land to help with the needs of the Custody. "

Aspirant seminarian – Custody of the Holy Land – Palestine
"I received my call three or four years ago, during the Franciscan march. I found out that the lives of friars and sisters are not just made of prayers, but also of an inner joy, even though they possess nothing. They do not have cars, they are not married and have no children ... but you see them happy as they sing and dance."

The young people called to become Franciscan friars are not many. Every story is unique. But they live together to test their call.They remain in the shelter home of the Seminary in Bethlehem, the only center of the Custody in the Holy Land that has been open for four years for this purpose.

In charge of Shelter Home - Bethlehem
"Here are the young boys who come to experience this journey for the first time, to get to know the Holy Land and the Custody. These youngsters who came from different countries will stay here until July: a nine month journey that they are enjoying together.”

The aspirant friars come from seven different nations: Palestine, the Philippines, India, Korea, and various areas of Latin America.

Aspirant seminarian – Custody of the Holy Land – Palestine
"At first, the language issue was a barrier because we did not have one in common, but later, gradually, over the months, we could find a meeting point, we were able to talk ... For example, all of us are studying Italian and I think this helps us communicate.”

Not only the study of the language.....but also: the Liturgy of the Hours, the Eucharist, breakfast. Then work or catechism class or history of the custody class.....vespers in the evening, dinner and a time for sharing with the greater community of Bethlehem. Daily gestures that will reveal if the Franciscan life is the right way.

Aspirant seminarian – Custody of the Holy Land – Brazil
"My impression of this place is positive. When you leave your country, the discovery of other cultures opens your mind ... it shows you other people's ways; you find other ideas and meet different people and this makes you grow."

Aspirant seminarian – Custody of the Holy Land – Palestine
"At first it was difficult, especially for my family, because I am an only child. But after leaving everything behind, I found great joy.”

Aspirant seminarian – Custody of the Holy Land – Philippines
"It has been a radical change: from an exuberant life, in a television environment, full of fun, where I was the being in training, in a dialogue with the Lord, to discover my vocation. Yes, I lost something, but I found something better. I found brothers, a community. I found a spirituality and, of course, a new way of following Jesus.”

Related articles
When God calls: the word to vocations leaders
“Lord, what do you want me to do?”
A look at the International Franciscan Theological Seminary

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