La Verna: four novices from the Custody of the Holy Land

On the morning of Saturday 7th September, at the Franciscan Sanctuary of La Verna (Italy), four novices made their first profession in the Order of Friars Minor. 

Coming from different parts of the world, after the first years of discernment, the four new friars completed their “trial year” at the Sanctuary of La Verna, continuing on their path of formation towards the Holy Land. Built-in the southern part of Mount Penna, in Tuscany, the Sanctuary is of great significance in Franciscanism: as well as being the venue of numerous events linked to the Order, it is the place of the full conformation of Francis to the crucified Christ, that is, the place where St Francis received the stigmata on 14th September 1224. 

It was the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, who presided the celebration of the Eucharist. During the comment on the readings chosen for this day of celebration, Fr. Patton told of his experience of formation and vocation at the dawn of his thirty-sixth year since his first profession. “There is one thing that I have learned from personal experience, and it is that to answer this call our forces are insufficient,” said the Custos. “What allows us to correspond to the gift that we have received, what allows us to walk day after day in the footsteps of Jesus, what makes us able to “observe his Gospel living in obedience, without anything of our own and in chastity,” is the fact that He himself prayed and continues to pray for us, He himself supports us and gives us strength, He himself continuously shows his grace, compassion, and mercy to us who are fragile, have selfish tendencies and are easily unfaithful.”He also remembered the friars who are currently living in Syria and those who have given their lives in the Holy Land, to defend the Holy Places and their faith. 

After the homily, each of the novices went up to the altar and, in the hands of the Custos, made his profession to which Fr. Patton answered, “and I, in the name of the Church and of our Fraternity, receive your vows, and on behalf of God Almighty, if you observe these things, I promise you eternal life.”

Giovanni Malaspina