20 January 2023

Loving God the Franciscan Way

Fifteen young men joined the Franciscan Vocation Discernment Retreats held in Singapore and Kuching last November and December. The aspirants accepted the invitation to Come and See Franciscan spirituality and the Franciscan way of life for different reasons, but they all shared the same desire: to seek the will of God in their lives.

Friar Giacomo Bini OFM, former Minister General of the Franciscan Order, said, “Nowadays, fraternal holiness is more effective than personal holiness.“ Inspired by this wisdom, the retreat was planned to help the aspirants learn more about God and about themselves through a fraternal living experience.

Over four days and three nights, they prayed, reflected, ate and shared as a fraternity. It was a safe space where everyone could be open and honest in sharing. The aspirants came as individuals, but it did not take long for each to feel a sense of belonging to the fraternity they formed during the retreat.

Eight aspirants (from Singapore and West Malaysia) at the retreats in Singapore (3-6 November and 15-18 December) and seven (from Sarawak, East Malaysia ) at the retreat in Kuching (1-4 December).

The new “fraternity” in Kuching was even inspired to compose a song together. They titled their song “Panggilan Hidupku” (My Vocation).

The aspirants left the retreat grateful for the brief experience of Loving God the Franciscan Way. Some expressed interest in discerning more intensively about a vocation to the Order in the next few years. Others said that the experience had opened their eyes to new possibilities and would help them make more informed decisions.

The friars involved too were grateful for the retreat experience. As Friar Robin Toha, who is part of the Vocation Team, said, “It is a joy to share life with the aspirants. Often, their stories inspire me and renew my commitment and desire to love and serve God and others as a friar.”

We ask for your prayers for these young men as we continue journeying with them, that they may discern the will of God for their lives.

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