Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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With celebration of holy mass in church of Saint Peter and Paul in Mostar on 23rd of August finished 2nd European OFS and YouFra Congress. Holy Mass was celebrated by fr Miljenko Šteko, provincial of Herzegovinian Franciscan Province.

Congress started on Monday 17th of August with celebration of holy mass in Mostar cathedral of Mary Mother of Church which was celebrated by Mons. dr. Ratko Peri, bishop of Mostar. Guided by motto „Live in a manner worthy of the call you have received” (Eph, 4,1) hundred participants along with their spiritual assistants from twenty European countries were thinking through whole week about the identity of secular Franciscans, family life, care for all created and about prayer and Eucharist as a lifeblood for living the call of secular Franciscans.

General Minister of OFS Tibor Kauser, general vice minister Chelito Nunez, general spiritual assistant Fr Amando Trujillo – Cano and Andrea Odak, international coordinator of YouFra and member of national fraternity of OFS Bosnia and Herezgovina were present at Congress.

Beside lectures, group works and project presentations participants also have visited Sarajevo where they celebrated holy mass in church of St Anthony which was celebrated by mons. Marko Semren, auxiliary bishop of Banja Luka. That was the occasion to visit cathedral of Sacred Heart, Orthodox Church, and Bey's Mosque where they could hear more about these places of pray, the history of it and way of practising the religion in everyday life of the faithfuls of orthodox and Muslim religion.

Participants were especially impressed by the testimony of two young pairs on marriage, raising children in faith and on challenges today's families are faced with. Since the host city is famous by its bridges, through evening program countries had their presentations of their significant bridges. One of the ideas that permeated through Congress was the call of the Pope Francis to build bridges which he referred to young people during his visit to Sarajevo.
Penultimate day of Congress was the farewell night where cultural intangible heritage of Herzegovinian region was presented through the performance of folklore group “Fra Bernardin Smoljan” from Mostar.

At the final plenary session the conclusions of congress were presented which will be, along with those from General chapter from 2014, guidelines for next period.

In conclusions special emphasize was on the living of the call in fraternity and the need for strengthening the fraternities on each level. Another thing that was pointed out is the importance of family and promotion of family life and raising children in faith especially in your own family by common prayer, open communication and forgiving. Once again it was highlighted not to live just for themselves but for the others as well. This is how members of OFS and YouFra are called to “embrace the leper” in their everyday’s life as St Francis did, in a way to protect life from conception, to work on reduce the poverty in their environments and to refer responsibly to all created and to promote ecology.

Host of next, 3rd OFS and YouFra Congress will be National fraternities of OFS and YouFra in Lithuania.