Do the Franciscans fast during Lent?

This year at Saint Savior there will be no communal liturgy of ashes to bring together the entire community. In fact, the seminary friars, having finished their examinations, left on Monday for a few days of discovery of the north of the country. The remaining Friars were somewhat dispersed for the celebration.
Some friars assisted at the Mass celebrated in the infirmary, others at the one celebrated at 8:30 AM with the Holy Land School for Boys, and still others at the girls’ school at 9:30 AM. The parish was invited to assist at the Mass celebrated at the Seventh Station of the Cross because of work that was taking place in the church of Saint Savior at 5:00 PM.
Fra Artemio, Custodial Vicar, who assisted at one of the school Masses, was once again touched by the behavior of some of the children. “After they received the ashes, they held out a piece of cloth, a handkerchief to receive ashes, one for his grandfather, another for another relative who was unable to come to the Mass.”
Do the Franciscan Friars fast during Lent?
“Lent is 40 days of preparation for the Paschal Mystery,” Fra Artemio reminds us, “imitating in a sense Jesus’ 40 days of fasting after his baptism. This is a time of conversion, a time to renew ourselves in following Christ and listening to his word, especially in this Year of the Faith. It is also a time of fasting and abstinence. At Saint Savior we fast every Friday and abstain from meat Wednesdays and Fridays. On these days we do not drink wine or liquor. Those few friars who smoke are invited to abstain from tobacco. The money saved is set aside to be given to the parish priest for the poor. The friars are also invited to give some of their little bit of “pocket money” to the same end.”
When asked, the Guardian of Bethlehem, Fra Stephane, explains: “in an international community, it is difficult to ask everyone to follow the same rule. What would be a deprivation for one is not necessarily so for another. Every friar is invited, freely and in good conscience, to make an effort of abstinence and fasting, also taking his health and strength into consideration. I see that some of my brothers fast strictly. It is recommended for everyone, however, to take part in the Lenten pilgrimages.”
This point was also emphasized by Fra Artemio: “Participation in the pilgrimages is fundamental. They take place every Wednesday. Particular attention is also asked for participation in the Way of the Cross, and in all of the Lenten Offices at the Holy Sepulcher on Saturdays and Sundays. This requires a real effort, because the Solemn Entries take place in early afternoon, the Office of Readings at 11:40 PM at the Holy Sepulcher, and those who follow the Mass at Cavalry, they will come back to the convent at two or three o’clock in the morning only to have a new Mass at 8:30 AM. But these efforts are a way to follow Christ on the road that he himself took, physically and spiritually.” The Custodial Vicar also noted that these “Lenten resolutions” are paired with love and service of the Friars.
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Another possibility offered to Italian-speaking Christians of the Holy Land is to participate in the Lectio Divina offered by the Gethsemane Romittagio (Hermitage).
Follow the link. Click here!

Website of the Hermitage click here

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