One year after its inauguration on July 3, 2022, the common novitiate in Ocotepeque, Honduras is beginning to bear fruit. Eleven friars recently made temporary profession of vows in their respective circumscriptions after spending a year in novitiate as required by our Constitutions. At the time of assessment, novice master Br. Eusebio Hernández spoke of the merits and challenges of this project: the application of the Ratio Formationis in a vast geographical region of the Order; the high quality of formation; the awareness that we are a universal Order and are called to serve wherever there is a need; the updating and attunement of the formation programs for postulancy and post-novitiate in the different circumscriptions; and the commitment to build an Order of friars with a specific charism despite the diversity of traditions and cultures.
Additional to these values, some challenges remain to be overcome: creating a conducive environment for the friars to live deeply their time in novitiate; ensuring continuity in the processes of formation; and overcoming the “individual traditions” that have arisen in the custodies and have been passed down to the friars, but which have nothing in common with the Capuchin tradition. Overall, the common novitiate today is an oasis of intercultural experience; a place where the friars are made aware that they profess their vows within a worldwide Order, and not only in individual circumscriptions; and a place for building up their identity and sense of belonging to the Capuchin Order. In the present formation year of 2023-2024, the novitiate has 9 novices: 3 from Mexico-Texas, 3 from North Mexico, 1 from North Central America, and 2 from South Central America.