On Friday, January 5, 2024 at La Verna, the opening celebration of the eighth centenary of the Stigmata of St. Francis (1224-2024) was held, similar to the events of last year for the crib at Greccio. Present were all the General Ministers (Friar Massimo Fusarelli OFM, Friar Roberto Genuin OFMCap, Friar Carlos Trovarelli OFMConv, Friar Amando Trujillo Cano TOR, Tibor Kauser OFS) and Sister Frances Marie Duncan, President of the International Franciscan Conference of the Brothers and Sisters of the Third Order Regular, as well as numerous friars, sisters and laity of the Franciscan Family.
The celebration aimed at gradually bringing the participants into the special relationship Francis experienced with Jesus on Mount La Verna in 1224, culminating in the gift of the Stigmata on September 17. The Stigmata is an invitation to reflect on the spiritual journey of the last years of our Seraphic Father and to “renew our adherence to the Gospel of the Cross" close to that stone marked, “signasti, Domine, HIC, servum tuum Franciscum,” as an indicator of the place where St. Francis received the Stigmata.
At the conclusion of the celebration, all present received copies of the chartula, a precious legacy from Francis' experience at La Verna: as was Brother Leo, we are blessed by Francis (“benedicat tibi Dominus et custodiat te”); we have his Praises to God Most High, to be prayed intensely so that we can better respond to our call to a life rich in praise and service “with great humility.”
Before leaving the church, the attending civil authorities and the bishop extended greetings to the assembly and to all those who followed the celebration online (www.centenarifrancescani.org).
The rest of the day included a generous welcome from the Verna fraternity, the meeting of so many members of the Franciscan family, accomplishing together (through the various committees) some work toward developing the events for 2024. Already, we can see good fruit coming from the centenaries.
Two final two stages of the centenary celebrations will be the Canticle of Brother Sun (2025) and the Transitus of Our Seraphic Father (2026), and these will once again bring us opportunities for growing as a family and for sharing and bringing to life the legacy of Francis.
The new logo for this year of the Centenary of the Stigmata 1224- 2024 is presented below: