Three Franciscan Brothers begin their novitiate
By: Fr. Bernard Bhatti OFM
Karachi: On 1st August 2023, the Novitiate Commencement Ceremony for Brs. Anosh, Sharoon, and Rohit were held under the leadership of Fr. Azeem Lawrence, the Custos of St. John the Baptist Custody in Pakistan at Portiuncula Friary Karachi. The event was also attended by Fr. Mughal Peter OFM, Rector of Dar-ul-Naeem, Lahore, and Fr. Victor Sawara OFM, the Novice Master.
The occasion was further enriched by a sermon delivered by Fr. Bernard Bhatti OFM, addressing essential themes of discipleship and the Franciscan ideals. The ceremony was attended by nearly 80 participants including family members of the novices alongside a congregation of friars and sisters.
The commencement ceremony symbolized the initiation of Brs. Anosh, Sharoon, and Rohit into the Novitiate of Franciscan life. This phase serves as a period of intense spiritual formation, designed to deepen their understanding of Franciscan values and to prepare them for a life of service, humility, and dedication.
Fr. Bernard Bhatti’s sermon was a pivotal aspect of the event, conveying profound messages to the novices and the congregation. He emphasized several key teachings:
Discipleship and Becoming Franciscan:
Fr. Bhatti stressed the transformative nature of discipleship, highlighting that embracing the Franciscan path requires a genuine commitment to following in the footsteps of Christ. Becoming a Franciscan entails living out the values of simplicity, poverty, and selfless service.
Detachment and Trust in God:
The novices were reminded of the Franciscan principle of not owning anything and entrusting everything to God’s providence. Fr. Bhatti cited Matthew 6:19-24, underscoring the importance of laying up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. This concept serves as a foundational tenet of Franciscan spirituality.
Integration of Families and Community:
The presence of the novices’ families, the broader friar, and the sister community emphasized the sense of belonging and support that characterizes Franciscan life. Fr. Bhatti highlighted the significance of a strong communal bond, as exemplified by St. Francis and his followers.
Participation and Inclusivity:
With nearly 80 participants, the event illustrated the shared interest and dedication of individuals to witness the novices’ commitment. This inclusive atmosphere aligns with Franciscan values of welcoming all and celebrating the diversity of the human family.
The commencement ceremony and Fr. Bhatti’s sermon marked a significant milestone in the novices’ journey toward embracing Franciscan life. The event underscored the essence of discipleship, detachment, and reliance on God’s providence. By referencing Matthew 6:19-24, the novices were reminded of the eternal value of their chosen path. The presence of families, fellow friars, and sisters showcased the supportive community that will guide the novices through their formation. As Brs. Anosh, Sharoon, and Rohit embark on this transformative journey, the ceremony provided a strong foundation upon which to build their Franciscan vocations.
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