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Fr Alex Lam of Panama: "There is enthusiasm for the road ahead for this circumscription"

The Assistant General for Latin America, Fr. Alex Lam, had the opportunity shortly before the beginning of Lent to spend a few days with the men of the vicariate of Panama in an atmosphere of spiritual recollection. About 30 friars from the circumscription joined a retreat organised by the Vicariate, and held in a former Franciscan seminary in the city of Boquete.

Fr. Alex Lam reminded everyone of the importance of having this time of spiritual exercises at least once a year, as prescribed by the Constitutions: "For the members of the Order it is an opportunity to renew one's choice of vocation. In fact, the Order's ritual provides a text for the renewal of vows, which is often used at the end of, or during, these retreats".

On this occasion, it was the General Councillor who was in charge of both preaching and directing these exercises, which the Vicariate had asked him to do - an unusual and challenging request given the already existing workload of an Assistant General - and which, nevertheless, was an opportunity for him to strengthen ties, to find out more about what is happening in Panama, and so better tackle the projects and tasks ahead. But above all, it was a time to share a week of prayer and fraternal relaxation, as Fr Lam told the Curia's Communications Office.

"There was a good atmosphere of listening, of interiority on a personal level and also of community discernment," Fr Lam said, "In fact, they had three afternoons to share how they saw the new foundations, the various pastoral activities, and the path of shared reflection to become a new province." The General Councillor added, "The brothers were able to give themselves the space and time to live in the moment and I think they finished the retreat with enthusiasm for the challenges that lie ahead.



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