Friars Minor Urged by New Leader to Live the Vocation Joyfully

Father Rodríguez Carballo Stresses Fidelity to Christ

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ASSISI, Italy, JUNE 8, 2003 ( Spanish Friar José Rodríguez Carballo, elected last week as St. Francis of Assisi’s 119th successor, is assuming his new mission «with much trust in the Lord.»

«‘I can do all in him who strengthens me’; I would like to go forward with this trust,» the new Minister General told Vatican Radio on Friday.

Father Rodríguez Carballo, 49, was elected by the 142 representatives of the Friars Minor. They are holding their 185th general chapter at the Portiuncula of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi. The friars have already identified as their priorities the spirit of prayer, fraternity, poverty, solidarity and evangelization.

Addressing his statements to the Franciscan family, the new Minister General said: «We must be faithful to Christ, faithful to Francis and Clare, faithful to the man of today.»

Father Rodríguez Carballo added: «To young people, I say: Do not be afraid, dear young people; try to make a radical option for Jesus, for the Gospel, and you will see that you will find a great joy.»

At a time marked by a crisis of vocations, he believes that all Franciscans are called to live their vocation with joy. «We are called to offer a message that gives light and full meaning to young people’s lives,» he said.

The Friars Minor must live their vocational option «with simplicity, in humility and always in fraternity,» which is the way to be able to «introduce the Franciscan patrimony» in today’s society, «thirsty for fraternity,» the new Minister General concluded.

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