This ongoing formation initiative was foreseen by the CCXII General Chapter (Ariccia, 8-30 October, 2007), which sought to promote spiritual progress among friars of al! ages and a clear understanding of the world we live in (GC 2007, n. 37b). Its overall intention is to promote a spiritual experience through visits, moments of prayer, reflection and sharing related to the particular sites and inspired by the saints and blessed of the Order.
A thirteen (13) day pilgrimage to Servite sites in Italy transpired from May 23 to 4 June 2011 for the friars of the English speaking jurisdictions under the direction of the General Secretary for Ongoing Formation.
The participants of the said pilgrimage were the following: Fr. Chris O’Brien (ISL), Fr. Bernard Thorne (ISL), Fr. Dermot McNeice (ISL), Fr. Frank Falco (USA), Fr. Michael Doyle (ISL), Fr. Timothy Flynn (ISL), Fr. Ryan Lorenzo (PHI) and Fr. Cerilo Alinsonorin (PHI). The pilgrimage was coordinated by Fr. Rhett Sarabia, Fr. Eugene Smith and Fr. Camille Jacques. Fr. Giuseppe Zampiva (VEN) served as a driver of the van during the entire pilgrimage.
The Servite Pilgrimage happened for the second time last May 14 – 26, 2012. In commemoration of the 400 years of foundation of the presence of the Servites in Austria(2011), a visit to the convents of Innsbruck, Volders and Waldrast were added to the itinerary this year. The friar pilgrims for this year were coming from the Spanish and Portuguese speaking jurisdiction of the Order: Fr. Carlos Razo Villanueva (ORD/MEX), Fr. Gustavo Moises Llerena Schenone (PER/SMA), Fr. Miguel Stangaferro (ARG/SMA), Fr. Agnaldo Costa Dos Santos (BRA), Fr. Jose Rosa Alves (BRA), Fr. Pedro Lucietti (BRA), Fr. Ruben Bello (MEX), Fr. Moises Jaramillo Martinez (MEX), Fr. Carlos Velez Gonzalez (COL/MEX), and Fr. Antonio Hueso Diaz (ESP).
They were accompanied by the General Councilors: Fr. Rhett Sarabia and Fr. Charlie Leitao de Souza. Mr. Walter Banco of the OSSM of Trieste served as a driver of one of the vehicles. The feedback was very positive among the friar pilgrims and as well as from the different communities we visited. It has been a very tiring pilgrimage but a very spirit-filled endeavor, journeying through our historical past by way of architecture, arts, writings, archival documents and the very presence of the friars of this era.