When I Surrendered to the Love of God …… Pace e Bene
Summer assignments are an integral and significant part of a friar’s initial formation. Last summer I had the distinct honor to accomplish my summer assignment at Saint Philip Benizi parish in Jonesboro, GA. It was the furthest of the south I had ever been to in the United States and it turned out to be an incredible summer. This summer I am completing my summer assignment at the St. Paul Parish and school in Kensington, Ct. Upon my arrival at St. Paul, I was received with much love and kindness. The parishioners were so happy to have a young Franciscan friar at the parish for the summer. As part of my responsibilities, I served the weekend masses and I distributed communion at Daily Mass. Every Tuesday and Thursday I accompany Fr. Charles and Fr. Timothy on their hospital visits. One of the distinctive features of the St. Paul Parish is the school. The school average is 260 students, grades pre-k to 8. Over the course of six weeks, I had the privilege to visit all the classes and spend time with the student. I got to entertain them with jokes, question, my family stories, religion and my vocation. I have high respect for the teachers at this great establishment. They are some of the most dedicated educators I have had the pleasure to work with.
Apart from working at the parish and the school, I got introduced to the youth minister John Imbimbo. The best way to describe John is by his vivacious attitude. Throughout the months spent working with John, I have learned that the principal purpose of a youth minster is not just to introduce young people to Christ, but of equal importance he must help them see themselves as God sees them. Expressed in a different way the Youth ministers should help young people find their identity in Christ. Last month I was able to attend the 2018 Catholic Youth Ministry Training Convention (Life Teen) in Scottsdale, Arizona. The theme for this year convention was “The Relentless Father” and it was an incredible five-day experience. Over a thousand youth ministers where gathered, with 56+ priests in attendance, as well as another religious Friar ~ Br John Timothy of the Community of St. John. I had the opportunity to serve at all of the Masses and at Adoration, along with two of the seminarians in attendance. All-inclusive, I felt God strengthening my faith and pouring out His grace on me during that weekend convention. I feel renewed and even more committed to living out my vocation. He who has called me to this life of journey towards Him; through no merits of my own continues to unfold in my life His Grace and Mercy.
On June 13, I will be traveling with 30 young people to Steubenville East conference with the hope of another encounter with Christ. I am often lost at words when asked to describe the blessings that God has manifested in my life. This summer I am most grateful to the friars of the St. Paul Friary for their gracious hospitality. They have shared with me the knowledge, wisdom and skill necessary to continue my journey towards Christ, something I couldn’t have earned. Articulated differently by Sir Isaac Newton “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants”. As God persist to transpire His will in my life, I pray for the strength to remain faithful to God’s overwhelming, never-ending love and grace. All I ask is that you continue to keep my brothers and I in your prayers.
Your Brother Franck Lino S. OFM Conv.