On Thursday, February 20, we received Father Massimo Fusarelli, parish priest of the church of San Francesco a Ripa, in Trastevere, run by the Order of Friars Minor. Father Massimo, after having studied theology and then patristic studies, worked above all in the initial and continuing formation of the friars, and in the pastoral ministry of vocations. In addition, he was an assistant to the Secular Franciscan Institutes for several years.
In the pleasant conversation with the seminarians, Fr. Massimo spoke on many topics. He stressed the historical importance of the parish, probably the first in the area, and where it is thought that Saint Francis lived for a time (his cell is now a sanctuary in the parish) while the complex still depended on the Benedictine monastery of Saints Cosmas and Damian.
He also told us about the challenges that the Church finds today in pastoral work in the historical centre of Rome, an increasingly touristy area that continues to lose its native population. However, both the decline in the area's population and the growing secularisation are no reason to diminish the fervour. Fr. Massimo emphasized the indispensable role of listening in the work of the priest, as well as the importance of pastoral work with families and the protagonism of the laity in the new evangelization.