Who Can Be a Friar?
- Must be 18 – 35 years of age
- Catholic in good standing
- Must be free of debt and the responsibility of supporting others
How Do I Become a Friar?
- Contact us here and one of our friars will contact you regarding a visit to the Monastery and a meeting with our vocations director.
Formation of a Friar
This is the year of initial training when a candidate enters the Franciscan Order after undergoing an initial period of discernment for his calling (a period of time where he’s guided by vocational supervisors and they’ve agreed that he is seriously motivated to become part of the Order). The postulancy is the time for direct learning of fraternity life, while still remaining a lay person. The Custody of The Holy Land has postulancy houses at Ain Karem (in Israel) and at Harissa (Lebanon). Postulants generally come from different countries and continents, and therefore, are immediately immersed in a brotherhood of unity and community that is distinctly Franciscan. Taking this year for study, prayer, communal life, participation in the life of the Custody, and becoming familiar with St Francis’ ideal of life help the postulant to understand and formulate his life commitment.
After a year of postulancy, our men don the Franciscan habit to begin the year of novitiate. During this time, men begin playing a more intensive part in everyday life in the brotherhood where they are admitted. The studies program includes courses on the Franciscan Rule, Sources, History and the history of the Custody. They do daily lectio divina, train in religious and Gregorian chant, perform the responsibility of manual work in their residences, serve in the sanctuary and in the convent, and also serve the poor and support the parish’s pastoral activities. Parish duties include a commitment to participating in Jerusalem’s great liturgical feast days, as well as maintaining an attitude of contemplation that must be experienced during the days of retreat. This period bonds them closely to the life project that they are about to undertake and confirm with vows. The novitiate house is in Bethlehem.
With the approval of their trainers, the novices then take a simple religious vow. In other words, they make a public commitment to live according to the rule of St Francis, making vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity. This commitment is repeated for four separate years. The professed friars live in the Convent of St Saviour in Jerusalem during this second training period. In this great brotherhood, home of the Custody of the Holy Land, they attend the international seminary together with the brethren who’ve been sent there by their Provinces for a life and study experience. The training program includes a two-year period of philosophy studies and one year for specializing in a language spoken in a territory served by the Custody. Everyone takes part in the life project of the St. Saviour community: they offer their services for celebration of the liturgy in the Basilica of the Resurrection, and they participate in the Custody’s cultural initiatives. At the end of these three years, professed friars begin their theological studies.
Four years of temporary profession ends with making the solemn profession. These final vows make the novices permanent members of the Order, with full rights and duties in the Custody. After the solemn profession, they continue to study theology, but they reside in one of the convents in Jerusalem or the neighboring areas. They are then gradually guided into taking more responsibility for their training, which passes from initial to permanent.