As Catholics around the world celebrated the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on Oct.4, the oldest Capuchin friar in Italy said his life as a follower of the 13th century saint “has been a blessing.”
Father Giulio Criminesi, 74, entered the minor seminary at the age of 12. In 1957 he began his novitiate at the very first monastery of the Capuchin order in the town of Camerino, and was later ordained a priest in Loreto.
In an interview with CNA, Fr. Criminesi said his life has always been full of joy, in the spirit of St. Francis.
“I feel fulfilled because I also want to be like him. My path to holiness is to walk in this direction, and therefore I thank God for this,” he said.
“Life as a Capuchin monk is of great importance to me, because as the years go by, I have learned more and more, I have found my path, what the Lord really wanted for me.”
The friar noted that throughout his life, he has aimed to place himself “in the Lord’s hands, always seeking to do what the Lord called me to do. And so no one moment has been more special than any other, my entire life has been a blessing.”
“Being a Capuchin friar to me means understanding what the Lord wanted for me and responding to that call,” he added. “It means understanding that Francis of Assisi, who followed Christ, was my ideal.”