Br. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM
To all the Friars Minor
To the Poor Clare Sisters
To the lay Franciscans and friends and benefactors
Rome, 25 March 2022
Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
May the Lord give you peace!
We continue to follow with pain and anguish the events that have engulfed Ukraine. The world of information provides us with constant updates on the evolution of events. Still, we receive first-hand news from our brothers and sisters who live in that land, tormented by a conflict that Pope Francis described as inhuman and sacrilegious. From them, we hear of the suffering of the population and the great efforts being made to alleviate it. Our friars in Ukraine have all remained in the same places where they live. They are close to the people, especially the elderly and the sick, who cannot escape. They share their fate with serenity, and until today, thank God, they have not suffered any physical or material consequences from the conflict.
At the same time, our attention is drawn to our brothers and sisters in neighbouring countries and beyond who are showing great generosity and involvement. They are taking in refugees and providing assistance to their brothers and sisters who have remained in Ukraine as far as possible in this very bitter phase of the war. So let us continue to pray and fast. Let us continue to ask forgiveness for the violence that is once again sweeping across Europe, after the tragedies of the 20th century, not least the war in the Balkans at the end of the last century. And for the many wars going on in the world today.
The biblical exodus of so many refugees fleeing war helps us see with open eyes this fate that affects so many, too many people throughout the world today. Yet, we cannot become accustomed to it and remain indifferent. Let us try to read what is happening in the light of faith and understanding history, not stopping at superficial assessments. I wonder what the Lord wants to tell us through all this. How his “silence” before so much pain challenges and purifies our faith, urging us to listen more intensely to his Word, with the heart and faith of Mary, Virgin of the Yes.
I would like to renew our solidarity with our brothers in Ukraine with this letter. The great generosity that is coming from the Order and so many small and major benefactors will help us in the future. However, none of us knows how long this emergency and the many needs of a destroyed country will last. Through the OFM Fraternitas Foundation, we are continuing the solidarity collection for Ukraine, which you can continue to promote and share as indicated on the Order’s website (www.ofm.org).
Through the Curia Development Office, we approve well-targeted projects led by the brothers of St Michael’s Province and the All-Saints Greek Catholic Foundation. In this way, we ensure all donors that the funds are put to good use, identifying the various needs and critical issues to be addressed each time. Therefore, I warmly renew my appeal to support the current solidarity initiatives and those we will face in the long term. This is a time for generosity, for opening our hearts and our homes and friaries to welcome and share.
As Easter approaches, the feeling of hope cannot but grow in the hearts of each and every one of us. We hope that this Calvary to which the Ukrainian people are subjected, which indirectly involves all men and women of faith throughout the world, may soon end and lead to a time of peace. A time of rebirth and redemption for all humanity, in which we can truly say that we are all Brothers and Sisters (Fratelli Tutti)!
With this wish, I greet and bless each and every one of you in the name of St Francis.
Your brother and servant,
Br. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM