Again, why the participation?
It’s relevant to the Franciscans to participate in COP in any way possible. Why? Firstly, because COP is the only space where the negotiation on the solutions to the climate crisis by the governmental delegates actually happens, and the ethical dimension must be emphasized in the solutions. Franciscans can collaborate with other inter-faith groups and NGOs especially in this respect. And secondly, such movement can be the sign and the example to raise awareness in the Church, since the ecological dimension of the Christian conversion is not yet the famous subject in the Christian community itself. The Franciscan presence in the COP can give testimony to the vision of St. Francis to the world. Thirdly, COP is an exceptional place where one can listen to the powerful testimonies of the most vulnerable in the world, various activists, and experts, and have a dialogue with them. They are the victims of the social and ecological crisis as well as the prophets of our time. Just like the encounter with the Christ in a leper has changed the life of St. Francis, it’s critical for the Franciscans to be touched by those who are affected by the systematic injustice.
Participation in COP23, Bonn
Last November, several Franciscan delegates both from Rome as well as Germany took part in COP23. The Franciscan delegation consisted of three brothers from Romans VI, a member of FI, a brother from MZF, and two members of the Franciscan Family in Germany. The activities were aimed to show the Franciscan presence among the civil society during the COP, pray and act together with ecumenical/inter-faith groups, and to raise awareness on climate crisis and action among the local Franciscans.
The delegation served at an ecumenical prayer vigil for the Creation at the St. Winfried church, participated in the climate march, attended in various workshops, meetings (one of them was the meeting of the inter-faith leaders with the President of COP23) and negotiations, and held a Franciscan climate conference at MZF, the title of which was “Backing Out? Climate and Environmental Protection with St. Francis.” The main speaker of the conference was Br. Johannes Freyer, OFM.
The delegation evaluated their participation that there were so many positive experiences of meetings and encounters, and, at the same time, and that it needed to set more explicit goals for participation, better coordination, communication, and follow-ups.
Planning on participation in COP24, Katowice
This year’s participation has several objectives.
- To be present among the people in solidarity,
- To pray for the victims of the climate crisis and the Creation along with the local church,
- To raise awareness among the Franciscans on the climate change and ecological conversion through dialogue.
The JPIC General office is planning on the participation in (inter-faith/ecumenical/Franciscan) prayer vigils for the creation, public marches and pilgrimages, and organizing a Franciscan conference on the role of religious communities for the creation. Its tentative title is “Climate crisis and the role of religions for climate justice.” We are trying to invite panels from different backgrounds and hope this conference would facilitate productive dialogue between religious communities, the civil society, and local workers. We are still working on the details of the program and inform you later so that many of you can take part in.
Your ideas and suggestions as well as questions are always welcome. Send us messages to firstname.lastname@example.org, if there is any.
Br. Rufino Lim, OFM
Assistant, JPIC General Office – Rome