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On Friday 2nd February in the seminary of St. Saviour in Jerusalem the Custodial Commission of JPIC: fr John Luke Gregory, fr Carlos Gabriel Eduardo Molina and fr Mark Vertido, completed its series of courses given to the friars in the initial stages of formation.

The JPIC mission began with the aspirants in Bethlehem and Lebanon, the postulants in Monte Falco, the novices at La Verna, then the student friars at the Philosophical seminary at St. John the Baptist in Ain Karen and today at the Theological seminary in Jerusalem.

At all stages of formation the reception of the message and work of JPIC has been very positive and encouraging. Our young people are open and enthusiastic. The Masters of formation in the various houses have participated and encouraged us and the students. The Custos is keen that the mission of JPIC is diffused throughout the Custody. Needless to say, our leader, fr Daniel Rodríguez Blanco has encouraged and supported us throughout our time as members of the JPIC commission and highlighted the importance of JPIC being brought to the friars in Initial formation.

This link and support from the Curia General has been of the utmost importance and the students understand and appreciate that aspect of the total commitment of the Order to the much needed work that the Pope through his letters has willed that the friars take up and promote.

We begin each course with a prayer, an explanation of what JPIC is about then one of the students reads a brief summary of Laudato Si, and Fratelli Tutti. Thereafter follows group work for half an hour with some questions that each group is asked to discuss and comment on. At Saint Saviour’s monastery today, they divided into five groups; each group appoints its own moderator and secretary. After half an hour we all come back together and the secretary or moderator presents the work they have done.

It is a brief and comprehensive approach, attempting to motivate our young friars and to encourage them to further their understanding of JPIC. It is also very enlightening for us, they know a lot, often more than we expect, as they are very aware of the environment in which we live and the damage being caused by pollution. They are equally aware of the urgent need for dialogue and the need for peace, after all we are living through yet another war in the Holy Land.

The fruit of these conferences has led to a growing interest in JPIC. Already Fr. Mark Vertido has completed the Diploma Course in Integral Ecology offered last year at the Antonianum and several students this year hope to follow the Advanced Training Course online, given by the Antonianum on Integral Ecology and the Mediterrænean.

The young friars are our future, JPIC is in the DNA of every friar and these courses have been formative and informative at each level.

“To the glory of the Poverello-poor man of Assisi!”

fr John Luke Gregory

President of the Commission JPIC

Custody of the Holy Land