On Sunday the 30th July fr. Massimo Fusarelli, Minister General, arrived in Lisbon for a meeting with the Franciscan friars and the young people of the Laudato Si’ Movement (LSM). Both groups were preparing to develop an integral ecology programme at WYD Lisbon 2023.
For a week the Friars and young people had already been meeting in the Franciscan school Externato de la Luz, in the Franciscan Province of Portugal, a place that would welcome them for another week. The enrollment of these nearly ninety volunteers was done through the JPIC General Office and the LSM.
A few hours after his arrival, fr. Massimo presided over the Eucharist. In his homily he recalled the joy that the encounter with Jesus produces and that will be shared with the other young people at thawed. Many of them, he said, live in fear and anxiety about the planet’s climate future. “How can we sing Laudato si ‘mi Signore in a land so violated?” he asked. The wisdom of Solomon needs to be applied by those who hold the destiny of that nations in their hands and we too, who are “called to a profound ecological conversion to learn to inhabit this world as guests and not as masters, as guardians of the garden and not as predators of God’s treasure and pearl,” said fr. Massimo. Finally, in the name of St. Francis of Assisi, he wished everyone a happy World Youth Day.
After Mass and a short break, time was given to a fraternal dialogue with the Minister General in the Externatoauditorium. Some of those present expressed concern about current environmental problems and the lack of sensitivity towards the care of the common home on the part of Christians and politicians. At the same time, they showed their desire for change and their belief that accompany them in their daily lives. Furthermore, they questioned him about possible initiatives for a change of mentality in terms of ecological reconversion.
fr. Massimo shared some experiences and good practices that he has found amongst friars, lay people and governments during his visits to the five continents. He recognized that the theme of integral ecology still receives a lot of resistance in ecclesial and Franciscan circles. He argued that it is necessary to find the relationship between the Christian faith and the damage done to God’s creation. The mystery of the Incarnation helps us to enter into this sensitivity because in it Jesus assumes the concerns of humanity and the common home. He invited them to collaborate and to make known the local reality in which they live. The afternoon concluded with the giving of a Tau-Cross by the Minister General to each participant and with a group photo.
The following day, fr. Massimo participated, together with the other Ministers General of the Franciscan Orders, in the International Meeting of Franciscan Youth (YouFra).