St. Camillus parish in Silver Spring, Maryland, staffed by Franciscan friars, is the largest and most diverse parish in the archdiocese of Washington. It is also located in the area that has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the entire Washington metropolitan region.
While our country continues to agonize because of the pandemic, we are terrified to know that our lawmakers have turned their attention more to the anti-terror bill (House Bill 6875) certified urgent and priority bill by our President Rodrigo Duterte on June 1, 2020, to amend the Republic Act 9372 (Human Security Act of 2007).
Amidst this worries and fears, JPIC-OFM Indonesia showed solidarity and empathy towards this global pandemic. Accordingly, in commemorating World Health Day 2020 on Tuesday, April 7, JPIC-OFM Indonesia managed to give away free masks to fellow citizen of Jakarta.
The rapid development of the pandemic has caused many problems, and as usual, it has affected the weakest, poorest, neediest and sickest. So, after the initial shock, many institutions started to get involved to help those who found themselves in the difficulties created by COVID-19. The new situation strongly challenged us as followers of St. Francis, who espoused Our Lady Poverty and gave us the example to follow by caring for the poor, sick and abandoned.
Dear JPIC brethren, from Guinea Bissau, I want to share with you some initiatives that have been carried out and are still ongoing in the Franciscan Mission and Parish of Quinhamel, 30 km from the capital.
For the Coronavirus emergency, which broke out here in March 2020, the Franciscan Catholic Mission used some Diocesan Caritas funds for:
Por la emergencia Coronavirus que se desató en marzo 2020, la Misión Católica Franciscana ha empleado algunos fondos de Cáritas Diocesana para:
In Morocco, the Coronavirus forced the country to declare lockdown from 20 March. This has led to the suspension of all activities; it has changed the way we live and the way people welcome us. A very strange, surreal feeling: forced to stay at home because of the danger of infection. What to do? How to organise ourselves?
• A global campaign of the Franciscan charism.
• Franciscans are launching a year of celebrations and activities to promote and live the values of the Laudato Si’ encyclical.
• They declare their grateful communion with Pope Francis and his recent designation of the “Laudato Si’ special anniversary year.”
Five years ago, Pope Francis published one of the major texts of his pontificate, the encyclical Laudato Si’. In a March video, the pope encouraged parishes and religious communities to participate in “Laudato Si’ Week”
The pandemic that is threatening our communities is an opportunity for us to rediscover ourselves as Humanity
These are opportune times to approach the Face of Christ in the needy, the unprotected, those who have no material security and live in an almost haphazard manner.
Friar Andrea Dovio, a 44 year old priest, serving as Secretary to the Provincial Minister at the Portiuncola in Assisi one day made an extraordinary request to his superior. He asked to go and serve in the fight against the novel Coronavirus in the hotbed of the epidemic in the very north of Italy.
The Order held a high-level online consultation on the Order’s response and learnings from the global COVID19 crisis. Attendees include the General Minister, Br. Michael Perry, and representatives from Missionszentrale der Franziskaner, Franciscans International, Franciscan Mediterranean Network, Franciscan Network on Migration (RFM) and representatives of the JPIC Office.
The Korean branch of the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM Korea) comprises more than 30 local Catholic organizations, including the JPIC Commission of the Korean OFM Province, as well as hundreds of individual Catholics
In the first weeks of this crisis, we were carefully observing not only the development of the situation but also the reaction of the United Nations (UN), other human rights experts, and States. We continue to do so.
We hope you’re doing o.k. at this difficult time for people everywhere. Today is World Earth Day, and we want to invite you to join in celebrating our common home while you’re confined to your own home. Will you and the people you’re in contact with rise to the challenge of “Planting hope and harvesting joy”?
The socio-environmental crisis described in the encyclical Laudato Si’ is a challenge for humanity to restructure its ways of relating to God, to the brothers and to creation, through an ecological spirituality, which begins with the insight into the whole creation as free gift from the Creator and its interconnectedness.
“Shareholders of POSCO are not the owners of the Earth!” they shouted. The demonstrators strongly demanded the company take responsibility for the climate crisis and take immediate action on it.
As Franciscans, we must not remain on the sidelines in the peaceful, non-violent transformation but rather be active, creative and courageous participants in it.
Br. Aloysio Kim, OFM, JPIC animator of Holy Korean Martyrs Province, took part, along with other experts in medicine and epidemic, in a panel discussion on PBS, a Catholic TV channel in Korea on March 29. The title of the program was “Virus: Counterattack of Nature.”
Recently, the General Definitory approved Br. Francesco Zecca, OFM from the Assumption B.V.M Province (Italy) as a new member of the Animation Committee of the JPIC General Office.
I want to communicate with you about the Annual JPIC Course 2020, which was scheduled for this May in Manila. As the Corona epidemic has been spreading in almost all the world, the JPIC General Office was deeply concerned that our international gathering in the Philippines could risk the wellbeing of all the participants. Therefore, having consulted the General Definitory, the Office made a difficult decision to cancel the JPIC course for this year. We’re sad about the decision.
In the time of the pandemic, we remember the importance of washing our hands for public health. But we know that there are more than 2.2 billion people who don’t have access to clean water. They are denied from water, the gift of God, that is the fundamental right of humanity.
The Franciscan spirit led to the design of a long-term project of tree planting to be carried out at schools at first. Its objective was to plant 1,000 trees of native species, contributing to the identity of the people and their origins.
We are now facing unprecedented challenges with the spread of COVID19. The argument has been made that climate change has had a significant impact on the development of infectious viruses such as Coronavirus.
As Franciscans, we are called to read the signs of the times in continuous contemplation and action for the values of the Kingdom, i.e., Justice and Peace.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis invites Catholic communities to participate in Laudato Si’ Week, from 16 to 24 May 2020.
Presentation of a book, “Todo Está Conectado. Integral Ecology and Communication in the Digital Age.”
“Todo está conectado (Everything is Connected).” It is the title of the book by prof. Martín Cabajo Nuñez, OFM, presented on February 27 in the Aula Magna of the Alphonsian Academy. Prof. Jules Mimeault, C.Ss.R., Vice-Principal of the Academy, recognized that this title expresses not only a theme that is a recent trend but also a commitment that makes us think about ecological issues.
As Christians, we are called to promote the values of justice, peace, truth, love and solidarity – ‘peace and all good,’” Father Verdugo said. “We have an ethical and moral responsibility to work against the anti-values of those who damage the environment.
West Papua Network in Rome is a network of the religious congregations which are present in West Papua. There, the native Papuans have been suffering from serious human rights violations since the end of the Second World War. The Catholic church has been accompanying the indigenous people mainly through the parish, education, and health care ministries.
The members of the Inter-Franciscan JPIC Commission called Romans VI met at the JPIC Office of the USG (Union of Superiors General) & UISG (International Union of Superiors General) on February 25, 2020.
The 800th Anniversary of the meeting between St. Francis and the Sultan Malek al-Kamel was celebrated in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, and in Split, which is the second largest city. It was remembered and celebrated in Zagreb, 28 – 29 October and in Split, 24 – 29 November.
The weekend was for youths who, in their own way, all are potential seeds that can make a difference Iland bring about positive change in their workplace, their home and their locality. The format of the weekend was partly theoretical and partly experiencial in the form of visits to organisations that are helping the poor and support the environment.
1. The beloved Amazon region stands before the world in all its splendour, its drama and its mystery. God granted us the grace of focusing on that region during the Synod held in Rome from 6-27 October last, which concluded by issuing its Final Document, The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.
There were two significant events held in Rome. Talitha Kum organized a prayer vigil on February 8 in the Basilica of San Antonio (Antonianum) and a public march on the next day from “Castel Sant’Angelo” to St. Peter’s Square. The participants in the parade also attended the Sunday “Angelus” after the march. Pope Francis announced human trafficking as “a true plague that exploits the weakest.” And he said that therefore requires “the commitment of all: educational institutions, associations, and agencies.”
The third meeting of Serata Laudato si’ took place together with the seventh celebration of the Franciscan Youth Missions in the city of Xaxim. It was promoted by the Franciscan Province of the Immaculate Conception of Brazil, bringing 800 young people together for five days to reflect on the care of our Common Home (from 29th January to 2nd February 2020).
We are glad to inform you about the international JPIC course 2020. We hold this year’s course in Manila, the Philippines, on the theme of “Promoting JPIC in times of Ecological Crisis.”
The JPIC Commission of the Province of the Holy Korean Martyrs took part in Global Catholic Climate Movement Korea (GCCM Korea). In the case of South Korea, there are more than thirty Catholic organizations, dioceses, and three hundred Catholics that take part in GCCM Korea, and it’s ever-expanding with other Catholic institutions in Korea.
It took place in a very fraternal atmosphere. It was essential to specify the objectives and decisions made at the meeting in Malta on September 6 – 8, 2019, which was the meeting of the Secretaries of Evangelization and the JPIC animators that came from almost every Entities around the Mediterranean sea to reflect on the possibility of creating this significant Network.
More than 700 young people from all over the Province (from Santa Catarina to Espírito Santo) will experience great excitement in this evangelising, formative celebration. Numerous workshops will deal with themes related to the service of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC). The goal is that they may be characterised by issues of ecology, justice, migration, respect for nature, good living and simplicity. These values are particular to the Franciscan charism and so urgent and necessary for our times.
Rap music always has something to say to listeners. A youth group of Inmaculado Corazón de María parish in Guatemala has chosen this format to spread the messages of the Encyclical Laudato si’. A song entitled Laudato si’ was born out of the project, Viico, rap crítico (critical rap). The song was composed by Br. Antonio Pedro and Br. Victor Treminio, who played harmonica, guitar and Cajon drum.
The IDPHT was first celebrated on the 8th. February 2015 at the desire of Pope Francis, who in 2014, requested the International Union of Superiors and of Superiors General (UISG / USG) to promote this day. The Secretary of State, responding to requests made by religious, who had been working for years to combat trafficking, gave approval to organizations that for years have celebrated Anti-Trafficking Day on this date.
The objectives of the activities were formation & conscientization on climate crisis for local Franciscans and others, taking acts of solidarity for climate justice, a projection for future action and celebration of the spirit of Laudato si’.
We wish Merry Christmas to all of you! We hope each of you rejoice in Peace, which is the fruit of Justice. We want to thank you all who are pursuing and promoting the values of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, especially, those who are working for migrants and refugees in the world. We all are pilgrims and strangers in this world!
The UN Climate Conference (Cop25) that began on Dec. 2 ended on Dec. 15, which was two days longer than its original schedule. The JPIC Commission of the Holy Korean Martyrs Province of Korea has participated along with its ally NGOs.
Thereby, we make appeal to the government of President Daniel Ortega to establish peace and the good of every one of the people without any discrimination, as it is the mission of a political leader. Let repression, impunity, violence cease, freedom, justice, and solidarity come, respect for life dawn, and forgiveness and open dialogue flourish.
In celebrating the 40th anniversary of St. Francis, patron of ecologists, the JPIC Office of the Order wanted to commemorate this date in a symbolic place for Franciscan spirituality: St. Damian’s Church in Assisi. In this small church on the outskirts of Assisi, St. Francis confronts his vocation with Christ and begins to do penance. In this same place, two years before his death, he composes the Canticle of Creatures where he synthesizes his strong human commitment to all creation to praise God.
OFM Myanmar Foundation has been actively participating in GCCM-Myanmar (Global Catholic Climate Movement) since 2017. We consider this as coordinated with the JPIC office that we serve for the common good, showing our Franciscan identity and promoting Franciscan spirituality among the people. Our main activities are organizing an Earth Hour celebration, symposium, training workshop on ‘Deep Journey into Laudato si’’ and day trip outreach program.
Each year since 1988, the world community is invited to pause for a moment to reflect on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, increase awareness and knowledge, speak out against all forms of stigma, commit to a deeper engagement, and call for an increased response to move towards ending the pandemic as a public health threat. These goals can be achieved by facilitating access to early and affordable diagnosis and treatment for all people who need it, no matter what their social or economic status might be.
It was the first climate pilgrimage prepared by the OFM JPIC Commission of the Korean Province, Green Asia, and ICE-Network since last year. The global climate crisis is already happening in the world. It’s evident when we look at wildfires in forests and droughts. And the poor and the vulnerable are crying out for immediate action for justice. However, there is no consensus in Korea on the issue. The Korean governments and the people are either ignorant or neglecting this global problem. People are struggling to survive in a fierce competition to acquire more economic prosperity rather than to feel the responsibility for the disasters, even though they are responsible for massive carbon emission and the climate crisis.
The course ‘Mimicking Natural Ecosystems – Growing Food Sustainably’ is meant to be yet another tool in the rediscovery of a better quality of life through simple and archaic processes such as agriculture. It aims at helping participants strengthen their connection to all that exists, while learning clean and sustainable ways of practicing agriculture.
“Chile’s waken up” is an anthem we have sung in the demonstrations. We sing it to tell the government, the politicians, the businessmen and all those who have allowed social inequalities that enough is enough. The social awakening is happening in various forms of demonstration, both peaceful and violent, and protests on the street and in the different churches and spiritual traditions on the days of reflection and prayer (although they are not visible by the mass media). “Chile’s waken up” is an expression of each and every citizen in the country, calling for a structural, profound transformation that would allow us to overcome injustices. But it is also no less true that if we want to ask for changes in the economic model, we must also do so in our lifestyle which is shaped by that same model, lacking fundamental human values such as equality, justice and equity. We should bring changes in a competitive, selfish, individualistic and consumerist lifestyle, changes to a collaborative lifestyle of solidarity. This movement means waking up to get out of oneself by opening to a more fraternal (serving each other) social coexistence.
Throughout the pilgrimage, all the participants have prayed for the genuine Peace in the world, keeping in mind the fact that today’s world needs the interreligious and intercultural dialogue and that our vocation lies in the fraternal attitude of openness that shines through in the life of Jesus Christ and St. Francis.
On 2 October, West Papua Network in Rome organized the seminar “West Papua, a Neglected Heaven – Justice and Human Rights based on the Gospel value” at Augustinianum in Rome to address the issue of human rights violation of indigenous West Papuan people.
From October 25 to 27, 2019, the first JPIC Commission Worshop was held in Calpan, Puebla (Mexico). The objective was to let the wider Franciscan family of the Holy Gosepl Province (Mexico City) gain a deeper insight into JPIC as well as its three main lines of action: Laudato si’, migration and extractivism.
How many times do we see poor people rummaging through garbage bins to retrieve what others have discarded as superfluous, in the hope of finding something to live on or to wear! They themselves become part of a human garbage bin; they are treated as refuse, without the slightest sense of guilt on the part of those who are complicit in this scandal. Frequently judged parasites on society, the poor are not even forgiven their poverty. Judgment is always around the corner. They are not allowed to be timid or discouraged; they are seen as a threat or simply useless, simply because they are poor.
After a long synodal journey of listening to the People of God in the Church of the Amazon, which Pope Francis inaugurated during his visit to the Amazon, 19 January 2018, the Synod took place in Rome in a fraternal gathering of 21 days in October 2019
We deeply regret and at the same time denounce that in the last days we have been victims of acts of violence, reflecting religious intolerance, racism, oppressive attitudes, affecting especially the indigenous peoples: a refusal to build new paths for the renewal of our Church.
A three-day JPIC Seminar on the negative impacts of extractive industry and the response of the Catholic organizations was convened by the JPIC Office of the UISG (International Union of Superiors General) at the Casa La Salle in Rome on September 25 – 27. May have joined on behalf of their religious and secular organizations to share experiences and propose joint actions to the dangerous threats of mining companies.
The Order (through its JPIC Office), together with the Pontifical University Antonianum, The World Catholic Movement for Climate (WCMC), and the Ecclesial Network “Red Eclesial Panamazonica” (REAPAM), put together a seminar of reflection and listening. The intention is to contribute to the synodal process, by raising the various issues that affect the entire Amazon region.
Today, at a powerfully symbolic event held in the Vatican Gardens, Pope Francis planted a tree alongside Amazonian leaders from Brazil and dedicated the upcoming Synod on the Amazon to St. Francis of Assisi.
The OFM East Asia Conference JPIC Animator and member of the JPIC Animation Committee of the Order, Br. Angelito Andig Cortez, OFM, received the Icon of Francis and Clare for the Laudato si’ Pilgrimage, on September 30, 2019, in the General Curia, Rome. It was a turnover by the JPIC General Animator, Friar Jaime Campos, OFM, and witnessed by the General Definitor for Asia and Oceania, Br. Lino Gregorio Redoblado, OFM. After visiting 18 countries in Latin America, the icon will now go on Pilgrimage to the different countries and OFM entities in Asia.
Pope Francis will host a celebration in the Vatican Gardens during which an oak tree from Assisi will be planted, as a visible sign of integral ecology. The event will see the participation of indigenous leaders and Church leaders, sending a powerful message to the world about the Church’s commitment to the care of our common home.
It is good to remember that St. Francis himself sent his friars out “two by two” recommending that they announce peace and penance (cf. 1Cel 29). This confirms the missionary dimension of our charism that urges us to go forth towards our brothers and sisters of the whole world, coming to them in a unique way, preaching with our form of life and action in favour of reconciliation, peace, justice and respect for creation (cf. GGCC 1:2). This challenges us today more than ever in the context of the climate crisis and the migratory crisis in which we live, and the Church invites us not to be indifferent.
Alex, three years old, lives in a gypsy camp in Giugliano in Campania, a few kilometers from Naples. Since May, water and electricity have been cut off, forcing him and the other 400 people in the camp to live in a situation of extreme poverty and marginalization. According to their stories, the institutions would refuse to recognize their presence. And there have been attempts to clear the field against their will. There have been solidarity and support for them. People like Br. Enrico, who choose to dedicate themselves to those who were in need and bring some relief into their lives, so stressful and tiring.
Nesakkaram-SEEDS, a Franciscan NGO serving in Chennai celebrated on 21 September 2019 the 800th anniversary of St. Francis meeting the Sultan. Nesakkaram which celebrates the “Women Cultural Fest’’ annually thought it fitting to remember this year the great historical event of St. Francis meeting the Sultan and thus spread the flavor of peace and dialogue among the people of various religions.
A year ago, prompted by the social and cultural situation that was spreading throughout Italy and in much of the West, the Franciscans felt called to question in a concrete manner those signs of fraternity characteristic of our Order. To this end, the idea of establishing a “Franciscan Network of the Mediterranean” has matured. As Friars Minor we strongly feel the responsibility and urgency to trigger processes shared fraternally between peoples and cultures that face the Mare Nostrum
In the past few months, we have seen the planet earth burning with numerous wildfires in different parts of the world, exacerbating the climatic emergency that we live today.
Pope Francis, in the encyclical Laudato si’, invites the entire human race to hear the cries of the poor since they are the most affected by the climate crisis.
A conference on “Voices from the Amazon: Land, People, and Religion” will spark deep conversations and ideas on 5 October, one day before the synod begins.
The conference will include Mons. Hector Cabrejos, OFM, President of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America, Br.Michael Perry, General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor, Patricia Gualinga, Sarayaku Leader, Ecuador, and many more.
The Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for many different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for the challenges and increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.
Please join us for “The Amazon: our Common Home”, a compelling event series that brings the Amazon to Rome for the bishops’ synod on the Amazon. Across eight countries with approximately 400 indigenous communities and millions of people, the Amazon is a place where the Creator’s glory is revealed.
“Living Franciscan humanism in today’s European context: Go and repair my house” was the topic of the VII Continental Meeting of JPIC European Animators.
In the retreat house “Porziuncola” in Malta, there was the meeting of 25 brothers working for the animation of the values of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) in the European continent. The meeting started with the celebration of the Eucharist, presided by Br. Richard Stanley Grech, OFM, Provincial Minister of the Province of St. Paul in Malta.
We hope that we can count on your support to help carry this initiative, to have your bell(s), … ring in your towers, belfries, carillon, churches, communities, institutions – a call or another sign – on Friday 4 October 2019 at 14.00 hrs. to give a hopeful sign of prayer, peace and reconciliation among all people of goodwill throughout the world.
Almost more than half a million migrant workers, who live in and around the city of Chennai, are unskilled workers. Migrants who come to the city of Chennai are typically at the receiving end of misplaced bias, such as loud, sexually open, dirty and so on. In workplaces, migrant labor is often deprived of the most necessary and essential of amenities such as a clean toilet, drinking water, and a place to rest. It is perhaps not news that migrants are taken for granted and the accounts show that there is a long way to go before migration with dignity is achieved.
The aim of these camps is to lead young people to an encounter with God through Sister-Mother Earth, by means of Franciscan spirituality and the values of JPIC. To achieve this the young people are brought into an environment which promotes more direct contact with nature and for this reason the site for the camp is carefully selected.
The Franciscan Province, “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” of Central America, Panama and the Foundation of “La Santa Cruz” in Haiti, has the JPIC Commission in the Province, which consists of a friar appointed for animation and coordination in each region of the actions of JPIC, together with the Franciscan Family. The Province has an evangelization project that includes four points for JPIC animation. They are, firstly, JPIC in initial and ongoing formation (formation program), secondly, JPIC in each evangelization settings (parish, rectory), thirdly, JPIC in the schools of the Province, and fourthly, JPIC office in each country. Even if there are JPIC teams of the Franciscan Family in some states of Central America, it’s essential to have an office in each state.
From September 1 to October 4, Christians around the world celebrate the Season of Creation. Some of us pray, some of us do hands-on projects, some of us advocate.
A cycle rally was organised by the friars in Chennai, South India on the 7thof July for the cause of water and land, and around 250 children and youth had participated in this event. They covered up around 20 km of distance in and around Madhavaram, Chennai and the neighbouring area holding posters with slogans “Save water and it will save you later; No water no life; Water is life, Treat it Right; Reuse the Past, Recycle the present, Reduce pollution in the future…”
The tragedy of Venezuela happens at all levels: social, cultural, political and economic. However, in the face of so much human pain, we choose to focus on various action alerts. We decry the ecological destruction and its impacts on our suffering people. We deplore a decline in the public services, the high cost of economic activities, and poor public administration. Besides the corruption in the regions, the rural populations living far from the capital are the most affected. Unlike the outside areas, the city of Caracas enjoys the nearly uninterrupted public services. Over the years, numerous official grievances have been made by the environmental groups, indigenous communities and other entities about the excessive growth of illegal mining in the Amazon.
Br. Joseph Nangle belongs to the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) and has served as a missionary in Bolivia for over 15 years, was another 12 years the co-director of Franciscan Mission Service and last Thursday he was arrested, along with 70 other Catholics, for protesting against the immigration policy of the government of Donald Trump. Brother Joseph was kind enough to answer some questions for pazybien.es and highlights the serious situation in which migrants live due to current measures in place by the US administration
The objective of this Alliance, as expressed in the agreement, is to promote a systemic, cultural and spiritual change that should be translated into economic and political transformations in the face of the current climate crisis. By doing so, the adherent 21 organizations have expressed their willingness to put themselves at the service of the community and facilitate links that can generate public-political influence from their respective identities.
One such support came from the Franciscan Family Chennai (FFC). An Inter-Religious Floral Tribute to the victims of bomb attack as well as to show our unity beyond boundaries of religion, caste and race were organized on the 28th of April 2019.
On the first day of the Meeting, the JPIC projects of both schools that belong to the Franciscan Province of the XII Apostles in Perú were exhibited. It should be noted that JPIC values have been presented transversally within the educational institutes. The creation of JPIC Commissions in each school has allowed the development of valuable programs that are aimed at the students and their families for the care of creation.
And that’s why António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, has called for the UN 2019 Climate Summit on September 21 – 23 in New York with the theme, ‘A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.’ The Church also resonates to this call. The Pope, too, declared a global “climate emergency.” He said that a failure to act urgently to reduce greenhouse gases would be “a brutal act of injustice toward the poor and future generations.”
The 35th National Assembly of the Franciscan Movement of Justice and Peace was held at San José de Tarata Convent, near the city of Cochabamba. The Meeting brought together 52 people from the JPIC departments of La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Oruro, Trinidad, Potosí and Tarija. The theme of the Meeting was “Faith and Politics,” given the upcoming presidential elections that will take place in Bolivia this October.
When the episode in the life of Francis related to his encounter with the Crucifix of San Damiano, and the task with which he was entrusted, “Go and rebuild my house which is falling into ruins”, is raised, almost always if not always, there is a reference made to the fact that the Church of that time, at least in respect of the temporal power it wielded, lived in luxury and was certainly not an example of integrity and in keeping with the Word which it was announcing.
The Conference of the Franciscan Family would like to invite you to a celebratory event to reflect on 30 years of its human rights work at the United Nations.
Starting from this perspective it is good that we ask ourselves about our Eucharistic celebrations, our participation in the Eucharist, our ability to adore the Divine Mystery present in the Eucharist. But starting from this perspective it is good that we also ask ourselves about our relationship with life, with the world, with creation and with all creatures, which in the Eucharist begin to experience the deification movement that began with the Easter event the Paschal mystery of Jesus Christ?
On the occasion of World Environment Day, June 5, the friars participated in some activities to mark the day. In the formation house in Chimoio City, the friars and the students participated in an environmental campaign to plant trees. The ceremony was held in one of the primary schools around the city.
On May 27, days before Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard traveled to Washington to begin negotiations with the United States regarding the tariff threat, the Assistant Secretary for Border Affairs, Migrants and Human Rights of Tabasco, José Ramiro López Obrador, announced the deployment of 100 agents of Federal Police and 100 troops of the SEDENA (Secretariat for National Defense) in Tenosique to “reinforce the tasks of the National Migration Institute.” The Federal Police had already been operating for 17 days in Tenosique at the time of the announcement.
In conclusion to this wonderful experience of friendship and dialogue, I must say, first of all, that I have witnessed what Laudato si’tells us about our faith and science, i.e. we should also relate our faith with science. Secondly, Carceri and Sacro Bosco are a part of our rich Franciscan heritages. St. Francis and his followers were very much in communion with nature and made it home of encounter with God. For us Franciscans, we can develop here a project of Franciscan ecological spirituality and ministry. We can utilize the sacred sites in nature for our formation in Franciscan ecological spirituality and for visitors and pilgrims as well. With the various species of plants, trees, shrubs, and herbs, rock formations, landscapes, and the whole ecosystem, it will be a venue for scientific studies and its integration with our faith, awe, and spiritual aesthetics.
The JPIC Animation Committee of the Order of Friars Minor gathered in Jericho from June 10 to 14, 2019, soon after the International Council for JPIC in Jerusalem. The Animation Committee had a very good dialogue with the JPIC Commission of the Custody of the Holy Land headed by Br. Giorgio Vigna, OFM. The encounter between the two highlighted the works of the brothers in the Holy Land working for JPIC, especially with their ministry of presence and dialogue. The JPIC General Animator expressed his gratitude for the recently concluded International Council in Jerusalem with all the organization and logistical preparations that the Custody did for the friars. After which the four members of the Animation Committee were accompanied by Br. Mario H’dchity, OFM to proceed to Jericho for their meeting.
The Synod for the Amazons is a reflection on these problems that currently represent the life of the Church. There have been many meetings around these themes, hopefully producing more than just documents that diagnose this region. This Synod is provoking new paths, new models of evangelization for facing the challenges of mission, especially in the Amazon region.
The Custody of the Holy Land hosted the two-yearly planning meeting of the International Council of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the Order of the Friars Minor from 3rd to 10th June 2019.
The JPIC Office has always dealt with everything concerning Justice, Peace and the Integrity of the Creation, recognized as founding values of Franciscan spirituality. These values are also to be found in the fight against climate change, the protection of Human Rights and special attention to the problems and real violations existing in the 119 countries where the Order is present and works. “This meeting,” said Fr. Jaime Campos, Director of the General Office for JPIC, “allows us to evaluate the work that has been done and to plan, with our discussions, future work with constant attention to the contents of the “Laudato Si’” Encyclical”.
Br. Giorgio Vigna was the first Christian religious honored in these ceremonies and received this tribute in his name but also, as declared by the organizer of the event Yshai Menuhim, in recognition of the constant commitment of the Franciscan Custody for human dignity.
The JPIC Office was invited to present a report on the JPIC promotion work in the Order and perspectives for the future. We have informed the presidents about the JPIC work in each Conference, giving each of them a detailed Conferential report of the last two years. Likewise, we present some concrete proposals to carry out the document of the Plenary Council of the Order from the perspective of JPIC.
Greta has become the symbol of the struggle of youth that claims intergenerational responsibility and a minimum of consciousness for future generations. Pope Francis has put some open questions about our current lifestyle 4 years ago. “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up? This question not only concerns the environment in isolation; the issue cannot be approached piecemeal. When we ask ourselves what kind of world we want to leave behind, we think in the first place of its general direction, its meaning and its values.” (LS n.160)
In 1982, Br. Dionysius Mintoff, OFM, of Malta, and Sister Elisabeth Cameron, OSF, of USA, wrote to the Franciscan family in the United States about the possibility of a Franciscan presence at the United Nations. It ledto a joint project of the Franciscan Family, which resulted in the creation of the Franciscan Non-Governmental Organization, Franciscans International, for cooperation with the United Nations. Its vision statement identified three main goals: to be aware of the interconnectedness of the entire creation and thus of the commitment to the environment, the commitment to peace and the poor. Later, a conference of the Franciscan Family has been organized in our General Curia, set up by our Office of Justice and Peace, to spread the idea within the Franciscan Family. This is how “Franciscans International,” which was formerly a grassroots organization of Franciscans with a small office in New York, has begun. Later, the Conference of the Franciscan Family (CFF) assumed the patronage as the official organ of the six General Ministers, those of the three First Orders, TOR, the Franciscan sisters and OFS. Franciscans International seeks to bring spiritual, ethical and Franciscan values to the United Nations and other international organizations.
Warm Franciscan greetings to all! It is our pleasure to write to you during the 30th Anniversary celebration of Franciscans International (FI).
As you know, FI is the only common ministry project of the Franciscan Family. It was created thirty years ago from the grassroots up, based on the vision of various sisters and brothers who were inspired by a dream of sharing our Franciscan message and values at a global level through the structures of the United Nations (UN). In the last three decades FI has undergone various changes, but it has continued its commitment to serve peace, the poor and the planet.
“It is beautiful,” said the Pope to his guests of MZF, “how you, as a community of religious brothers and committed laities, address all people of good will in the world to motivate them to help the poor, the needy and the marginalized to a better future.”
On Saturday, April 6, 2019, the Pope has met the staffs of the MZF on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the relief organization. More than twenty staffs of the MZF General Office, together with its first director of many years, Fr. Andreas Müller, and the current president, Fr. Matthias Maier, participated in the audience of the Pope.
This year, with the theme that concerns us, the Culture of Encounter, we want to take up the words of Pope Francis in front of the presidential palace at the opening of his visit to Colombia in September 2017.
On May 3, Pope Francis has received the photos with the names of the 270 people killed, the crime of the Vale from Dari Pereira, survivor of the crime of the Vale in Brumadinho and Fr. Rodrigo Peret, OFM of Churches and Mining Network and Mining Working Group of the CNBB.
The Pope was deeply moved for the victims, blessed the photos and expressed his solidarity to the families who lost their loved ones and all those affected. Immediately the Pope remained in front of the photos in a gesture of affection, respect and solidarity. On May 18, a representative of the Pope, Monsignor Duffé, will be visiting Brumadinho and getting to know the reality and the struggle of those affected.
Samir became an accountant and married Houda Kalala who was a French Teacher at Kilikia Armenian High School. They lived happily in Aleppo with their 4 beautiful children. Tragedy struck on Good Friday (12thApril 2014) with the bombing of their city in the Syrian Civil War. Many lifelong friends and family died on that fateful day. Miraculously, the family managed to escape to another Syrian city and later fled to Lebanon where they applied and were granted a visa to Australia.
Br. Evaldas Darulis OFM, from the Province of St. Casimir in Lithuania was recognized for his efforts to encourage Christians to be more respectful and nondiscriminatory towards LGBT+ persons.
It is with great pleasure that I share with you, on behalf of Franciscans International, a short reflection on “The Works of Mercy and Human Rights” based on the “Mandala” of Saint Nicolas de Flue. May this text provide a source of spiritual nourishment for you and your community on your Lenten journey!
On March 24, 1980, St. Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez was martyred while celebrating the Eucharist. It is fitting that during March, the month of his death, we remember that day on October 14, 2018, when Pope Francis canonized him in St. Peter’s Square along with Pope Paul VI, Sr. Nazaria Ignacia March, Sr. María Caterina Kasper, Fr. Francesco Spinelli, Fr. Vincenzo Romano, and layman, Nunzio Sulprizi. That event caused many from around the world to rejoice, especially those who identify themselves with either Romero’s strong testimonials or with the way he followed the Lord. Here are a few reflections from Bishop Romero that can help us in our work as Friars Minor, especially in our work with JPIC.
“Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.
During the World Youth Day in Brazil, 2013, Pope Francis visited a hospital that is under the care of the Fraternity Saint Francis of Assisi in the Providence of God. During this visit, Pope Francis, in a conversation with Fr. Francisco Belotti (Superior General), asked him if the Fraternity had a presence in the Amazon, and encouraged them to carry out some project in the region. After that, the friars were motivated to attend to this request and presented the model of what would be a “hospital ship” to the Holy Father in the Vatican on November 5, 2018.
The Maltese OFM Province of St Paul the Apostle has teamed up with the Centre for Environmental Education and Research of the University of Malta, and the Interdiocesan Commission for the Environment to launch a course designed to inspire and empower participants in taking a stand on sustainability, both in their personal lives and in their communities.
Here is a girl from Sweden. Her name is Greta Thunberg. She is 16 years old. She started her solo protest of “School Strike for the Climate” in front of the Swedish parliament on August 20, 2018. The slogan of her Friday protest was “Why Study for a Future We Might Not Have?”
The Pontifical Antonianum University has recently put the fruits of four interdisciplinary seminars on integral ecology, held in the last two years to productive use.
Subsidy for Formation. The booklet consists of six themes that address the event of the crusade, the encounter between St. Francis and the Sultan of Egypt, the recall of the 800 years of unfinished history, the fruitfulness in following Jesus and the spirit of mission
The products are used in the friary kitchen and also to feed the poor who seek help from the various religious houses in the area. The project has stimulated ecological interest by young and old alike. Today many groups from schools visit the Franciscan agricultural project. Surely this is very positive and encouraging signal for the future.
The General Minister together with the General Definitory recently appointed a new member of its Animation Committee. Br. Angelito Andig Cortez, OFM. He belongs to the Province of San Pedro Bautista in the Philippines. Having made the solemn profession in 2015, he has been deeply involved in the various JPIC ministries leading many international as well as regional campaigns.
During the retreat, the volunteers were asked when was the last time we encountered God through nature. When have we stopped to deliberately be in silence? When was the last time we reflected on the impact of human activity to a tranquil nature?
Laudato si’ will be celebrated in three zones: Parque Omar, Colegio Internacional Maria Inmaculada and various Youth Festival stages. Through these exhibitions, pilgrims will be encouraged to commit to living Laudato si’ and start conversations on ecological conversion to recognise God in creation in their own countries.
The liturgy garnered a 150 thousand viewership both live and replay. It was followed by the Laudato Si Serenade Concert, featuring the different talents of the different congregations present in the Philippines including our very own OFM friars and some local singer celebrities.