Capuchin Friars Minor as Custodians of the environment in Latin America and the Caribbean, JPIC animation meeting in San Domingo, Dominican Republic, June 5-12, 2016
Miranda non se vende! La Loma se defiend! This was the common chant as the Capuchin friars from Latin America protested against the destruction and commercialization of the environment. With the alarming rate of the destruction of the Amazon and other rain forests around the world, the JPIC friars meeting in San Domingos, the Dominican Republic decided to take concrete actions to advocate for and care for our common home, our mother and sister Earth. Representing the three conferences of CCA, CCB and CONCAM, the 20 friars were drawn from Venezuala, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemaly-Honduras-El Salvador, Haiti, Brazil and the host the Dominican Republic.
At the conclusion of the of the one week workshop- training on the values of JPIC in the light of Laudato si, the friars decided to take concrete actions in order to Inform, Integrate and Inspire friars in Latin America and the Caribbean. As a follow up the friars decided to cultivate a deep Capuchin Franciscan spirituality that puts us on track to ecological conversion. This would be done through formation and the establishment of an international house in the Amazon to focus on ecological issue.
Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor: The JPIC Capuchin friars Assembly for Asia-Pecific Conference- PACC, Pontianak, Indonesia July 24-31, 2016
“Cry of the Earth, Cry of the poor” was the theme of the JPIC- Asia Pacific Capuchin Conference, PACC annual assembly in Indonesia. The Assembly held at Tirta Ria Retreat house in Pontianak, brought together 20 participants from the circumscriptions of Indonesia (Pontianak, Medan, Sibolga, Kepulauan Nias ), Philippines, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea (and the Solomon Islands), South Korea and Malaysia (OFS). They were joined by facilitators from the JPIC office in Rome and Franciscans International in Geneva. A heavy police presence characterized the meeting with over 15 policemen and women assigned to guard the venue. The objective of the assembly was to animate- Inform, Integrate and Inspire friars of the PACC in values of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC). Moreover the assembly was intended to facilitate stronger solidarity and collaboration among the JPIC animators of the PACC and create a regional network with a common purpose and mission.
Empowered by the success of the assembly and the increased fraternal bonds and collaborations that resulted from it, the PACC JPIC Delegates look forward to a promising future where the existing apostolate and institutions of the different circumscriptions of the PACC would be further strengthened and improved and newer forms of expressing solidarity with the poor and for creation be ventured upon with enthusiasm.
Indeed, the presence of a great number of security personnel at first made us feel unease but by the end of the meeting it became an enriching experience for both the participants and the police men and women. Majority being Muslims, they learnt a lot about our Capuchin charism and especially our JPIC values. Moreover, the policemen and women participated in some of our activities including visiting the poor and planting trees together. So our theme of “Cry for the Earth and cry of the poor” became a living reality not only to the participants but also to the many policemen and women present.
“Another World is Needed: Together it becomes possible”: The Franciscans presence at the World Social Forum in Montreal, Canada August 9-14.
A significant crowd of about 10,000 people marched in the streets of Montreal, Canada at the start of the World Social Forum with the theme “Another world is needed: together it is possible”. The excited crowds were chanting and waving signs and banners with varied themes ranging from climate justice to Human rights to migrant solidarity, and beyond. On the march, there were different groups from all over the world, including indigenous people, NGOs, and grassroots environmental organizations. Clearly noticeable though was the Franciscan delegation with their brown and grey habits..
Created in 2001 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the WSF is conceived as a space where a wide array of diverse social movements could meet each other and build bonds of solidarity, and develop common ideals and strategy for social change. The Franciscan delegation was small but visible with members from all the branches of the Franciscan family including, OFM, OFMCap, OFM Conventuals, OFS, Yufra, Franciscan sisters, Franciscans International FI, and Franciscans Action Network, FAN . The 14 member delegation was also joined by the local Franciscans in Montreal including several Capuchin friars. The delegation through FI presented three main workshops on Extreme poverty, Mining and business and human right.
Following on the commitments made by the Franciscans at the Rio+20 climate summit in Brazil, the delegation decided to concretize these commitments by continuing to advocate and work on the areas of Lifestyle change (personal and collective witness), Mining and extractive industries (that extract large quantities of natural resources with their effect on the poor and the environment), and Food sovereignty and sustainability (especially for the poor).
Realizing that JPIC is part of our DNA as Franciscans, JPIC international commission encourages all our Capuchin friars around the world to join the rest of the Franciscans to engage with civil societies, groups from other religions, and all people of good will in the dialogue on suggested topics with a goal of creating greater awareness, coordinated actions and advocacy actions. Finally we commend your grassroots activities such as the Rainbow house environmental project in Pontianak, the Capuchin Medical mission in the Philippines, the Capuchin soup kitchen in Detroit and many others. With the suggestions offered in Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si, let us all listen to the “Cry of the poor and the Cry of the Earth (LS #48)