JPIC News - May 2022 - Jeff Redder, OFS, Regional JPIC Animator

Saint Katharine Drexel Region
Secular Franciscan Order (USA)
Justice, Peace, & the Integrity of Creation
May 2022
“A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’?(Preparatory Document for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 7 September 2021)
For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission

Jeffrey C. Redder, OFS
23 Shelter Rock Rd.
Eastampton, NJ 08060 609-267-1460 (H)
609-667-3443 (M)
JPIC Reflection

As Catholics, Secular Franciscans should have great hope that we might soon see the overturning of the unjust Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized the right to abortion and denied the right to life to the unborn. It behooves us to pay attention to what may happen at the state level as federal guidelines change so that we continue to advocate for the dignity of human life (a fundamental Catholic social teaching) in the states where
we live and closely follow state legislative actions that are inconsistent with the teachings of our faith.

This year, the Catholic social lobby group Network marks its 50th anniversary. Founded by religious sisters, this agency has worked tirelessly to advocate for the poor, the homeless, immigrants and refugees, and the marginalized. Their most recent newsletter celebrates the many accomplishments of this Catholic lobby group over five decades and continues to put in the forefront the key issues that impact the dignity of human life in our country.

In August, the National Fraternity of OFS-USA will have a Quinquennial Congress in Phoenix, AZ, that celebrates our 100th anniversary as a national fraternity. As part of the congress, Secular Franciscans have
been asked to bring along fleece fabric and scissors to make hand-tied blankets for youth and the elderly in shelters and at the border. If you are not planning to attend the “Q,” your fraternity may desire to make a
donation toward the costs of materials.

Over the last year, the National JPIC has been working on immigration issues and assistance to people who are being held in facilities at the border. Donna Hollis, OFS, the recipient of the 2021 JPIC Award, provides
regular updates to the regional animators. The need for immigration reform has existed for more than three decades, but we have made little or no progress as a country to address the moral issues.
Finally, I would like to share information about the Poor Peoples’ Campaign Moral March in Washington, DC, on June 18th.  Franciscan Action Network has signed up as a mobilizing partner and is inviting anyone who would like to participate to gather at 9 AM at St. Patrick’s Church on 10th St. NW. On May 5th, FAN co-sponsored an informational webinar with Pax Christ USA, the Sisters of Mercy, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to provide information about
the march. The webinar is available to view on the FAN website.
Let us continue to pray fervently for a peaceful resolution of the war in
Ukraine and for all those throughout the world who have been displaced by conflict and violence!

May 20, 2022 (Feast of St. Bernardine of Siena)
National JPIC Monthly Reflections on the Beatitudes Patricia Grace, a Secular Franciscan from southern California and a member of the National JPIC, started hosting monthly Zoom sessions on the spirit of the Beatitudes, which are so integral to the Secular Franciscan
Rule. The third session (Blessed are the meek) will be held on Saturday, May 21st, at 1:00 PM EDT. After the previous two sessions, Patricia published notes for those who could not be there. If anyone is interested in participating, please contact me.

Laudato Si’ Week (May 22-29)
Marking the seventh anniversary of the encyclical, Laudato Si’ Week will feature global, regional, and local events tied to one of the seven Laudato Si’ goals. On the day celebrating ecological education, footage from The Invitation, a new feature-length documentary film on Laudato Si’, will be shown to the general public for the first time ever during a live-streaming event. The Invitation will have its global release later this year. The event begins at 8:00 AM EDT (14.00 CEST) on May 27 (Friday). Registration is required at this link. It will be facilitated by Deborah Castellano Lubov, analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, contributor to EWTN, Salt & Light TV, and others, and correspondent for Vatican News.

World Meeting of Families (June 22-26, Rome, Italy and in local dioceses)
Before the decision to focus on JPIC, the OFS national fraternity had a separate apostolic commission for FAMILY. As Secular Franciscans, this vocation is especially meaningful to our life in society. While it is easy to argue that JPIC covers areas that have impact on families, the focus gets dwarfed by the graver issues of human trafficking, immigration, racism, war, violence, poverty, homelessness, etc. The XXX World Meeting of Families (WMF) has the theme “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness.” In honor of the WMF event, Pope Francis invited families
this year to write and participate in the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) in Rome on Good Friday. Please take the time to read the reflections that were given at each station (PDF file at this URL):
For the 13th Station (Jesus dies on the cross), a Ukrainian and a Russian
woman held the cross together during the silent reflection.
On the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) website, there
is this definition of Franciscan Justice Circles:
“…local grassroots communities, inspired by the Franciscan
charism, that unite to advocate for social and environmental
justice. They are independent, ongoing, volunteer-led groups empowered to engage the issues in their communities that are important to them through advocacy and action. Supported by the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) and the national network of Franciscan Justice Circles, these groups explore more deeply the social justice path of the Two Feet of Love in Action, and engage important local issues, challenging policies that perpetuate injustice and advancing policies of peace, justice, and care for creation.” I am happy to report to the region that my wife Teresa and I co-facilitate the Delaware Valley Franciscan Justice Circle, which meets by Zoom on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 PM. Currently, we have about 12 members from PA, DE, and NJ, including five Franciscan sisters from the Aston community, as well as four Secular Franciscans. In our monthly gatherings, we have celebrated the Day of Prayer for Human Trafficking (March) Ukrainian nurse Iryna and Russian nursing student Albina, who are friends, hold a cross at the 13th station as Pope Francis leads the Way of the Cross outside the Colosseum in Rome April
15, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) May 20, 2022 (Feast of St. Bernardine of Siena)
and devoted April and May to integral ecology in the spirit of Earth Day and Laudato Si’ Week. If you have questions or would like more information, please call or e-mail me. I also participate in FAN’s monthly
National FJC Zoom call where other circles share their experiences and build common energy for the common good. Justice, Peace, and Human Development-US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Fraternities can benefit from the resources to be found on the USCCB’s website for the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, which promotes awareness of Catholic social teaching and opportunities
to live the Baptismal call to love God and neighbor. Efforts include the anti-poverty mission of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, as well as advocacy in support of poor and vulnerable persons and
communities, in the U.S. and abroad. A valuable link from this department contains excellent videos (approximately 3-4 minutes long), introduced by respected US episcopal leaders such as Franciscan Cardinal
Sean O’Malley and Bishop Robert Barron, along with study guides in both English or Spanish (2-page handout) to appreciate the Church’s Catholic Social Teaching: This type of personal and fraternal reflection can benefit the types of apostolates in which fraternities choose to engage. Koinonia 2022.1 (The Journey of the Secular Franciscans in the Synodal Church) In CIOFS’ first quarterly edition of the International Spiritual Assistants’ newsletter Koinonia, Br. Carlos Ginés
C. Julve, TOR, gives a thoughtful reflection titled “Communion: A Challenge of the Gospel Life of the OFS” in which he explores our deep Franciscan roots in the Church’s understanding of the word communion. In his direction to Secular Franciscans for the Third Millennium, he challenges us not only to a heartfelt encounter with Christ in prayer, but also to find our missionary action in the world: “The Saint of Assisi [Francis] understood that all the gifts and charisms that God gives must always be placed at the service of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Communion requires paying attention to the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, praying, asking for and discovering the gifts and charisms that the same Spirit arouses in the Church, in each one of the members of the people of God, and nourishing oneself and participating in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Synodality is a call to co-responsibility and the participation of those who make up the great
People of God. It is an invitation as a member of the People of God to live in this way. The God of St. Francis is not the result of speculation or a studied theology, but He is the God revealed in His life, felt as a saving force, light, life, love, an unprecedented and always attractive reality. The unceasing prayer of Saint Francis is based on the certainty that God is
the supreme good, all good.

1 The synodality-communion to which Pope Francis invites becomes a pastoral challenge for the Secular Franciscan Order to contemplate St. Francis more deeply in order to take initiatives like him. This leads us to
rebuild church-communities, to be available, to have initiatives that take us to the Muslim world and to the marginalized, initiatives that involve us in the formation of priests, initiatives that lead us to speak and listen to the bishops and the Pope. Initiatives that lead us all together to live the dream of God, One and Triune. It is a challenge not to leave the world
but to enter more and more into it and from there to make God’s dream possible: synodality is witness to divine life.”

Questions for personal and fraternal reflection:
▪ How would you specify some of the challenges presented in this reflection?
▪ What other challenges do you think we have as a Church?
▪ What do you think is the dream that God is inspiring Pope Francis about you?

Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus, the first word of the Latin
original meaning, “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,” which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other
Church gatherings for hundreds of years, being attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 4 April 636). As we are
called to embrace this synodal path of Synod 2021-2023, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to work within us so that we
may be a community and a people of grace. For Synod 2021-2023, we propose to use this simplified version, so that any
group or liturgical assembly can pray more easily:
1 Cf. Vicente Valtueña, Juan. M. Revista Seminarios, Volumen 55 – año 2009.

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