Statement on Racism from National JPIC Commission – US Secular Franciscan Order

Statement on Racism from the National Commission of Justice,
Peace and Integrity of Creation of the U.S. Secular Franciscan

How long, O LORD, must I cry for help and you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” and you do not intervene?
Why do you let me see iniquity?
Why do you simply gaze at evil?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife and discord. (Habakkuk 1: 2-3)

Once again, the wound of racism in our society has been exposed because of what appears to be
careless and irresponsible behavior by persons whom we should trust to keep peace and encourage
non-violence: law enforcement officers and public officials.

The National Commission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation of the Secular Franciscan Order
in the United States, hereby declares that racism is morally wrong. It does not love or respect life.
Neither Scripture, our Rule of Life nor our faith justifies it, for any reason, or under any circumstance.
Our Catholic social teaching calls us to respect and honor the dignity of every human life, from the
womb to natural death. It makes no exclusions on the basis of color or ethnicity and calls out no other
distinction to be excluded. We are called to honor and respect the lives of people we love and people
whom we may find it hard to love; people who are like us and people who are different from us.
The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others each have their
tragic and brutal circumstances, but share a central question that cannot be ignored: If they had been
white, and the circumstances were identical, would they be alive?
As Catholic Christians and Franciscans, we owe it to ourselves to do the following in response to
 To identify and eradicate the structures in our societal institutions that perpetuate racism, and
replace them with structures that are fair and just, and that value the lives and gifts of every
 To pray for an end to racism; indeed, to pray for interracial solidarity, for our laws and our faith
practices to reflect our compassion and value for the dignity of every human life; and that we
lovers and followers of Jesus and Francis of Assisi, be leaders in bringing about a rightly
informed sense of racial equity and justice in our land and in our Church.
 To identify and confront our own unconscious racial biases. After a shared history of hundreds
of years in this country, we all have them. They make their way into our lives and culture, often
unnoticed. But we can become more just and open by discovering these unconscious biases
and replace them with love and engagement.

And finally, we need to have safe and meaningful dialogue about those racial biases. We owe it to
ourselves and to our brothers and sisters to develop a strong sense of community and fraternity
through peaceful conversations. This is truly a conversion moment where dialogue and education are
needed. Our Holy Rule calls us to be “bearers of peace” and we all must bear the burden of peace as
we walk this journey towards holiness as brothers and sisters, with open hands and joyful hearts.
Come, Holy Spirit! Lord, make it so!

Prayer to Overcome Racism

Prayer to Overcome Racism
Mary, friend and mother to all, through your Son, God has found a way to unite himself
to every human being, called to be one people, sisters and brothers to each other.
We ask for your help in calling on your Son, seeking forgiveness for the times when we have
failed to love and respect one another. We ask for your help in obtaining from your Son the
grace we need to overcome the evil of racism and to build a just society. We ask for your help in
following your Son, so that prejudice and animosity will no longer infect our minds or hearts but
will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity of each person.
Mother of the Church, the Spirit of your Son Jesus warms our hearts: pray for us.

May 2020, Fifth Anniversary of Laudato Si – Jeff Redder, OFS JPIC Animator

With the start of Laudato Si Week today and the recent conclusion of the National JPIC Commission Conference, I prepared the attached newsletter for local fraternities to use to promote JPIC.

Of important note is our call to pray on Sunday, May 24th at noon (local time) as part of a global Care for Creation.

Hopefully this will bring you all up to date on what is happening at the National Level and local level concerning JPIC.  As you will see, we all need to pray over our outlook and our understanding of what JPIC means to each of us.  There is always room for lots of dialogue and discussion when we can get back together as fraternities, because I know how we all miss the company and togetherness.

May God continue to watch over each of us as we continue with our daily lives!

Yours in Christ,

Jeffrey C Redder, OFS

SKD Regional JPIC Animator

May 2020-SKD JPIC Animator Laudato-Si-Bulletin-Insert USCCB Laudato-Si-discussion-guide

JPIC News – August, 2019 – Jeff Redder, OFS, JPIC Animator

Saint Katharine Drexel Region 
Secular Franciscan Order (USA)
Justice, Peace, & the Integrity of Creation 
September 2019

· Greetings

I am again looking at what has been on the news this past month and asking myself, what should I bring up as some subjects for this month, September 2019. To start off the month, I keep thinking about the some of the news stories that are making the news. It is sad to keep hearing another shooting taking place here in our country. The question that comes to mind is “What makes them do these things? Is there no other way to solve whatever the problem is.” I just went to the Annual JPIC Animator Conference and there were so many issues talked about. I still have to get my trip report done and sent out. But I would like to send an invitation out to all fraternities that I would be willing to come talk to you about what I learned about JPIC. One of the main themes is that we as Franciscans are doing JPIC in our daily lives as we live out our profession. It is part of who we are, being loving, kind, compassionate, and merciful. One of the other main themes, avoid violence in how we deal with others and respect others as human beings, as we are all born in the image and likeness of God. Love our neighbor as our selves. All sounds easy, but not so easy to put into daily practice. With being open to the power of the Holy Spirit and letting God guide us, we can do these things. Also, with the help from each other, being family.

As we look at some of the positive events that have happened. The Pope announcing 8 new Cardinals to the Council of Cardinals. Mostly from third would countries, giving more voice to these people. This is all part of Peace and Justice. Must have peace to have justice. Let us keep the Pope and all the leaders of the Church in our daily thoughts and prayers. They have a very hard and pressing job to deal with each day. It is sad to hear about people trying to attach and take down our leaders. Check weekly on the United States Bishops Conference website to see what is happening in our country. Also, check with what is going on at the local level both with the Church and local government. Lots of good being done. We as Franciscans should be helping with spreading that good news. Again, as I read my different magazines, I see and read about how many different people are working to save Mother Earth so she will be around for many years for our grandchildren to enjoy as we enjoy the earth today. I will be gone to Italy from 12 Sep. to Oct 7th. So when I get back, I will give a report on the Franciscan Pilgrim Study. Teresa and I am looking forward to the trip and all the learning about both SS Francis and Clare. My email is:




August 2019 JPIC Article - Jeff Redder, OFS

August 2019-SKD JPIC Animator (1)

World Down Syndrome Day – March 21

Thanks to our sister, Teresa Redder, OSF, for sharing this great video.  Take a minute and watch!


Call to action 2019

Returning Citizens - October 2017 JPIC Reflection

Returning Citizens 

Peace and All Good ! I have been asked to resume the position of Regional JPIC coordinator and am pleased to be able to continue to share some of the wealth of information my attendance at the National JPIC meetings gave me. One topic which we discussed and which was interesting was that of the Returning Citizen , people who had been incarcerated and who were then released. The wording of this was surprising to me and seemed to reflect the very graciousness of our Seraphic Father St. Francis. 

We learned about their efforts in the Mid West at the JPIC gathering , how they provided clothes suitable for going on a job interview, etc. , but my question to the Region is how will we address this topic here at home ? My initial essay was going to be built on what my research  had shown me, namely that there are almost 2.2 million people incarcerated in the U.S. and we lead the world in number of people incarcerated per capita. One out of every 28 children in the U.S. has  an incarcerated parent.  Of those who are now on parole on released on probation, 43% will be re arrested within one year. This topic can spin  off in many areas and I will be exploring those over the next few months. 

But as I was initially going to fill this with facts about ” those people” a few things happened which knocked my socks off and made this topic very real to me. The first was when I was watching the news and saw that the boy down the street allegedly committed a murder. This was a boy who had graduated with my son less than three years ago. His parents were den leaders with us. He was a football star. His two brothers and his father are police men. These kids went to Catholic school. They live a block from me. This is my problem. 

Then I was still doing research and looking at a website about this kind of  work in New York with Returning Citizens and I saw my best friend’s niece in a picture carrying a banner at a rally in the City for Returning Citizens. I called my best friend who said that her sister would not say anything about Petra , actually for the last few years, other than to say that she was fine. But we now know that Petra had been in jail. My friend would not say anything to her sister about it but I thought “Wow, this was a girl that had stayed with me one summer. I know her and her whole family. We were close. ” This is no longer an abstraction. These issues now have names for me. Petra and Tommy. It is my problem.  

Isn’t it true that we always think it is someone else’s problem. I am reminded of John Donne’s poem “For Whom the Bell Tolls ” in the line “Do not send to know for whom the bell tolls , it tolls for thee. ” and again in the play Miss Saigon referencing the Ameri Asian children born in Viet Nam after the war : “They’re called BUI Doi, the dust of life conceived in hell and born in strife …They are the living reminder of all the good we failed to do … We can’t forget, Must not forget … 

Because we know deep in our hearts that they are all our children too. ” And my point is this : We often don’t care what happens in our world until it comes home to us. We forget that we all come from One Creator and all bleed red and are part of one family.  

In closing, I want to share the writing of a prominent Protestant Pastor , Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) who emerged as a critic of Adolf Hitler but whose words are still relevant: 

“First they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out- Because I was not a Socialist. 

Then they came for the Trade Unionists , and I did not speak out-Because I was not a Trade Unionist. 

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – 

Because I was not a Jew . 

Then they came for me- and there was no one left to speak for me. “ 

Certainly, there have been various different versions of this piece, but my point is we become complicit through our silence about social justice issues and we must begin to embrace all of the Poor Ones, the Anawim, (Hebrew word that means, “the poor who depend on the Lord for deliverance) starting now. Their issues must become our issues. If not, do we not commit collectively the sin of omission ? 

Kathleen Agosto, OFS 

JPIC Regional Coordinator 




From Our National JPIC Animator: The Season of Caring for Creation

Greetings of peace, my dear brothers and sisters!

I pray this finds you blessed, favored and filled with the peace of our Lord!

September 1 was the World Day of Prayer for Creation which begins the Season of Caring for Creation. The season goes to the Solemnity of our Seraphic Father, Saint Francis. For very obvious reasons, I have given it a Franciscan flavah! Oh yeah!

Attached please find the prayers to pray and celebrate Sister Mother Earth throughout the Season of Caring for Creation. There are five weeks to pray, reflect, and take some small actions to care for creation. To those who attended the retreat, these might look familiar. You got to pray the communal format, which was framed by the Canticle of the Creatures.

Also, the Week of Nonviolent Action for Campaign Nonviolence is the 20 – 27 September. This includes the International Day of Peace on September 21. Lots of goodies to pray for and about. Remember: Contemplate… Educate… Animate!

For more information about the Season of Creation, check out This page will lead you to more resources to aid you in your praying for and with Sister Mother Earth.

Please let me know how you use these. It is always a blessing to read your comments and stories.

Right after the Season of Caring for Creation, comes the 12 Weeks of Franciscan Peace! My goodness, there is no shortage of prayers for us! With all of the recent gun violence, we certainly need to pray; and Franciscans are powerful pray-ers!

I have also attached the updated 12 Weeks of Franciscan Peace (the dates have been updated).

Again, any comments or questions, send to
Wishing you blessings of love, peace and all good,

Carolyn D. Townes, OFS
National Animator of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
U.S. Secular Franciscan Order

Animate Peace

Animator Notes - 2015 Lenten Edition

Greetings of peace, dear brothers and sisters!

I pray this finds you well and filled with the Lord’s peace on this Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes!

Well, it is that time again! Yes, Lent is one week away; and in preparation I wanted to send this out to give you time to pray and plan your Lenten activities. As our Holy Father Pope Francis says, lent is a time of grace and renewal. Lent is a wonderful opportunity to begin again!

Please use the links below to open and dowload the 2015 Lenten Edition of the Animator Notes with some Lenten activities for you and your communities to partake. There are also some Lenten Resources, including my Lenten Season of Peace, for you to go deeper into prayer, fasting and giving alms.

One of the activities is a global one. On March 16th, Catholics here in the United States are asked to fast for creation. I am asking you to individually and fraternally join with me (and my emerging fraternity here in South Carolina) to fast in honor of Sister/Mother Earth. You can fast from fast food, excessive water, paper, or electronics use. There is no shortage of ideas to fast. Then, feast on the goodness of our loving Creator God and our Sister/Mother Earth! WooHoo! That’s Latin for Praise the LORD! (said no one ever!)

Anyway, I beg of you to please share with me, in the form of a paragraph, pictures or a video of your Lenten fasting experiences. I would be so grateful.

Feel free to email me with questions or comments anytime. This weekend, I am fasting from conflict and violence in a Restorative Circles Workshop – so limited email access. Stay tuned for more on that.

I wish you all a very blessed, joyous and peace-filled Lenten Season!


Animate Peace

Peace begins within each of us. It is a process of repeatedly showing mercy to ourselves, forgiving ourselves, befriending ourselves, accepting ourselves, and loving ourselves. As we learn to appreciate ourselves and accept God’s gift of peace, we begin to radiate peace and love to others.” ~ Rev. John Dear


Animator Notes – 2015 Lenten Edition

Lenten Season of Peace by Carolyn Townes, OFS

Catholic Relief Service Rice Bowl – 2015 Lenten Calendar

Interfaith Power and Light – Lenten Carbon Fast 2015



JPIC News -- January 2015

On Christmas Day, my daughter, Nicole, was sporting a new sweater, a gift from her big brother. Although a little tight on her, it was the perfect thing for her for it read “This is a girl who still believes”.
This was so perfect because she is the one who plays Christmas songs on the radio beginning Halloween, decorates a 7 foot Christmas tree with hand painted glass ornaments, takes her mother to Longwood Gardens to see the lights, attends an Ugly Sweater Party each year and watches a host of Christmas favorites on TV and often sings along to the Grinch Who Stole Christmas as she knows all the words. Of course, she also remembers the religious significance and this is paramount; being with family is all she ever wants for Christmas. But my point is she, not Macys, does BELIEVE.

But so do I in a quieter way, for each January, ever since I drug my family to Peddlers’ Village a few years ago on the coldest, bleakest day in winter, and became enamored of paper whites. The Miracle Grow Website proclaims “Paperwhite Narcissus will grow happily and bloom with nothing more than water and stones or beach glass.

Fill a 3 to 4 inch deep bowl or shallow container without drainage holes with crushed rock, pebbles or decorative stones. Pack your Paperwhite bulbs into the container and push them down into the stones so the tips stay upright. “

And from experience, I know that you will see flowers well before the Philadelphia Flower Show, and hopefully this little exercise will get you through winter until Spring.

Believe. As JPIC coordinator, as a Secular Franciscan, I try hard to keep believing

  • That world peace could be a viable goal
  • That each baby born is a sign that God has not thrown up His Hands in despair over the human race
  • That people will write their Congressman at least one time in life
  • That our fraternities will get new vocations, people who want to do penance, experience interior conversion, change the way they think about things and people, incarnate the words of the Gospel in the spirit of St. Francis
  • That one day, the city of Camden will again be a great place to live
  • That one day, people of all ethnic groups and races will people our fraternities
  • That torture will go out of style
  • That people in authority will serve and protect all our citizens
  • That human traffickers will go out of business because people find other things to watch other than pornography
  • That families will eat dinner with each other and have enough to eat and will want to linger over their meals and talk to each other
  • That people will take the part about resting on the Sabbath seriously and they will take vacations, not just to work on laptops on the beach, but to play with their kids and neck with their spouses


  • That one person can make a difference.


Perhaps you have heard of the story of the boy who was observed throwing beach starfish back into the sea. When someone told him that his efforts were for naught for there were so many beached starfish , he replied that “ it was important to that one (starfish) “.

I do believe and am “ claiming it “, like a good Protestant would, that one day we will replenish our fraternities not only with mature pious people but also with enthused , wild and a little crazy, tattooed, ear ringed, long haired, faded jean , goofy, smart, idealistic, unrealistic, passionate , wannachange the world people who love God and want to learn about Francis.

And when they come, what will we say to them when they ask us “Well, what exactly do you do? At these meetings you all have, I know you pray and talk about Francis, but please tell me, what do you do? “

Anticipating all of this, I humbly ask that we start to do things in 2015 like we never did before. First off, there is a Mass for Human Trafficking on Sunday, February 8, 2015, at Noon at the National Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Let’s go. Let’s car pool. No big deal. Don’t even think too hard about it. We don’t need to get a bus. Let’s just drive to Washington and sit together and pray together for our Immigrant church, made up of people who are poor and marginalized.

Later this year, maybe in July, let’s have a gathering to talk about JPIC. I can bring the sandwiches, you can bring the drinks, etc. easy …

Let’s get out of our comfort area. Invite people we meet to Come and See. Do a project with us.
Volunteer. Write letters to the Editor about the Assisted Suicide Bill in Jersey or Fracking in PA.

I have some ideas for speakers and kind of a theme maybe something like: What can one Person do?

Let’s help Kate Kleinert man the information table at the World Meeting of Families in Philly in September. Let’s talk up the Order and get excited about it.

We have kicked around some ideas about the young adults at the colleges. What will stop us JPIC people from getting together for a coffee house to watch a video and talk about a response to a movie? Perhaps we can sponsor a movie/coffee house in conjunction with the Campus Ministry, the Newman Centers. Maybe we can get some interest in having the young people plant Liberty Gardens in the inner city (who remembers that title ?) , clean the beaches, have a soup can drive on Super Bowl Sunday or download a poster to prevent Human Trafficking (from Franciscan Action Network today ) and put it in your local church on Super Bowl Sunday ? Let’s visit the colleges, let’s go to Theology on Tap and just listen to what the young people are saying. What do you say?

I recently visited a fraternity and was talking about doing JPIC and a woman said to me “Oh, aren’t we all supposed to be doing that? And there is such diversity in how we all do it. She was right on.

Kathy Agosto, OFS
JPIC Animator, One of Many