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 http://seasonofcreation.info/. 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 ctownes26@hotmail.com.
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!

Carolyn

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

JPIC News -- December 2014

The Longest Night, Waiting in the Darkness

Our Lutheran Brothers and Sisters invited our fraternity to participate in their “Longest Night” service last December. We are again invited on December 21st at 7:00 p.m. to Messiah Lutheran Church, Cape May Court House, to be with people who are not so very merry at Christmas, those who have lost a love one, those who have a child who is on drugs, whose marriage is on the rocks, those who can find little enthusiasm for the Charlie Brown Christmas Show or the endless Lifetime movies about having a happy ending by the end of the two hours with everyone coming over to the country house for hot chocolate and fresh chocolate chip cookies lighting up the TV screen like a Thomas Kincaide painting.

How true it is that we sometimes feel as though we are walking in the darkness, that we are far from home, far from where we want to be, estranged from family, This experience of night, feeling we are in a world soaked in darkness , has been experienced many times by many different peoples. Our Sacred Scriptures recount the Babylonian exile, the Jews oppressed by Pharaoh, the land of Palestine in Our Savior’ s time governed by the Romans. » Click to continue reading “JPIC News — December 2014” »

JPIC News -- November 2014

It is November 1st and I have to set the clocks back tonight so as not to be late for Sunday Mass tomorrow. The cold is here now and, on one hand, I reckon that it is five months til spring. Not too bad. Five out of Twelve months of good weather. Not so bad because today I will make a pot of soup and get some good bread. Last night was Halloween. Nicole dressed the two dogs up as Tigger and Eyore from Winnie the Pooh. There are bags of Reese’s Peanut Butter hidden (from me) in the Fridge to nibble on. Tonight after we do some chores, we will turn on the fireplace, maybe watch a movie. Grandma America will call from Florida to make sure that we are all right. Soon it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas and Easter. We will all be together. We are not fighting. We like each other and get along. We love each other. We are a family.

But across the street, it is different. Joey will call his father in Florida tonight. Then he will call his Mom for the weekly phone call. Over the holidays, he will go to the casinos. He will get wasted on Christmas Eve since he has the next day off. » Click to continue reading “JPIC News — November 2014” »

JPIC News -- September 2014

This month, I had many experiences which made me think about our common commitment to identify with the poor and marginalized. This seems to me to be the essence of our profession and of our way of life, solidarity with the poor and love of poverty as opposed to social climbing, status seeking and hobnobbing with the rich, the well-educated and the privileged classes.

When I wrote about the children at the borders last month, little did I know that I would soon meet them face to face living near to me in South Jersey. I now understand that tubing has a different meaning for immigrant children, who when they have walked from El Salvador to the U.S. Mexican border, jump on tires which are tied together across the Rio Grande River and then, they walk across the desert. I have come to know children who were shot at in their home in Guatemala, who have gone hungry and who live in fear of the immigration authorities taking their parents away and leaving them orphans. Then there are those whose political status is in limbo because they were born in the U. S. although their parents lack the proper legal papers. Luckily, there are provisions for these children to get financial aid and go to college in some instances. » Click to continue reading “JPIC News — September 2014” »

JPIC News -- August 2014

One of the benefits of this new regional website is the synergy that can be created . I read Mattie Ward’s inspiring words about being how we are taught to hate and I can pick up on that with the thought that there is just so much rhetoric and hostility in our world today. This website ought to not only encourage us to think about things with a more Christ like attitude but also it can stir us out of lethargy and into action as we as Secular Franciscans are called “to be in the forefront of bringing about a more peaceful and evangelical world “. How is it that we are not talking about this more in our fraternities ?

Over the last few weeks, I have heard such vitriol about the immigrant children at our borders. Perhaps because I live in a very diverse community, I have a different view. I also participated in a web chat last week produced by Catholic Relief Services in conjunction with the USCCB. People are looking for someone to blame for this humanitarian crisis. The upshot of the webchat was we can blame ourselves and our fellow Americans who are clamoring for more drugs. This is one of several of the root causes of this crisis. Another tack to take when attacking that problem is working with disenfranchised youth in the Third World who turn to violence. The real work being done at the community level in Central America is giving those young people alternatives to violence and alternative careers away from the drug cartels.

» Click to continue reading “JPIC News — August 2014” »