Proclaiming the Gospel by Promoting, Defending and Caring for the Environment

This is an extract from an address given by Jaime Campos, OFM, Director of the OFM General Curia’s JPIC Office, during the launch of the book,  Sister Mother Earth; the Franciscan Roots of Laudato si’

“Many friars, having been moved by the signs of the times, have given witness to their commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel by working for the care of Our Common Home. Different situations present different challenges, and the friars have responded by engaging in a variety of efforts directed towards the promotion, defense and care for the environment. I would like to share three of these experiences with you.

About a month ago, the Parliament of the Republic of El Salvador, Central America, decided to ban metallic mining in El Salvador. For more than ten years the OFM JPIC Office in El Salvador has been working to raise awareness about the contamination caused by this kind of mining, especially in poor areas. This undertaking was not high-profile and if judged solely by efficiency and productivity might have been underestimated, but it has been very successful. So, today we celebrate with the El Salvadoran friars who campaigned side by side with other Religious Congregations and civic organizations to ban metallic mining in their country.

The friars in the JPIC Office in Indonesia have been pioneers in the development of an ecological-pastoral project since its inception in 2000. This pastoral project is just one of the fruits of cooperation between the Franciscan Family and livestock farmers. Their concerns, ideas, commitments and engagement in caring for Creation have led them to develop a practical project, founded on pastoral service for the farmers combined with environmentally friendly farming.

The third experience I would like to share with you owes its origin to the words of Pope Francis in Laudato si’.  I am referring to the Laudato Si Agri-Ecological Company: ‘Shelter, Work, Land’, which was inaugurated on April 26th last in the town of Tenosique, Tabasco State, in southern Mexico. This new project acts in defense of life, and is a place where the cry of our sister Mother Earth is joined to the struggle of migrants and refugees who are victims of forced displacement caused by appalling poverty and widespread violence. This is a project which puts into practice what Pope Francis has called integral ecology.

In my opinion, and as these examples show, the efforts taking place at the level of the Order aimed at caring for our common home are enriched and encouraged by a deeper awareness of the Franciscan roots of Laudato Si.”