Welcome to Caring for Creation
focusing on our ministries in Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC).
In ‘Caring for Creation’ we invite you to reflect upon the many different aspects of St. Francis’ spirituality. Essentially the values of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation are biblical values and as such, are values of God’s kingdom. Following Jesus, Christians are called upon to incarnate these values through our lives. The values of justice especially for the poor & broken, peace (shalom) among all people and care & reverence for the earth and its creatures are central to St. Francis’ way of following the Gospel way of life.
Lived together, Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (JPIC) form a ‘caring for creation’ spirituality, a way of living life in the Spirit. As followers of St Francis of Assisi, we Franciscans feel ourselves called to live this spirituality, and by caring for our sister-mother earth and for the relationships between all people on earth, we work to bring about the Kingdom of God, where all are valued and cherished. When Christians pray the words of Christ, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we are praying that each of these values – Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation – bears fruit as Jesus desired.
The values of JPIC have been present in our Order all along since our founder, St. Francis of Assisi lived a spirituality whereby all creation was valued because all had its origin in God the Creator, Father of all. However, only since Vatican II have we come to understood them in the more contemporary sense as a dimension of social reality. Many friars are engaged in JPIC work through their ministry with prisoners, drug addicts, teenagers with a criminal past, the unemployed and cancer patients, and by participating in a local ecological project. The Order itself is committed to the Amazon Project where Franciscans are ministering to the needs of the indigeneous people and to the need to protect the rainforests from destruction. We want to continue these activities, and to look for new ways to serve the people and the world. We need also to promote cooperation among the entire Franciscan family – SFO, Franciscan Youth, Franciscan sisters – in the area of JPIC. Gradually, through a process of discernment, the option for justice, peace and the integrity of creation is becoming increasingly clear.
The six-year plan for JPIC is based on the document of the 2009 General Chapter, Bearers of the Gift of the Gospel. It calls on all Entities of the Order, with the help of the Franciscan JPIC Office in Rome, to commit ourselves to:
1. Promote in Initial and On-going Formation the values of our Franciscan spirituallity highlighted in JPIC.
2. Examine the impact of our style of life on creation, especially regarding climate change, and promote environmental justice in order to highlight the relationship between social and ecological themes.
3. Promote active non-violence in our lives, with particular emphasis on resolution of conflicts.
4. Pay special attention to the excluded of our society, according to the reality of each Entity, with a particular commitment to the defense and promotion of human rights.
5. Consider and promote the ethical use of economic and natural resources in the life of the friars, in their ministry and in society.
The Chapter also requested continuation of the annual JPIC course at the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome, and recommended that similar courses be given in all Franciscan Institutes of Higher Learning. JPIC was also directed to collaborate in the Amazon Project. All of these issues are important aspects of the six-year plan, along with a commitment to help prepare the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Spirit of Assisi in October of 2011.
This course will be held 3 – 13 May, 2011 (weekdays only), with the possibility of one extra day (14th May) for our JPIC animators (co-ordinators) who are present. As has been the custom, most of the course is open to anyone who is interested and will be offered in three languages: Italian, English and Spanish. For further details, click here.
It may be evident by now that each of these biblical values is connected to the other two:
The value of Justice refers to social and economic justice, and also to environmental justice.
The pursuit of Peace involves much work in the area of Justice and living in harmony with Nature.
The Integrity of Creation / Ecology refers to a fundamental respect for the natural world, and also to respecting the dignity due to human beings. Human needs and the needs of Sister Mother Earth are interdependent.
Thank you for taking the time to explore our website, and we, all the friars of the Irish Province wish you God’s peace!
“The friars, as followers of St. Francis, are bound to lead a radically evangelical life, namely: to live in a spirit of prayer and devotion and in fraternal fellowship, they are to offer a witness of penance and minority; and, in charity towards all mankind, they are to announce the Gospel throughout the whole world, and to preach reconciliation, peace and justice by their deeds, and to show respect for creation.” (Art. 1.2; General Constitutions).