“Praised be You, my Lord, for Brother Sun and Sister Moon, for Brother Wind and Sister Water, for Brother Fire; praised be You, my Lord, for our Sister Mother Earth, our common home, which sustains and governs us.”
(Adapted from the Canticle of the Creatures by Saint Francis of Assisi.)
The Order of Friars Minor salutes Pope Francis and expresses its gratitude on the occasion of the release of his Encyclical Laudato Si’, written in the spirit of the saint whose name he took for his papacy. His leadership in this crucial area of human concern is extremely important. In the words of Patriarch Bartholomew the Holy Father reminds us of “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and destruction of nature,” and declares the urgent need to bring the whole human family together to seek sustainable and integral development so as to protect our common home. His passionate call for changes to lifestyle and system paradigm is indeed timely.
Father Michael A. Perry, OFM, Minister General of the Friars Minor commented that “Pope Francis’ commitment to the poor and marginalized, peace and reconciliation, and care for the planet demonstrates the prophetic qualities that flow from being in communion with God, with one’s neighbor, with one’s self and with the created universe. It is for this reason Pope Francis dared to embrace and carry forward the mandate of Christian discipleship modeled after St. Francis of Assisi.
His Encyclical challenges us to simplify our lives, to strip away all that is not necessary in order to rediscover the beauty that God has placed within us, within all human persons, and within all created things. Our vocation is to live in unbounded solidarity with all that God has created.”
In relation to the challenges raised by the Pope, the Order of Friars Minor, together with other member of the Franciscan Family, is organizing a series of activities:
- in order to encourage Franciscans and those with whom we are associated to read and reflect on the Encyclical, a study guide will be prepared with concrete suggestions to implement the proposals contained in the Encyclical; every region will be asked to produce a more popular version of the study guide to make it more accessible to all;
- it is proposed that the next annual JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) course at the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome focus on the Encyclical and associated questions of environmental justice;
- finally, Franciscan Study Centers around the world will be encouraged to organize programs based on the Encyclical, and to create or strengthen their own Environmental programs.