ESC Update: International JPIC Council Meets in Indonesia

Maria Hayes Franciscan World

The following is a compilation of this month’s news from the website and Facebook page of the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, composed of provinces from Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta and the United States.

The OFM International Council for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation held its biannual meeting last month in Jakarta, Indonesia. Joseph Rozansky, OFM, director of the Order’s JPIC Office, attended.

The ICJPIC focused less on producing proposals and more on deepening commitment to values the Order already shares: simplicity of life, care for creation and solidarity with the poor.

In addition to providing “splendid” hospitality, the Indonesian friars introduced their guests to the realities of their social and religious context.

“These young friars thus showed the rationale for holding the meeting in Jakarta: the Indonesian province’s deep dedication to justice and peace,” said Fr. Jason Welle, OFM, of Assumption Province, who represented the ESC. “They have six friars primarily engaged in this ministry, including an intentional JPIC friar community in Jakarta, an eco-pastoral center working with rural farmers, and extensive activity to raise awareness of the consequences of mining.”

Near the end of the meeting, five of the friars’ collaborators were arrested in connection with their work on mining. ICJPIC participants signed a letter calling for their immediate release and request prayers for all those imprisoned unjustly and for their families.

“This sobering news reinvigorated JPIC animators for their ministry back in their own countries,” reported Fr. Jason.

In other news, Pope Francis has asked the Franciscans for advice as he drafts his encyclical on creation and respect for the environment.

“The pope has talked about his deep concern that the Church needs to find a way to respond using the best science, but also using the best of goodwill to all of humanity, to bring together a consensus on trying to respond to the ecological crisis” said General Minister Fr. Michael Perry, OFM, in an interview with RomeReports.com.

To assist the pope, the General Minister gave him a copy of the “Franciscans for Ecology” text compiled to help commemorate the 35th anniversary of St. Francis being named as patron of ecology. The information is included on francis35.org, the website launched earlier this year by the Franciscan family.

In the interview, shared on the English-speaking Conference’s social media accounts, Fr. Michael stresses that caring for the environment is an issue that all people — believers and non-believers — should work for.

“I was in the Amazon region in February,” he said. “I’ve been there three times in the past year, and every time I go, I see greater deforestation. I was just in the Eastern Congo, where there is also conflict over the mineral resources there, and I saw the impact that is having on the social climate.”

The General Minister anticipates that the pope’s encyclical will come out after October, following the upcoming synod on family life.

The English-speaking Conference posted many other topics on Facebook, including:
•   The appointment of Fr. Joseph Ha Chi-shing, OFM, as auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong
•   The election of the new provincial administration of the Ireland province
•   The appointment of Franciscan Sr. Mary Melone, SFA, as the rector of the Pontifical University Antonianum in Rome

—  Compiled by Maria Hayes