FAN and Virginia Parish Work on ‘Green’ Initiative

HNP Communications Franciscan World

WASHINGTON — One of the Province’s parishes — St. Francis of Assisi parish in Triangle, Va. — is working with the Franciscan Action Network on a unique interfaith environmental education and training program that will certify religious leaders.

For the second year, FAN is partnering with GreenFaith to offer partial tuition scholarships for the GreenFaith Fellowship Program to train leaders and members of diverse religious communities across the country.

GreenFaith has selected St. Francis Parish for the green certification program because of the parish’s commitment to the environment. FAN said in its June 25 newsletter that its members look forward to learning from this parish’s experience over the next two years. The next deadline for application to the program is December 2012. Information is available on the FAN website.

GreenFaith’s mission, as noted on its website, is to inspire, educate and mobilize people of diverse religious backgrounds for environmental leadership.

Support for LCWR
The Franciscan Action Network also applauds the Franciscans’ support of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious When the LCWR was criticized by the Vatican several weeks ago, friars came to their support, writing a letter to the Catholic sisters.

FAN’s website noted the support of Joseph Nangle, OFM, in his leadership with the OFM friars and on the FAN board. He was interviewed by National Public Radio on June 8 and said that he hopes that the respectful but strong stances of LCWR and the OFM friars have shown the Vatican that the sisters and friars are “loyal members  of this church, but we are not unthinking. We have our truth to speak.”

On July 2, FAN hosted a welcome-back celebration to honor and celebrate the sisters who participated in Nuns on the Bus, a 15-day road trip in a bus wrapped with their logo to raise awareness for the poor and marginalized. Photos of the event, held in Washington at noon on Monday, appear on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Action Network.  Among the people in the crowd were Joseph Ehrhardt, OFM, who works on justice and peace issues in Kenya, and Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.

The sisters, along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and others, say that proposed U.S. budget cuts will affect services available to the poor. Some sisters have been taking bus trips to promote budget fairness, speaking to parishes and organizations.

Immigrant Advocacy
On June 15, FAN issued a special email to celebrate President Obama’s announcement that roughly 1 million immigrants between the ages of 15 and 30 – referred to as Dreamers and named for the failed Dream (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act – could benefit from a “deferred action” executive order and would no longer be deported.

The email stated, “Following this ruling, students in the U.S. who are already in deportation proceedings or who qualify for the DREAM Act and have yet to come forward to the Department of Homeland Security will not be deported and will be allowed to work in the U.S. They could live in the U.S. for five years and maintain continuous U.S. residence. DREAM supporters have urged the President to issue an executive order to stop the deportations of DREAM students because the DREAM Act failed in Congress, and House Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) has declared that he will not hold a hearing on the act in his committee. FAN staff has made a number of Capitol Hill visits with other supporting agencies.”

The email, whose subject line read, “Breaking News in which FAN Played a Part,” thanked FAN members who urged their Congressional representatives to pass the Dream Act.

— Wendy Healy, a freelance writer based in Connecticut, is a frequent contributor to HNP Today.