FI’s 30th Anniversary Booklet Tells Stories of Struggles, Achievements

Jocelyn Thomas Franciscan World

For three decades, Franciscans International has been advocating globally for human rights through the United Nations. Last month, it released a 32-page anniversary booklet – published at the conclusion of FI’s year-long celebration of its 30th milestone – that summarizes the mission of the organization and describes its programs, pillars, and publications.

“It is a privilege to introduce materials that were prepared during the 30th-anniversary celebration of Franciscans International – the NGO of the Franciscan Family at the United Nations,” said Joe Rozansky, OFM, president of the FI International Board of Directors, and who has been associated with the organization for most of its three decades.

“As Michael Perry observes in his short video introduction, it was the Franciscan values of peace, poverty, and planet that led us to the United Nations, where we have worked tirelessly to include them in discussions, documents and activities,” said Joe, who is stationed in Chicago. “I invite you to look through this reader-friendly booklet, which presents the history of our common Franciscan ministry at the United Nations. Please consider sharing it with those at your ministry sites, your families, and friends.”

The booklet is published in five languages, including English and Spanish.

Three Decades of Work
“The booklet tells stories of the struggles and the achievements made possible by many of our Franciscan sisters and brothers working at the grassroots level, as well as our dedicated staff in the different FI offices,” said Markus Heinze, OFM, executive director of Franciscans International.

“With this anniversary booklet, we want to thank you very much for all the support that you gave to Franciscans International,” Markus said in an email to supporters, in which he distributed a PDF of the booklet.

“Franciscans International: 30 Years at the United Nations” is available online.

The publication, titled “Franciscans International: 30 Years at the United Nations,” is divided into seven sections of information, including a timeline of the organization’s history that begins in 1982.

In his video, Michael Perry, OFM, minister general of the Order of Friars Minor and liaison of the Conference of the Franciscan Family to FI, describes what inspired the Franciscan Family to establish a presence at the United Nations.

“As a Franciscan family, we must continue to listen and welcome those who share our concerns,” Joe says in a letter at the end of the booklet. “Franciscan International, the representation of our family at the United Nations, will continue to offer a platform to elevate and amplify the voices of our brothers and sisters.”

Joe continued, “Throughout our long history, we have evolved as Franciscans to meet the challenges of the day. As we do so again, Franciscan International will be a home for all – young and old – who wish to join forces in our common cause and seek new ways to promote respect for human dignity, peace, and care for creation throughout the world.”

Last year’s anniversary was commemorated with events in Geneva, Rome, and New York City. The celebration culminated at Holy Name Province’s San Damiano Hall on 31st Street in New York City in November 2019.

“In these challenging times caused by the coronavirus, we don’t want to forget the countless people who suffer injustices and violence, and whose dignity is not respected,” said Markus. “Franciscans International continues to be in touch with Franciscans and other partners-in-ministry at the grassroots level. We have already released statements on COVID-19 and human rights – and on the intersection of the pandemic with extreme poverty and environmental justice.”

FI Position in New York
Fl is recruiting an outreach officer to strengthen the bridges between Franciscans International and the global Franciscan Family, and to work alongside its existing staff of human rights attorneys and other professionals. The organization is seeking a multi-lingual communicator with an interest in human rights and a grounded knowledge of Franciscan spirituality for the position, which would be based in New York City.

The person filling the position would have diverse responsibilities that include providing spiritual input to FI’s staff and expanding a global audience of Franciscans to those in formation, according to Markus.

Those interested are asked to email Markus before June 30. Details about the position and application process can be found in a document from Franciscans International.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communication for Holy Name Province.