Franciscan Action Network Advocates for Environment, Immigration

HNP Communications Franciscan World

WASHINGTON — The Franciscan Action Network continues to raise awareness for its key causes — immigration reform, climate change, and human trafficking — and will offer a webinar on climate change tomorrow from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern time.

FAN’s executive director Patrick Carolan is joining Franciscans International U.N. Advocacy Officer Amanda Lyons in presenting a long-term strategy to prepare for the United Nations’ Climate Summit in September. The summit is one year before countries around the world conclude a global climate agreement through the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The webinar “begins a new journey into the connection between the environment and the food we eat,” according to a recent FAN newsletter. Registration for the May 1 program can be done online. The webinars are recorded and may be accessed at any time on the website.

Generating Involvement
Carolan said that participation in FAN’s monthly climate change webinars is increasing, with approximately 50 to 70 people attending live, and another 20 listening to the recorded versions. Webinar topics have included the Greenfaith Certification Program, Proclaiming Climate Justice for the Feast of St. Francis, and other themes.

“We know that the webinars are raising awareness, but we’re hoping that they move people to action, either to engage within their local communities or to get involved with other groups,” he added.

Carolan spoke earlier this year at Columbia University in New York City about how the issues of climate change, human trafficking, and immigration reform are connected.

Other Advocacy Initiatives
Carolan, who is advocating at the United Nations more often now, said: “We continue to grow the organization and work closely with Franciscans around the country, and with Franciscans International, to bring the Franciscan spirituality and charism to issues.”

Recently, an editorial by FAN about politics and money appeared in The Hill, a prominent U.S. political online magazine and website and in June action network members will conduct congressional briefings. These efforts are evolving from a new interfaith coalition that FAN was instrumental in assembling. It includes the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the United Church of Christ, the Presbyterian Church, the Sisters of Mercy and other groups.

The seven-year-old Action Network has been involved with other initiatives to raise awareness of its major causes. They include:

  • Supporting the activities of a delegation of U.S. bishops at the border of Mexico and Arizona on April 1. The day before, Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, eight U.S. bishops and Guatemalan Bishop Gerardo Flores spent time with migrants at the Kino Border’s Initiative’s Care Center for Deported Migrants in Mexico, a Jesuit sponsored ministry.
  • Being part of the Fast 4 Families immigration reform campaign when the caravan rolled into Washington, D.C., on April 9. Carolan was interviewed about the moral aspect of the Fast for Families initiative.

Since January, the office staff has been sharing space with the Franciscan Federation at the Franciscan Monastery at 1400 Quincy Ave., in Washington. Carolan said his team members appreciate the pleasant new offices and feel an enhanced partnership in a Franciscan setting.

News about FAN’s initiatives and work with affiliated organizations can be found on the Franciscan Action Network Facebook page.

— Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer who has contributed stories to HNP Today since 2007.