Franciscan Action Network Advocates for Health Care Reform

Monica Herald Features

The administrative coordinator of the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) provides the following report on the organization’s activities. FAN has been very active lately, sponsoring webinars and sending staff members and friars to a conference on immigration in Chicago. FAN also provides resources on its Web site on climate change for suggested use on the feast day of St. Francis. In addition, Russell Testa and assistant Fran Eskin-Royer are transitioning back to their sole responsibilities with Holy Name’s Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. Father Larry Janezic, OFM, has become FAN’s acting executive director.

WASHINGTON — Holy Name Province friars and partners-in-ministry have been active participants in several webinars and conferences sponsored recently by the Franciscan Action Network.

Health Care Reform Webinar
More than 300 persons participated in a national “webinar” exploring health care reform in the United States on Sept. 23, including friars and partners-in-ministry from at least 10 HNP ministries. “Health Care Reform: Where We Are and Where We’re Going” was co-sponsored by the Catholic Health Association, USA, and FAN. The webinar can be viewed at FAN’s Web site. The site also offers the opportunity to write U.S. legislators to encourage them to pass health care reform that reflects Franciscan values.

Earlier this month, Christopher VanHaight, OFM, and Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Director Russell Testa participated in FAN’s Immigration Conference in Chicago, Sept. 9 to 10. More than 40 Franciscans from throughout the United States attended, representing more than 20 provinces and congregations, as well as the Secular Franciscans and the Anglican Society of St. Francis.

The participants developed a common strategy to serve immigrant populations in Franciscan ministries, as well as an advocacy strategy for comprehensive immigration reform. In the next few weeks, outlines of this strategy will be released.

St. Francis Resources Available
Thanks to the help of HNP personnel, particularly Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, co-chair of the Province’s JPIC directorate, and Testa and Fran Eskin-Royer of the JPIC Office, several resources are available for the feast of St. Francis that address the issue of climate change. The resources were produced in partnership with the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change and can be downloaded.

FAN’s Upcoming Event
The “Care for Creation National Web Summit” takes place Oct. 15, 8 to 10 p.m. The FAN-sponsored live national video Web summit will explore the care for creation elements of the Franciscan tradition. In particular, the Web summit will explore what the tradition has to offer on the issue of climate change.

Riobart Breen, SFO, professor at Siena College and member of the HNP JPIC directorate, will be one of the major presenters.

“This is an excellent opportunity for HNP friaries and ministries to explore some concrete steps that we can take to enliven the 2008 Chapter priority on integrity of creation,” said Testa. He hopes that small groups of friars and partners in ministry will participate. More information on the Web summit and registration can be done through on FAN’s Web site.

Leadership Change
Testa and Eskin-Royer, who have been on loan from Holy Name Provice as FAN got off the ground, will transition back to their sole JPIC roles. Testa was executive director and Eskin-Royer was director of administrative services of FAN as a part of their positions with Holy Name Province.

In this transition, Father Larry Janezic, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, will become acting executive director. A memo from the FAN president, Sister Margaret Mary Kimmins, OSF, distributed on Sept. 24, described the leadership change.

HNP has been very generous and supportive in helping FAN get started, especially by offering Testa’s and Eskin-Royer’s time. FAN is grateful for their service.

The photo above shows Testa and Fr. Larry.

— Monica Herald is administrative coordinator at Franciscan Action Network.