Indiscriminate mining, with its detrimental impact on both the environment and local peoples, is an emerging JPIC priority among the entire Franciscan family. Extractive mining companies are entering many areas throughout the world with the promise of prosperity for the indigenous people. Instead, the people remain impoverished, with some communities experiencing an increase in strife and violence between those who support and oppose the mining, and the land is unequivocally degraded.
“In my work with the worldwide Order, it is obvious that in many places around the globe people are suffering the negative effects of indiscriminate mining practices,” said Joseph Rozansky, OFM, director of the General Office for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation at the Curia of the Friars Minor in Rome. “My personal observations are confirmed through contact with JPIC promoters of other congregations, who have experienced the same reality through their contacts with people at the grassroots. The magnitude of the problem demands that we speak out in favor of justice.”
Franciscans are called to speak — and act — in support of people and creation in situations where issues of the environment and justice intersect, and parishioners at St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md., are doing just that. The large Latino community there has ties to Central America, where mining is becoming a serious problem. Members of the Holy Name Province ministry are taking a three-pronged approach to the issue: praying for positive change, educating others about the situation and advocating for justice.
Information about these efforts is available in the Justice and Peace section of the HNP website, on the “JPIC in Action” Care for Creation page. Entries titled “Franciscan Solidarity Efforts Against Indiscriminate Mining” are noted on both the education and advocacy subpages. The education entry includes, among other resources, a link to a video of a Spanish prayer service held at the parish in late 2013.
The mining issue also is highlighted in the Rome JPIC Office’s 2011 publication Franciscans and Environmental Justice: Confronting Environmental Crisis and Social Injustice, on pages 8 and 9.
Advocacy organizations like Franciscans International and Franciscan Action Network are preparing educational events for the Franciscan family to help spread awareness and call for change within these mining industries. More information will be available in a future issue of HNP Today.
— Fran Eskin-Royer is senior staff associate in the Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation in Silver Spring, Md.