Laudato Si’ Week, ESC Meeting and Other News of the Order

Jim McIntosh OFM Franciscan World

The May issue of Fraternitas, the Order’s international newsletter, features a Ramadan 2021 message from the Commission for Dialog with Islam written by Michael Calabria, OFM. It also reports on a number of other topics, including the new Nagasaki Project, whose fundamental goal is to promote lasting peace in the city of Nagasaki and throughout the world; the 50th anniversary of the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at the Antonianum; a Poor Clare monastery in the Philippines promoting renewable energy, and new Franciscan books and upcoming events.

The items below summarize other developments around the Order. Additional information can be found on the OFM website and by following the Order on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

► A 10-day celebration called “Laudato Si’ Week 2021” – which is bringing together the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics to mark the conclusion of the Laudato Si’ anniversary year –is running from May 16 through May 25. The event, which features a diverse line-up of Catholic leaders and world-renowned speakers and authors, coincides with the sixth anniversary of Pope Francis’s completion of the encyclical on May 24, 2015. The week began with a crucial Laudato Si’ dialogue on how all Catholics can create change ahead of the U.N. Biodiversity Conference and the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference. With free resources and organizing tips available at, Catholics are encouraged to offer sustainability events and prayer gatherings to help inspire their communities.

► In an effort to promote ecological conversion and disseminate the message of “Laudato Si’” in the Church, the Global Catholic Climate Movement has collaborated with the Order’s Office of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation. To formalize this continued collaboration, a memorandum of understanding has been signed by both organizations to reaffirm their commitment towards realizing new strategies for future efforts. They have successfully carried out several campaigns in recent years – among others the 2019 World Youth Day in Panama, Animators Training, and Laudato Si’ Revolution.

► The provincial ministers of the English-speaking Conference met via Zoom on April 19 and 20, according to Patrick McCloskey, OFM, the ESC executive secretary, who reports that most of their discussion concerned the upcoming General Chapter of the Order, which is scheduled for July 3 to 18 outside Rome at Collegio Internazionale San Lorenzo da Brindisi. COVID-19 restrictions in Italy will require that capitulars remain on the 200-acre campus during the Chapter. At last month’s ESC meeting, discussions focused on nominees for minister general and general councilor, with the provincial ministers identifying two nominees for each office. The nominees and their CVs were sent to the secretary of the general chapter and will be shared with capitulars. The next ESC meeting is scheduled for Oct. 11 to 15, and like gatherings of the past year, will be virtual.

La 72 Migrant and Refugee Shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco, near Mexico’s southern border – where several HNP simply-professed friars lived while studying Spanish – is marking its 10th anniversary. The shelter, sponsored by San Felipe de Jesús Province of Mexico, is a critical geographical juncture for migrants journeying to the U.S. southern border. The friars write, “In La 72, we maintain the Spirit of Universal Fraternity and evangelical humility, sources that spring from the Franciscan Life and from the commitment to the poor recovered by the thoughts and social doctrine of Pope Francis.”

► The September to December 2020 issue of Acta Ordinis Fratrum Minorum, the official bulletin containing documents and the chronicle of the Order of Friars Minor, is now available online for downloading.

► The latest issue of Koinōnia, the newsletter of the Conference of General Spiritual Assistants of the Secular Franciscans, has been published online. In one of the articles – “Animate and Guide with a Leadership of Service” – Hernán Eguzauiza, TOR, writes, “Every generation has its challenges. The pandemic puts into test our personal as well as institutional spirituality. In this new Easter season, the Lord invites us not to lose hope, [and] to maintain peace and trust. This is fundamental in the face of such an invasive reality that we feel in all areas of our daily lives. The risen Christ calls us to empower the best of ourselves and of our institutions to serve with joy and to maintain trust in God and in humanity.”

► Pope Francis’s Apostolic Letter, “Candor lucis aeternae” – published on March 25 to mark the 700th anniversary of the death of the poet, Dante Alighieri – dedicates a part of the text to Saint Francis of Assisi. The pope wrote, “St. Francis and Dante had much in common. Francis, with his followers, left the cloister and went out among the people, in small towns and the streets of the cities, preaching to them and visiting their homes. Dante made the choice, unusual for that age, to compose his great poem on the afterlife in the vernacular, and to populate his tale with characters both famous and obscure, yet equal in dignity to the rulers of this world. Another feature common to the two was their sensitivity to the beauty and worth of creation as the reflection and imprint of its Creator.”

► The country of Colombia has been in the news recently as a brutal suppressor of popular protests, which  has resulted in the deaths of many protesters. The Order’s General Office for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation, the Episcopal Conference of Colombia, and the Museum for the United Nations have joined forces to set up a project inspired by the leadership of Pope Francis, drawing from his message of integral ecology and call for the implementation of “Laudato Si’” in order to empower ecological spirituality as well as participation and action at the individual and community levels. The project hopes to reach all 6,000 parishes and places of worship in Colombia on Oct. 3, the eve of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The goal is to inspire Catholic communities, as well as other organizations throughout the world, to take concrete actions in the mission of care for Creation.

— Jim McIntosh is a communications assistant for the HNP Communications Office.