ROME — For decades, people have thought of St. Francis as the patron saint of ecology. It was 35 years ago that he was officially given the title. Now, a website offers resources to help people around the world commemorate the anniversary of the naming of St. Francis as the patron of ecology.
The website, Franciscans for Ecology, was launched on March 22 — World Water Day — and was created by Romans VI, a group of JPIC directors for the Franciscan family: Capuchins, Conventuals, Third Order Regulars, Secular Franciscans, IFC-TOR, and members of the Order of Friars Minor. It was designed by Jim McIntosh, OFM, of St. Anthony Shrine, Boston. The date for the commemoration of Francis as patron of ecology is Nov. 29.
“The launch date reminds us that our commitment to work for the Integrity of Creation must be concrete and practical,” according to an email distributed last month by Joseph Rozansky, OFM, and Br. Fabio L’Amour, OFM, of the Order’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. “Resources are available in various languages, and include a reflection on the celebration, the pope’s declaration naming Francis the patron of ecology, a Eucharistic celebration, an ecumenical prayer, norms for an interreligious celebration, a Mayan Cross Prayer, Prayers of the Faithful and an article on Franciscan spirituality.”
Joseph said the Order’s JPIC office, of which he is director, urges friars and their partners in ministry to “prepare events and prayer gatherings to commemorate this anniversary at times that are convenient. This will help to promote among all people a spirit of care for creation in the spirit of Francis. You might want to consider the possibility of linking this celebration with that of the Spirit of Assisi, which occurs every year on Oct. 28.”
He encourages friars and their ministries to share the ecology resources as widely as possible. “We ask that you send us a short article about any celebration you might hold in your city or region, along with some photos,” said the friar, who in 2010 presented the Christian perspective on the environment at an interfaith conference in Rome.
A link to the new website can be found in the Justice and Peace section of the HNP website, which provides a variety of resources about caring for creation. Russell Testa, director of the Province’s JPIC office, said the Franciscans for Ecology website will be helpful for people around the world. “Joe and his team have continually offered useful tools to Franciscan-hearted people.”
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.