Order’s JPIC Office in Rome Annnounces Website, Reports on Bolivian Center

HNP Communications Franciscan World

ROME — The OFM International Council for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation here announced that the Irish Province has established a new website dedicated to ecological issues and St. Francis’ relationship to the environment. Calling it a “work-in-progress,” the Irish friars invite Franciscans to visit Praying Nature.

News of the website was reported in the May issue of Contact, the council’s newsletter.

Fr. Cathal Duffy, OFM, of the Irish Province, wrote that the friars want to be proactive about responding to the “ecological challenges in a way that would reach the growing number of people using the Internet in Ireland.”

Also highlighted in the recent newsletter was the Franciscans’ Social Services Center in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which offers medical, dental and mental health help, along with other services for the needy.

The center, a joint project of the Franciscan family in Cochabamba, has a doctor, a nurse and two dentists on staff, and three volunteer psychologists, who work in conjunction with the St. Luke Foundation, a non-profit organization of the archdiocese.

Jim McIntosh, OFM, now based in Camiri, Bolivia, served as director of the center after he arrived in Cochabama in fall 2006. Details can be found in the December 2007 issue of The Anthonian in an article titled “The Blessing of Sharing.”

The Association of Helping Women Volunteers organizes ear, nose and throat medical services, and the Mosoj Ph’Unchay Foundation helps children who are burn victims. Voices for Cochabamba helps coordinate services for children and teens.

The St. Clare Kitchen, staffed by Secular Franciscans, serves food on Saturdays. In addition, the center opens its doors to the Al-Anon group for its meetings.

Contact reported that the center “has blossomed in a short period of time due to the generosity of many people who want to serve the most marginalized.”

Other articles in Contact include:
· “Inauguration of John XXIII Homeless Shelter”
· “Sacred Hearts of JPIC: The Vineyard of the Gift of the Gospel” 
· “Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations”

Past issues of Contact can be found on the website of the Order of Friars Minor.

— Wendy Healy, a Connecticut-based freelance writer, contributes frequently to HNP Today.