Peacemakers Discern Next Steps

Russell Testa Around the Province

NEW YORK — Six of the Province’s Peacemakers in the Making group met last week at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street to determine how to more fully enliven their Franciscan peacemaking skills. The participants seemed enthusiastic and energized by the discussion.

The group evolved from those who took part in the 10-week Engage Franciscan Peacemaking Process, facilitated by Joseph Juracek, OFM, from 2007 to 2008.

To answer the question of where to focus the group’s energies, attendees at the Sept. 19 meeting looked at relationships that are in need of repair. They did this because one way to define Franciscan peacemaking is as “active relationship repair and reconstruction.” As one looks through the stories of St. Francis and the Franciscan movement, it is clear that when peacemaking has been best lived in the tradition, it was focused on real and tangible relationships.

The Peacemakers discerned two next steps. First, they are going to be more intentional at forming themselves as a united community. In particular, this will be done by practicing peacemaking skills like non-violent communication, non-violent advocacy and relationship analysis. This practice and formation is conducted by taking the time to hear the directions of each other’s lives.

The second step for the Peacemakers will be to determine the specific relationships within the Church where they could bring the peacemaking skills they are practicing into use. Specifically, they are looking to create more space for the idea of Franciscan peacemaking to take root.

The group members left excited with the prospect of being more attentive to their responsibility to use the Franciscan peacemaking skills they have received.

As the JPIC animator for the Province, it was a privilege to facilitate this process with the Peacemakers. It was also gratifying to see one of the many ways that those in HNP ministries are continuing the goal of active Franciscan peacemaking that arose from Holy Name Province’s 2005 Chapter.

To explore how you or your ministry can work as Franciscan peacemakers, please contact me at the JPIC Office, 202-527-7561 or

— Russell Testa is Holy Name Province’s director of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation. He is shown at left in the photo above with Cynthia Orage; Vera Scanlon; Carolyn Townes, SFO; Teodora Reyes, SFO; Jimmy Lopez-Acosta; Augusto Martinez.